No pause for breath from one season to the next these days, and after the excitement of Sandown it was a change of code two days later and Storming Harry making his debut at Windsor. A son of Miss Pebbles who we trained back in the day, and a very exciting day for Nigel & Jenny Thick who bred SH. A lovely introduction for him, he behaved perfectly and ran a nice race to be fourth. Another making a debut - this time over hurdles was Spurned Girl, another homebred - this time by the Hitchman family. SG had had some runs on the flat, and I think it fair to say that she had not covered herself in glory! She came with a few 'issues' and all credit to Malcolm who has quietly put up with her tantrums, and persuaded her that civilised behaviour is best! SG did not put a foot out of place at the track, and ran a decent race, jumping really well and seeming to enjoy the experience. She will come on for the run.
A proud day for the yard the other day at Newbury races when Malcom, who has been with us for a year now went to collect his award for Student of the Year at the British Racing School. The Twelve Club present the award every year to the best male and female student. I am not sure how many students would pass through in a year, but its a lot, and for Malcom to win the overall prize is a huge accolade for him. His family also came to see him receive his prize, and enjoy a day at the races - many congratulations in order.
Another big day for a member of the team yesterday when Holly Rooney went for what proved to be her final X ray on the femur she broke so badly back in October. The team at the Walsgrave happy with the leg now and signed her off! Happy days.
A really busy Easter weekend for us, Haydock on Saturday, with Kitegen and Garrahalish. Kitegen ran a blinder to finish second in a race run 8 seconds faster than average. Only small he jumps like a bunny, and Charlie came in full of praise for him. Garrahalish who also jumps brilliantly sadly was completely mugged by a faller early in the race - tripping him up and ejecting poor Charlie into outer space. Happily both were OK - Gary a bit stiff for a couple of days, but no lasting damage. Very Annoying as the race turned into a real staying contest which he would have loved.
Well we have come to the end of another season, and what away to finish! The first night racing of the season for us on Friday night at Chepstow, Entertain Me up 15 lbs for her win at the previous meeting, and running what was probably a career best, to finish second only beaten a neck. A brave run from her, sadly Mrs Merry not there to see her but cheering from afar! Dancing Daffodil again disappointing - blood vessel issues for her and a holiday beckoning - she will be be back!
Home at eleven o'clock and then on the road again by ten on Saturday, Holly and I off to Sandown with the boys - Restless Harry and Kitegen for the final day of jumping this season. The Bet365 Gold Cup for Harry - a top quality race and one that was run at breakneck speed - Harry a bit outpaced on the first circuit and made a couple of small errors, which did not help our blood pressure, but Charlie doing sterling work and had him back where he wanted him as they went out for the second circuit. As they came to the pond fence Harry started to make ground and two out he was right there. The rest of the race was a bit of a blur, only clearer after watching the replay a few times, Harry fought SO hard and ran the race of his life to be fourth only beaten three and half lengths. None of us had any voice left afterwards, and it is difficult to put into words how proud we are of him.
After the excitement of the super double last week, it was back to reality on the Monday with five runners, split between Southwell and Kempton.
Paige, Toby and myself headed off to Southwell, with Robin and the Hollies off to Kempton. Southwell, as usual devoid of much atmosphere, although the facilities for owners and staff OK. Troyan was first up and ran a nice race to finish fifth not suited by the track but not beaten far. Valrene ran a hugely better race greatly appreciating the better ground, finished flying, and won't be far away next time.
Playing With Fire having her second run back, behaving really well in all the preliminaries (not always the case!!) jumped well, probably just needing the race again, but again, should not be far away next time.
A few ‘tecky hitches’ which explains a news blackout from Alne Park for the last few weeks. Apologies for that but up and running again now! Still on night turnout to avoid the flies, but at last they seem to be abating a bit and we hope to get back to a normal routine next week. The team will be glad to have another hour in bed in the mornings, especially as the days have already started to draw in! Horrors – but at least racing proper is getting nearer! We are very excited about he coming season with some lovely new faces looking over doors, and the team from last year all looking well, after a good summer of nice weather and plenty of grass. The horses that are in have been running really well, frustratingly without getting their noses in front! The Absent Mare has been second twice and third in her last three runs – all good efforts, and she has now really got the hang of the fences – she and Jo seem to have struck up a good partnership. She so deserves to get her head in front – it must come soon! Kitegen was an excellent third at Market Rasen only beaten a couple of lengths, Autumm Spirit has run much better but still does not look particularly in love with the job, Entertain Me pulled up lame but happily is on the mend now and having a short break. Spurned Girl who has come a very long way in a short time and improved beyond all recognition, is also having a short holiday to let it all sink in for a few weeks. Minnie Milan was a good third at Worcester and then sadly went to the sales – and even more sadly won a couple of days later! Annoying to miss the winner, but we wish the new connections all the best with her, and will follow her progress with interest. Lots of visitors over the last few weeks and a welcome to some new faces. Ann Johnson has taken a share in Garrahalish – lucky lady! Nice to welcome John Powell from EPDS Racing here with his business partner Tracey. They liked what they saw, and have bought the remaining shares in Dontminddboys, who will now run in the EPDS colours. Great to have them as part of the team, now just a couple of shares left in this exciting horse – so do call if you would like to get involved. A blast from the past here last week in the shape of Dave Hearn, who used to have a share in Nautic, delighted to have him involved again, as he has bought a share in Dontminddboys. Great to have seen so many other owners here – we are very open house here as regards visits, and it’s always nice to see faces, old and new. Yard visits from clubs are also very easy to organise so if you would like a ‘morning on the gallops’ just get in touch.