The past week has been a week of national morining for the late Queen Elizabeth II, a week in which we have been able to reflect on her reign, and the service she gave to our country. We have witnessed the very best of this country - a week long series of events that, in my mind, seem to have united a country that appeared to be becoming ever more divided. The images of the lines of people, of all races, colours, creeds and nationalities has been an amazing site to see, and I know from speaking to our members and owners this week, a good few have been moved to travel to the capitol and pay there final respects in person. Tomorrows state funeral of a Queen so richly adored and admired will be an occasion that non of us will ever forget, even if we are unable to be there in person.
To the back drop of a country remembering, last week was rather extraordinary for us. It started slowly, Monday we sorted out lots of admin - insurances, syndicate movements, and plans for a few horses. Nothing too exciting.
Tuesday is work morning for most yards - great to get a couple of clips from Sally of Blue Bikini and Mamoon Star on the hill gallop at Ravenswell Farm. Blue Bikini is in great form, and went really well on Tuesday - another couple of weeks and we will start to look for a race or two for her. She will start her campaign over further than she has raced thus far, as a step up in trip looks sure to suit, and we feel she could well take advantage of her handicap mark when she does so. Mamoon Star had his soft palate cauterised last month, that held him back for a couple of weeks, but the op seems to have been a complete success, and he will be ready to run in around a month. Also in at Ravenswell Farm Hidden Beauty continues on the road back to full fitness. She is showing no signs of the fibrillating heart that put a spanner in the works last season - and is once again going like the class mare that she looked on her bumper debut.
Blue Bikini - Just 2 shares available
Tuesday was an interesting morning for me too, as I got to see a small part of the Shadwell Estate near Thetford. These properties never cease to amaze me when I see them, and this was no exception - stunning.
Wednesday morning, and Fortune Forever got her first race entry - a mares bumper in Warwick this coming Tuesday. It was originally felt that this race would come a bit soon for her, but her work has been very good in the last couple of weeks, and she has been giving Ferg the signs that she is ready to run. As I write, she is declared to run, with Paddy Brennan booked to ride, but she will only run if we think the ground is suitable. After a brief spell of unsetteld and wet weather, we now seem to be stuck in a dry period again, and the ground at Warwick is Good, Good to Firm in places. If the jockeys in the early races believe the ground to be riding quick she could well be declared a non runner, and wait for another day - a nice young filly like her will not be risked on ground that would be too quick for her.
Tuesday also saw a good few of the winter horses have another schooling session at Olly Murphys. He has incredible facilites, and is able to get plenty of schooling into his squad, even though it would be impossible to do on turf right now. Last week they all got to pop up the schooling strip, and this week they did plenty around the loop. Auditoria really enjoys it round there, and once again she was impeccable.
Wednesday turned out to be a bit of a crazy day - completely out of the blue we were inundated with requests for the few shares we have remaining in our bigger syndicates. Hidden Beauty was fully subscribed very quickly, Tintagel Queen found herself another new owner, and three year old Dean proved to be very popular - we also sold a share in our Blue Bresil yearling - and we wish Ben the very best of luck with both of his new horses., In total we welcomed 12 new members to various NBR syndicates, and we wish them all the best of luck with their new horses. After such a busy time shares are becoming very thin on the ground now. There are just a couple remaining in Blue Bikini, one in Tintagel Queen, Dean is very close to being fully subscribed, and there is a couple availalble in Sunset Melody. It really feels like folks are starting to get revved up about the upcomng national hunt season, and we are certainly going into it with the best squad of horses that we have ever had. Most of our horses with experience look to be well up to winning off of their current mark, as we build upon the experience they gained last season. Our young team looks to be full of quality, and well up to winning this season - so we head into the autumn full of confidence - if you would like to join us on the journey, and be part of the NBR 'family' feel free to get in touch - firstname.lastname@example.org or 07909 518902.
So it was a busy Wednesday afternoon firing out syndicate agreements to all of our new members, and afterwards it was lovely to head over the The Elms to meet up with a few of Molly Childers' owners to see her and her foal 'Finbar'. I had not realised how long it had been since our last visit, and it was great to see both Mum and son looking so well. Molly has lost none of her attitude for sure, and is 100% the boss of her group! Great to catch up with her owners too - they adore Molly, and I am so pleased that they chose to retain her as a broodmare!
It was also lovely to see our own mare Savingforvegas - who will be scanned in the next few days to conform her pregnancy - she was covered by Golden Horn in the spring - a covering that now looks pretty shrewd after the exploits of his daughter Haskoy in the St Leger. Although the flat breeders went cold on Golden Horn in the past couple of years, his percentage of horses rated over 90 in that sphere is phenominal, and I think he is a fantastic addition to the national hunt breeding ranks in the UK. I will certainly be using him again next year, with the liklihood of both Molly Childers and Savingforvegas heading to him. Savingforvegas has been great for us - producing 5 bay colts from 5 foals, and this years issue, 'Floyd' by Falco is another with all the traits she gives them - three of the five have been near identical, and he is one of them! We all had a fabulous evening, and will get another visit organised soon, so that those that couldn't make it can see Molly and Finbar too.
Thursday I popped over to The Elms again - this time to see the rest of the stock that we have there. I had hoped to get over earlier on Wednesday, but that didn't happen - so it was good to get back over and have a look round. All the horses looked great - our two 2 yr old geldings have summered really well, and will soon come in to get a bit of education. The Muhtathir is a fine big horse, and our homebred Blue Bresil is coming on great guns too. The two year old filly by Jukebox Jury out of La Pelodette is a gorgeous young lady - she has done her 'primary school' with Jason Maguire and will over winter at the stud before heading back down to Ivy Lodge Farm in late Feb early March for a few weeks refresher course. She will be syndicated next year - and is a filly that we like a lot! Out with them was Yauthym, and it was great to be able to say thank you and goodbye to her as she headed out to Ireland later that evening. She did her owners The Oakley Partnership proud, running 17 times over hurdles for them, winning three and only twice finishing out of the first four, and on one of those occasions she fell at the last when looking booked for a very very close second. She earned prize money on virtually every start, and after gaining valuable black type - she was sold for considerably more than they paid for her. She never let them down, and I am sure she will not let her new owners down either as she starts on the next stage of her career as a broodmare. Our homebred Blue Bresil yearling gelding, 'Barry', who found himself a new owner earlier in the week, is a very imposing youth, he is having a few days in his stable off of the firm ground, and it was tricky to get a picture of him, but he looks fantastic, and we all like him very much!
Muhtathir 2 yr old
Frank - Homebred 2 yr old by Blue Bresil
Barry - Homebred yearling by Blue Bresil
2 yr old filly by Jukebox Jury x La Pelodette
Yauthym - she left for Ireland later that day.
On Thursday we also got news of one of our 'Old Boys' - Sneaking Budge, who was retired from racing a few years ago, and taken on by Rhian Smith and won the Retraining Of Racehorses Southern Elementary Dressage Championship in Blenheim. A superb result, and we are all delighted for everyone involved, particularly Rebecca who looked after Budge when he was in training, and was the person that found him his 'forever home' with Rhian. As those of you who regularly read this waffle, you will know that finding our horses homes when their career is over is hugely important to us, and even if they don't go on to win championships, and are merely hacking companions it is great to be kept up to date with their lives after racing.
After a hectic couple of days it was good to have a quieter Friday, and put the final touches to the first of our Owners Days with Olly Murphy on Saturday.
Blessed with a glorious morning, although it was slightly cooler than of late, it was great to see well over 50 owners and members pitch up to see the yard and meet the horses, and enjoy some fabulous hospitality, including champagne breakfast with croissants and delicious pain au chocolats. The sun shone, the horses looked great, and it really got everyone excited for the season ahead. Our three look fabulous - Auditoria has really filled out now, and will start off in staying handicap hurdles before a possible switch to novice chases. Tintagel Queen is a a lovely big girl, and was ridden by Will Kennedy who said that he thought she was a really nice filly, beautifully balanced for one so tall, and he said she gave him a lovely feel. When they tell you that you know that they are racechorses - and we can't wait to see her out when the rain arrives. Like most of Olly's unraced 4 yr olds she wil have a racecourse gallop next month, and then make her debut proper shortly after that. Remember - just one share left in her - £25/wk all inc - don;t miss her! Itchy Feet just oozes class, and Izzy who rides him is really happy with him - she tells me he just wants to crack on now! He really takes the eye - and will be aimed at the Betfair Chase Day in Haydock in November. Our clients horses at Warren Chase also look in rude health - and one in particular schooled very very well. They too will be ready to run next month. Thanks to photographer Debbie Burt, who was on hand to take the photos of the morning. Debbie does a great job, and I can highly recommend her to anyone that wants to capture their horses or an occasion.
A quick pit stop at home before travelling on to Biggleswade Rugby Club to see Huntingdon play their third match of the season. The previous two had failed to get to half time - so it was good to see a full match - that ended in a hard fought, but deserved 24-24 draw. A fantastic afternoon, and good to see so many folks I had not caught up with for a very long time! Scary to see one of their sons playing for Biggleswade 1sts - where has that time gone???
A catch up on the rest of the team - Volkovka going great - it will soon be time for her to resume schooling over fences - she had her first taste of the bigger obstacles in the spring before she went on her holidays and was very good - we have high hopes for her in that sphere. Sunset Melody is doing plenty of flat work. Event rider Cassie Price comes in several times a week to ride her in the arena, getting her to bend and us herself in both trot and canter - it is a great help to her in her recuperation from a pelvic fracture in February, she will resume cantering next week. I caught up with Jamie Moore on Thursday, and the Jukebox Jury 3 yr old will head down to his father Garys, Cisswood Stable next Thursday - he will be our first horse with the family and we are really looking forward to getting going! Classic Ben is doing plenty of work, and will be aimed at staying chases this winter when the mud is flying.
Next week - hopefully Fortune Forever gets to go in Warwick and we have our Fergal O'Brien open day on Saturday - all welcome - please just give me a nod to let me know you are coming so that I can get a handle on numbers.
Until next week!