Ben PaulingNews

Fawsley & Our Feed Man

As I mentioned last week we have been in midst of a head cold, but we hope yesterday provided us with a turning point. Both horses Fawsley Spirit and Perfect Pirate finished their races and galloped to the line, they all seem well at home so just maybe we have a glimmer of hope that they are turning a corner and coming out the other side!

HORSE PROFILE
FAWSLEY SPIRIT

It was not only great to see Fawsley run so well, but just to see him on a race course was a triumph and therefore it's his turn to be in the spotlight this week.
Bought as a store from the Tattersalls June Sale 2016 for the lovely Paul Bush who sadly passed away last year. Paul was simply the perfect owner, he lit up the yard when he came to visit us, with a wonderful sense of humour and someone who was willing to give a horse all the time and patience he needed to mature. This was definitely needed in the case of Fawsley!
He was a lovely horse, who like most of Ben's stores looked like a Chaser in the making.
To say he was tricky in the first six months of having him is an understatement, he was nearly impossible to break and gave a rodeo display that no one could sit! It was soon apparent that there was something upsetting and perhaps hurting him, so very quickly he was sent for an x-ray. He was found to have kissing spine and was operated on straight away that month. He recovered for the next 3 months and was brought back in this time last year.
A big horse, he had matured over his time off, his break had not however helped this quirky horses behaviour and he still behaved like a bucking bronco.
It got to the point where he was sent away to Gary Witheford who specialises in getting a horse to come around to our way of thinking through understanding the horse and working out why they are behaving in a certain way.
This process is by no means easy and Fawsley spent three weeks there. After this Ben went down to see him and Gary recommended that he be ridden in blinkers to help focus his mind.
He hasn’t looked back since! He still maintains his quirks and that fiery 'spirit' definitely raises its head every so often, but he is very much now on the right track and becoming the horse we always hoped.
To get him to a racecourse was a great achievement. But for him to perform and finish third to two very smart horses yesterday is a credit to him and his want to win.
We are so sad that Paul never saw his horse run. We are sure he would have thought yesterday was a huge success. His daughter Rachel who has been with us all of the way on this journey must get the biggest thank you of all. Her patience and belief in the horse has allowed us to get him to where he is today.
We have every faith that he will become a lovely horse and give us all many fun days ahead.

NIGEL HISKETT
FEED MAN

This man needs no introduction, 'Nige' has been with us since day one and we hope he’ll be here for many more years to come.
Ben and Nigel met before Ben acquired his licence in the spring of 2013. He had been working in racing for nearly 30 years. He brought to the yard a wealth of experience and knowledge.
Starting out as a young lad in his teens, this London boy headed to Newmarket where he was an apprentice on the flat. Unfortunately, his weight was against him and he headed to the jumps yard of then Champion Trainer David Nicholson (The Duke) up at Jack Daws where he excelled as a lad. With his Conditional licence, The Duke was keen to give Nigel rides. During his years at the Dukes, he rode 6 winners and was a key part of their team. Twelve years went by up at Jack Daws during which Nigel and his wife Theresa had two children.
The time then came to do something else and go down a different route. This would take Nige completely away from racing and into a different industry for the next 15 years. He would become a postman and we can only imagine that for this bubbly man who always has a smile on his face he excelled doing this, I can’t imagine there was one person who wouldn’t of been warmed by his cheeriness.
A return back to racing was always at the back of his mind, with his family settled in Stow-On-The-Wold and his young son Danny taking after Dad with his riding skills. The sport he loved was calling out again and he took up a position at Martin Keighley’s for the next 3 years before working under Shaun Lycett for a year or so before Ben moved into Bourton Hill Farm when Nigel started as Head Lad. He had two very successful years in the role, we will always attribute the success of the wonderful Malibu Sun to Nige, they seemed to be two peas in a pod!
As the yard grew he decided to take a step back from the role and would become invaluable as the man who feeds the horses. This is as big a responsibility as anything, without this the horses simply wouldn't be able to perform how they have over the last few years.
Nigel is a huge part of our team, he smiles through wind, rain and shine, a true team player and always willing to help those younger members coming through!

Willoughby and Our Traveling Head Lad

HORSE PROFILE

WILLOUGHBY COURT

This horse takes no introduction, he is what you dream of training and owning when you go into racing.
His presence was apparent from day one. Bought out of the Goffs Land Rover Sale as a three-year-old in 2014 after Ben's first season by Tessie Greatrex and Ben. He was bought for Paul and Clare Rooney.
Willoughby was broken in that month and then turned away before coming back into full training later that summer. His class was obvious from day one but keeping a lid on this fractious individual was tricky to say the lease. Harry Beswick, Ben's Conditional at the time, rode him and did a brilliant job. ‘Wooohhh Willoughby’ could be heard during first lot most days!
He did everything with ease and as the season went on this striking individual caught the eye of many. He was still a frame of a horse though maturing all the time. He was a big baby and when it came to his racecourse debut in a bumper at Ffos Las he provided a rodeo show to rival any bucking bronco!!
He went on to finish third and was put away for the summer. The only way to describe him when he returned was ‘WOW’! He had grown and he had matured into an even more magnificent individual.
He won his first two bumpers that year and then headed to the Aintree Champion Bumper. Unlucky in running that day, he still managed to finish a fast-finishing fifth. The patience that he was shown over those couple of years by Ben and The Rooney’s, we truly believe allowed him to become the horse and he is today.
Last year was a year dreams are made of. He started his eagerly anticipated hurdling career around Market Rasen followed by Warwick and then onto the Grade 2 Leamington Spa in January where he won this in empathic style. Next stop was the Grade 1 Neptune on Wednesday the 15th March, a date and a day that will forever live in our memory. He led from the start, turning the heat up as the race went on under a textbook front-running ride by David Bass. He showed guts and determination to fend off the sadly late Neon Wolf in which can only be described as one of the closest and thrilling finishes of the week. No words can really describe that day and the joy it brought to so many. It provided memories that will last a lifetime and a celebration (by his trainer) that will be repeated many times leading up to this years’ festival!!
He has started this season in fine style and has taken to fences with ease under the guidance of Nico de Boinville. After what was perhaps a slightly interesting start at Huntingdon, he went on to win the Grade 2 Novice Chase at the Winter Carnival at Newbury. He was then only beaten a few lengths in the Grade 2 Dipper where perhaps its fair to say the race was not run to suit him and he wasn’t quite firing on all cylinders that day. 
All being well and with everything crossed. He will head straight to Cheltenham now.
As Ben said ‘he is the horse that made all my boyhood dreams come true’ he is a treasure to us and we are so grateful to him. He is one in a million.

NICK WHITEMAN
TRAVELLING HEAD LAD

After profiling Willoughby it seems fitting to talk about the man that looks after him every day.
Nick is the epitome of what a member of staff should be. He is hardworking and dedicated to the yard. He goes above and beyond his role and we’re incredibly lucky this Yorkshire lad applied for one our job roles three years ago!
Nick, a qualified joiner, decided that he wanted to go into racing and therefore took up a position at the Northern Racing School to learn about the game. He did an eight-week course and headed to Tim Vaughan's for a season before heading to the flat yard of Keith Dalgleish in Scotland.
He soon realised that jumps were where he wanted to be and we had put an advert on Careers in Racing at the same time, a lucky coincidence! He applied, was offered a role straight away, and moved down with his lovely Labrador Red, who has become as much part of life at the yard here as anyone.
It soon became apparent that Nick was going to be a big part of the team from the word go. He soon made the role his own, but also he brought so much more to the team. His joinery skills were second to none and he worked overtime helping transform the yard, making improvements and increasing the size of the tack room.
After a couple of Seasons, Nick decided that he’d like to give pointing a go and took on Bath Wells as his pointer. Bath Wells had been in training with Ben and had become high in the handicap, his owners had decided to give him away as a pointer and Ben saw the perfect opportunity to put Bath Wells into training with Sophie for Nick to have some fun on.
He had his first ride in January 2016 at the Heythrop Point-to-Point. Cheered on by the yard they finished a fantastic second. Nick took some outside rides for others and had a lot of fun that season.
As the yard was growing, an opening for Travelling Head Lad became available. Nick took on this role part-time last year with Eloise and he was then appointed Traveling Head at the beginning of this season. His capability to manage staff and horses with a level head has meant that the team that go racing are efficient and always turned out well. He is fantastic with owners and we know that with Nick there the horses will always have the highest level of care.

RT & Our Assistant Trainer

HORSE PROFILE
RAVEN'S TOWER 

As we profiled Barters Hill last week we thought it was only fitting that this week belonged to the little but courageous Raven's Tower.  They were the first two to arrive at BPR and both horses have been a very special part of what can only be described as a whirlwind four years.
Raven's Tower was brought out of Mark Johnson's yard at the Goffs Doncaster Spring 2013 Sale. He was a colt at the time and I think feisty would be the best way to describe him. He was quickly snapped up by Ben's Father-in-law Tim who with his wealth of knowledge in the industry saw something rather special in this little horse. (RT as he’s known) was syndicated out to mainly a group of Tim’s friends all to be known as the Faithful Friends.
After a few months at grass and having been gelded RT came back into training at the beginning of July ridden every day by Tori and it soon became apparent that this little horse had a huge presence and a love for jumping. He seemed to come a light when he saw a hurdle.
He was sent out as Ben's first ever runner with David Bass on board at Plumpton in late September of that year giving his trainer what was (very nearly) a dream start being beaten a length.
The next two runs had the same result with him hitting the crossbar finishing 3rdand 2nd. Then came a day that will always be special to Ben and everyone involved. RT provided the team with our first ever winner at Plumpton. Celebrations were nearly as the same as those matched at Cheltenham last year! This little horse went on to have a superb season.
Winning at Warwick before heading to the Festival in the Fred Winter. To have a horse good enough for Cheltenham was amazing, he ran a gallant 6th again getting us all shouting as they turned for home.
He would go on to win another big handicap at Ascot before the season was out.
RT was the horse that every trainer wishes for in his first season and we will be forever grateful to him.
Fast forward four years and he has run at 3 Cheltenham Festivals 3 Aintree Festivals won 6 times including big races up at Aintree and been placed over 20 times, he has won over £70,000 in prize money, not bad for a horse that cost £2000! Most importantly he has given his wonderful owners some tremendous days out and this season is no different he is having one of the best seasons back over hurdles having won once and been placed in his first 3 starts. We fear the handicapper might have hold of him at the moment, but we look forward to a fun Spring campaign.
He is and always will be an incredibly special horse to us.

 

TOM DAVID
ASSISTANT TRAINER

It would be fair to say that Tom has been a massive part of this team from day one of his arrival at the beginning of season three.
Tom entered the racing industry at 16 starting out at Charlie Longsdon’s as an Amateur Jockey before heading back to his Welsh roots to Tim Vaughan's yard where he turned Conditional. A talented point to point rider he decided to turn professional under rules riding 24 winners and having some fantastic days, he very nearly tasted Cheltenham Festival glory twice being beaten a short distance both times.
If you ride more than 25 winners under rules you are not allowed to turn back Amateur. Tom after having success in this sphere decided that he wanted the option to remain Amateur so handed in his professional licence and took up pointing again in a major way. He headed to one of the stand out trainers in the pointing world Sheila Crow based in Shropshire, he enjoyed many years of success with Shelia before wanting to take on role where he was more involved in training as well as riding. At the time Zara Phillips was looking for someone to be a right-hand man to assist her with the pointers she had in, this allowed Tom to be more involved in the day to day training of the horses and perhaps leading onto the realisation that he wanted to take his career down a different path.
Tom and Ben had met previously, and Ben was looking for someone to take over as head lad. The yard after it’s first couple of years was increasing in numbers and a knowledgeable head lad was very much required.
Tom's ability to manage people and most importantly his eye for detail when it came to the horses were invaluable, he and Mary (Assistant Trainer 2014-2017) worked as a fantastic team together both young and enthusiastic the yard went from strength to strength over the next couple of years. Tom was able to continue his pointing throughout these couple of years, challenging for the Welsh riders Championship and riding the lovely Silvergrove to be 3rd in the Kim Muir at the Festival in 2016.
Mary left at the end of last season and Tom took up the position of Assistant Trainer, with this he decided that it was time to hang up his riding boots ended his career in style and on a high with a double.
Tom has taken to the role of Assistant with ease, he has been invaluable to Ben and the team and has made the role his own. A man who knows how to have a good time we know that our owners are having a great day at the races.
As we have had a quiet few weeks. He is currently taking a well-earned midseason few days skiing and this has just been posted on Instagram.
Two words UHHHH OHHH!!

More To Come From 2018

COMEBACK KIDS
BARTERS HILL 

There won’t ever be another horse who will do as much for my career as BARTERS HILL has done. I bought him (expertly guided by my agent Tessie) at the Tattersalls Derby sale before I had even got my trainers license. He was exceptionally backward as a 3yr old and really showed very little indeed in his first season. He was bought at my first open/owners day by an amalgamation of family and close friends of them, who became the 'Circle of Friends'. They have shown huge patience with 'Lenny' or 'Bart', as he is known in the yard, right from the start. A lot of people would have outed him as slow or useless, but that is certainly not what he turned out as! It was quite amazing the transformation in him after a summers break. When we turned up for his first bumper run at Huntingdon I apologised to his owners as he looked like he was ‘’In Foal’’ in the paddock but that didn’t appear to stop him! The first of four bumper wins that season, that included the Listed bumper at Newbury and the Aintree Champion bumper. Amazing to think he beat BUVEUR D'AIR twice that season and ALTIOR once!
 
His Novice Hurdle campaign couldn’t have started any better with an effortless win at Huntingdon. He then went straight to Newbury for the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle. He duly won very well and showed how good he could be. It was a landmark success for the yard and his jockey David Bass as it was our first success at Grade 1 level. He then won the Grade 2 River Don at Doncaster, but had to fight hard to win. Things couldn’t have been better in the lead up to the Cheltenham Festival and he was hot favourite for the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle. On the Wednesday (two days before the race) he was found lame in his box at home after exercise and to this day we don’t know what went wrong, but he was sore. Amazingly he was sound on the day of the race but he wasn’t himself from the back of the last but was a gallant in defeat still finishing 4th.
 
His chasing career was due to start in October but the ground was very quick and we missed our first three intended starting points and ended up running at Cheltenham at the November meeting. It was a strange day filled with nerves but he soon settled them by jumping brilliantly. Unfortunately, the day wasn’t to end happily with him being pulled up quickly in front of the stands. He had slipped his tendon off of his hock, an injury not alien to racing, but certainly not one of the more common injuries. The prognosis for such an injury is very uncertain, so it was just a case of trying our best to help him in any way possible. After a stretch on box rest, followed by a large amount of walker work, it was apparent the swelling wasn’t reducing enough and he was sent for a small operation to tidy up the area around where the tendon now sat. Still sore he went out to grass at Stowell Park, where he summers every year, to see if being out in the field helped at all. Amazingly it helped a huge amount and it was decided that he would go for eight weeks on the water treadmill at Jamie and Judy Magee’s in Lambourn. This again brought him forward in leaps and bounds and he returned to gentle training. Amazingly he has gone from strength to strength and although not rushed he has been improving all the time.
 
We are now fast approaching the next chapter of his career as we are hopefully days if not weeks away from his return to the racecourse. He has worked nicely in Lambourn twice and appears to hold plenty of his old ability. We will not know exactly what ability he retains until he runs but all we can try to do is have him as well prepared as possible and the rest will be up to him. If he doesn’t have his old enthusiasm for the game then we will not continue. He is such a kind horse and so easy in every way that there will be a lot to life once his racing days are finished with.
 
But then of course if he is back for more with the old fire burning in his belly………who knows what could happen…..

GILL TATE
HEAD LASS

Gill joined us this summer as my Head Lass. She had been running her own pre-training and breaking yard on the farm here for several years with her partner Vince Slattery. They had built up a very successful and hugely well-regarded business so I can only count myself very lucky that she has joined us here at Ben Pauling Racing. Her knowledge of horses and her stable management is second to none. It is hard for us all to keep up with her work rate but I think the best thing is not to try because it is almost impossible to do! It is not only on the floor where she excels, she has a background in eventing and rides very well indeed. Both, WILLOUGHBY COURT and BARTERS HILL both reap the rewards of being ridden by Gill on a daily basis. The staff quite clearly respect her and she will always do her best for them to make their lives in the yard as smooth as possible. I am thrilled to have her here and she is a huge part of a well-oiled machine and it would already be a strange place without her.

MARKOV & CREEP DESBOIS Do It Again

CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR

I hope you have all had the most wonderful Christmas with your families and friends. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy New Year and a prosperous 2018. As you are all aware the festive period is a very busy time for a racing yard and I cannot thank my staff enough for their hard work and commitment to the yard. The weather has been particularly trying over the last few weeks which hasn't made it any easier. We had a great yard Christmas party a week ago today, where spirits were high to say the least!

MARKOV REMAINS UNBEATEN OVER FENCES
 

MARKOV made it two from two over fences as he won nicely at Doncaster for his owner Alan Marsh. He is a very economical jumper and he didn't put a foot wrong over the extended 2m3f. The handicapper has put him up 12lbs for his 6 length win which I feel is very harsh. Only time will tell, but it looks a tough mark to win off of to me. He has been a horse who has thrived all season and he continues to do so which is great to see. If he was to creep up a few pounds he may be one you might see line up in the 2m5f Close Brothers Novice Handicap Chase at the festival.

CREEP DESBOIS SHOWS GUTS TO WIN IN THE SOFT

We had outlined the Silver Fox Trophy at Leicester on the 28th of December for Creep for quite a while, but I put him in at Fakenham simply to have a look at the entries. I honestly didn't think the track would suit or the fact that the ground went soft but I thought it was a good opportunity for a winner and thankfully we were right. It wasn't made easy though as they omitted 4 fences which really isn't what he needs as he is such a good little jumper. Despite that he knuckled down and showed plenty of guts to win by 2 lengths. He is a horse we all adore at home and I am looking forward to hopefully seeing him progress over fences throughout the season.

A HARE BREATH wins at Sandown

It has been a very quiet week on the racing front for runners but everyone has been working so hard at home to keep the show on the road through some of the worst conditions we have had for a very long time. We had a huge amount of snow over last weekend but the horses were ridden every day in some pretty cold conditions! I cannot thank my staff enough and not one of them moaned at any point. We used the falt gallop Monday through to Wednesday and were back on the main gallop by Thursday. All the horses seem in great form and we are all looking forward to a busy but festive period ahead.

A HARE BREATH WINS AT SANDOWN

We don't get many bites of the cherry with A HARE BREATH but when he is right he is one of the most talented horses we have trained to date. His work at home is very smart and it was great to see him run so well at Sandown last Saturday in the 2m listed Handicap Hurdle. He travelled very sweetly through the race and apart from getting a little close to the second last he jumped superbly. He ran on very strongly up the hill to win nicely from the very gallant Caid Du Lin. He is physically an easy horse to train but is very much best fresh. With this in mind, he will go straight to the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham festival in March. It is only thanks to his amazing owner Valda Embiricos who has shown so much patience with this horse and it is great to see him rewarding her now. For a 9-year-old he hasn't got many miles on the clock so should still be at his best for a little while. He will always be a horse that is very special to everyone at home, and it is all thanks to everyone behind the scenes that he is still performing so well.

ITV OPENING SHOW BET

On Saturday morning Oli Bell hosted the usual ITV Opening Show discussing the runners of the day at the big meeting that weekend. At the end of the programme Mick Fitzgerald, Oli Bell, Luke Harvey and Matt Chapman all tip horses for the day. At this point Mick, Oli and Luke all tipped A HARE BREATH  leaving Matt to completely deny his chances and claim Jenkins would come out on top. Below you can see a how it all played out.

Another Newbury Win for HIGH BRIDGE

Another Newbury Win for HIGH BRIDGE

It was a big day for both Alex Ferguson and HIGH BRIDGE in the Listed Handicap Hurdle at Newbury and we were delighted to see both of them come through with flying colours. It was a tactical affair, with very little pace, so Alex had to make his own running and got the fractions spot on to repel the late challenge of Charli Parcs. HIGH BRIDGE jumped brilliantly up the home straight and was very strong after the last. It is very important for these young jockeys to take the opportunities they are given and Alex is certainly doing that. We will probably now wait for the Betfair Hurdle back at Newbury where HIGH BRIDGE seems very good indeed.

It's Getting Colder

Winter is definitely here and the mornings are starting to get colder. Yesterday even saw some spots of snow around the Cotswolds. Below are some photos from the first two lots today.

Two Weeks of Winners

A DOUBLE ON THE DAY

MARKOV and RAVEN'S TOWER gave us a day we will remember for many years to come. Alan Marsh’s MARKOV made an impressive winning seasonal and chasing debut at Fontwell on Sunday under Tom Bellamy who fresh from his Betvictor Gold Cup win gave MARKOV a peach of a ride. He officially became our 100th winner and then two races later with the wonderful RAVEN'S TOWER, under a determined ride from James Banks, we had our 101st from the horse that gave us our 1st four years ago! RT is still flying at home and loving life more than ever which is always great to see. He owes nothing to anyone and he really is an incredibly special little horse. As most of you know he was purchased for £2000 and has won 6 times, placed 19 times and has now won over £67k in prize money. What a Gem!

EQUUS PROVIDES MID-WEEK JOY

On Tuesday the team headed to Southwell and the Bourtoneers' EQUUS SECRETUS took centre stage in a hot Novice. He was carrying a penalty after his gutsy win at Huntington last time out. We were very aware that this would not be an easy race as Tom George's Another Stowaway had a big reputation after just being beaten by the Nicky Henderson trained On The Blind Side up at Aintree in October. Both horses did not disappoint in providing a spectacle. Equus ground it out from the front under Daryl Jacob showing tenacity and determination to score on his second start over hurdles. The success of this horse is very much down to Danny who has ridden him since day one, looks after him and puts in all the hard work so huge congratulations to him. He has been given a very lofty mark of 139h so let's hope he can live up to it as that is pretty steep for an opening mark.

KILDISART HAD THAT FRIDAY FEELING

The Simon Munir and Isaac Souede owned KILDISART headed the betting in a very competitive Maiden Hurdle at Ascot on Friday and he did not disappoint. A horse we have always thought an awful lot of and it was great to see him demonstrate his talent on the track. His jumping was slick and he showed his class between the last and the line with a fantastic turn of foot. This provided the team with their first winner for the famous two shades of green colours. An exciting horse and all being well he looks to have a bright future.

CONTINUING THE DOUBLE GREEN STREAK!

With Saturday, came two big days in the National Hunt Calendar at Haydock and Ascot. DELIRE D'ESTRUVAL headed to Haydock for the 2-mile Novice Listed Hurdle. They had had plenty of rain so we knew conditions would suit this lovely French recruit. We decided to make it a stamina test, and Delire showed his incredible professionalism and demonstrated what a gutsy little horse he is by really battling up the home straight to keep his head in front. A fantastic ride by Daryl which would kick off a fantastic day for him and Delire's owners who won The Betfair Chase so huge congratulations to them.  

At Ascot Sue Davies' NESTOR PARK proved himself to be a very exciting prospect taking what we believe will turn out to be a very hot bumper under a strong ride from David Bass. He gamely went on to score after a tussle with the Warren Greatrex trained Portrush Ted up the home straight. We don’t doubt that both of these horses will have bright futures after pulling clear of the rest of the field.
It really was a brilliant end to a great week 

PERFECTION FROM PIRATE

After the success of last week, we were excited for the week ahead and the team did not disappoint. STAGE SUMMIT and LINENHALL ran gallantly hitting the crossbar a couple of times. 

Then came the turn of PERFECT PIRATE who headed for his Seasonal Debut at Towcester. This plucky little horse made a superb start to his chasing career and season to win the 2m4f Novice Chase gamely for his owner's Masters Racing. He flew up the Towcester Hill under Daryl and went on to win in style. Another bright, young Novice which we hope will provide his owner's with some great days ahead. 

WILLOUGHBY HOLDS COURT

The Ladbrokes Winter Carnival takes centre stage this weekend in the National Hunt Calendar and the Grade 2 Novice's Chase was set up to be mouthwatering, as both Grade 1 winning hurdlers Yanworth and WILLOUGHBY COURT lined up amongst a competitive field. No words can describe the high regard we have for this very special horse and he did not disappoint again. He jumped superbly and to quote the Racing Post he was ‘Big, bold and brilliant’. He provided the team with another top class win and it was great to see him becoming the chaser we hoped he always would be. 

 

WAY BACK THEN Impresses at Kempton

WAY BACK THEN

WAY BACK THEN is a horse we have always thought a lot of. He won his bumper very nicely last year but unfortunately picked up an injury that put him out for the remainder of the season. He spent the summer at Hen Knight's doing a lot of work on the flat and also his early steady canter work. He arrived here looking better than ever and hasn’t looked back since. His work had improved again from last year and we were very hopeful he would go well on Monday. It was a race with plenty of strength in depth and I know a few other horses that are highly regarded. He was left in front a long way from home and overcame signs of greenness to win quite comfortably. Daryl liked him a lot and there should be some very exciting days ahead of him this season. We hope he could be good enough to feature in some smart Novice Hurdles towards the end of the season.

GOWITHTHEFLOW

GOWITHTHEFLOW has to be mentioned as he ran a big race at Chepstow just to get caught on the line. He jumped and traveled superbly and this is a horse we think a huge amount of and I would expect him to take high order in the Novice Hurdle division this season.

 

TWO SWALLOWS

TWO SWALLOWS ran a blinder to finish second on her chase debut. She warmed to her jumping in the early part of the race and was very professional from there on. She ballooned the last slightly which cost her quite a bit of momentum. I don’t know if she would have quite won but certainly it would have been very close indeed. Nico reported that she took a blow so she is bound to come on for the run as well. She will go to Newbury now for the Mares Listed Chase in December and I am sure she will put up a performance to be proud of again.

Some Very Exciting Novices

WILLOUGHBY COURT

We were delighted to get WILLOUGHBY COURT's season under way at Huntingdon last weekend. He has always been a superb jumper at home but you never know what is going to happen on the course until you get there! He gave himself a shock at the first ditch and it was then a case of getting his confidence back as the race developed. At times he showed us how good he will be over fences with some very sharp and accurate leaps. Regardless of what had happened in the early stages of the race as it developed he got better and better and it was great to see him put his head down and win in the way he did. It was a decent field and was always going to take a good performance to win it. He has come out of the race brilliantly and will do plenty more schooling before we head to Newbury for the 2m4f Grade 2 Novice Chase at the beginning of December. I think he will be well suited by going back left-handed.

EQUUS SECRETUS

EQUUS SECRETUS was fabulous from the front to win the 2m3f Novice Hurdle at Huntingdon last Sunday. He jumped and traveled in the style of a very nice horse. He showed a gutsy attitude to repel his challengers in the home straight. I am delighted with how he has come out of the race and he will run in a Novice under a penalty towards the end of the month before maybe looking towards something a little bit better. His jumping is his forte and I can’t wait to see this horse develop.

MARTEN
MARTEN was also fantastic from the front at Southwell and galloped his rivals into submission. He won very nicely with a decent horse in Sky Pirate a well-beaten second. He will need to brush up on his jumping slightly but this has always been a horse we have liked a lot and it is great to see him get going over hurdles in the fashion.
 
Below is a video of his impressive finish at Southwell
 

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