Very happy to report a winner last week – and on the flat too!! Storming Harry has tested the patience of his lovely owners Nigel & Jenny Thick, to the limit! He has been very difficult to train but improved immensely on his previous run to finish a close up 5th at Nottingham. This time it was off to LIngfield – not a pleasant journey from here, and the M25 its usual chaos! SH was held up through the race, and travelled well but then was in all sorts of bother off the last bend, and it looked as though his chance was gone, however once he got some daylight he stayed on gallantly and got up to win by half a length! I think the collective screaming by the team at the races and also the home team must have done the trick! Delighted for Nigel & Jenny who bred SH out of a super mare that we used to train called Miss Pebbles. Always special to do it with a home bred, so huge congratulations to them and also to Rachel who looks after SH and has nursed him through thick and thin!
We have had a long spell without a winner so a relief to get off the cold list. It’s great to have the team all in again now, and what a lovely bunch of horses we have for the season. Very happy to have Kitegen back after a brief spell away, and a big welcome to his owners Paul & Clare, who have shares in other horses too, but having their first venture into joint ownership. We wish them all the very best of luck.
The gallop is all but finished now – just waiting on one load to finish it off. The surface riding really well after the top up, although it was nearly a case of dodge the Eddie Stobart lorry after one of the drivers managed to sink a wheel on the side of the gallop! All rather tense for a while as it had a big lean on – thanks to Granville Stevens for the loan of a big tractor to help ours pull it out!
Good to see Ben Poste, Chris Ward and James Martin all in to ride last week – a big help as Charlie off on his hols for a while. Harriet also back in harness and a big welcome to Zach Sparrow who joins us as a full time team member.
A big young farmer’s party down the road on Friday night and in the aftermath of Storming Harrys’ win the day before a few sore heads in evidence on Saturday morning!
Robin & I went to Tattersalls sales last week to look at a horse, which we liked but not really enough to buy it! The search continues for the next star! We were also under bidders on a couple of stores which was mighty frustrating; the trade was pretty solid with as always the nice horses making good money. A busy trip, but well looked after by Tatts who provide an excellent service getting everyone to and from the airport, booking hotels etc! Happily Aer Lingus flights cheaper than the mighty Ryan Air last week – only a short trip but you can certainly tell the difference!
Resurfacing the gallop began last week with just over 166 tonnes of new woodchip being laid down on top of the older chips. The job is almost done and with new drainage also being installed the gallop will be in brilliant condition all winter. The arena is also having a refurb, so our already great facilities will be in tip top order!
On Friday the 24th Kayf Tiger ran at Uttoxeter in a National Hunt Flat race, he travelled well for much of the race but just got a bit tired in the last couple of furlongs, he will come on for the run. Ideally he ran a fortnight too soon, but without travelling as far as Perth, options were very limited and we were pleased with his performance, particularly as the first 3 home look like being very high class horses. Also well done to Megan for winning yet another best turned out!
On the 30th Storming Harry headed to Nottingham to run in a 2 mile flat race, his first time over a longer trip and were pleased with a vastly improved performance. He finished 5th only beaten a short distance. He had some problems after his last run which explained the poor run, acupuncture from Fiona Georgetti has helped him enormously, so thanks to her for all her help.
This week we also had Harriet Turner start as a full time member of the team; Harriet has been with us part- time since coming for work experience a year ago and we are pleased to welcome her on board! Zach Sparrow has also joined us this week – so great to have a strong team complete for the season.
Good to see Albert and Angela Thompson, Nicky Preece and Julie Venvell here last Saturday to see Some Finish, Get Involved and Bally Lagan who all look well after their summer break.
Nearly all the horses now in and its great to see all the heads over doors again, another trip to Ireland this week on a mission to find another star – a busy day with several nice horses to see, and a day of backs as well. Always nice to see the Irish friends and a busy couple of days.
Action stations again at Hill Farm! The holiday makers – equine & human returning to work – refreshed and slightly chubby (equine!)
We managed to sneak off for a week to see if we could help out the Greek economy in Kefalonia. A lovely week with the family, very relaxing with plenty of sun, nice to be away but equally nice to get home and make a start on the new season.
The horses have had a great summer, with plenty of grass and not too many flies until recently, which has worked well as they are pleased to be in in the day away from the biting monsters (such painful bites from such small creatures), they are currently going out in the evenings when the flies have gone elsewhere (where do they go??)
Most of the team also back from their summer breaks refreshed and ready for action. Ceris Biddle joins us as a new team member. She lives locally and has been our super Saturday girl for a couple of years – great to have her full time now.
No doubt most people will have seen the article in last weeks RP re Restless Harry leaving us. A big blow for the team, and hard to understand when no reason given by the owner, devastating for Holly who has looked after him so well for so long. Of course we wish Harry all the best, and mostly that he stays safe. We will miss him immensely.
However they say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and it has been amazing how many messages, tweets and phone calls of support we have had, so thank you to everyone who has been so supportive, it means a lot.
It’s onwards and upwards from here, and we have a nice team to go to war with. Lots of youngsters who are now handicapped, and some babies who were getting educated over hurdles who are now ready to go chasing. Exciting times, and can’t wait to get going again.
Thomas Crapper, Garrahalish, Bally Lagan, Dontminddboys, Anti Cool, Myroundorurs, Tara Well. Some Finish, Get Involved, Blackcountry Boy, his brother ‘BabySpider’ all back in, Graham
and Lynne Knights’ Cockney Rebel three year old back for some more education, and a new Kadastrof filly arriving today. Under the Phone, the Lion Man and Dans Quest also making a start, whilst Kaddys' Girl goes off on a short break (she ran rather disappointingly last week but came in season the day after the race)
Lovely to have Badgers Cove back from Mr Beech’s where he has been having an extended spoiling – he has swapped with Young Lou who has gone home for a break and no doubt the same treatment!
Be My Witness finished fourth on her first run over fences yesterday – jumped well and fine today. BMY also turned her hand to flat racing last week, when stepping in at way beyond the eleventh hour as a replacement runner for Chris Dickin in the charity race at Ascot. Chris’s intended mount was unable to run at the very last minute, and so ‘Spice’ was drafted in to make sure Chris’ amazing efforts in preparation for the race (lost 2 stone, endless early mornings to ride out before work and raising an incredible £5.5K!) did not go to waste. As a 94 rated jumper against a load of much higher rated flat horses she was always going to have her work cut out, but gave Chris a great spin to finish fifth. He really enjoyed the experience and thank to everyone who came and supported him on the day.
Ascot sales last week and Dance For Livvy, Presenting Paddy and Windy Miller have all gone off to pastures new. We wish their new connections all the best and hope they all do well in the future.
A happy lunch last week at the Manor in Moreton in Marsh to celebrate Alan and Anna Varey’s (Batsford Stud) Ruby wedding anniversary. Many congratulations to them and also thanks for a delicious lunch!
A sad day for us last week.
No clue as to why this has happened, but the article written by Lee Mottershead says it all. so no need to add to it.
The placeditis outbreak continues – with a double of seconds at Market Rasen. Both Kitegen and Galactic Power both finishing runner up under Charlie & Joe respectively. Lovely to have Kite back firing again and he was desperately unlucky not to hang on for the win. GP ran his usual game race and again was unlucky to come up against one on the day – he has come home a little sore so crossing everything that we can get him settled down and out for a break.
Dans’ Quest ran a solid race at Worcester but an unexplained blip in Anti Cools form at Southwell when he ran no sort of race at all. Tests have revealed absolutely nothing, which is frustrating. Both now in the field for some ‘Dr Green’, and will be ones to look f
Spurned Girl ran a hugely improved race at Stratford running on really well to finish third under Ben Poste – the tongue strap helping her enormously! Great o see her starting to repay some of the Hitchman families’ patience. She has been a big handful but has settled down well and starting to channel her energies in the right direction now! Young Lou ran well for a long way but needs different tactics, and Be My Witness ran well to be fourth should have been closer but for encountering traffic problems in home straight.
The power hose is getting well used at present; it is a big job to get all of the boxes to cleaned right out, washed and disinfected and a very tedious one too! The team are on it though and making good progress, although will be thrilled when it’s all finished!
Harriet & I have been in Ireland for a couple of days this week, plenty of backs to do for me and some young sport horses for Harriet to sit on, as well as a catch up with some old friends. An enjoyable trip but energy levels dipping a bit today!
No runners over the weekend and indeed pretty quiet at present with only 14 or so in. The rest looking fat and happy in the field.
Dancing Daffodil will be looking particularly fat before too long as she has just been scanned in foal to Native Ruler who stands at Batsford Stud. Super excited about this news as we bred her and her mother and I owned her grandmother from a very young age and saw her born! How time flies!
An outbreak of placeditis since the last update – an improvement on unplaceditis but still frustrating. Many of the team now shivering out at grass, but still quite a few to run – at least the rain is keeping the ground safe!
The Lion Man shaping up nicely, and finishing fourth on both of his starts over hurdles so far – he is growing into a really nice type and getting stronger all the time – he will make a chaser in time but will win over hurdles before too long. Get Involved needs a wind op – no sign of trouble at home but he has been very noisy on both of his last runs – he is an exciting horse and will be back in the autumn.
Anti Cool is another that helps you to get out of bed in the morning – he has been third in both his hurdle runs and makes his hurdles debut tonight at Southwell. A hot little race but hopefully he will run well and gain from the experience.
Experience was what is needed for Wildmoor Boy, who got horrifically upset on his hurdles debut. He really did not cope with any of the preliminaries at all – very out of character for him – and had run his race before they even jumped off! We ran him again quickly to try and help him cope, which he did and ran much better to be third. Young Lou also third and running a nice race. Kitegen has got his jumping confidence back and is coming down in the handicap and will be back in the winner’s enclosure soon.
Galactic Power ran a super race at Worcester to finish a fast finishing third – the race not run at all to suit with a very slow early pace he then got rather done for toe down the back but finished probably best of all. He has been a great little ‘super sub’ standing in for a couple of the EPDS horse who have had to have some time between races and is a lovely character to boot. He is gathering quite a fan base, and is an easy horse to like!
Kaddys Girl also ran really well in the bumper at Worcester, she continues the very good line of offspring from Dickies’ Girl – the dam of Arctic Spirit, Autumn Spirit and Bill Brown among plenty of others, and is another that will soon be troubling the judge. The night racing certainly takes its toll on everyone, but good to manage to spend some time with John Powell and Ellie over a very late Chinese after racing and for them to be able to see the string without an early start.
Shares in Some Finish going fast now – he is having his summer break now, but it will be good to get the partnership together by the time he comes in so if you are interested do please get in touch. He is another that should be a lot of fun for next season.
There are also a few shares left in The Lion Man – again great value for a horse that is showing plenty of promise.
On the whole the horses are running well – last season was always going to be a tricky one for us as we build up a new base of horses. Lots of youngsters to get handicapped, many of which are future chasers – lots of b****y seconds (including five for Thomas Crapper!) and Restless Harry off the road – but also now lots to look forward to as we get going on the new season. As always huge thanks to all of our lovely owners and supporters and of course the team at home.
The home team now trying to fit in holidays as well as all the usual summer jobs that involve paint brushes and power hoses! It would feel a bit easier if the weather was less Baltic and a bit more like June!
Our latest Irish import - Some Finish
We are putting together a new partnership in this lovely horse and there are a few shares remaining.
He is by Kayf Tara out of a three times winning mare and has been second and third in points. He would have been second or third in the previous run too but for tipping up at the last!
He is closely related to the prolific winner State of Play and is a lovely stamp of a horse.We have been doing a bit with him at home since he arrived and he has done nothing but please us - seems to have a great temperment and does everything very easily.
If you might be interested do come and see him or give us a call (07979518594).
We think he will be an exciting prospect for next season.
A slightly bumpy ride for us lately with some of the team not running up to expectations, but also explanations for some, and things not quite as black and white as it may look on paper.
More of which later as first mention in despatches has to got to Thomas Crapper who is back from his Irish adventure. TC made the long trip to Punchestown with Tom George’s lads as Harriet and I were already there. He arrived in good shape although delayed after a long wait in the docks as it was too rough for them to go on the fast boat. A few early hiccups ironed out very quickly and TC settled well after a bedroom move late at night. Harriet did an excellent job with him and spent a lot of time grazing him in-between exercise as obviously he could not be turned out – he looked amazing and handled the buzz well. The whole place was electric and it was amazing to be part of it all. Sadly the dream did not come true, and TC ran a little below par to finish 7th. He jumped well and was far from disgraced – he so game and genuine and a horse that we are all privileged to have anything to do with.
Great that many of the Crappers made it over to Punchestown, and also lovely to have support from some of our other partnership members who were there too. A night in Naas with Graham Wilcox and Peter Marsh seemed to leave the trainer with a bit of a headache the next morning!
We travelled back on the early boat on Saturday morning, with Harriet’s horses as well the lorry was packed to the roof, the crossing was pretty choppy but not as rough as the drive through North Wales which was horrendous, with monsoon conditions. Back safely though and very happy to get back into my own bed after nine days away! Sleeping in the lorry is all well and good when it’s warm but less appealing in Baltic April weather!
It’s not all doom and gloom as we have had some very nice debut runs from Anti Cool and Kaddys Girl who both finished third in their respective bumpers. AC hard done by not to be second as he was badly interfered with in the last furlong, KG a super first run for John and Ann Rogers who have recently bought the sister to the good family of Arctic Spirit, Bill Brown etc. Kitegen ran much better to be fourth at Exeter and third at Chepstow, an improved run from Presenting Paddy at Southwell and a nice come back run from Young Lou after a few months off after a stress fracture. Galactic Power (BTO Kelly) put a poor run at Bangor behind him yesterday to finish a good second at Newton Abbott. Dans Quest a super second at Chepstow – bloody annoying to find one too good on the day but a good run nonetheless. Mertesacker ran a much better race at Wolverhampton.
Some not so good runs have been frustrating – both Galactic Power and Dans Quest both ran stinkers at Bangor, no explanation and some odd results on the day apart from ours. Warwick runners had wind issues and Timons Tara (BTO Holly) got herself into a frenzy before her race and left her race in the paddock! Be My Witness travelling really well at Fakenham but then both she and Joe got kicked by a faller – Joe in the arm and BMW in the belly. She was distressed after the race and very sore, so a run to put in the bin for her!
Dontminddboys ran well for a long way at Cheltenham but Charlie felt he is still rather weak and did not really see the trip out, and Garrahalish ran OK to be fifth but was not the normal Gary and very flat throughout. He came home and then got a snotty nose so obviously had something brewing that did not show up on bloods or scope.
Training horses can be such a roller coaster, and even with all the tests available these days is never an exact science – frustrating when you can’t nail an explanation for some poor form, but often a reason lurking which raises its ugly head after the event. Plenty of holiday time beckoning for some of the horses now and the grass finally getting greener. Very cold up here yet though and not sure it’s quite time for rugs off even if it is May!
News a bit thin on the ground lately – super busy and there just does not seem to be time to fit everything in!
Various runners making their first appearance for us, including Spicy Lady who ran Ok at Chepstow – first runner for Paul Rogers, and another BTO for Megan. The Lion Man had his first run over hurdles and finished a pleasing fourth, delighted with him and for John & Margaret Cooper who have bought a share in him to replace Dancing Daffodil who has gone off to Batsford Stud this week.
We bred Daffodil who won 5 races for us and she was born at Batsford so it felt like we were completing the circle! She has gone to get up close and personal with Native Ruler – a young stallion by Cape Cross. Exciting times!
The Lion Man was another of our Irish purchases – had a good first run but then rather disappointed, however Charlie and I loved him so decided to take the chance and he has showing us the promise that we hoped for. Shares available in him so do get in touch.
Dance for Livvy back over hurdles ran well for a long way, but the race did not really go to plan and she was caught up the straight having been too free early on. Myroundorurs ran a greatly improved race at Newbury – is learning to settle and will want better ground. Letsfacethemusic hated the ground at Uttoxeter. (BTO for Kelly)
Thomas Crapper (BTO for Harriet) went to Ascot on the windiest day of the year – the journey down the M40 was horrendous! TC is the model of consistency but does prefer good ground, and the deluge in the morning was not in our favour. However all looked well as he jumped for fun and was upsides at the last. We thought we had the winner but Puffin Billy fought hard and just piped us on the line. The race was won on the nod, and one stride before would have been ours. So disappointed for TC who must be the best qualified novice in the country having been second five times this season. It’s easy to go through all the if ands and buts, and at the end of the day he was only beaten about three inches, but the softening ground was against us and for the winner. Take nothing from the winner who also ran a great race – a dead heat would have been a great result!
TC will now possibly head for Punchestown.
No time to pause for breath and back down the M40 with four on Monday Mertesacker very strong early doors and then did not get home having nearly run away for the first mile. Kitegen running a super race till belting five out – hard – Charlie sensibly pulled him up after his chance was gone. Under the Phone ran his usual solid race to be third, and Timons Tara disappointing when fading after coming there easily and looking sure to be in the shake up.
Lots of visitors over the last couple of weeks – great to see everyone and of course everyone always more than welcome.
Many of our owners will remember Kykie Allsop who owned horses such as Kadijha and Jose Bove with us – sad to say that she died recently in tragic circumstances. Always an entertaining character Kykie was a very kind person and we send our sympathies to her family.
On a happier note we wish everyone a Happy Easter – unlikely any runners over the w/e – one race too hot – ground too soft elsewhere!
One omission from the news latest was Get Involved ‘s debut for us at Southwell on Monday.
Get Involved is the lovely Milan horse that was bought to replace poor Point of Attack that we so sadly lost back in the New Year.
He has been doing everything nicely at home, but we see him as a future chaser so were just hoping for a solid run to start his career over here.
Absolutely DELIGHTED with him – he jumped like a pro and stayed on well to finish a very creditable third. He will want fences and a more galloping track, but it was a very good performance.
Really pleased for the group who had been so patient with PoA, only to lose him just as he was coming together. Several of the team there to enjoy his run and think that they certainly have an exciting recruit on their hands.
Back to reality with a bang on Thursday after Thomas Crapper’s great run on Tuesday. Garrahalish running a super race, (jumping like a stag for John Mathias) was infuriatingly brought down in the Fulke Walwyn chase. Poor Gary really did not deserve it and nor did John who was giving Gary a great ride. Happily both Ok afterwards and live to fight another day, but of course there are always the ‘if only’ thoughts to deal with!
It’s the third time Gary has been mugged, and the second at Cheltenham, which is so disappointing for one of the best jumpers that you will see – his luck must change.
If a mistake is your own it’s so much easier to deal with, and being brought down/hampered leave you with a real ‘kicked in the guts’ feeling! However, it could all have been a lot worse, as was brought home by Tom Weston’s’ horrible fall in the same race.
Cheltenham its usual magic self, amazing atmosphere and we were extremely well looked after in the Brightwells pavilion with a superb lunch, so thank you Cheltenham for that addition to the day, much appreciated by all owners and trainers I am sure.
Under the Phone to Kempton on Saturday for the Silver Plate race for horses that were balloted out of the Martin Pipe on Friday. He ran a blinder under Joe P jumped like a bunny – a solid effort.
Eventing on Sunday and a win for ex racehorse Tilt Du Chatelier who Harriet has been re training – delighted to see a horse who did not take to racing having another opportunity at a different job, and very proud of Harriet who has turned a very difficult ride around.
Lorries in two directions yesterday one heading north, the other south with Routine Procedure and Presenting Paddy – a long way both ways! RP got rather upset in the preliminaries and really ran his race by the time they got to the second hurdle! He stayed on one paced though and jumped very well. Fences beckon!
Presenting Paddy has been off the track for a while and managed to get rid of Charlie at the second fence on his return run a couple of weeks ago, when his head was going faster than his legs! Not the case yesterday, when he jumped like a stag, and settled well. He did not really appreciate the dead ground and Charlie pulled him up turning in. All positive though and he also behaved on the lorry with Tommy for company which he certainly did not first run!!
All home safe and sound, although the box driver from Exeter was flagging a bit by the time we got home! A long day.
What a couple of days!
Thomas Crapper again did us proud and finished a gallant second in the last race at Cheltenham on Tuesday. Given a great ride by Charlie Poste he jumped and travelled beautifully all the way,
But annoyingly met one just too good up the run in. Its hard not to be disappointed with second again this year, but actually just feel immensely proud of our boy who is an absolute star!
He seems to love Cheltenham and is not at all fazed by the crowds and general buzz of the place. Back home safely and fine afterwards always the highest priority. Out to play with his friends yesterday and the next step being planned.
Back to reality and Huntingdon yesterday with little Galactic Power who has been acting as a courtesy car to EPDS Racing whilst Anti Cool has been off, and now has stepped into Money Maids shoes for EPDS 5. Ridden by Charlie’s girlfriend Francesca Nimmo, GP was suited by the savage early pace he jumped superbly and was always in the right place at the right time. Staying on well down the back he swept to the front turning in and went on to win by 5 lengths. Probably an odd sort of day for John Powell who runs the EPDS partnerships as their other horse was second! He did mention that his only thought going to the last was that he hoped that GP did not fall and bring Celtic Artisan down – not a good thought at all!!
Our first winner for John and his team, and a first winner under rules for Fran. Delighted for both, and also for Kelly who has been a GP fan from the minute he walked into the yard and has looked after him since.
Off back to battle today with Garrahalish in Fulke Walwyn chase today, was OK till I read the Racing Post – now feeling quite sick!
Cheltenham here we come!
Have just endured a nervous couple of hours watching the numbers go round to see if Thomas Crapper would get into the last race tomorrow - it went to the wire as we were last in, so there are not to many finger nails left! Roger Bravington here to endure the pain with us, and has now gone home to lie down in a darkened room before tomorrow!
Obviously a huge ask, but he has every right to be there and seems in great form at home.
Nervous does not even begin to describe how we all feel now, but thing that really matters is a safe round.
It will be more of the same on Wednesday as Garrahalish will be declared for the Fulke Walwyn Amateur race on Thursday. John Mathias came to have a sit on gorgeous Gary today, (loved him!) and will ride him if we get a run.
A little quiet on the runners’ front, heavy ground and a few abandonments playing havoc with plans, but as always plenty going on.
Nice to have Troyan back for a slightly belated start to the season –
Also back to the fray are Storming Harry who has had a frustrating few months with a cut that has taken a long while to heal. He managed to slice open his shin in the field, which then needed all the skill from the team at Three Counties to fix – its looking great now and you would never know how bad it was. Lots of patience from Nigel & Jenny Thick and lots of TLC from the team – especially Kelly & Rachel – it’s lovely to have him back in action. Bally Lagan also back under saddle – he picked up a small injury last summer, and doesn’t handle soft ground so we have taken our time with him – he did have to go into the field before being ridden as otherwise there was a good chance we would find someone hanging in a tree!! He was as good as gold though. And Joe pleased to back with his partner in crime!
Anti Cool has also finally made it back into the field – a nervous day – he definitely needed to get the buck out of him, and it’s brilliant to have him back in work. Dance for Livvy ran an improved race at Wolverhampton, Windy Miller ran well at Kempton but was quite sore afterwards Troyan made a noise at Ludlow and will need some attention to his wind, and Presenting Paddys’ brain was going a lot faster than his legs at Southwell after two years off the track, when tipping up at the second. He had a lovely school around after though and won the race – sadly without Charlie!!
A few changes to the team recently and a big welcome to Kate Pheasant who has joined us this week and also Jordan McCall who has arrived from The Northern Racing College – never an easy thing to join in the middle of a season, but I am sure they will both settle in quickly with the rest of the troops. Its also frustrating when people choose to leave in the middle of a season – especially those who have been given plenty of opportunities on the riding front – but life goes on and sometimes change is for the best.
Charlie in as usual to ride out, joined by a couple of new faces in Fran & Liam who are in most days, Gerald Tumelty is here once a week too – all a big help to the regular crew, and all have plenty to give on the general entertainment front!
Joe had a good winner at Carlisle the other day, which had AP been on would have made headlines! Miles out of it at the last Joe managed to conjure up a miracle run out of Madam Lillibet to get up on the line! Great effort.
Entries at Cheltenham done for Thomas Crapper & Garrahalish – exciting times!! Entries this week include Under the Phone at Ludlow, The Lion Man, and Wildmore Boy at Newbury.
Well after a bit of a winner drought and an outbreak of ‘placeditis’ it was great to have a winner at Kempton on Friday.
Four runners meant a busy day for the team, and a two lorry trip, which turned into a story on its own!
Under the Phone and Thomas Crapper on the first box, with Holly and me – Kelly and Harriet with the two bumper horses leaving later.
An uneventful trip with the first two, but the peace shattered as we arrived at the races to a call from the other box to say that they has had a blow out on the motorway! An immediate turn around for me, abandoning Holly with the boys! A few phone calls resulted in a friend dropping everything and going to their assistance with a replacement lorry – a complete motorway closure of the M40 as they swapped lorries, a meeting at Oxford services to swap again onto my lorry and a dash back to the races, leaving Harriet to wait for the breakdown guys to finally appear with a new tyre!
As always great teamwork, and huge thank you to Roy Hall who came to the rescue, getting to the girls faster than I could to get the horses off the motorway, the motorway police where also great and the team at Kempton just got on with it and had a winner whilst we were on the M25!! Gutted to miss the action, but managed to watch Under the Phone finish on Kelly’s phone whilst in a very slow bit. I think anyone near us must have thought they were next to a couple of lunatics jumping up and down and yelling our heads off, with three barking dogs also joining in!
Thrilled for The Tricksters who have had a torrid time of late with losing their previous horse Ballyhooley Boy to colic last year. A good many of the group there to cheer UTP home and other members keeping up with the action from as far away as New York, Burma and India!! The emails afterwards made for some great reading!
Also chuffed for Joe who rode a super race and was not fazed by taking on the champion jockey going to the last! In fact AP was so disgusted at being beaten by Joe that he announced his retirement the next day!!
This winner reduced Joes' claim to 7lb – he is well worth it and deserves to get a lot more opportunities.
Thomas Crapper was having a run before Cheltenham, and had a nice jump round and a gallop – track probably not suiting him too well – he prefers a hill in his way!
The two bumper horses both disliking the sticky ground. Myroundorurs is a lovely, good moving baby chaser, he pulled far too hard for his own good, and will want better ground and has to learn to settle. Our first runner for Andrew and Jane Nicholls, who we are delighted to be training for, welcome to them and we hope to have lots of success for them.
The Lion Man ran well for a first run, he is a replacement horse for John and Margaret Cooper who own Dancing Daffodil with us. DD is off to stud, so ‘Roary’ (I know it’s a good one !!) has some big hoof prints to fill!
Thankfully no drama on the way home, and to The Blue Boar for a celebration steak when we got home. Everyone far too tired to cook, and as usual the pub very accommodating regarding cooking late for us. Thoroughly recommended if you are in the area.
Happily all the horses home safely and fine the next day.
An absolutely frantic week – not enough hours – or days!
Very quiet on the runners front as heavy ground and lots of unsuitable races, but lots else going on.
Ireland on Tuesday for me to treat a lot of backs. Great fun to go to different yards, meet different riders – and all for £9.99 each way! Charlie over on Wednesday morning and it took him less time to fly from Birmingham than it took me to get from Monkstown (south Dublin) to the airport! Awful traffic, but got there in the end.
A rapid drive to Wexford followed and a usual whirlwind tour, looking at some nice, and some not so nice horses. Charlie rode the ones we liked, and we drove a lot of miles! Screeched back into the airport just in time for some alcoholic sustenance before catching the ten o’clock flight back. Exhausting but fun!
Cheltenham on Saturday for racing and the sales. Garrahalish hating the sticky dead ground and not really travelling like his usual self when another horse jumped into the back of him – knocked Gary sideways, and Charlie out of the side-door – game over, Gary had a nice school round the rest of the way and was none the worse for the outing. Nothing untoward showing up afterwards so we can only really put his slightly disappointing run down to the ground.
My great team showing their colours on Saturday, with Holly giving up half of her afternoon off to come and collect Gary from the races. I took him in the big lorry, but had to get back for the sales, so she saved me having to go back and forth so many times. Appreciated. Kelly doing the airport run too as I could not take Harriet – they are great and are happy to help out with anything. We could not manage without them.
We are currently looking for a new recruit to join us as our horse numbers are up, so if you can ride well and want to join a great team do give us a call.
The sales are always exciting and we had a couple to find. Our priority was to find a horse for the Point of Attack Partnership who so sadly lost their namesake a few weeks ago. Several of the members in attendance to have a look before and after racing, and we eventually managed to secure Get Involved a smart horse by Milan out of a Strong Gale mare. Already a winner of a point in Ireland he is a hugely exciting recruit for a lovely partnership who deserve a bit of luck. Also a lovely Kayf Tara called Some Finish, who has been placed pointing and is for sale.
Always great to have some new faces to make plans and dreams for, and particularly pleased with these two. Also nice to see so many of the Point of Attackers here on Sunday morning to wet their new baby’s head! A very good lunch with Gareth Conway, Lynne Tunnicliffe, Gerald and Sue Hart and Chris, Lou & Lucca Dickin (who thought they had come to a mad house for the weekend!)at the Blue Boar afterwards.
Also delighted to welcome Andrew and Jane Nicholls to the team, they have taken over ownership of Myroundorurs, a five year old that Charlie & I bought before Christmas, who has been third in a point and who is working well at home. We wish them the best of luck with what looks like a very nice type.
Also pleased that John & Margaret Cooper have bought a half share in The Lion Man to replace the irreplaceable Dancing Daffodil who is off to stud this time.
Robert Cockerall & Hazel West here on Tuesday to see Get Involved (whom they loved), and Brett Cahill and team here to see Presenting Paddy today. Good effort from all because the wind has been fair howling up here this week and its pretty cold. The horses happy to stay in today rather than go out for a wallow!
We are getting a really super bunch of horses up together now, and although the majority are relatively young, and will need some time before they are winning, it’s hugely exciting having so much young talent here.
Equally pleased to have Anti Cool off the sick list and back with a saddle on this week. Megan sitting pretty tight a few times as the lovely ‘Andy’ showed us just how pleased he is to be out again! Young Lou also back on the move again and also pleased to have Rachel off the sick list after fracturing her wrist before Christmas.
A busy week, but only a couple of runners. Anti Cool to the vets for a 12 week X-ray on his cannon bone, first thing on Monday morning. Good news on that front as it looks to be healing well and he can start walking again. After 12 weeks in his box he is pretty fresh, and pleased to be in action again, not sure that the team are so pleased at the thought of sitting tight! Bally Lagan also about to start into some light work after a good scan, so plenty of glue needed!
It’s always gutting when horses get injured, and the weeks and months stretch out in front of you to wait for them to mend, but actually it goes surprisingly quickly and it’s also rewarding to see them back in work and feeling that we have done a good job with their rehab. Of course none of this is possible without their incredible, patient owners who listen to what is needed and give us a free rein to nurse their athletes back to full health.
Nice to see Mrs and Mrs Bowcett here on Tuesday to see Anti Cool and Galactic Power. Gareth Conway and John O’Neill also here to chat through the aftermath of losing poor Point of Attack, and John and Margaret Cooper also here to make some plans as we have decided to retire the lovely Dancing Daffodil to stud. She has been a great fun horse for us, winning 5 races and being placed many times too. Now to decide who will be the lucky husband!
Ludlow on Thursday was as wet as I have seen it – Routine Procedure improving hugely after a couple of disappointing runs – the addition of a tongue tie clearly having the desired effect, he travelled and jumped much better and finished a creditable sixth. RP is a stunning looking horse and although that does not guarantee him to be a star he is a baby chaser and any hurdle form will be a bonus. Wildmoor Boy went off favourite after his excellent Cheltenham run, and all looked to be going according to plan until they turned for home, when crossing the chase track he appeared to stop dead. Dropping to last it looked as if something was seriously amiss, but then ran on to finish fifth. Whether the softer ground caught him out for a few strides it’s hard to tell, but he is clearly still a lovely horse, possibly not suited by the sharper track. Happily both horses home fine, even after a bloody awful journey home in a howling gale, with bits of trees flying in all directions!
Charlie and I are off to Ireland to look at a few on Wednesday – always a hectic day, involving a lot of driving and trying to find the next star! Entertaining too – watch this space for what we find!
RIP Point of Attack
The crappest of crap days on Monday, with the loss of Point of Attack. A freak accident in his stable at evening stables left the team here reeling and his lovely owners in shock. Declared to run the next day, ‘George’ was in great shape both physically and mentally and had, what my Dad would have called ‘the lion look’. Sadly it was not to be and we lost him. We all accept the risks of dealing with and riding these wonderful creatures, and like most racing yards give them the best of everything, in terms of care, but also our love and attention. This was certainly true of PoA who arrived as a nervous and very thin horse, but who had blossomed into a confident athlete, with the care of our team, and the patience of the partnership who owned him. Our conditional jockey Joe had looked after him from day one, and been a huge part of the change in him. We had not seen the best of him by far.
Condolences to all concerned.
Happy New Year!
A quiet one for us spent with our neighbours so although some damage done to some bottles of fizz New years' morning dawned without the statutory headache – more than can be said for the youngest member of the household who saw the New Year in at a young farmer’s party – enough said!!
Off to Cheltenham with Wildmoor Boy, who is the first foal of Simple Glory who ran so well for Cliff Beech & Brian Wilkinson a few years ago. Only small, he has been showing plenty at home but this was a very hot affair and we thought a mid div finish would be a great start. Immaculately behaved in all the preliminaries we could not believe our eyes as he came cruising down the hill and turned in in front! Despite our best efforts of encouragement from the floor he just got collared up the run in and finished a truly excellent third. Delighted for Cliff & Brian. Sadly Cliff not there in person as he has been unwell – but a near perfect tonic to cheer him up! What an exciting horse for the future – the family have two more half brothers to come as well so great encouragement for the breeding side for them!
With Timon’s Tara also running so well its really exciting thinking of what we have to come for the future from our bumper horses – and a few still to run too!
No runners over the weekend, Joe Palmowski has set off to Ayr for one ride today so a long drive for him!
Next week looking reasonable busy so hope the weather will let us keep going after losing a couple of meetings this week.
Frustrating to lose both Haydock and Warwick this week where we should have had runners – but very cold and frosty here although it has really warmed up this evening. Hopefully Cheltenham will be fine for tomorrow, when Wildmoor Boy makes his racecourse debut in a hot looking bumper. Sadly Cliff Beech under the weather with a bad cold so unable to come to see the first of his homebreds on the track.
A quiet New Year for us – most of the troops off to a young farmers party so it’s a good job we are having a slightly later start in the morning!
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Well the festivities nearly over for another year – thank goodness! As usual Christmas seemed to come all in a rush – despite having 12 months warning I was really behind myself this year, and a frantic week before did not help!
Dontminddboys showing huge improvement to finish sixth at Towcester – the handicapper having a bit of a laugh and giving a mark of 113 for his efforts – extremely harsh.
Two days at Ascot resulted in two visits to the winner’s enclosure, but in the second spot – I know you should not be disappointed with second, and on so many levels we were not – BUT…..
Garrahalish running really well again to finish second, Thomas Crapper also his usual rock solid self – also second. Both to what are very good horses. Gary up four pounds for his efforts, TC down one.
Under The Phone a shade disappointing, to finish eighth but Charlie reporting that he hated the tacky soft ground. He has really got his jumping together now though and will be back to himself on a better surface.
Timon’s Tara running a blinder to finish sixth in the listed bumper – she is shaping up to be a really special filly – delighted with her.
The long trek to Fakenham on a Sunday - a frustrating day as Charlie and Point Of Attack parted company on the final circuit – annoying as he was jumping really well – first time over fences, when one fell in front of him which I think distracted him momentarily, and he put in a short one, hit the fence and with Newton’s Law of action and reaction taking over, Charlie overtook George in mid air!! Happily both fine and lots to like about the run to that point. Four hours home in a big side wind was not to be enjoyed!
A rather frustrating end to what has on the whole been a good year, sad to report that our star Restless Harry has picked up a stress fracture and will be out for a couple of months. He was lame after Cheltenham – worrying as Harry is rarely wrong – and a bone scan revealed the problem. It should be a straightforward healing process as no joint involvement but with plenty of mud about its gutting to have him on the sidelines – he will be back!
Anti Cool is mending well after his set back and really looking forward to seeing him in action, Young Lou also off for a time after picking up an injury at Ludlow, again she will be fine but frustrating to miss a big chunk of the middle of the season. Wonderful patient owners in all cases – AC & YL being a very patient patients – the same cannot be said about Harry!!
Rachel also on the sidelines after picking up a fractured wrist when getting squashed against a wall by a rather rude new horse who has yet to learn any manners. Toby’s sister Daisy stepping seamlessly into the breach and coming full time whilst Rachel mending – many thanks to Daisy – we may not let her go again as she has fitted in so well.
Gutting to see Queen of The Stage going to the sales and then winning again a week later.
No Haydock today and Warwick must be in doubt tomorrow – there would be no chance of racing here today, there is a heavy frost, although happily the gallop doing better than the track at Southwell, and business as usual on the exercise front, although some very cold fingers and toes.
The team Christmas party was at the Blue Boar who looked after us very well – a few looking a bit steady the next day, and a slightly later start was a good plan on my part! Thank you for all the donations to the drinks fund which was all put to good use. Thank you also for all the goodies that arrived over the festive period! All much appreciated, although the office did resemble an off licence at one point!
All of the team got to where they wanted to be for Christmas day which was great, but also meant that our Christmas was diverted from Stow on The Wold to here, and that the designated cook was me! We had a lovely day though – always great o have a bit of family time, especially as everyone seems to be so busy these days that it’s hard to find eth time for a catch up.
Cheltenham on New years day with Wildmoor Boy having his first outing – a bonny horse out of the lovely Simple Glory who won several races for us.
A really busy day at Ludlow on Wednesday with six runners! It should have been seven but one not quite satisfactory scope held the numbers down!
Brian on duty with the first three and Kelly and Megan then the others with myself Holly & Harriet following on a bit later.
The home team left with plenty to do as both Joe & Toby riding too – but a great team effort to get through a mad sort of day!
The girls at the races doing a fantastic job and winning no less than four out of a possible five BTOs, and to be honest Holly was robbed in the bumper too. Possibly the judges thought we had had enough prizes, but Timon’s Tara was clearly the best turned out but the prize went elsewhere to a turn out that I had best not comment on!!
Galactic Power (BTO for Kelly) looked fantastic in his EPDS green, was first up and then ran a blinder to finish a flying fourth – only ¾ length off the third – pleasing as he is improving with each run. Toby giving him a good ride. Joe rode Jackfield in the same race – a satisfactory run for first time over hurdles.
Be My Witness (BTO for Megan) managed to eject Toby three out when looking held – both fine after the race.
Kitegen (BTO for Holly) hated the dead ground and will now have a break and be ready for some better ground in the spring.
Under The Phone (BTO for Holly) ran a super race and finished flying to be second under Joe. He hit a bit of a flat spot down the back, and then ran on really well up the straight. Great to see The Tricksters having some fun at last after all the frustrations that they have had over the last few seasons. UTP is a gem, and has a great character as well as having plenty of ability.
Timon’s Tara following up her great first run again ran a really solid race, but hit traffic problems all the way, and ended up a rather frustrating fourth. She is shaping up into a serious filly who would have nearly won given a clear run.
Frustrating not to have winner, but much to be taken from the day, and really proud of the team at getting everything done with smiles and good humour, both at the races and for Paige & Rachel who held the fort at home along with Harriet T and Georgia who came to help out. Thanks to them all.
The journey to Ludlow does not improve and in a lorry is worse involving about a million gear changes – so very happy to come home to huge curry kindly cooked by my Mum, which fed everyone, safe to say the exhaustion had set in by then and everyone happy to collapse in a heap and chew the day over along with the curry!
No runners over the weekend, and some winter eventing for a change tomorrow.
Off to Towcester last Saturday with the gorgeous Garrahlaish – only a four horse race but a hot little affair and certainly not a walk in the park – or even a wade – with the ground very heavy after all the rain.
Charlie went very wide to try and find some better ground, which seemed to be a good plan. Gary thought he could fly at the first and Charlie did well to keep the partnership together after being about 25 feet into the air!!! Nearly as high at the second which was a ditch, but then foot perfect after that! He is the most amazingly athletic horse and makes it all look very easy – really the result was not in doubt apart from a brief moment when the second horse appeared to rally half way up the run in, but think Gary was just getting a bit lonely in front and as soon as he saw the other horse pulled away again to win by two lengths.
A very noisy reception from his enthusiastic and well named bunch of owners – Just 4 Fun! A second win at Towcester over fences for Gary, and a third in total as he won his first hurdle race there too. Delighted with Gary – the biggest grin was probably from Toby who looks after him.
A valuable race for Towcester so a nice prize to have and lovely to have another winner for such an enthusiastic bunch. Plenty of tooting as we arrived home and lovely to see some of our neighbours in Park Lane clapping as we went past.
Only Ludlow this week but with 7 runners, so a really busy day to look forward to on Wednesday.
Christmas looming and trying to start to make some plans so that the troops all get to be where they want to be – no easy task with a yard full of horses!
Runners a bit thin on the ground this week, but starting off well at Ludlow on Monday.
Young Lou and Timon’s Tara both running well. YL made very heavy work of it in the early stages of the race, and testing Joe’s fitness level – which was not round to be lacking!! She tried to drop herself out up the straight first time but thanks to Joe’s perseverance ran on well to be a very decent third. Another stride would have been second, and another 100yds – who knows? Nice to see Cliff Beech’s colours back in the winner’s enclosure.
We had had a very nice evening with Cliff, Brian and their family at Wolverhampton on Saturday night, at their annual dinner, so it was nice to follow it up with a good run from YL.
Timon’s Tara (Billy the Filly to her friends!) has been a waiting game for VERY patient owner Mark James. She has taken a while to grow into herself and we roughed her off last Christmas when nearly ready to run as she just seemed too weak to do herself justice. Marks’ patience so very nearly paid off in the best possible way when TT ran a stormer to finish a gallant second in the bumper. Thought she would win at the furlong pole, but she just could not quite reel in the winner – despite the encouragement from in front of the TV back at home! Great effort from her and a good ride from Charlie – frustrating at the same time though!!
Somewhat confusing weather this week – freezing cold and very icy yesterday – pouring rain and much milder today. It’s very hard to get the rugs right with the constant change in temperature as one minute thy need duvets and the next they are sweating! The team seem to be split on whether they prefer to be wet or cold! The dogs are as one in that they hate the rain!!
Only entries at Towcester and Wolverhampton for the rest of the week - Garrahalish unlikely at Towcester after all this rain, Windy Miller may well go to Wolverhampton.
A bout of ‘seconditis’ breaking out which is always frustrating! Thomas Crapper as always a model of consistency but getting mugged up the run in twice in two runs is enough to cause the use of some bad language! A great run at Warwick resulted in getting pipped by a fast finishing very decent horse of Paul Nicholls, and then another exemplary round at Leicester on Monday was frustrated again - I know you should not be disappointed with second, BUT……..!
TC Fine after his excertions, in fact bucking and kicking around the field after wallowing in the mud on Tuesday morning!!
Other recent runners have been Kitegen and Dontminddboys at Warwick – the usually consistent Kite running no sort of race, and knowing him so well Charlie pulled up to save him for another day. Reason found after, which was a relief. DMDB made a bad error, frightened himself and it was game over for him. Point of Attack and Galactic Power ran at Southwell in a very hot novice hurdle. Toby was unshipped at the first (whoops!) but PoA ran Ok, Struggled around the home turn for a short distance but then ran on – now handicapped with an extremely harsh 99!
Five runners last Thursday with four to Ludlow and Be My Witness at Taunton. Megan and I arrived at Taunton in a storm that could have announced the end of the world! Howling gale and deluge turned the ground to very soft, which would not suit her. However, she ran a really gutsy race to finish third – pleased with her.
Brian took the gang to Ludlow, and their day started in excellent fashion with a really gutsy win for Queen of the Stage, very ably ridden by our claimer Joe Palmowski. Three upsides at the last ‘Dingle’ was nothing if not brave and won by a head! Sadly owner Nic Allen not there but plenty of supporters to cheer her home.
Young Lou’s, first run for a while and she got a bit tired turning in, but then ran on well to be fifth, and the two bumper horses Jackfield, and Routine Procedure both got a bit stuck in the ploughed field that was the straight by the time the last race came round!
Everyone home safely though which is always a relief. Queen of the Stage is for sale – preferably to stay in the yard – so do call if you might be interested.
Under The Phone and Restless Harry to Cheltenham on Saturday. UTP ran a really solid race to finish running on. He is shaping up into a lovely horse, will want further, but has a great temperament and plenty of ability, and will hopefully be lots of fun for The Tricksters.
Restless Harry struggled on the second circuit and did not seem himself at all – he has come home a bit sore so plenty of tests to be done.
Back to Warwick yesterday with Dans Quest, Dontminddboys and Galactic Power all having educational runs – all improved on their previous outings, so happy with them and all fine today.
Excitement yesterday as the results of Charlie & my trip to Ireland a couple of weeks ago arrived yesterday morning, in the form of three Irish pointers!
Myroundorurs (By Arakan out of an Anshan mare) a really lovely type who has been third to a decent horse who mad £35k in Brightwells sale last week. The Lion Man, (by Let The Lion Roar ex an Anshan mare) who has been fourth behind two horses that have now won their bumpers over here, and Darsi Pass who has gone to Francesca Nimmo to go pointing over here.
Delighted with our two and after watching the sale last Friday they both look very good value. Pictures shortly – it’s so gloomy here today not sure they would show up on one today! Plenty of improvement do-able from both once we get them looking stronger. Both for sale so do get in touch and come and see them in the flesh!
A nice day at Ascot on Saturday. Garrahalish running a blinder in the novice chase, in which the winner broke the track record! Gary again jumping very well, just getting a bit tapped for toe from turning in. He will want further in time, but at only six still he is a very exciting horse. Plenty of his happy – and well named – owners there to support him, and to have a good day out. Just4Fun are all in it for the right reasons and hopefully had a great day out.
Restless Harry ran very well in top class company, but found the ground just too quick for him. He has really got his jumping together now and just needs it to rain and rain! Richard & Lenny there to watch. Apologies to Lenny who I left out of the Open Day catalogue!
Both horses won the BTO, Toby & Holly both doing a fantastic job, and both standing out from the crowd in the paddock. Very decent prize money for the BTO’s so well worth winning. Thank you Ascot! Personally think that there should be one in every race. It would not take much effort from the tracks, and would be appreciated by the lads & girls.
Ascot also coming up trumps in the stable staff canteen this time. It is somewhere that has caused plenty of moans in the past, but free (and very good) food all day was very much appreciated by all.
Both horses fine after their excertions, field time curtailed a bit yesterday with very heavy rain keeping everyone indoors. Nice to have a day at home before a very busy week this week. Charlie & I are off to Ireland tomorrow to look at some horses, Charlie then back for Warwick on Wednesday, whilst I am staying to do a day of ‘backs’. Absolutely gutted to be missing Warwick where Thomas Crapper, Kitegen & Dontminddboys all run, but over once a month now to work, and with the flights at £10 when I booked were too good to miss. Will just have to make sure I know where the nearest bookie (or pub with a telly) is at the relevant times!
Lack of time, and any 3G on the ipad curtailing news this week, although at least the emails seem to be working again now! A busy few days and the horses all running well.
Lovely to welcome EPDS racing last Saturday morning, to see their horses. Dontminddboys about to make his debut over here, he is entered at Chepstow and Warwick next week – an exciting addition to the team for this season, he will be a chaser in the long term, but is a lovely athletic horse who is working well at home. Anti Cool was all dressed up and ready to go, but has sadly picked up an injury which will see him out of action till around Christmas – frustrating for the EPDS members, who have been nothing but brilliant about it, and to a man only concerned that AC is OK – which he will be.
Galactic Power standing in for the EPDS 10 Partnership whilst AC mends, and surprising us by getting into the bumper at Uttoxeter when looking sure to be balloted out. He finished in the middle and race a decent race on what ended up very dead ground. He will be better with some hurdles in his way, and will hopefully give the members some fun days for a while.
Dans Quest and Point of Attack both running solid races at Stratford, Dans’ first time over hurdles, and PoA first time back after a wind op – which has clearly worked!
Off to Ascot today with Restless Harry and Garrahalish. Stiff tasks for both, and the ground probably on the quick side for Harry, but both in good heart and hoping for big runs.
A busy week one way and another and a frustrating one too! The emails have been down again, which has caused no end of headaches. Most of our communication to our partnership horses is by email and so when its not there it causes problems. After nothing working it then saw fit to dump 80,000 messages into my inbox! Thanks to Max Ross for finally managing to sort it all out.
So apologies for lack of communication and hopefully normal service will be resumed now!
Thomas Crapper made his fencing debut at Cheltenham last week – a very nervous day, a good crowd of Crappies there to support him at his favourite track – all looking a bit pensive beforehand. After making a bit of a mess of the first he got better and better with each obstacle and was brilliant at the last two when the chips were really down. Landing in front I thought we had got it at the last but the winner (who won the Scottish champion hurdle) found a bit more toe up the run in than TC and he just got touched off for second on the line. A really good run and over a slightly inadequate trip – he looks as if he will be as good a chaser as hurdler. Exciting.
Page won the BTO which was a generous £150 – thank you Cheltenham.
Sunday saw Kitegen and Under the Phone off to Kempton, Kitegen having his first run for a while and running a very decent race to be third. Not helped by the last fence being omitted and a very long gallop from the final fence to the line. He never runs a bad race and is as game as they come.
Under The Phone was fourth behind Be My Witness last time out, which was not quite how the script was meant to read! However he was not beaten far and over a trip that was too short. 100/1 did seem a tad rude as they went off to post, and UTP thought so too. He can get a bit buzzy so Charlie was keen to settle him, which he did and jumped so much better for less rushing. He made steady headway down the back and stayed on to finish a very pleasing fourth. About time The Tricksters had something to smile about, and there was a good turnout of them to welcome the pair back in. This will be a lovely horse and will jump a fence in time, but should be a fun hurdler on the way there.
Southwell yesterday with Dancing Daffodil who had lost her way last season, but summered really well, and all credit to the team – she looked an absolute picture beforehand. Jumping and travelling very happily she was a pleasure to watch – top weight just catching up with her as they turned in, and our neighbours’ horse looking booked for an easy win, when he fell two out leaving Daffodil in the lead – interference from the faller cost us dearly I think as she just had to get galloping again and then got caught in literally the last stride of eh race. Frustrating, but thrilled to see he back on form. Lovely to see John and Margaret Cooper there, who love Daffodil and were delighted to see her back in the winner’s enclosure.
Be My Witness our other runner – sadly Mrs Merry not able to come and another the bookies were being pretty rude about despite her win last time. Making virtually all she was headed turning in but stayed on well to finish sixth. Pleased with her and another that will want a bit further. Toby again giving her a lovely ride.
Everyone home safely and in one piece which is always a huge relief!
No runners this week end, but looking forward to welcoming EPDS racing here tomorrow for a visit.
After the excitement of Be My Witness winning last week, there were the nerves of Garrahalish having his first run over fences this week. Bought as a chaser, winning two over hurdles last season was a bonus.
He has always jumped well and certainly schooled brilliantly at home, so Charlie was very much looking forward to the ride. Personally I was a bag of nerves, and not helped by Toby who was even worse than me!
However we need not have worried as ‘Gorgeous Gary’ gave an exhibition of jumping and did not put a foot wrong the whole way, winning by a cosy 4 lengths. I think it will be hard for Charlie to ever find a more enjoyable first timer – ever!
To say that the Just 4 Fun partners were pleased would be something of an understatement – they very nearly carried horse and jockey into the winner’s enclosure, and made a big dent in Towcesters’ champagne supply! Thank you to the track for accommodating them all in the winner’s box, and hope there was some fizz left for later winners!
Towcester was looking a shadow of its former self with the dog track being built and now blocking most of the view down the back straight which is very disappointing. Think I upset Robert Bellamy by commenting on it on Twitter, but only saying the same as everyone else – there was a communal gripe in the stands from anyone that you cared to eavesdrop on! The stable lad’s canteen also moved to a tent with extremely substandard food – again a communal moan – the legendary Towcester breakfast a thing of the past apparently.
Having said all that, the actual day was, as always, a pleasure. Towcester has always been a favourite, they look after their ground well, and there is always a great atmosphere, and as I said earlier the winning crowd were made very welcome. I just hope that they don’t lose all that with the introduction of the dog track.
Rant over - I must not forget Jackfield who made his racecourse debut in the bumper. ‘Gus’ and Joe had a horrible run in the early part of the race, but settled in and then ran a very creditable race to finish third. A good effort from him. The winner is highly regarded and we were very pleased with our boy. Jackfield is for sale (to stay in the yard) so if you would like to get involved do give a call.
It’s great to get off to such a good start with the early runners, and also to get a good write up in the RP as well! Miracles do happen! The team all thrilled here and looking forward to the rest of the season.
The Blue Boar was the chosen destination on Wednesday evening with some of the Just4Fun group as well as most of the home team. A big thank you to John & Pat Porter who generously fed us all – a very good supper and a pub that could not be more accommodating – recommended if you are in the area!
After a day in Ireland on Tuesday working and then all the emotional turmoil on Wednesday it was quite hard to get going on Thursday – Graham Potts in for his weekly visit – happily not too much to do.
Lovely to welcome some new faces to the yard this week – Jeryl & Stewart Stone here on Wednesday to see Routine Procedure, who they loved and they are now part of ‘The More The Merrier’ partnership. Mr & Mrs Bowcett here today to have the grand tour, and a look at some of the partnership horses. Clint and Donna Taylor also getting involved with Anti Cool and Routine Procedure after their visit last week.
The partnership horses seem to work well, and we have several on the go now, those that are run from here and also the two EPDS horses. John Powell’s’ groups are run virtually identically to ours – it’s a great way to get involved for a very reasonable cost.
No runners until the end of next week – the nerves heading for the shredder again when Thomas Crapper is likely to make his chasing debut at Cheltenham on Friday! Other possible runner are Kitegen, Entertain Me and maybe Restless Harry if it rains a lot!
After what seems like months of no runners it was great to get out this week, with Entertain Me (Charlie) and Galactic Power (Paige Jeffrey) both running nice races at Chepstow on Tuesday. Windy Miller hugely improved to finish 3rd at Wolverhampton under the impressive William Carson.
To Warwick yesterday with Under The Phone and Be My Witness.
Under the Phone’s first run for us and The Tricksters, a lovely horse who will want further, but the mission was to find out a bit about him, He was a bit keen early but ran well to finish fourth. Further required to see him at his best.
Be My Witness was to make sure that there was plenty of pace on, and although she was allowed to lead the other runners under our amateur, Toby Wheeler we were expecting to see her get outpaced as they got near home. ‘Spice’ had other ideas though and as they turned in Toby still had petrol in the tank! With AP and Harry Skelton bearing down on him, Toby kept a cool head and went to the last as if on a handicapper – the filly was excellent and a great jump at the last saw the pair land running, and despite his best efforts the champ could not get past our game filly!
A first win for Toby so a day he will remember for ever. Most of the team had come to Warwick to watch so there was plenty of cheering from the last to the line! Not least from Tobys' mum Julie who was seen needing a fairly large tissue supply! Sadly Mrs Merry not feeling up to the trip, but was also cheering from a friends’ sofa as she watching on the TV!
Slightly disappointed that AP could not have been a little more gracious in defeat – we all know that he hates to be beaten, but a ‘well done’ to Toby would have meant a lot.
An outing to The Bell in Stow to celebrate last night was very enjoyable, when the home team joined Mrs Merry to raise a glass to the winning pair. Tobys' family there too so a good night!
Happily all the horses fine after their runs.
The other big event of the week was Hollie Rooney’s 21st birthday! Holly has been with us since she was 14, and the team were keen to organise a bit of a bash for her – after quite a bit of subterfuge and with the help of her parents and boyfriend Ben Poste, we managed to pull off a complete surprise party in the marquee that Nic kindly left up after Open Day!
Happy Birthday Holly!!
Two BTO’s for Holly this week with Windy Miller at Wolverhampton and Under The Phone at Warwick helped her week along nicely!
Firstly apologies for lack of news for the last week – especially after Open Day! A manic week before that was followed by a trip to Ireland in the lorry with Harriet doing her first two star at Ballindenisk – two over night ferry trips, no wifi, and some traditional Irish partying did not leave the brain in the best of places! Back at 5am yesterday and a bit jaded, but a good night’s sleep last night and now back on form!
Open Day dawned cold and windy but warmed up into a beautiful day – thank goodness, and about three hundred joined us for what we hope was an enjoyable morning. Lots of lovely comments and emails afterwards so do hope that everyone who came had a good morning. The team on great form and paraded all of the horses – all of whom behaved themselves – a couple a bit on their toes, but good practise prior to the races.
We have a good bit to send to the air ambulance as well – a great cause which should not have to rely on charitable funding.
We have a few catalogues left – not on the scale of Paul Nicholls’s shiny ones, but a list of the horses and some thoughts so if you would like a copy do drop me an email and we will send you one.
Happy to sees to many owners and friends who joined us for lunch after the parade, Brian Kirby as usual doing an excellent job with the pig roast, and Julie and Nicky Venevells’ legendary cakes going down a treat as always.
A big thank you to Julie and Nicky, and of course Annalisa, who insisted on carrying on with helping us, after losing Peter only the previous weekend. Peter Venvell had shares in horses with us for many years and it’s hard to believe we won’t see him here again. He was always a great supporter and was full of wisdom and encouragement whatever the circumstances. He will be missed by many.
I was particularly sad not to make Peter’s funeral as I was in Ireland, but Robin and several of the team went to pay their respects – Peter would have been so proud of Annalisa in particular, who did his eulogy – brave girl.
Great to have a lot of interest in our partnership horses during Open Day, and a new group called The More the Merrier taking on the beautiful Routine Procedure – a stunning horse who will give them plenty of fun.
Anti Cool is also now a partnership horse, with John Powell of EPDS racing unable to resist him – shares going fast, so do call or email if you would like to be involved with him. A pic on the horses for sale part of the website – lovely horse and already a winner of an Irish point to point, so proved he can go!
The work for the horses now increasing all the time and at last some possible entries starting to appear on the board in the office. Some ‘away day’ gallops being planned so some rain starting to be needed so that we can get to the races before too long.
All go here getting the horses worked and also polishing the flowers ready for our OPEN DAY tomorrow,
Gates open at 10.30. and the parade of horses is at 11.00
Do hope you can come and see the old favourites such as Restless Harry & Thomas Crapper, and also meet some new potential stars that have joined us over the summer.
The team are in flying form and have done most of the preparation already, so today is the final tidy up and finishing touches.
Entry is free but we will be asking for donations to the Warwickshire Air Ambulance.
Light refreshments are available and there is also a raffle – all proceeds will go to this very worthy cause.
We look forward to meeting you tomorrow.
For sat nav users – B49 6HS will bring you into Park Lane – just continue straight on past the houses, up the no thru road, and you will come to Alne Park.
Watch out for the signs in the village too!
A few days away for us this week, and a welcome bit of sunshine! Nice to do nothing for a couple of days, and to catch up with Harriet after her time away in Ireland. Good to get away occasionally, but better to be back!
The team holding the fort whilst we were away, and doing an excellent job. Charlie in as usual a couple of days and all went smoothly in our absence!
We are a man down for a couple of weeks as Toby has gone to Guillaume Macaire’s in France to gain some experience and practise his French. Harriet filling the gap before she goes off to uni shortly.
The work load increasing gradually for the string now, and they all appear to be thriving on it. A couple on the long road to recovery after injury still round the roads otherwise everything cantering away now. After the rain at the weekend we were able to have a pop over the smaller obstacles on the grass today which everyone – human and equine - enjoyed immensely. Really interesting to see the new horses off the ground for the first time – all coping very well and looking like natural jumpers.
Dontminddboys, Routine Procedure, Anti Cool, Under The Phone and Galactic Power – the new Irish contingent all pleasing, and all doing the job really well. Restless Harry, Thomas Crapper Garrahalish, Entertain Me, Dans Quest, Alfie (the new Witness Box gelding) and Point Of Attack all looking very professional. Lovely to see Robert Cockerall here with grandson Alfie (aged 1) who is learning about the joys of racing early!
Other visitors this week included Bryan Daniels and Fiona who came to see Dontminddboys and Garrahalish with Fiona’s’ two daughters. Sorry to miss Doug and Marilyn Miles and Gareth
Conway and Lynne Tunnicliffe and Mel Waller who came to see Point of Attack, and also Nick Watson a member of The Tricksters who came to see Under the Phone for the first time.
Plans for Open Day now well advanced – just hoping the order for good weather has arrived – do come and see the horses and meet the Team, and have a look at the fantastic facilities we have here at Alne Park.
Nice to be back in a proper routine after holidays, flies etc etc. All of the horses look in great order, and seem to be thriving on the work.
Lots of visitors recently, and good to welcome several new faces to the groups. Dontminddboys has been very popular and we welcome Malcolm Pitts, Ryan Pearce, Fiona Daniels, Kevin Phelan and William Murphy as new shareholders. DMDB is thriving, having arrived looking rather skinny, and will run in the colours of EPDS Racing. Just one share left now so do call if you would like it!
A personal first for me last Saturday, with a first days racing at Newmarket – somehow have never got there, even after all these years! Harriet Russell who is one of the vet nurses at Three Counties Vet Hospital rode John & Lindsey Clemmow’s horse The Absent Mare over a mile in the charity race in aid of Racing Welfare. Harriet has been riding out regularly here to get fit for the race, hunts regularly and has done all the Pony Club stuff as she has grown up, but had never been on a track before.
Abby did a great job of looking after her and they finished a very creditable fourth. By the look of the grin on Harriet’s face she loved the experience and also raised over £2.5k for the charity which was a great effort.
Sadly John & Lindsey were unable to go, so Robin & I enjoyed a very nice lunch courtesy of Racing Welfare after the race.
Windy Miller at Southwell on Wednesday, running better but not loving the deep sand on the AW. 6furlongs on some fastish turf required for him once he has a handicap.
Very excited to say that we are launching a new partnership in a lovely young horse called Anti Cool. By Heron Island, he is the winner of a point to point in Ireland, is a super mover with an equally lovely temperament. Do get in touch if you would like to come and see him, and get involved.
Well we survived Big Bertha’s backend this week – actually I think we got off pretty lightly compared to many places. The horses all had a day in on Sunday which they were pretty relieved about, as the rain was horizontal! The team were relieved that it was Sunday and not a riding out day!
We did have some visitors on Sunday morning though – brave souls, in the form of Bryan Daniels and friends who came initially to see Garrahalish, In the process of seeing Gary they spotted his next door neighbour Dontminddboys, and it was love at first sight! (Good taste!) There are still a couple of shares left in him, and Fiona Daniels quickly snapped one up. Delighted to welcome her to the team and a good choice on her part! Only two left now so be quick if you would like a share!
Racing at Windsor last night, a huge thunder storm just before we pulled out – the ground looked like proper jumping ground and poor Windy Miller got a bit lost in it all! Very impressed with William Carson, who unlike many of the ‘vertically’ challenged had plenty of time to chat, and offer some decent feedback.
Off to Newmarket this weekend with Harriet Russell the daughter of some old friends and also a veterinary nurse at Three Counties Vets, who is riding in a charity race that is being run in aid of Racing Welfare. John & Lindsey Clemmow have very kindly agreed to let Harriet ride The Absent Mare. She has so far raised over £2.5k for the charity which is an amazing effort. If you would like to add to Harriet’s sponsorship please go to:
Harriet has been riding out regularly to get in training for the race, and we wish her all the best for the race and hope she enjoys the experience – and most importantly –wins!
Many Thanks to the Clemmows for their support and generosity in letting Harriet ride TAM. Report on the race next time!
Harriet back from her Irish adventure this week, very pleased to have her home for a couple of months before she goes off to the Royal Agricultural Uni at Cirencester in October.
We are back to a normal routine now, which is actually quite a relief. The horse flies have disappeared back to wherever it is they come from for another year – just hope they don’t find their way back next year!
The jumping break over today, at least the ground will have eased after all the rain! Not many runners for us over the next few weeks – the ones that have been going through te summer now having a short break and the main gang not ready yet!
A date for the diary is September 14th when we are having our Open Day. Open to all in the morning – do come and see the horses and meet the team.
Do hope you can join us!
ROBIN DICKIN RACING
SUNDAY 14TH SEPTEMBER
10.30 – 1.00
PARADE OF HORSES 11.00AM
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.
Back to the very early morning shifts this week (as opposed to the just early one!) as the horse flies have recovered from their near drowning on Friday and are back with avengance. Everything in in the day now as they were being driven nuts by the horrible little creatures, and then happy to be turned out in the cool in the evenings.
We have a new member of the team as our farrier Arlo who has been with us for several years has moved to Dorset, and Charlie Sands who has been Arlo's cover has taken over the shoeing full time. We welcome Charlie and his team - and have requested winning plates only!
The boys were busy yesterday as everything had at least front shoes on, in readiness to make a start on the walking. They will have a few days going on the walker as they start this years fitness campaign. The horses have all done very well with all the grass this year, and there are several who will be working hard to get their figures back!
The only other bonus of 5am is that is so beautiful up here at that time - 'mist in the hollow fine day to follow' is ceratinly true and it was stunning this morning.
Very warm at Stratford races last night - and Spurned Girl running a decent race. Much improved on last time, after a little adjustment to her wind, she jumps very well, and now looks to be really enjoying her racing. Once she gets a handicap mark she should go close. ground fast enough but with a good grass cover, and happily SG fine this morning.