More Of The Same

Not again! After another week when running plans were ruined by the weather – England, who, as I type this on a Sunday morning began their second innings with a lead of 56, have suddenly lost 2 quick wickets – last week as I wrote the ‘News’ India rattled through the England batting order for a comprehensive win in the third Test – hopefully, unlike the weather, that is something that isn’t the same as last Sunday!

            After Englands loss in the cricket – last Sunday got a lot better when Where It All Began absolutely bolted up in the ‘National’ Trial in Punchestown in the afternoon – staying on in very impressive fashion to win the 52K Euro Listed Chase by 16 lengths on his first attempt at 3m3f, and he now looks to be firmly on course for the Irish Grand National! Why was this important? Where It All Began is a half brother to our own Savingfoevegas, and therefore his win adds another significant piece of black type to the family – a pedigree that is already stacked with Black Type as it is! SFV has already proved herself as a very good broodmare, firstly she has given birth to six bay colts in 8 years. Despite not being in foal last year, she has proved to be an easy breeder, easily conceiving, and having trouble free pregnancies. Not only has she provided us with a long list of bay colts, so far, those that have been broken in have all proved to have well above average ability. Her first runner, after a long lay off with an injury, was a winner this season – and you will all be familiar with the exploits of Dino Bellagio, and how highly Donald McCain and his team rate him, along with her third son – Old Blue Eyes, who after a good spell in training last autumn, showed that he too is a very talented individual. Old Blue Eyes’ full brother, ‘Barry’ is firmly in our programme having spent 6 weeks with Jason Maguire last spring, when he was broken in and ridden away – which included plenty of cantering and a bit of schooling. Jason absolutely adored him, and his report was glowing – he too looks like a very nice horse, and if Maguire is right, he could prove to be the best one yet! (More news on him later). She also has a 2 yr old by Falco and a yearling by Golden Horn (George) who is a very nice individual indeed. She was covered by Golden Horn last year, but sadly did not go very long into her term, and so we rested her and left her ‘empty’ for the year. Not being in foal, and therefore having a foal at foot this spring meant that we were able to travel her where we wanted to this year – and basically had the pick of any stallion that we wished to use. Some were ruled out due to being very expensive and some because they were not suitable for her physically as she has to go to a stallion that has plenty of size -  Savingforvegas is not a small mare but she can have a small foal – so to give her the best chance of producing a horse with a bit of size we tend to keep her to stallions that have plenty of size and substance themselves. After a huge amount of research and thought – the decision was made to send her to a young stallion in Normandy – Nirvana Du Berlais, who is a Grade 1 winning son of Martaline form a very good family. He is physically very impressive, and we think that he will be ideal for Savingforvegas, who left for France last week, and has settled in well at Richard Powells, Haras du Lieu des Champs in Normandy, where she will board for a few weeks until she has been scanned in foal after which she will return to The Elms. Hopefully all goes well with her, and everything goes to plan, and we can add another exciting young horse to a family that just gets better and better!

Nirvana du Berlais

            Monday, Alan King sent through a video of Rockola having a skip up the hurdles first thing – he was really happy with her and confirmed that she would have an entry in Hereford at the weekend. She had travelled to Doncaster a couple of weeks ago – only for that meeting to be abandoned before the first when the track was hit by heavy snow an hour before racing. We felt that is was important that she made her hurdles debut in a Junior National Hunt Hurdle, as it is important to retain any horses novice status for as long as possible and in winning one of these races she would not lose her novice tag next season - all of the mares novice programme would be open to her and she would not be thrown straight into the hurly burly of big field handicaps with so little hurdling experience under her belt. Having run very well in two bumpers, she is thought to be very capable of winning one of these heats over hurdles, and we are looking forward to getting going with her in that sphere!


Another one that could have had an entry at the weekend was Itchy Feet, but we decided to swerve Chepstow, and he will head straight to the Pertemps Final at The Cheltenham Festival in a couple of weeks. He had been a little quiet for a couple of weeks and missed his intended target race in Haydock last weekend, but Olly called mid week to say that he has had plenty of physio and massages and is moving really well again – in fact he is popping out of his skin, and he is confident that he will have him spot on for Cheltenham. We go there with no great expectations – in all honesty, big field handicaps do not suit him too well, but he was only beaten just over 6 lengths in last years renewal, and he will give his group of owners a great day out!

            It has been a busy time and I have not managed to get down to Ravenswell Farm for a few weeks – so on Tuesday I put that right and set off early to see the team down there. All six of the squad that are in training there were in action, and it was a fun morning as usual! Tuesday is a work morning and first lot we got to see Greyval work really well – she seems to be back to her very best – and we can’t wait to see her back on track – but she does not appreciate this deep ground,so opportunities for her have been few and far between of late but we are confident that she will have a very good spring campaign! Second lot, Blue Bikini and Fortune Forever were out on the hill. Both are in great order, but like so many of the squad, they too don’t like soft ground, so we are having to be patient with both – we tried BB on soft ground in Market Rasen and that didn’t work out, and we know that Fortune Forever doesn’t like it – so we haven’t even been entering her anywhere. Hopefully with the days drawing out now, the ground will start to tighten up and FF will be out again in the next couple of weeks. Third lot, Mamoon Star did three on the round gallop and then one up the hill as he returns to full fitness after his short mid season break. He is looking and moving great, and the hope is that he too will have a good spring/summer campaign. Fergal is confident that we will see a different horse on better ground, and I hope he is right. Fourth lot followed, and both Intrepide Sud and Maria’s Flame headed out to the round gallop. IS recovering from a bout of ringworm which prevented him from running last week – ringworm, along with the obvious skin lesions can make a horse feel a bit under the weather, so Fergal has just backed off him for a few days, while he is recovering. It will not be too long before we get to see him back on track – it has been a while since he won his bumper in July 2022, and we can’t wait to see him over hurdles –his jumping has always been spectacular! Maria’s Flame suffered a slight setback in January, but all is well with her again now and she is bucking and kicking her way around the sand gallop! Her riders certainly have to sit tight – she just loves life. She should be back on track in March – when she will make her hurdles debut – her and Intrepide Sud are simply naturals – and really enjoy their jumping!

Misty Morning


Blue Bikini

Fortune Forever

Mamoon Star

Intrepide Sud

I left Ravenswell and headed over to Ivy Lodge Farm to see Dino Bellagio, and Auditoria. Dino is recovering from a very rare leg fracture that thankfully will heal perfectly well with a bit of time, and his rehab is going well. The vet will be in to see him next week, and he should get the go ahead to move on to the next phase and have 4 weeks of controlled exercise on the walker. Auditoria is at Ivy Lodge Farm for a bit of a break, she is another one that doesn’t go on soft ground, and so we have left off of her while this weather has been plaguing us – which means she will be able to run on into the summer months when she will get her ground. She is well capable of winning off of her mark, but somewhat complicated the process by kicking out on Monday, and making herself a bit sore behind – she improved as the week went on and will be fine.  

Dino Bellagio


On the way home I caught up with Josh Moore, who gave a very encouraging update about Cloud Dancer, who last week had been found to be suffering with very sore feet. CD had been out at exercise as normal for the last 2 days and Josh was confident that he would be back on track very soon. His form looks rock solid – and it was very interesting to hear Nicky Henderson say in the week, that he was keeping everything crossed that Doddiethegreat gets a run at The Cheltenham Festival as he thinks he has a great chance off of his rating if he does. Doddiethegreat won the only race that Cloud Dancer has contested this season and is obviously a horse that N Henderson thinks is well handicapped – hopefully Cloud Dancer is also well treated – although he would be better off on the 120 they originally gave him after that run, rather than the 125 he find himself on now without having run again!  

            On Wednesday – another video from Alan King – this time Rockola working in between two others on the hill gallop. She went really well, and once again he was delighted with her! Sadly, the ground at Hereford was heavy with further heavy rain forecast – her scheduled outing there on Sunday was looking doubtful.

You know it is wet when Ludlow is as deep as it was on Wednesday afternoon – that looked as soft as I think I have ever seen it, but it did not stop Diamond Dice winning the maiden hurdle in good style and frank the form of Ridin Solo in the process. Diamond Dice had finished a well beaten sixth behind Ridin Solo in Carlisle, and it gives the form of that race a very solid look!

            Thursday morning started well, and good to hear from Nigel Tinkler, who is always entertaining first thing in the morning. He was very upbeat about Reflexion Faite, who he said was going very nicely – working well. He did say that he felt that she was suffering with ulcers and he would put her on a course of gastroguard to help her, but all in all he was really happy with her and thought she would be ready to make her seasonal debut in around 3 weeks, where he would be stepping her up to 6f at least. She looks sure to appreciate that step up in trip and will be lots of fun for her owners over the summer!


Reflexion Faite - has really come on over the winter - and will be back on the track in the next few weeks! 

            Friday started with a call from Alan King, who confirmed what we all thought – Rockola would not be declared in Hereford on Sunday. Their ground was very very deep there the week before, and with the heavy rain on Thursday, Alan felt is was definitely not the right thing to do to run her on that. She would have an entry in Wetherby on Thursday, which would hopefully not be as soft with a few drier looking days in the forecast. With the office work done I jumped in the car and headed down to the Tattersalls Cheltenham Sales at the racecourse. I was going to see a few trainers about horseboxes and had no intention of buying anything – although I so nearly did when a filly that I liked walked out of the ring unsold – someone beat me to her though! While down there it gave me the chance to catch up with a couple of vets. I chatted with Fergs vet about Hidden Beauty, and he will be popping into Connor Braces next week to see her, after which we will make a plan for he. I also got to see Olly Murphys vet Paulo, who plans to run the rule over Tintagel Queen next week after which she should be clear to travel down to Ivy Lodge Farm to commence her rehab. It was good to catch up with Donald McCain who gave a very positive update on Ridin Solo – who he had kept back for a few days so that his next run would be after March 1st, thus protecting his novice status until October 31st  - as any maiden winning before March 1st only remains eligible for novice races until the end of the season – if you win one between March 1st and the end of the season you remain a novice until October 31st (Hurdles) and November 30th (Chase) thus giving you the option of running a couple of times in novice company at the start of next season and not go straight into the hurly burly of big field handicaps straight away should you win a race late on in the previous season. It is both hugely beneficial to young horses, and very important. As we enter March, Ridin Solo will soon be back on track. Donald was also delighted with Old Blue Eyes who he says has definitely matured physically and got a lot sharper mentally for his winter break. He did suffer an injury that forced him into a bit of downtime, but the time was not wasted with him, and Donald is sure that it will do him the world of good in the end!

This will look a bit different in a couple of weeks! 

I managed to not buy anything - but nearly did! 

On the way home it was good to catch up with Louise Kemble and chat through the team at The Elms. Three year old ‘Barry’ has wintered well, and early next month he will come in from the field and into a warm dry stable ahead of his next ‘school term’ with Jason Maguire. In mid March he will head down to Ivy Lodge Farm for a couple of months where he will go through the pre training process and go away for a couple of swinging pieces of work. Before he heads down there, we will arrange a get together for his owners at the stud so that they can see him without having to trudge through the puddles and mud in the fields! When Barry has completed his time at Ivy Lodge Farm, our 2 yr olds that are at The Elms will head down there to be broken in and ridden away. Floyd (Falco x Savingforvegas) and Finbar (Falco x Molly Childers) are both exciting young horses.

            Saturday – in the office and getting a bit of race planning done – I will be chatting with a few trainers next week – I have come up with a bit of a plan for a few of them, including Blue Bikini, who I have earmarked a race for, and we will work backwards from that.

            Next week looks quiet on the runners front – Rockola in Wetherby, and there are a couple of possible entries at the weekend including Greyval – but as ever, a lot will depend on the weather and ground. I will be heading to a couple of yards to see the horses and get some pics and videos for their owners and syndicate members, and we will be getting an update from Normandy regarding Savingforvegas. The last few weeks have been very busy with the horseboxes and that looks like continuing into next week, so there will be plenty going on on that front.

            In the meantime – a bit like last week – as I have been putting this ‘Sunday Sermon’ together, England have found a way to get themselves in a spot of bother and are currently 9 wickets down trying to build a big enough fourth innings target for India – it seems – like the weather – this England performance will be the same as last week – miserable!

Bookmark and Share


Recent Articles

© 2024. Nick Brown Racing | All rights reserved
6 High Street, , Thurleigh, , Bedford MK44 2DB