Happy Easter!!

            Happy Easter! Chocolates, Eggs, Bunnies, Roast Dinner and quite a lot of racing! Not like in the old days – I can remember when there used to be 16 meetings on Easter Bank Holiday Monday! Not so many these days – but enough to stretch us across the width of the country.

            Last week started as a few days have started this season – not declaring one due to conditions being too soft. This one a little more frustrating as the three days of dry(ish) weather we had strung together at the end of the previous week had meant that Wincanton had dried back to near nice ground and Blue Bikini could take her chance. Sadly, a spell of rain Sunday night, with the promise of more to come on Tuesday evening meant that she was not able to run. We know that she appreciates nice ground, and definitely doesn’t like soft conditions so no point taking her there. She would have an entry in Huntingdon on Bank Holiday Monday – hopefully that would be OK for her. Two that would be running were Fortune Forever and Intrepide Sud who would be heading to Taunton on Tuesday – the forecast rain on Tuesday night would not be ideal – but they would both take their chance. Monday morning was spent juggling badges for their owners.

It was great to speak to Jimmy Furlong over in Ireland who gave me the latest on a couple of horses that were successful in our colours. Molly Childers, who was retained by the majority of the syndicate members that owned her through her racing career, had had a colt foal by Falco (‘Finbar’ who is now 2) and was subsequently sold to Ireland. From there, almost immediately she was shipped straight across to France where she was covered by Jeu St Eloi, a big imposing son of Saint des Saints who was just starting to make a bit of a name for himself in his native France. She conceived at the first time of asking, and last week she gave birth to a lovely colt foal. Jeu St Eloi became so fashionable that he was snapped up to stand in Ireland, and now stands at Rathbarry Stud in Cork. Molly Childers may return there this time round too. It was also nice to hear of another of our ‘Old Girls’, Yauthym, who, like Molly Childers was sold over to Ireland at roughly the same time and also headed over to France for her first cover. She visited Goliath du Berlais, a young sire over there, who is another fine big son of Saint des Saints, and who had won at the highest level over hurdles during his career. It took Yauthym slightly longer to conceive, but she did in the end and is due to foal tomorrow. We look forward to getting an update on her very soon. Staying on the theme of broodmares and French coverings, I also got news on Monday that Savingforvegas was due to be covered by Nirvana Du Berlais on Thursday. Hopefully she, as she usually does, conceives first time, and she goes full term with this one – last year she didn’t make it after getting in foal to Golden Horn. She is 2 from 2 as a broodmare, (2 winners from 2 to have run) with some lovely stock to run for her, two geldings by Blue Bresil, one by Falco and one by Golden Horn - she has done us proud, and is a great Mum.

            Tuesday, we headed down to Taunton to see Fortune Forever and Intrepide Sud run. 7mm of overnight rain had turned the ground back to soft, and I did wonder if we would run Fortune Forever. Intrepide Sud was first up. Fergal with two in the race- his odds-on favourite would be hard to beat – but this was not about winning. This would be IS’s first run back after a break of over 600 days after he sustained a tendon injury in winning his bumper in Worcester. He is a beautiful, big powerful horse, and his owners have been really patient with him. He does have an issue with his wind and has had his breathing operated on, so the soft ground would make life slightly tougher for him on that front, but the soft ground would definitely suit him in terms of his legs, so he was always going to take his chance. He is a very good jumper, always has been and we were all keen to see him jump his first obstacles under rules. With Paddy Brennan riding the odds-on favourite for the yard, Johnny Burke was booked to ride, the first time he would be donning our colours, and it certainly will not be the last! IS settled in mid div and travelled and jumped beautifully. The lack of a recent run took its toll as they entered the straight but he stayed on to finish fifth. Johnny was very pleased with him – and enjoyed his spin. He was very confident that he would improve bundles for his first outing in an age, and that there were plenty of races to be won with him – suggesting that he could win a few over hurdles before improving again for a switch to fences. It was great to see him back – a testament to the patience of his owners!

IS pre race

Good to see him back

Happy owners - delighted to see him back

After hearing the reports of the ground from the jockeys that rode in the first two races, we decided to let Fortune Forever take her chance. She is not the biggest of mares and struggles with very deep ground, but Taunton doesn’t often get too deep, and she would run. Stable amateur Tom Broughton booked to ride and take a handy 5lbs off of her welter burden of 12st. This would be her first try at 3 miles, but we would not die wondering, and she would be ridden with no doubt that she would see out the extended trip. Tom got the perfect spot, a nice lead to the first, and then plenty of daylight in behind two leaders that looked to be going too quick out in front. He was able to pick and plot his way round on the better ground and as they were going half a gear slower over this trip, Fortune Forever was able to travel and jump much better than over the shorter distances she had run over when she had been flat out for most of the way. As they turned for home it looked for all the world that he had produced her perfectly to win her race, and as three of them jumped the last upsides it was all to play for, but eventually one on her inner got up to grab the spoils. Even so, FF had run a great race, she had very much appreciated the step up in trip, and once again showed how tough and resolute she is. She will be winning very soon.

FF and Tom coming back in

More Happy Owners

A couple of entries on Tuesday morning, Cloud Dancer got a couple of entries in Huntingdon and Chepstow on Bank Holiday Monday, and Blue Bikini got an entry in the staying hurdle in Huntingdon. Hopefully the ground would dry up for her and she would be able to run.

            Wednesday was the monthly admin day – bills to pay. It was good to get an update from Will Kinsey about another one that has switched to the broodmare ranks. Hidden Beauty was scanned by the vets earlier in the week, and they were happy that she was cycling nicely. She will head over to France next week, where she has a date with Martinborough.

In the afternoon I headed down to the Cotswolds where I was meeting Jason and Sharon who were down for a couple of days and would be heading into Ravenswell Farm on Thursday morning to see three of their horses. First it was a chance to catch up over a spot of dinner – they had booked a table at The Halfway in Kineton. I met them there and arrived just ahead of them as they had opted to walk across country to the pub – I think I would have known less people if I had walked into my local! Lots of friendly faces, and a chance to catch up with a couple of folks I had not seen in a while. Wednesday is Wine Wednesday in Kineton – bring your own or buy a bottle half price – it certainly got the locals in – the place was rammed! The food was very good, although possibly a little pricey for what was on offer, although I was treated it still made me bristle slightly! Great to get the chance to chat with Jason and Sharon – it was a fun night. I dropped them back to their accommodation at the Cotswold Farm Park where they had a lodge which they said was very nice and headed back to The Frogmill where I was staying for the night. I have said before that The Frogmill had left me a bit cold in the past – but they seem to have upped their game. There was someone on reception to check me in – the room was very nice, and although I ate at The Halfway – reports are that the food and service has also improved – I’ll give it another go in the next few weeks and let you know!

            Thursday and I was up early and round the corner to Ravenswell Farm. Another torrential downpour overnight and everywhere was once again sodden! With Fortune Forever and Intrepide Sud having run a couple of days before, they would not be out at exercise, but we would see the other three that are in work. Greyval and Mamoon Star cantered on the round and had a school over hurdles. Jack Hogan on Greyval and Johnny Burke on Mamoon Star. Both went very nicely. Greyval had given herself another overreach the previous week, and so Fergal had decided to remove her hind shoes. He had not been able to run Dysart Enos at the Festival as she had done a similar thing to herself, so they both have no hind shoes on now – to try and prevent it happening again. Jack was very pleased with Greyval, she jumped great, although he did feel that she was possibly still a bit sore after ripping her front shoe off when she overreached last week. Johnny was really pleased with Mamoon Star who gave him a great feel! MS has lost his way since winning his novice hurdle last season, and he will be tried on better ground over a bit further to see if he can recapture the sort of form that saw him finish 3rd in a Listed Bumper in Cheltenham. After schooling him, Johnny was adamant that there was plenty of fun left to be had with him! MS will have entries very soon! It was really good to get a great video update of both Greyval and Mamoon Star for their owners. Louis Gill was in and got some great drone shots of the pair schooling. He then dubbed Fergals thoughts over the footage and sent them across in a package that went straight out to their owners – really good – and hugely appreciated. Third lot, Blue Bikini did the same as the other two – three times round the round gallop and then three times up over the hurdles. Tom Broughton rode her and reported her to be in great form. As mentioned, Fortune Forever and Intrepide Sud had a day off, but the good news was that both were fine after their runs. Always good news when you bring one back from a nasty injury. IS had had the very best rehab possible and all the time that he needed, but it is still a relief I can tell you! He was sound and his legs handled great. One that has moved up the road is Maria’s Flame who has made the short trip up to Connor Braces where she will have another three weeks on box rest after which she will have a short spell on the walker before heading out for a summers rest and recuperation. She will return to training in mid June.

Jasomn and Sharons easter gift for the staff at Ravenswell!

S & FF

S & Greyval

S & MS

Blue Bikini 


Mamoon Star

Having seen the team at Ravenswell Jason and Sharon jumped in the car, and we nipped over to Ivy Lodge Farm to see the horses we have there. J & S had never been to Maguires, and it was good to be able to show them round. The horses, as always looked great – Dino Bellagio is coming to the end of his period of walker exercise and will shortly be ridden once again. He will have a few weeks of ridden exercise and when the nighttime temperatures have risen enough, he will then be turned out for a couple of months before resuming training.

Dino Bellagio

Tintagel Queen, having sustained a tibia fracture at the start of the year has a lengthy spell of walker exercise ahead of her. She looks fantastic, and was very fresh when they pulled her out for us to see. She will have another 2 months on the walker and then she too will have a spell in the field before a return to training in July.

Tintagel Queen 

We also got to see our 2 yr old by The Grey Gatsby who is a lovely horse. He is an athletic, well made horse, who still has an awful lot of growing to do. As you can see from the photo – his backside is way higher than his wither, and when the front catches up with the rear, he will be a lovely big horse. We still have options with him – he will change an awful lot when the spring grass arrives and we will see what he looks like in the summer – he could head to a store sale next summer, or he could stay on the team and head to the racecourse. Time will tell! 

2 yr old by The Grey Gatsby



Good job she wore the 'Dry Robe'!! 

            Good Friday we headed over to The Elms to see ‘Barry’ our homebred 3 yr old by Blue Bresil. Like all of the horses that we are planning to retain on the racing team – Barry had entered ‘the system’ last year when he spent 6 weeks at Ivy Lodge Farm being broken in. We do it properly – investing time with them at that stage is all important – not just giving them a couple of weeks and then turning them away again. Barry breezed through ‘primary school’ he did plenty of cantering and schooled over hurdles. Jason was very impressed with him – he believes he has a very nice future – let’s hope he’s right. It was good to see him after he had spent the winter out in the cold and very wet fields at The Elms. He looked really well and had wintered well. When it dries up, we will get over to see the others that are out in the fields.

Barry - 3 yr old Blue Bresil

Pulling faces!


After an hour-long visit – we headed down the road to The Cherry Tree in Gt Houghton for a spot of lunch – we like this one – superb pub, tucked away on a no through road – head there – it’s worth it! Something for everyone on the menu and great service! The bad news of the day was that the ground in Huntingdon had gone soft – poor old Blue Bikini – it would need to dry dramatically! The good news of the day was that Nigel Tinkler reported that Reflexion Faite had worked really well on Thursday, and he had given her an entry in Kempton next Wednesday – a drop back to 6f which will be run around a bend, which could help her see out the trip. Nigel has changed her regime slightly, and from what he saw on Thursday that seems to have worked. He feels that RF may have been suffering from a sore girth in Newcastle and has put her on a regime that will help. It will be good to see her run – she is an intended runner. At Warren Chase – Itchy Feet is sadly done for the season and will be heading out to grass when the temperatures rise. We will be having a get together for his owners at Olly’s in the summer – when Olly will host for a BBQ and a few beers down at the boat house down on the lake at the yard. Auditoria looks fantastic and is building back up to full fitness in preparation for a summer campaign.  

            Saturday was decision day – decs for Huntingdon. After two dry and breezy days – remarkably the ground was now Good to Soft Good in places, we decided to declare Blue Bikini, and hope that the forecast rain doesn’t materialise. If it does go soft, she would not run – it would be a waste of time – but we have to give her the chance. Cloud Dancer declared in Chepstow. His race looks very competitive – although there are reasons to think that the top two in the betting may not be suited to the track, or in the case of the other one, may not be as good as their rating suggests. It looks like a chance to win a few quid and if he gets beaten, he will be dropped by 1lb to get him into 0-120 handicaps in the future. In the afternoon I finished the monthly admin and settled in to watch West Ham throw away a 3-1 lead in Newcastle – some very dubious refereeing decisions – it’s never easy being ‘West Ham’!

Around the rest of the squad – Old Blue Eyes is recovering from his illness away from Bankhouse. Sad when folks do not have patience with these young horses – a share has become available – he is by Blue Bresil, and judged on what we saw of him in the autumn when he was properly ‘tried’ – he is a smashing prospect! Get in touch – he’s a nice one – and someone has been way to hasty I promise you! Ridin Solo is on his way back up to full fitness - he will be out again soon! He will be hard to beat over 2m4f next time! Shares are still available in the Red Sash Racing Club – get involved - £100 all in! Rockola did her first piece of proper work since her Wetherby run yesterday. Alan King has been easy on her as that run took plenty out of her and she was very light afterwards. She will have entries in 2/3 weeks but will avoid very testing ground.

            Easter Sunday – roast in the oven, blog now done – wine open! Enjoy the rest of your weekend and look forward to doing this all again next week!

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