Of All The Things...
It is starting to feel like the safety catch has finally begun to be eased forward on the jumps season. Parts of the country have had rain, and the bigger meetings are getting going - some great racing in Ascot and Wetherby yesterday with some of the stars coming out to play.
We kicked off the week with a visit to Warren Chase Stables to meet up with Stuart and Amanda. Stuart loves his racing, and when he was considering taking the plunge and securing his first share in a racehorse his friend, Andy Macpherson, who had had a share with us in the past, and who still keeps in touch recommended that he got in touch. So a few weeks ago Stuart took the final share in Tintagel Queen and although he lives locally to Olly he has a tight working schedule and Monday was the first time he could get in to see his new girl. After very welcome heavy rain over the weekend, the horses all had a leg stretch on the woodchip gallop and were typically fresh on a Monday morning! TQ looked in great form, and will head off for a racecourse gallop in the next few days, which will be her final piece of work. She will then be at a stage where Olly can think of a few entries for her, and all being well she should be making her racecourse debut in around 3 weeks time. Another who will join her on her trip away this week will be Itchy Feet, who will also have a racecourse gallop. He is in fantastic form, and regular rider Izzy, says he really is feeling well. IF will possibly start off his season with a run at the big Betfair Chase day in Haydock on the 19th November. He was second there last year to a certain Bravemansgame on the day when the latter really announced himself as a chaser of huge merit, which I think we saw again yesterday. It looks to me as though Bravemansgame is all about speed, and accurate jumping, and given the track and trip last year it was a great performance from IF. There is still a share remainng in Itchy, so if you would like to book your place at the table in Haydock when he runs in 3 weeks let me know - full details are on the For Sale Page. (07909 518902 firstname.lastname@example.org). The third of ours at Ollys is Auditoria who was full of her self on Monday - she did her canter on the woodchip, and then, with a possible hurdles run in Fakenham on Wednesday, Fergus Gregory gave her a quick spin up the hurdles afterwards. She was very good and seems in fantastic form Olly was away at the sales and rang me at 9.40am to discuss her possible declaration in a ,mares handicap hurdle in Fakenham on the Wednesday. With the rain over the weekend and the liklihood of ground no quicker than good in Hereford tomorrow, we decided we would wait and let her take her chance in a mares handicap chase there. Her schooling has been exceptional over fences at home, and we both think that she will be better served in that sphere. In an ideal world she would have had a run by now over hurdles, but the lack of rain, and predominantly quicker ground means that we will start her off in a chase and see how we get on. We are all really looking forward to seeing her tomorrow. The plan had been for Sean Bowen to ride, but he now travels over to Ireland to ride this years Grand National winner Noble Yeats, so Fergus Gregory will take the reins.
TQ completing her canter
Auditoria at the end of her work
Monday seemed to be 'schooling day' around the country, as after watching Auditoria school, the videos of other horses at other yards came in thick and fast. Fergal was on the ball early, with clips of Hidden Beauty schooling over hurdles and Volkovka over fences - more about thos two later. From Fences Farm, Stuart sent a clip of Classic Ben schooling under his old mate Ciaran Gethings. CB needs soft ground, so he wasn't entered in Exeter next week and could instead start off in Uttoxeter in a couple of weeks before reverting back to Exeter for a similar campaign to last season. he loves Exeter, it really suits him - so why not?!
Classic Ben under Ciaran
Also on Monday I had a chat with Donald McCain who is still really happy with Dino Bellagio. He is working and schooling great - he had been aiming him at a race in Bangor on Dee on the 9th, but a pulled muscle a few weeks ago just set him back a couple of weeks and although he is going the right way, that race may come a bit too soon for him. He is still really happy with him though, and did ask if 'I had seen his twin brother in Aintree' referring to A different Kind who had been really unlucky not to win a handicap hurdle off of 133 on seasonal debut the day before - I hope the 'twins' are identical!!
On Tuesday our latest project arrived from France. As announced in last weeks news, we have purchased our first flat yearling, and after a busy weekend for the shippers, she finally arrived at Ivy Lodge Farm on Tuesday. It can be a nervy time between buying them on the continent, and getting them home, but thankfully she arrived safe and sound. She was immedaitely given a few electrolytes to help her recover from the long trip, and it wasnt long before she was tucking into her hay, and settling in.She was given an easy few days, but Jason has now started to crack on with her and has started her off in the lunge ring, and also getting her long reined around the yard. She seems to have a very good mind, and is very willing to please, It looks as though she will not take too long to break, and then we will decide on a trainer for her. One thing that has been decided in the last few days is her syndicate structure. It was always intended that she would have a 25 strong ownership group - but there was quite a bit of interest in her last week if she was available in a smaller number of shares - well we asked the question and the response was pretty emphatic - she will be syndicated in 25 shares, which will be available to either lease or purchase. If you purchase your share you will be entitled to 4% of any net proceeds when she is sold, along with 100% of the Owners prize money she wins at the end of each season. Someone who leases a share will not have to pay the £500 capital sum, and will not receive any proceeds from any sale, but will still receive all of their share of her prize money. Monthly costs are the same for each option, and are fixed at an all inclusive £25/week. As mentioned, Jason will assess her both physically and mentally over the next couple of weeks and decide where she is best suited to being trained. If she is nice and quiet and even tempered she could be trained in Newmarket; with a choice of two of the towns young and very succesfull trainers - or if he thinks she would be best suited to an envirionment away from the huslte and bustle of the biggest training centre in the UK, she could head down to sleepy Sussex and the top class faciilites of David Menuisier in Pulborough. I appreciate that where she ends up being trained will have a bearing on peoples participation or not, but as mentioned there has been a really good response to her, and we have already had interest in nearly half of the 25 shares. Please let me know if you would like a share in her - if she ends up being trained in a location that doesn't suit, you can always drop out, and wait until we have something more suitable. There will be no payment (capital or monthly fee) until a trainer has been decided upon. She really is a lovely filly, and looks like a superb bit of value for some summer fun! (07909 518902 - email@example.com).
Wednesday I suffered computer failure - not good when I seem to spend most of my day on one. My history with laptops is not strong - I would get a Timeform squiggle I think! We just don't seem to get along, so I am never minded to buy an expensive one, as their lifespan would be no longer than an average machine. With no great need for fancy packages I tend to shop at the lower to mid end of the market. My last one arrived in June, and lasted until Wednesday, when it decided to die. I had actually purchased it from AO, so I gave them a call. I have to say the customer service was fantastic, we were soon on a 3 way conversation with the customer support team of Asus the maufacturer, and we tried to get the fault sortred. Sadly this was unsuccesful. Asus then only offered to collect, repair and return the laptop under warranty. After explainng that this was my only computer and that I couldn't be without it for more than a day, AO stepped in and said they would replace it FOC from their own pocket. They didn;t have to do this, and I have to say it is some of the best customer service I have ever experienced with electronics. I appreciate that their selection of stock for computing is not vast and would not suit a lot of folks - but if you do need one, and something should go wrong in the short term, they were fantastic.
My replacement computer arrived at 8.00am on Thursday - not an Asus I can assure you - I did push the boat out a bit this time - not far - but a little, and hopefully this one will last a lot longer than 5 months!
After a (quite) simple computer set up I headed over to The Elms to see the young stock there and meet up with Steve who had managed to grab a few minutes out if an unbelievably busy schedule to see the horses. Steve has developed a keen interest in bloodstock and pedigrees and likes nothing better than a catch up when he can. We are looking forward to seeing his interest develop!
Yearling. Barry - Blue Bresil x Savingforvegas
Steve, and in front - Floyd - Falco x Savingforvegas
Finbar - Falco x Molly Childers
The Autumn Horses in Training Sale took place this week from Monday to Thursday, and once again there was an unbelievable trade for horses. This dispersal sale attracts buyers from around the globe, and the appetite for stock to continue thelr careers in all parts of the world was astonishing. Buyers from Australia, the USA and the Middle East were all paying big prices, another example that Britain and Ireland certainly produce the best bloodstock in the world, but are finding it ever harder to retain them with owners simply forced into offering their horses for sale to cover the costs, which cannot be done by running for the derisory prize money that is in offer over here! The week ended with 36,164,500gns worth of trade taking place - and not a penny of that was ours - I managed to swerve Park Paddocks for the entire week, and although we have a waiting list for a syndicate to go racing this winter, we did not believe that there was anything suitable and in our price range in the 1500+ horses catalogued. We do have a plan - and with a bit of luck our patience will be rewarded.
Friday we headed off to Uttoxeter to see Hidden Beauty make her hurdling debut. It is no secret how much everyone that has anything to do with HB likes her. The secret was out before she made her debut in Ffos Las last season, and opinions were proved right when she looked high class in demolishing a big field of mares. Sadly her season went west after that when she suffered atrial fibrilation in a Listed Bumper in Cheltenham, and remembered that experience when she ran with zero confidence in Sandown in March. Physically she has been fine from the day it happened in Cheltenham, but mentally she has needed time, a long summer at grass, and a few flights of hurdles. She is a huge mare, and was always campaigned on ground with plenty of give in it last year, but on Friday we decided to let her run on better ground, as this could make life a little easier on her, and help restore her confidence. As I mentioned she is a huge mare and it is fair to say she has her own mind, but the team at Ravenswell do a fantastic job with her, especially head man Kev Brown, who absolutely adores her. Kev knows her inside out, and accompanies her everywhere she goes, he can almost tell what she is thinking before she thinks it, which is vital with her. HB looked a picture in the paddock - last season she was never clipped as she has such a quality skin, and her jacket shone in the autumn sun as if it were mid June. Paddy was legged up and they headed to post. Kev missed all this as he had headed off down the straight to the 2m start - HB can be a little quirky, and he knew where he needed to be, indeed she did have a little pause as the tapes went up, but it was only for a second, and with the horses around her jumping off she went with them without alarm. A little keen early, she was slightly awkward at the first hurdle she jumped in public, but from there on got in a great rhythm and was jumping and travelling oh so sweetly. At the top of the rise at the end of the back straight a small group of mares had pulled clear of the field, and from the stands it looked like Paddy had her in the perfect spot - and then the unexpected happened - the leading mare lost her hind feet on the lush turf, and despite trying to regain her footing slipped over on the bend. HB and Paddy had to swerve right handed to miss the flailing legs of the unfortunate leader as she slipped, and in doing so, they were forced out wide and around a small section of rail that divided the hurdles track from the chase track. She had been forced off the track and her race was over - of all the scenarios that had played out in my head pre race - and after all of her problems there were plenty of those - this was one thing that I hadn't considered happening. Paddy soon eased up from race pace, but as the field headed up the home straight he was able to get a nice piece of work into her as he weaved around the hurdles. When he got off Paddy was obviously gutted but was also delighted with her - he was full of praise for her, stating that she had never given him a feel like she had in the race, and that she 'would have won a furlong' To say that he was very impressed was un understatement and he gave everyone a lift when he suggested a plan for her. He also said that she had liked the better ground so that gives us a lot more options through the season ahead. Everyone that knows me, knows I am nothing if not positive, and it took me all of about 5 seconds after her getting caried out to telling one of the syndicate members who was standing with me that that was a blessing in disguise - and I still feel that, apart from winning the race, what happened was the second best thing that could have occurred. In a perfect world, after all of her problems last season, and her obvious lack of confidence in her own ability to go the limit - it would have been lovely to be able to take her to the races, run her, and give her a nice easy time on her first hurdles start, letting her come home in her own time and getting so much confidence form the day to take forward to her next start. Unfortunatley they look badly upon this and call it schooling in public - but weirdly, on Friday that is in effect what has happened, and I think it really could help HB get right back to her best and stay there. She will have left the track having had a lovely time, enjoyed the buzz of the paddock - jumping a few flights of hurdles and having a good blow out without being put under any sort of pressure (she was never out of 2nd gear). Her confidence should be sky high, and hopefully we can have a very good season with her, and she can show everyone just how good she is!
Hidden Beauty - simply stunning
Her syndicate - also stunning!
Uttoxeter - packed as usual!
It was good to catch up with Sally at Uttoxeter, who said that Forever Fortune had worked really well in the morning, and it will not be long before we can start to look for another bumper for her. She also said that Mamoon Star was in good form after his excellent run in Cheltenham, and that Volkovka had 'flown' in her piece of work. Volkovka will have an entry in a handicap hurdle in Sandown a week today.
Also good to meet up with Damian at Uttoxeter, Damian has been a client for a while, but this was the first time we had met up on the track when his horse was running. We have seen him with his syndicate horses, but this was the first time with the horse that runs in his name, and he ran well in a tight little heat to finish a close fourth on his chasing debut. he is a gorgeous horse, with a fantastic pedigree, who was an absolute bargain and with this first run over fences under his belt he will be winning sooner rather than later.
Saturday was an early start as we headed off down to Sussex to meet up with The Keysoe Partnership on a planned visit to Gary Moores to see their horse Cloud Dancer. Weather reports on the radio of 20 degrees and sunshine looked very wide of the mark as we left in the dark and torrential rain! But down at Cisswood Stables before 7.30 and it was dry and mild. Good to meet up with those that could make it, and they liked what they saw. All reports about their lovely 3 yr old have been positive up until now, and from what we saw, he should be lots of fun for them. After a good long warm up on the round gallop he headed off for two spins up the 6 furlong woodchip gallop, coming up with one other the first time, and then having his first taste of going in between horses when he worked up properly the second time under David Noonan. He has certalnly matured mentally since he has been with Gary and has taken really well to 'big school' He was very good in his work, and took to working between two really well. So far so good - he looks to have a nice future, and should be ready to make his debut in 2-3 weeks time.
Huge thanks to Gary, Jane, Jamie Josh and the whole team for making us so welcome on what was a busy morning for them, and one with the added pressure of having stable star Goshen making his chasing debut in Ascot a couple of hours later. I can report that Gary makes a mean cup of tea, and the sausage rolls were superb!
Yard after first lot
Cloud Dancer works between two talented workmates
Cloud Dancer walking home
Getting a wash down from David Noonan after his work
Time to chill.
I think he took a wrong turn - Gatwick is up the road!
Updates on the remainder - down with Jason at Ivy Lodge Fram, Blue Bikini remains on a short break after her little set back earlier in the month - the vet will check her out and if all is well she should return to Ravenswell Farm in the next week or so. Intrepide Sud has let himself down beautifully, and this most imposing horse will be twice the horse he was when he returns to action in the New Year. Sunset Melody is still there at the moment, all the tests have been done to facilitate her return to Ireland, and she should be on the boat on Monday or Tuesday.
Next week looks busy - we start off with Auditoria in Hereford tomorrow, and then we will be up to Donald McCains on Tuesday to see Dino Bellagio and have a chat with Donald about plans. Then on Thursday we will be heading off early to watch some of them have a racecourse gallop, and if their ground is soft enough, we will be in Sandown on Sunday with Volkovka and her owners!
Never a dull moment here! Please get in touch if you would like to be involved in our first little flat venture with the filly Reflexion Faite (Faye) - remember no money will change hands until a trainer has been finalised, and if at that stage, membership of her syndicate doesn't suit, we can take you off the list, but she is looking to be very popular, and I wouldn't want you to miss out!
If I don't see you on my travels this week - have a good one, and please check in next week for an update on the goings on with NBR!