Ins and Outs
It has been a week of ins and outs - another one in the winners circle, one out of the winners circle,that we thought would be in it, new owners in, and sadly a couple out, vets in and sadly a couple of horses out for the remainder of the season. As ever, it has not been a quiet week!
On Monday we were in the office, so a good day to auction off the first of our recent trophies.As you will be aware, all of the trophies won by our horses are auctioned off between the syndicate members, with the highest bidder receiving the trophy, and the Injured Jockeys Fund receiving the money. This one was for Hidden Beauty's win in Doncaster last month. Congratulations to Andy who had the winning bid, although he will have to wait a little longer for his trophy as it was Andy himself that, on the photo I sent out to start the auction, the trophy actually had a spelling mistake on it! A replacement is on it's way, and £155 is on it's way to the IJF. Thanks to everyone that took part. A heated bidding war in the end, a shame there could only be one winner! On Monday afternoon we got the first bad news of the season, the team at Fences Farm had discovered that Classic Ben had some filling above a joint when they came in in the morning, and initially Stuart had thought that Ben would probably require nothing more than an injection in the joint to medicate it, sadly when the vet checked him over in the afternoon, he found that Classic Ben had suffered an injury to his suspensory ligament that will need treatment and time off, so his season is over. A real shame as he had been on good terms with himself, and was right on course for another crack at The Devon National again. He will be treated next week, and then undergo a period of convalesence and recuperation.
Hidden Beaity's Trophy
On Tuesday we headed down to Taunton where we had two runners on the card, both from the Fergal O'Brien yard. Hidden Beauty looked to have been found a nice opportunity to bag her third win in the mares novices hurdle, and we were all looking forward to seeing Blue Bikini finally get back on track in the first divide of the 2m 4f handicap hurdle. This recent dry spell is driving everyone mad, and with going descriptions creeping ever closer to good to firm, it was good to get to Taunton and see such a lush covering of grass on the track - Hereford last Sunday had been awful - just bare, rolled mud - and afrer Conner had walked the track there, he rang to say we should not run BB, so she had been diverted to Taunton on Tuesday. First up was Hidden Beauty. When winning in Doncaster she had looked like she was getting back to her very best, and her homework had continued to be very good in the meantime, we arrived full of hope that she could go in again. Liam Harrison was oin board and claimed a handy 3lbs to offset some of her winners penalty, and he was really looking forward to riding her again after steering her to her bumper win on debut last season. We have to be careful with HB at the start - after her AF last season, she had been a little bit awkward to jump off on her first couple of starts this term - she had been good the last day but with the 2m start being so close to the stable yard at Taunton we were concious that she should be sent forward from the off. What we didn't expect was the remainder of the field to not go with her, and she was soon gifted a 10 length lead. Having never made the running before, she was incredibly green in front, racing as if she had never seen either a white railing or a hurdle before, having a real good look at everything and really not travelling with any fluency despite only being in second gear. As they passed the stands, Liam let the field close the gap, and give her a breather, but she was still goofing around on the lead. They lifted the pace as they turned for home, and it looked as though they would still win, but eventually they were mugged on the line by a closer to finish second. We were gutted to have missed out on another winner, but both horse and jockey were back and seemed ok, which is always the main thing - and she had qualified for the £50,000 final next month. We held no such expectations for Blue Bikini, her season had been interrupted by an episode of atrial fibrillation in the autumn, and she had spent time at Ivy Lodge Farm to recuperate. Since her return she had been in fine form, but this was her first run since May, and she would likely need it to blow off a few cobwebs, and regain her confidence. I have been telling all of those that stuck with her, and those that have recently joined her syndicate that she was well handicapped and would be winning sooner rather than later, but I had also told them that it would not be in Taunton on Tuesday. I had expected her to finish 4th or 5th, staying on, and be spot on for her next run over slightly further on a more galloping track. Blue Bikini had other ideas. Connor had her jumping and travelling beautifully, and she was really enjoying herself. As they neared the end of the back straight on the final circuit she came under pressure, and I expected her to fall back as they rounded the bend, but Connor forced her up on the outside, and after a reminder on the crown of the bend they were bang there as they straightened for home. Sadly they had no stride at the final two flights of hurdles, but Connor kept her going forward and they landed with momentum at both, and after the last she once again showed how tough she was when she really stuck her head down and battled up the rail to beat the favourite a shade cosily. A 20/1 winner, not expected, but delighted for her syndciate members, the team at the yard who had worked hard to get her back, and of course her owner/breeder Louise, who has let us get on with it, and trusted that we would always do the right thing by her mare. With Mamoon Star declared to run in Ludlow on Wednesday we headed back up to the Cotswolds, and with The Kilkeney closed on a Tuesday we pitched up at The Frogmill once again. Having won the Listed Bumper in Market Rasen with Dysart Enos, Ferg and Sally came down for a bite to eat - and a celebratory drink, which was fun, before they headed back home to bed - Ferg having been up since 3.30am harrowing the gallops to keep them frost free so the horses could work in the morning, so it was an early night, but he did pick up the bill.
Hidden Beauty pre race
Blue Bikini pre race
Blue Bikini looking pleased with herself post race
Wednesday we awoke to another hard frost, and Ludlow was abandoned, such a shame as Mamoon Star is right back to his best after being under the weather on his last start in Kempton on Boxing Day, and we were looking forward to seeing him out again. The meeting was lost early, and we were a bit surprised that they didn't announce a second, later inspection - as temperatures were rising fast, and despite the trees looking very pretty in the sunshine, the frost was coming out of the ground quickly. Maybe they had intended a second look?? The morning after a race Fergal always sends a video of the runners trotting up. On Wednesday, Hidden Beauty was not sound, and Blue Bikini had suffered a nasty looking cut which she was a little sore on. Hidden Beauty was a bit of a mystery as she had been fine when she got off of the lorry the night before, and had gone to and from the walker fine that morning, but she was lame when they went to turn her out for a bit or R&R, and when the vet checked her in the afternoon, she was found to have injured her pelvis, and will miss the remainder of the season. She will be fine, it is just another hump in the road that is her career, and no doubt she will be back next season with no ill effects. She has already switched down to Jason Maguires where she has settled in well. The vets are not at all worried about Blue Bikini's cut, it is not as bad as it looks and she will be back in work after a few days to let it heal a bit more. With Ludlow off we now had a couple of hours to enjoy the area, so we popped down to Dunkertons Cider Co. on the A40 between Andoversford and Charlton Kings - a bit of a foodie stop, Waghorns butchers do some of the best meat in the area, so great to get stocked up at their butchery counter, a really good artisinal bakery and deli counter there too. Outside in the evenings they have assembled a number of street food trucks serving woodfired pizzas, currys and burgers, all outside, but under cover, with a really big bar an eating area indoors too. Although quiet at 11.00am on a Wednesday morning it looked as though it would be a great place for a summer evening, or even a winter one around one of the huge braziers they have there. Cheryl also got to spend time, and thankfully it was only time, and not money in the Holland Cooper outlet on site. She likes an awful lot of their clothing - I don't like the prices!! From there we went to Burford and spent a couple of hours wandering around there in the sunshine before heading home.
Burford was beautiful
Thursday we spent restructuring one of our Syndicates. Great to welcome three new members to The Tyringham Partnership, we wish them the best of luck with Volkovka who is fine after her run in Hereford a couple of weeks ago. She will be out again in a couple of weeks - just as long as there is rain around and plenty of juice in the ground for her. Thanks also to Feg an Sally who recommended Volkovka to the new men - they know what they have, see her work every day, and have every confidence that now that she is back to a mark that she can win off of, she will soon be back in the winners enclosure!
Friday I caught up with Olly Murphy, and he sent a video update to all of the members of the Tintagel Queen syndicate - he is delighted with her, he believes that she has come on for her debut run in Market Rasen, and she is ready to run in another bumper. She is one that certainly needs rain, as she will not be running on watered good ground, so we are really looking forward to the rain arriving for her. Itchy Feet has come out of his race like a 'roaring bull' in the words of his trainer. After his Huntingdon run, we had looked to go straight to the Cheltenham Festival with him, but he is in such good form, we may just take in a race in the meantime. Olly is sure that he knows he has won his race, and it is going to be a really fun spring with him. Good to welcome Ben to his syndicate this week - he has taken my 5% share in him, which now leaves just a single 10% share - have a look at him on the For Sale page, he will be aimed at both the Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree Grand National meeting, and will have an entry next weekend - book your ticket to the biggest meetings this spring - email@example.com Auditioria is another to come out of her race in good order, and is one that the drying ground will not hinder - she will be out again in a couple of weeks.
Saturday I headed off early to Ravenswell Farm, to meet Fran and Sheridan there. They were in to see their horses, Mamoon Star and Fortune Forever, both were on the round gallop, after which Mamoon Star had a school over hurdles and was really good. Fortune Forever looked great in her exercise, the mid season break has been the making of her, and her work the week before wirh Dysart Enos, with whom she had worked really really well, looks very good now, after DE's Listed Bumper win! FF will be ready for her next outing in a bumper later this month, ground permitting. Another one on the round gallop was Greyval who was moving really well. After receiving an opening handicap mark of 117, we have had to re think plans for her, and she will be out again in a couple of weeks, and will now have entries in a further 2 races at the Cheltenham Festival along with the Triumph Hurdle entry she will be entered in the mares novices hurdle, which was always the plan, but now the Boodles Juvenile Handicap is also on her agenda. Working through the collateral form from yesterday - that race certainly comes onto the radar, and although she only has a rating of 117, the lower rating limit to get into the race may be lower this year due to a different view from the BHA handicapper and the spate of abandoned meetings both before and after Christmas. The team seem confident that they can get her there anyway!
Mamoon Star and Liam
In Newmarket - Reflexion Faite is doing everything asked of her - we were looking to get a stable visit organised next weekend, but that may have to be put on hold, depending on where Itchy Feet goes. If he does not run on Saturday, we could still get together in Newmarket.
So pleased to see Jamie Moore escape relatively unscathed after a horror fall in Fontwell this week. He will be back in a couple of weeks. Cloud Dancer is well, and is on course to make his hurdles debut in a National Hunt Juvenile Hurdle in Newbury a week today.
Good to see Dino Bellagio get a very positive mention in the Donald McCain stable tour in the Weekender this week. He will head straight to Aintree, where we look like having a runner in the first and last on Grand National Saturday! That will be fun!
We have just a a couple of shares free in our entire team - there is a single share in this weeks winner Blue Bikini, a share for sale in Auditoria, and one free in Tintagel Queen. There are a handful still left in Reflexion Faite, and of course the rare chance to go to the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals with the last share in Itchy Feet! Give me a call or text on 07909 518902 or email nickbrownracing.co.uk
Next week we have entries for a few, but their participation will very much depend on ground. If there is no rain it could be a quiet week on the runner front.
See you here next week, to see where we ended up and how we did!