Worth Getting Up For!

That was some week – we crammed in so much – we made it to one racecourse, three yard visits, and away day gallop – and have another runner this afternoon.

It’s a good job I like early mornings and driving – there has been a lot of both this week.


            The week started off with a trip to Hereford on Monday to see Auditoria make her chasing debut. Audrey was a winner of a 2m novice hurdle in Catterick last season, but we have always known she would benefit from a step up in trip, in fact, the day that she got her head in front was to be her last go at the minimum trip, we had been trying to nick a win with her at that distance before stepping her up and letting her progress. As it was, she didn’t manage to win again last term, but was running a very nice race when stepped up to 3 miles for the first time in Perth on her last start, before sadly falling at the third last. This run although not proving categorically, did give us an indication that she would stay that trip, and this season was all about her running over 3 miles. The plan had been to start her in a 3m hurdle in October, but the quick ground everywhere put pay to that idea. As time drew on, we had a rethink, and as she was schooling so well over fences at home, and with her seasonal debut delayed, we took the decision to start her straight over fences. A 2m 4f mares handicap chase in Hereford was the chosen starting point. She ran a nice race for her chasing debut, she slipped slightly into the first, and as a result was a bit big at the second, but in the main she was very good at her fences. She had to be held up on this occasion, and the race was definitely run to suit, but she stayed on well up the straight, to finish fourth. The run opens up a lovely programme for the first half of her season, and she should be lots of fun for her owners over the next couple of months. Just a note about the great job Hereford have done to accommodate larger ownership groups, putting on a large Syndicate Lounge with a bar, and Tote facility that overlooks the parade ring. This marquee was their old O&T Facility, and it worked really well. I have chatted with several trainers about it this week, and the consensus is that ARC are going the right way with this – they have put together a team to look after syndicates at their courses, a team that are well known, and know racing inside out – it is very welcome, and makes our job as syndicate managers a little less stressful! A very wet drive home wasn’t pleasant, but no moaning from me, we need every drop we can get!



Auditoria in the paddock

Fergus, Olly and some of her owners   

Auditoria looks pleased with her chasing debut!

Tuesday, and on the road early to see Dino Bellagio at Donald McCains, and to get the latest on his wellbeing and plans for his racecourse debut. Since he arrived with him Donald had been aiming to start him off in Bangor on Dee on the 9th November – a National Hunt Juvenile hurdle, but his preparation was held up for around 10 days when Dino pulled a muscle in his hind quarters, and had to have an easy spell. He is nearly ready to run now, and when I was there on Tuesday there was still a chance that he would be ready for the 9th, but the race ended up coming a shade too soon, and he was not entered when entries closed later in the week. The good news is that he is in great order now, and not far off running. He is simply the happiest of horses – he really does enjoy life and spends so much of his time jogging and bucking and skipping – he really does put a smile on your face. He isn’t a tearaway or proving to be tricky to ride or train – he is just loving life – I wish I felt like him in the mornings!! Missing the intended debut means that we may just change tack with him slightly and look at running him in a Junior Bumper for his debut, there are options for him in both spheres, and Donald will decide where to go with him in the next week/10 days. For me, his breeder, and his syndicate, the good news is that Donald says he is certainly showing him enough ability at this stage to be plenty of fun in the future! A really enjoyable visit, good to see Donald’s new office up and running, at least now we don’t disturb Beryl early in the morning


Top of Donalds gallop

Dino Bellagio in full flight! 

It was another very wet drive home from Bankhouse, raising the hopes of some decent ground later in the week, so when Fergal was in touch early on Wednesday about a possible entry for Hidden Beauty in Huntingdon next week it was worth putting her in. She has three options going forward, and as I said to the trainer, Huntingdon was at the bottom of my list of preferred options due to their quick ground, but agreed to leave her in there anyway, as with rain around it may ease. The good news is that she has come out of her Uttoxeter appearance in fantastic form, and with Paddy saying she actually appreciated the better ground there, it does open up a lot of options, but she is a massive girl, and will not be risked on anything that is not genuine good ground.


            On Thursday we headed up to see Olly Murphy at his Warren Chase stables. At 7.00am we got to see a client’s horse on the round gallop – she was moving well, and is another that is ready to run and just waiting for plenty of juice in the ground. It was also good to see Auditoria, who was happy to have plenty of fuss after her run on Monday – she has come out of the race well, and we now have a very exciting plan for her going forward. She is a mare that is only rated 100, but from here to Christmas should be lots of fun to say the least! Shortly afterwards we headed down the road to see 40 of Ollys horses have an away day gallop including Itchy Feet and Tintagel Queen. The plan had been for them all to go to Nottingham Racecourse, and get a good bit of work in on turf, but their meeting on Wednesday was abandoned due to waterlogging, so the gallop had to be switched to a private gallop. It is always a fun and informative morning, and it was good to see both of ours go well. Itchy Feet was very impressive – he looks to be in great form, and really enjoyed his work. He is in such good form in fact, that when Olly saw there were just 6 entered in the £200,000 Betfair Chasea few days ago, he nearly rang me to tell me he had gone mad and put him in it – lots of place prizemoney on offer! As it was he didn’t, and he is likely to stick to the original plan and head for the Graduation Chase on the same card. Tintagel Queen also worked well, and Olly was delighted with her – this was her first away day, and if it had been at Nottingham on turf as planned it would have been perfect, but this worked fine as her first away day, and she may now have another one in Lambourn on turf in a couple of weeks, ahead of her racecourse debut.




  Tintagel Queen 

Lewis getting the leg up on Tintagel Queen

Itchy Feet works very well. 

Itchy Feet walking home


 Itchy Feet

Friday we were out and about early again, but it was well worth it, as we arrived in Ravenswell Farm in glorious early morning sunshine at 6.45am. There are currently four in work at Ravenswell and with Friday being work morning I was looking forward to seeing three of them do a proper piece. The one that would only canter would be Volkovka who is running this afternoon in Sandown. Two of ours were out first lot – Mamoon Star has come out of his fourth place in Cheltenham in great order and will make his hurdling debut in the middle of the month. He has schooled well, and we are all looking forward to seeing where he can go over hurdles. His work on Friday was very good, and he is certainly ready to go! mAlso out first lot was Fortune Forever. FF had run a very eye-catching race in fourth in Warwick Bumper in September, after which, like a lot of our youngsters she had a short spell at Ivy Lodge Farm. Having Ivy Lodge just down the road is a huge bonus, as young horses can be easily spelled there for short periods after runs – away from the hustle and bustle of a busy yard. We have done it with plenty of ours over the last few seasons, and they really do thrive for it. Her work on Friday would suggest that the same applies to her – she was very very green on her racecourse debut, to be fair, utterly clueless would describe her better, and it looks as though there is a lot more to come – in fairness there would need to be, as the race in Warwick hasn’t really worked out at all, but the plan is to run her in another bumper to further her education before switching to hurdles. She is from a lovely family, that always improve for time, and the best of her career is certainly ahead of her! Second lot, and Hidden Beauty was out. As mentioned previously, she has come away from her Uttoxeter outing in great form, and Liam had the pleasure of riding her work. She looked very very good again – making a very talented, recent winner, really work without seemingly coming off the bridle herself. Visually very impressive, and Liam was chuffed to bits with her afterwards. He felt she is back to her best, and showing the sort of class she showed before her debut last season. As mentioned earlier she has an entry in Huntingdon next week, but from what the Clerk of the course is saying there – the ground is not likely to be suitable so she will wait and be out again in a couple of weeks. We now have a plan in place, and hopefully she can stay on the right path this season! All three that worked went really well, and all of the horses looked stunning in the morning sunshine – it was a good morning!

Beautiful Morning

Mamoon Star 

Fortune Forever

Hidden Beauty

Hidden Beauty

Having a roll

            Saturday – and I am actually writing this – as today looked a little busy.

             Today, Volkovka travels to Sandown for her seasonal debut. She is another that has schooled over fences all autumn, but a lack of suitable options for her at this stage, and the chance to run at a suitable track over hurdles for her seasonal debut means that she starts here. She seems to prefer going right handed and has been a bit keen in the past so this looks the right place to start her off. Both Ferg and I are no fans of hoods, but after her disasterous debut for us two years ago, she has always sported one. We toyed with the idea of taking it off at various stages last season, but for one reason or another, be it trip or track, we never did it. Now we have – to start her season off, and before she switches to fences, she is dropped back to 2m on a stiff track, and the hood comes off. It can make quite a difference – let’s hope it’s a positive one. At least after this we will know, and she can switch to the bigger obstacles wearing what she needs to be seen at her best. Liam takes off 3lbs.


            Of the rest of the horses. Classic Ben is nearing his seasonal debut – he could head to Uttoxeter later this month before switching back to the programme that he followed last season that was very much ,Exetercentric’. He seems to thrive around there!


            With Jason Maguire – Reflexion Faite – our new yearling filly has settled in well, and Jason is really happy with her. Her breaking is going very well, and Jason reports that she has a very good mind. On one of my long trips this week we had a good chat about her, and he believes that there will be no problem with her dealing with the hustle and bustle of a big training centre and that she would be fine in Newmarket – as this is where most of her new syndicate members would like her to be trained, it is where she will go. I have two young and very talented trainers in mind, and will be in touch with them to discuss her next week. There are still shares available to both purchase and lease – so if you are interested in a bit of fun for next summer, have a look at her on the For Sale Page, and get in touch – she really is a gorgeous filly, and outstanding value! Sunset Melody is still with Jason, but should make the trip back to Ireland this weekend. Intrepide Sud is relaxing and munching grass. The other one currently there is Blue Bikini, but her stay at Ivy Lodge Farm comes to an end on Monday when she returns to Ravenswell Farm. BB suffered atrial fibrillation a few weeks ago – something that came right out of the blue – she righted herself quite quickly, but has been given a nice break to get over it. Her work had been very good, and as Sally said yesterday, she was on a lovely upward trajectory in her work, and the hiccup came at a really bad time, but hopefully she is over it now and can crack on. Still a lot of fun to be had with her over staying trips.


            Down with Gary Moore, Cloud Dancer is still in good heart, and taking his work really well. The whole team are very happy with him, and hopefully he will be ready to make his racecourse debut in a junior bumper later this month. He is another young horse we are very excited about!


            Next week looks a little quieter to start with – I may get across to Newmarket early in the week, but that is all. The big November meeting in Cheltenham takes place next weekend, and we have been invited to lunch on Sunday, so for only the second time, next weeks news will be a day late – and come to you on Monday. The first time this happened it was due a good lunch – and this time will be no different!


            Until then – have a great week – please get in touch if you are interested in a share in the filly – she is lovely – and as I write there is still one share available in Itchy Feet – on his work this week – he looks like he’s back in a good place and will be plenty of fun at the biggest meetings!


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