Spring has Sprung
It was back to normality the week after Cheltenham with our first runner of the week at Southwell on Monday. Conceal has always been a horse with plenty of ability and he was running a very smart race up front here, when seeming to tire very quickly and pulling up, he has subsequently had a wind op and we hope that should sort him out.
Seaside Girl has been off the track since November, waiting for some better ground. This there certainly was at Huntingdon and she ran a brilliant race, though sadly for her, she bumped into a very well handicapped horse. Under Luca Morgan she jumped and travelled well, cruising into the race and going clear with the eventual winner. Hopefully, she will not be put up much for this and she can pick up another win.
Behind the scenes at Southwell: Conceal and Celine Suited and Booted at Huntingdon: Flo and Seaside Girl
Chess Player had put in two very solid runs in AW bumpers and the good ground at Taunton should have been in his favour, but he appears to be having issues with his wind and we saw this in his run, we will look to get that sorted as soon as possible.
Harper’s Brook ran a lovely race at Wetherby on his debut. Keeping things simple he took the lead early on under Daryl Jacob and very much looked like he would grind a win out at the head of affairs, but he got quite tired near the finish and was pipped by two fast finishers. He is a very smart horse and looks to be a promising one for the future.
No handler necessary for Chess Player at Taunton Harpers Brook keen to get going at Wetherby
On Wednesday we had three runners around the country with Quinta Do Mar at Market Rasen first up. He had put in a very smart performance at Ludlow last time out to win well and was a warm order for this race. He looked the winner over the last, having jumped and travelled beautifully throughout but just got outsprinted on the run-in. Defeat took nothing away from his performance and he, too, looks a nice prospect going forward. Fawsley Spirit, also at Market Rasen, put in his usual game front-running performance again under regular jockey Luca Morgan. This was another raise in class, and he was still up there fighting at the last hurdle, but a messy jump knocked him out of his stride. Battler that he is, he still attempted to rally on the run-in, and he was closing on the front three at the finish.
Standing Proud at Market Rasen: Quinta Do Mar and Fi "Look Centre Fawsley" with Meg at Market Rasen
Last up we had On Springs running at Hereford, with Daryl Jacob taking the ride. He ran his best race of this season but may not have appreciated the front running tactics employed this time out and we may consider a change of tactics next time, but it was very pleasing to see him put in a more positive performance.
Pretty in Pink at Hereford: Liberty and On Springs
Not a Normal Cheltenham
We had one runner at Taunton on Monday before the frenzy of the Cheltenham Festival kicked off on Tuesday. Uisce Ur had come agonisingly close at Warwick but had bumped into a well handicapped one that she had to give weight to. Reunited with Luca Morgan, and repeating the tactics of their win at Doncaster, Luca jumped her out in front where she jumped slickly but never seemed to be comfortable on the dead ground. She was headed two out when she appeared to begin to tire but game mare that she is she still put in her all to finish third.
First day of Cheltenham dawned with the two runners, and it was Delire D’Estruval first up in the Ultima. He has had trouble with his wind this season and unfortunately the somewhat tacky ground on the first day saw him struggle with this, and he pulled up. Nestor Park simply did not jump well enough in his race, he has looked good this season on the flat tracks but made mistake after mistake here and eventually pulled up, he will look to return to a less undulating circuit.
Cheltenham Runners: Delire D'Estruval and Matty Looking smart Nestor Park and Hannah
Our first runner on Wednesday was at Huntingdon where Rintulla was looking to get off the mark over fences. He jumped out in front and jumped well but stopped very quickly and it transpired that he bled badly, he has undoubtedly got a win in him, but he’ll need a bit of time off to recover. Optimise Prime in a hot Ballymore at Cheltenham was facing a stiff task but he ran and jumped well; though ultimately well beaten it was a positive experience and fantastic for the Brodie’s to have a first Cheltenham runner. Shakem Up’Arry, also at Cheltenham, ran well up to a point but struggled to get home and will return to 2m next time for one more run this season. Despite a lovely schooling session over the Cheltenham Cross-Country fences, Le Breuil never looked to be travelling in his race and pulled up.
Shakem Up'Arry taking it all in at Cheltenham Matty and Optimise Prime primed for action
With no runners on Thursday, we rolled into Friday with three runners. First up was Global Citizen who, for some reason, has not fired this season; a return to hurdles we hoped might spark something back in him. Unfortunately, this was another head scratcher as he pulled up very quickly. All being well we will get him back right but that may very well be for next season. The Cob was up next in the Albert Bartlett; he has been an absolute legend for the BPR Club this year winning three races including the River Don last time out. The drying ground didn’t look to be in his favour but he ran well for a long way before getting outpaced. He carried on up the hill with his ears pricked and he has brought enormous amount of enjoyment to the BPRC and to the wider public.
Hannah readying Global Citizen for action Olly and The Cob surveying Cheltenham Racecourse
We saved the best of the Festival til last with Whatsupwithyou running a mighty race under Luca Morgan, who finished up with two placed efforts at the Festival at enormous prices. He has run very well twice at Cheltenham, and this was another excellent effort to finish fourth in the super competitive Martin Pipe, he looks to have an exciting future next season.
All hands to the pump before Whatsupwithyou race A proud Meg with Whatsupwithyou a gallant 4th
Saturday started up north with The Macon Lugnatic at Newcastle. Though he seems well at home, he is just not running with the lustre of last season, and the front running tactics do not seem to be working. We will look to drop him in next time and hope for some improvement. Get Prepared was in the middle of running a very smart race when he took a crashing fall three from home at Kempton. Upsides the leader and travelling well, he took a bad fall but thankfully got up ok and has come back fine. He looks a smart prospect for the Aldaniti Partnership. Last up was Big Difference who took his tally to four seconds this season, as once again he finished runner up at Kempton. He jumped well up front but looked to get a bit tapped for pace three out before running on. He keeps showing such an honest and genuine attitude and really deserves a win for his efforts.
Northern raiders The Macon Lugnatic and Celine Ashton striding out with Get Prepared at Kempton
8 More Sleeps....
Our racing week commenced on Tuesday with individual runners at Catterick and Leicester. Linenhall has struggled to deliver on the promise he showed in the early part of his hurdling career, and this may well have been his last go over fences at Leicester. He’s a really lovely lad, and his jumping ability has never been in doubt, but he seems to have somewhat fallen out of love with the game and serious consideration is to be given as to whether he retires from racing. He is a very smart, very sound horse and will excel in whatever discipline he may potentially do going forward.
Leading Knight, at Catterick, put in another improved effort to finish fifth. He initially pulled very hard before being dropped back through the field. He then steadily improved to finish an encouraging fifth in what was a very positive run, and we are much happier with his progress.
It was just Conceal running at Wincanton on Wednesday, where he unfortunately hung very badly left all through the race. Though he jumped well, he was never going to be able to make much of an impact hanging so badly, and he eventually pulled up. We will try to work out if the hanging is caused by some sort of niggle.
Conceal and Celine at Wincanton Fi and Linenhall at Leicester
Ludlow was where we had two runners on Thursday, and we had them both in the opening race. Quinta Do Mar has had plenty of entries since his last run but thanks to the varying weather conditions we have all had to sit and suffer. However, he and Nico de Boinville rewarded everyone’s patience with a lovely win and, although he still showed a bit of greenness here, he always looked the likely winner. In the front pair from the start, he was given a positive ride, and took the outright lead three out, jumping nice and cleanly. Only the one opponent emerged from the pack but after a good jump at the last Quinta maintained his clear lead: a big congratulations to owners the Bourtoneers, a lovely reward for their patience. Delahaye Gold has struggled at novice hurdle level so far but hopefully he will become more competitive once he has a mark.
Winners at Ludlow: Quinta Do Mar, Nico de Boinville and Fi
We had two runners at Newbury on Friday. First up was Imperial Knight looking to show a better running than his disappointing effort at Ayr last time. Having sat in the middle of the field, he dropped back towards the rear though was travelling and jumping well enough. He ended up with quite a lot to do but showed a very willing attitude to run on and finish fifth. Northern Bound, back on a sounder surface, ran a very nice race at what was probably the absolute limit of his distance. He eventually finished fifth and should be returning to the winner’s circle very soon.
The end of the week saw us with three runners: two at Huntingdon and one at Sedgefield. The Captains Inn has had a fairly rough couple of years since his career was almost ended by injury at Aintree. The last time he had run he had had some issues with his heart, so it was a massive relief to see him come through his race fine and well into the next day. Bearing in mind this was his first go at fences it was a very good effort; he was probably a little bit too careful over his fences and so lost a bit of ground each time, but he kept to the task well and hopefully this will be a stepping point to him getting his career back on track.
The Captains Inn checking out the sights at Huntingdon Paul leading up Imperial Knight at Newbury
Unai had run a very promising race at Warwick last time out and we had high hopes for him at Sedgefield under Luca Morgan. He ran a decent enough race but was a bit too careful over his fences at certain points in the race when the seasoned chasers around him made up ground and he had a lot to do on the home straight. However, he showed a very willing attitude and stayed on dourly up the straight to finish third. Last up at Huntingdon we had I’m Spellbound who’d run a solid race last time at Southwell though he had pulled hard. He, again, took a bit of a hold but settled better travelling in behind the leaders and had every chance coming up the home straight. He eventually finished a very solid fourth in what looks a very decent bumper.
Evan taking a moment with I'm Spellbound at Huntingdon A happy Unai at Sedgefield
The start of a new month and many reasons to be positive not least the massive improvement with the weather, though -7 to 13 degrees is possibly pushing the barriers a bit. Finally, though the ground is drying up a bit and we even managed to use our grass schooling area for the first time since November! Nico de Boinville came in to join some of our staff giving a few of the horses a spin over the hurdles and fences.
Myles jumping The Captains Inn Nico de Boinville hurdling Global Citizen
Our first runners of the week came at Doncaster, where for the first time in a long time, there was good in the going description. There, we had Get Prepared running in a novice hurdle; Get Prepared had been off the track a long while before his encouraging run at Huntingdon just before Christmas and we had had to wait for a bit of better ground before he ran again. Held up by David Bass, he took quite a strong hold behind the leaders who went very slowly in front of him and from two out it turned into a sprint for home. Our lad jumped and travelled well particularly for his lack of experience, running all the way to the line, and eventually finishing fourth. He will come on plenty for the run.
Le Grand Lion is a real character at home and often lives up to his name. His first run in a bumper was a real eye-catching performance, finishing very strongly in a race in which he was learning all the way along. He is a horse we think a great deal of, and this probably was not the showing we thought he was capable of for all that this looked a strong bumper on paper. He got shuffled back further than we would have liked at the start and then got boxed in on the rail, which he probably would not have appreciated. He kept on up the hill and he will have again learned a great deal for the experience.
Olly and Le Grand Lion at Doncaster Ashton and Get Prepared at Doncaster
Friday saw us just down the road at Warwick with two runners. Special Buddy ran and jumped very well last time over 3m on heavy ground before getting very tired, here he ran another solid race, this time over 2m 4 on a better surface. Unfortunately, similar to last time, he emptied very quickly having looked to be travelling comfortably and some exploration may need to be done to work out why this appears to happen. Uisce Ur, winner at Doncaster last time out, was back in another conditional jockey’s race and ran another cracker. Given a nice waiting ride by Kevin Brogan, she jumped and travelled beautifully throughout and came to make her challenge between the last two hurdles but could not quite haul in the winner who was getting over a stone and a half in weight. Still a very likeable effort.
Kielan Woods aboard Special Buddy at Warwick Tom and Uisce Ur at Warwick
The best of the racing on Saturday was from Kempton where Delire D’Estruval was making his belated comeback having had a few complications this season. This was a serious baptism of fire as they went off a breakneck speed, particularly over 3m! The manic early pace took our lad off his feet, but he dug in and jumped around and his wind held up so plenty to build on. We love a last race winner on a Saturday and Guardino and Nico de Boinville duly obliged in the bumper at Kempton. He had got excuses for his slightly tame performance at Carlisle last time and had been trained conservatively with a view to the long-term. However, given a nice lead, he quickened away and though joined, he showed a tenacious attitude to keep his head in front.
Delire D'Estruval and Matty at Kempton Winners: Guardino, Nico De Boinville and Matty at Kempton
We had three runners on Sunday: two at Hereford and one at Fontwell. Lifeisahighway was a touch disappointing at Hereford with a somewhat underwhelming performance and we just need to consider what his best ground/trip is going forward. Minella Away was in the process of running a very decent race, also at Hereford, when he got one of his hurdles badly wrong and lost five lengths. This dropped him back through the field and he initially struggled to make up the lost ground before running on again towards the finish, potentially he may improve for further and this was a much better run.
Gentleman Valley had run a very nice race at Catterick back in November despite a few feisty antics and has matured a lot since then. He’ a lovely young horse but quite weak and he showed a bit of this in his race at Fontwell this time. He looked to be running a nice race but struggled as the pace increased and that will be the end of bumpers for him now, and we’ll look to start his preparation for a novice hurdle campaign next season.
Eliza and Lifeisahighway at Hereford Olly and Gentleman Valley at Fontwell
Apple of our Eye
First it was the wet weather that held us up, and then the cold snap brought us to a complete halt. Great credit to all the racing staff round the country for all their hard work over this last week, relatively speaking we have been lucky compared to a great deal of the country as we did not have any snow, but it has still been tough going with the cold temperatures, so well done to everyone for keeping the show on the road.
There have been a number of Jumpers Bumpers at AW flat courses round the country recently to try beat the freeze. These races enable horses that are fit and ready to run to get a decent spin under their belt and a lot of horses really enjoy the very different challenge.
We took our first foray into these bumpers, running two horses at Kempton with Chess Player and Northern Bound. Chester has always shown a great deal of natural pace and ran a great race to finish fourth whilst Northern Bound ran a solid race in what would have been a great pipe opener for a return to the fences.
By Sunday at least parts of the country had dethawed enough to allow Exeter to host a hurdles only meet. We had two runners’ book-ending the card with Delahaye Gold up first in a very competitive novice hurdle. He is a big baby and will benefit from anything he does this year; this was another step on his experience ladder and hopefully he will have learned a great deal. Bowtogreatness having his third run in a bumper this season did not enjoy the stodgy, heavy ground at Exeter. We were expecting a good run and hopefully a win, and though he ran a decent race to finish third he could not go the pace of the eventual front two who seemed to handle the terrible ground better. When he got back from the races he showed a dirty trach-wash so that helped explain his run.
The start of a new week saw us with three runners at Lingfield in AW bumpers, and two runners at local course Warwick. First up we had Ange Endormi, who had run such a promising race at Doncaster when he had finished third. The form of that race had worked out well, and though we were entering the unknown, we were hopeful of a decent run. He ran a decent race but like last time hung quite badly, eventually finishing fourth. Unfortunately, Artemision’s race at Warwick was over before it had started, as he blundered badly at the first hurdle at Warwick and unseated his rider, hopefully he will be out again soon. Chess Player had put in such a promising performance on the AW last time that we were having another crack at it. He jumped out very handily, under regular jockey Daryl Jacob, and looked to be going nicely in front three furlongs out before being passed by a strong finisher who has form on the flat, it was still a very likeable effort. Sadly, our day was marred by tragedy as Eau Top, running the race of his life, was fatally injured on the AW. Having started slowly he fairly flew down the straight and looked very much like he might get up on the line before suffering a terrible injury just before the finish. It was a horrible incident and a stark reminder of the unpredictable nature of racing. Our hearts go out to all connections, he was a lovely horse and will be sorely missed. On a more positive note, jockey, Daryl Jacob, who took a very nasty fall onboard him managed to walk away sore but unscathed. Our final runner of the day was withdrawn due to the testing ground at Warwick.
A proud Nathan with Ange Endormi whilst Ida works away! Chess Player and Daryl Jacob at Lingfield
Our spirits were immediately raised the next day with a lovely win at Carlisle by Apple Rock and Kevin Brogan. We had sent five horses up north, four to Carlisle and one to Catterick, and we had two runners, Apple Rock and Bobby Bow, competing in the first race of the day. Both horses were dropped out near the rear, Bobby on the inner and Apple Rock on the outside. Bobby ran a nice race up to a point before getting tired, he has not run for a while so this was a good effort and he will come on for the run. Apple Rock crept into the race on the outside of the field but still had a bit to do jumping the last hurdle. However, he grew wings on the run-in, and hit the line well clear of his competitors; a lovely performance and a third win of the season for this massively improved horse.
Winners at Carlisle: Kevin Brogan, Apple Rock and Paul
It was a lightning quick turnaround as Anightinlambourn was up next at Catterick. She’d run a lovely race at Wincanton, but she never went a yard here, a contrast to her exuberant victory last time out. David Bass persevered for a time, but she never seemed right and he pulled her up. Something seemed amiss on track and sure enough back at home she seemed a little under the weather, nothing serious though, and we will look forward to getting her out again soon.
Raf Tavel, an import from France this season, arrived here with some very exciting form. The unhelpfully British weather has made it particularly difficult to get him to a Racecourse, so whilst he has been ready to run for a fair while he has not been able to due to the swathe of abandonments. Therefore, though conditions were not ideal, it was great to finally get him on the track. It was also lovely to see a battered but not beaten Daryl Jacob able to take the ride after his horrendous fall the day before. He ran a decent race, given a nice tow by the eventual winner who looks very smart, before tiring when they quickened. It was a solid debut, and he looks a horse with a bright future.
Last up we had Shanroe Tic Tec, who has been banging on the door this season, particularly recently. Lily Pinchin was reprising the ride for the sixth time, having previously won on him twice. If anything, he probably jumped and travelled too well up front, pulling a few lengths clear initially and though swamped up the steep Carlisle hill, he still finished strongly to come fourth.
Just the one runner on Wednesday with Slipway running in a Maiden Hurdle at Hereford. So far this season he has improved for each race and in his previous run he ran a lovely race at Kempton. This time he was very unlucky to come second in a race in which he and the winner went miles clear of the third placed horse. Beautifully positioned throughout by Kevin Brogan, he jumped and travelled superbly but just could not quite haul in the winner. The longer aim has always been over fences, but we are very hopefully he can pick up a win over hurdles this season.
Though racing is back on, the ice and snow seems to have been replaced once again by rain and it takes a certain type of horse to thrive in the conditions. Mister Watson’s only run last year was a very creditable second in a bumper, but this has been a tricky season so far with a few issues with his jumping in his first two attempts over hurdles. For his third run of the season at Sandown we were hoping for a better jumping performance, but he ended up pulling out something considerably better, with a superb run to finish second, only getting nabbed late on on the line. Charlie Deutsch jumped him out from the front, and he looked to relish the testing ground, travelling, and jumping beautifully in front. As the race progressed the majority of his opponents began to tire and fall away and jumping the last he appeared to have it in the bag but for a fast-finishing opponent who swooped late on. Though disappointing to get chinned, it was fantastic to see such an improved performance under a very good ride.
Plaiting up Mister Watson at Sandown The finished article: Mister Watson and Ida
The final race at Sandown saw two of our horses competing, Tel’Art with Kielan Woods, and Honor Grey and Nico de Boinville. Unfortunately, whenever the sun belatedly makes an appearance it nearly always means the omission of hurdles at the end of the day, and Sandown was no different, in effect reducing the jumping by fifty percent. This certainly did not benefit our lads, both being solid jumpers and the extra slog through the mud did not appear to suit either. Honor Grey never appeared to travel and Nico reported that he struggled with the ground and will be seen to better effect on better ground. Tel’Art, once again showed his versatility, as he ran a solid race on ground he was unlikely to appreciate.
Bobby Bow strutting his stuff at Carlisle Matty and Tel'Art at Sandown
There was a feast of racing to view over the weekend with six different jumps courses in action, and we had two runners at Ascot on the Saturday. Earl Biffy Biffen had had a solid start to his career with a decent bumper performance at Ascot and this was to be his first start over hurdles. Daryl Jacob was taking the ride, and it was a satisfactory start to his hurdling career in a decent novice hurdle. He jumped well enough but appeared to have issues with his wind and we’ll be taking a look at that.
I don’t think it would be wrong to say I have a bit of a horse crush on Fawsley Spirit, who this season has improved for each of his runs and is a real character at home. He deservedly got his head in front last time out after his very unlucky fall at Ascot the time before that. He was taking another step up in class for this race and once again had Luca Morgan onboard. He took him out the front and he ran an absolute blinder; he was still in front over the last hurdle, but just got headed on the run-in, before attempting to rally again. He went down by half a length in another valiant effort and we could not be prouder of him, well done to owners Rachel Brodie and brother Clive Bush for persevering with him.
Earl Biffy Biffen getting plaited up at Ascot by Alice Legend Fawsley Spirit and Megan at Ascot
Sunday was a busy day with runners at three courses round the country and our first runner at Newbury was Kennack Bay. This looked a very hot novice hurdle, but he had already run two very decent races this season and this was another nice effort. His jumping looked to have improved from his two runs at Doncaster and he finished strongly so a step up in trip will definitely benefit him.
The Macon Lugnatic has not shown his true colours yet this season, but he showed glimpses of his true ability at Uttoxeter, on the main jumping well out in front and though he was headed he continued to run all the way to the line, he’ll certainly appreciate a return to better ground.
Optimise Prime has had an excellent start to his hurdling career, winning his two runs so far and lost nothing in defeat here. David Bass won on him in his first run and was reprising the ride in the rescheduled Sidney Banks at Market Rasen. He jumped out in front and travelled and jumped slickly, gradually increasing the tempo from two out but was headed between the second last and last, finally finishing third. This was a serious step up in class and he was probably done a little bit for tow so will look to benefit for going over a bit further on a more galloping course.
Liberty and Kennack Bay at Newbury Optimise Prime and Matty at Market Rasen
Bangers and Cash got a bit run off his feet at Hereford last time, and though a smaller field, this looked a competitive race on paper at Uttoxeter. He ran a very honest race but unfortunately bumped into one this time around, though second was a likable effort. He’s a young, angular horse with plenty of ability but he still needs to furnish out and will certainly really come into his own over fences next season.
Shakem Up’Arry, running in the also rescheduled Betfair Hurdle, did not get the start we wanted as he got shuffled back early on and onto the rail. On ground we did not think was ideal, he handled it very well and ran on very strongly to eventually finish eighth, only eleven lengths off the winner so all in all we were very pleased with his efforts.
The Macon Lugnatic at Uttoxeter Olly and Shakem Up'Arry at Newbury
Last up we had Kalinite and Rintulla competing against each other at Market Rasen, Kalinite looked to be having a grand old time in front jumping beautifully before stopping very quickly. He looked to struggle with his wind on the heavy ground and then had a tired fall, but thankfully got up ok and was fine this morning. Rintulla looked to be travelling very sweetly behind the leaders and came into the race looking the winner before stopping very quickly. Nothing was amiss after the run or the next day so maybe he struggled with the extended trip and we will take him back in distance.
Matty and Rintulla at Market Rasen Kalinite in his box at Market Rasen
A very quiet week on the racing front with just the four runners, who all put in solid efforts without managing to get their heads in front. Unai, having his first run over fences, put in a very assured jumping display at Warwick. He has had two underwhelming performances over hurdles thus far this season, but this move to the bigger objects brought out a much-improved effort, and despite being hampered badly on the home turn he ran on well after the last to finish a very encouraging third.
Nestor Park ran another excellent race, on the heavy ground of Ffos Las, finishing second for the third time this season. He looked to be travelling sweetly enough under Kevin Brogan before making a very bad mistake three from home which would have out paid to his chances. We are going to put some work into his jumping now before his intended run in the National Hunt Chase, for which he will have an excellent chance.
Nestor Park looking forward to his run at Ffos Las
Le Breuil put in another valiant effort up at Musselburgh over a mammoth trip in the Edinburgh National. With, his now, regular jockey Kielan Woods back on board, he bounced out and jumped the first two exuberantly, he raced in the vanguard before being headed and appearing to tire five from home, finishing fourth in the end. In hindsight it appeared he may have overstretched at the third fence and pulled some muscles so once again testament to what a hardy warrior he is.
Big Difference running on the second day of the Musselburgh meeting, once again finished second under Daryl Jacob. Up near the front for the majority of the race, he put in a decent round of jumping and looked the winner two out before being headed before the last, whilst still running on nicely to the line. Hopefully a win isn’t far away for this ultra-consistent lad.
Le Breuil in his stable at Musselburgh Flo taking Big Difference out to the Parade Ring at Musselburgh
The Cob Factor
On Wednesday we had a rare runner on the All Weather. Military Tactic had been bought off the flat and with the very heavy conditions currently abounding we decided to give him a spin back on the flat, where he put in an average performance but would have been good to get a run under his belt.
Our first jumpers of the week fell on Friday where we had three runners at Doncaster with Oistrakh Le Noir first up. He had run an encouraging first race over fences in a hot race on Boxing Day at Kempton and we hoped he could build on this effort down in grade. Unfortunately he ran a disappointing race, jumping badly and simply not handling the ground, he'll have a good looking over to see if there's something wrong. Kennack Bay ran a very good second half of his race having initially not jumped or travelled that well; the ground looked testing to the extreme and it appeared the front horses had gone off very hard in front so it was nice to see him finishing off so well. Last up was On Springs who ran a respectable race until getting tired on the ground, he's learning all the time.
With Cheltenham trials day being lost to the continuously unpleasant weather, it was up to Doncaster to satisfy our jumping buzz. We had two runners there with
Oistrakh Le Noir at Doncaster Lifeisahighway in the stables at Doncaster
Lifeisahighway in the first race of the day. He's had a small wind op since his promising last run in December and would probably have needed this run, finishing down the field. What a legend The Cob has been this season for Ben Pauling Racing and his very lucky owners, The Ben Pauling Racing Club. Before Saturday he had already notched up two wins from his three runs this season but this was both a significant step up in both grade and distance for the hardy Cob in what looked a strong renewal of the Albert Bartlett River Don. We should have known better as BPR took home the River Don for the third time in six years with an outstanding effort from The Cob and jockey Daryl Jacob. Sat midfield for the majority of the race, he slipped back a few places halfway round before Daryl brought him centrally behind the chasing pack. Whilst a number of horses around him began to flounder, The Cob continued along merrily, before coming to make his challenge. Despite a mistake at three out, he appeared to be travelling far stronger than anything else and went clear before the last pulling well clear of his opponents. In what looked a competitive race on paper he fairly routed the opposition and there's every chance he could be supplemented for the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham in March. It was in summary a fantastic effort from a real warrior of a horse.
The Cob parading at Doncaster River Don Winner's: The Cob, Daryl Jacob and Ollie
Ayr Racecourse was the only jumps course in action on Monday and we had sent two runners the day before with three of our hard-working staff. First up was Honor Grey looking to shift his run of 4ths, admittedly against very decent opposition, is a horse we’ve always thought a lot of. He ran an excellent race, dropped in near the rear of the field and made progress through the runners as the race unfolded, taking second from two out. He stayed on well towards the finish without challenging the winner, who is considered a very decent type, so all in all a very pleasing effort. Imperial Knight is a talented individual who had run a nice race at Huntingdon, and this looked a perfect opportunity to open his account. Ultimately though this was a disappointing performance from him as he looked to make a challenge three out before his effort petered out and he ended up finishing third. Hopefully, a return to a sounder surface and a shorter trip will see him belatedly get off the mark.
Imperial Knight at Ayr Celine leading up Honor Grey at Ayr
With Fakenham flooded we ended up with just the one runner at Exeter, though conditions were becoming ever more testing due to the incessant rain. De La Mar Rocket had run an excellent first race up at Carlisle, just getting touched off by an Irish raider. This looked a tough assignment on paper, with a last time out winner and some potentially decent prospects competing, not to mention the mire-like conditions. However, De La Mar Rocket went one better than last time, routing the opposition in the gloom. This time David Bass took the ride and jumped him out in front where he just kept pulling out more, intermittently appearing and disappearing through the fog before arriving on the home straight fourteen lengths clear to win in impressive fashion. He looks an exciting prospect for the future but will remain in bumpers this season.
De La Mar Rocket in the stables at Exeter Winners at Exeter: De La Mar Rocket, David Bass and Olly
The hideous weather continued into Wednesday with Chepstow somehow managing to survive a morning inspection; still conditions both there and at the other jumps venue, Newbury, would be testing to the extreme. Conceal was first up at Chepstow and ran a decent enough race considering the awful weather. He has pulled quite hard in his runs this season so we were looking to settle him better by dropping him in. Unfortunately, the front two went a long way clear at a very early stage in the race and it never looked like they were coming back to the chasing pack. The experience should set him in good stead for a more conventionally run race.
Pencreek probably jumped the best he has done all season but struggled in the heavy ground at Newbury. He sat midfield early on before making a move forward four from home, however he got very tired very quickly as he struggled to get out of the mud and ended up making his own way home. The spring ground will be much more to his liking. Nadaitak never jumped with any fluency in his race, making a number of mistakes and very possibly calling a hiatus on his chase career for the time being, a return to hurdles in the spring beckons.
Matty leading up Nadaitak at Newbury Pencreek at Newbury with Ida
Fine Casting has always been a horse that we have held in high regard and the form of his debut fifth has worked out very well despite him pulling too hard in that race. In his second race he had come an excellent second, and hopes were high that it would be third time lucky. We need not have worried, as in very murky conditions Daryl Jacob jumped him out in front and he never looked like being passed, eventually winning cosily by nearly two lengths. It was very apparent that he had benefitted from his previous experience on course, putting paid to a well-regarded field this time out, and he will be put away for one of the Spring festivals now.
Newbury Winners: Fine Casting, Daryl Jacob, Boss Ben and Hannah
Let's Hear it for the Girls
The second week of January was a frustrating one for jumps trainers, with the snow and freezing weather putting paid to the majority of racing; in fact, we ended up not having a runner for over a week. It was therefore with great relief that we got to Friday afternoon knowing that at the very least a very decent card at Kempton was to go ahead, where we had the one runner. With both Wincanton and Chepstow passed precautionary inspections on the Saturday morning two more of our runners got the go ahead. Though it had been a quiet few day, it had enabled us to get plenty of work into our runners, and it promised to be an exciting day of racing ahead.
It was an early commencement to racing on the Saturday, with our very promising previous winner, Malinello first up at Wincanton. Malinello had won very convincingly last time out on soft ground at Market Rasen, pulling well clear of a potentially decent horse and establishing himself as an exciting novice. With Daryl Jacob retaining the ride, expectations were that he could follow up that nice victory. Unfortunately, he never seemed happy with conditions, and did not jump in the same exuberant fashion as he had done previously. He seemed to get stuck in the heavy ground and did very well to hold on for second.
Shortly after, we had another promising youngster, Slipway, running at Kempton. This was only his third ever run; he’s a raw young type who looks a chaser in the making. He jumped, and travelled particularly well, until showing signs of greenness two from home. He was then regathered by Richard Johnson, in an excellently informative ride, and finished strongly to finish third.
Fi leading up Malinello at Wincanton Alice and Slipway at Kempton
Tel’Art, trying new tactics, was dropped in and as ever ran a solid race, he seemed to cope with ground that would be on the soft side for him and was doing much of his best work towards the finish, he will appreciate going over a bit further next time.
Anightinlambourn was our final runner of the day and she duly obliged. A return to more front running tactics coupled with a drop in trip really brought out the best in her, and it was great to see her get her head in front for the first time. Daryl Jacob, on his way to a fantastic five timer at Wincanton, kept things simple, jumping her out in front and making all. she never looked like getting headed, jumping economically, always looking comfortable and pulling out a bit more when needed. She finished on the bridle over five lengths clear and in time could go over further. A lovely result for the Megson family and hopefully with more to come.
Anightinlambourn, Daryl Jacob and Evan Winners at Wincanton Doncaster Winners: Uisce Ur, Luca Morgan, Ida and Tom
No runners on Sunday meant we could prepare ourselves for a frantic Monday with five runners at Doncaster and three at Hereford. The day could not have started any better with Uisce Ur taking home the opening conditional jockey’s hurdle at Doncaster with an excellent ride from Luca Morgan. He was at great pains to get himself forward in the large field and popped out in front, making all and setting excellent fractions. She battled all the way to the line showing a very willing attitude.
Bangers and Cash had had an excellent first run over hurdles at Southwell in December on soft ground so the forecast soft ground at Hereford should not have been a problem for him. However, they went off a real rattle on very holding ground and he just could not go the pace; great credit to him he hung in there until getting very tired towards the finish, he’s a lovely horse with plenty of filling out still to do and he’ll be seen to better effect over a longer trip. Curio Bay, in the same race, would also have suffered for the frenetic early pace and struggled to lay up, he would have learned a lot for the experience.
The races were coming thick and fast, and next up we had Not At Present back at Doncaster. Sadly, he just could not cope with the testing ground but hopefully it will be easier to place him now that he will get a handicap mark. Granny’s Secret also struggled with the ground; she probably wants a bit further and the application of a tongue tie. On Springs also had issues with the ground but ran a nice race all the same. He jumped and travelled well before tiring greatly towards the finish.
Back at Hereford we had Kevin Brogan taking the ride on Apple Rock in another conditional jockey’s handicap hurdle. In a very cool hold up ride he held up Apple Rock near the back of the field, gradually easing him into the race before making significant progress from three out and kicking for home from two out. He was joined and briefly headed after the last before pulling out a bit more to win an exciting finish.
Apple Rock, Kevin Brogan and Paul Winners at Hereford
Our final race on the day was the bumper at Doncaster where we had Ange Endormi running. He has been a particularly quirky character to train at home, but he certainly put his best hoof forward on his first trip out, behaving impeccably before the race and running a very promising race to finish third. He travelled strongly amongst the chasing group before showing his inexperience by hanging slightly left and then veering left; Luca Morgan then corrected him, and he finished the race strongly. All nine of the horses came home safe and trotted up sound the next day.
From the frenetic to a somewhat more relaxed Tuesday with just the one runner, and that was Unit 64 at Wetherby. He jumped and travelled well in front before getting very tired on the incredibly testing ground, he is a very smart lad who has chaser written all over, and it was lovely to see him pop his hurdles so easily. We’re looking forward to seeing him run on a better surface.
Unit 64 and Olly at Wetherby Plumpton Winners: Lady Chuffnell, Kielan Woods and Flo
Again, just the one runner on Wednesday with Lady Chuffnell contending the last at Plumpton. Her last race had been a big step forward, in which she had made the running, and despite missing a few of the hurdles on the home straight, she finished a very promising second. Kielan Woods was taking the ride this time and jumped her off behind the front two before taking the lead after the fifth. The improvement in her jumping was even more marked on this run and though headed she rallied very strongly after the last under a power packed Woods to win going away, hopefully this will be the steppingstone to further success. Lady Chuffnell was our third mare to win in five days.
With Catterick under a blanket of snow, Special Buddy was to be our sole representative at Fontwell. Last time out he looked booked for third before a tired fall, and his last engagement had been abandoned so we were hoping for third time lucky. It was that man Kielan Woods on board again, and he jumped very well on shocking ground, looking competitive, before getting very tired indeed on the home front and pulling up before the last fence. The only three finishers finished legless so there was no shame in a PU.
We had five runners on Saturday with our sole runner at Market Rasen first up. Fawsley Spirit has been a revelation this season since his spin point-to-pointing, and he deservedly got his head in front with Luca Morgan, after falling last time out when leading over the final hurdle. In each of his races this season he has led from the front and this time was no different, repelling all challengers and always pulling out a bit more when needed. He pulled clear at the last and he and the second placed horse were miles clear of the third horse. A huge congratulations to Rachel Brodie and Clive Bush and special mention to Megan Fox, who has done such a fantastic job of sweetening him up.
Winners at Market Rasen: Fawsley Spirit, Luca Morgan and Meg
Our other four runners were all at Warwick with Le Breuil competing in the Classic Chase. He had run a lovely race in the Becher Chase to finish third and we were looking forward to seeing “Breuily” and Kielan Woods back in action. Once again, he put in a solid and consistent effort to finish third; he seemed to get a bit outpaced halfway round before finishing very strongly.
The Macon Lugnatic and The Captains Inn were up next in a Pertemps qualifier, with David Bass reprising his successful partnership with the Macon, and Kielan Woods riding the Captain. The Macon has been off for a while after his last run at Cheltenham back in October, and this run was a big step in the right direction. In typically Bassy/Macon fashion, they set off from the front showing off his much-improved jumping, however at four out he started to come back to the field, and he probably struggled with the heavy ground and the extended trip. Back on a sounder surface and reduced trip we should see him back in the winner’s enclosure. The Captains Inn, still on the road to recovery after a horrific injury back in 2019, also jumped out prominently but stopped very quickly. Afterwards the vet’s report showed a fibrillating heart but happily this morning it had gone back to normal, which is fantastic news.
Celine plaiting up The Macon at Warwick Last Minute Adjustments before Le Breuil runs
Last up we had gentle giant Baxter Basics in a newcomer’s bumper at Warwick. Under yard favourite David Bass he set the field a merry dance up front before tiring very quickly on the heavy ground, he’s a real baby so will have learned plenty from his experience and there will be plenty of big days for him going forward.
BPR Power Couple Baxter Basics and Hannah
Boxing Day heralded the start of a bonanza of Festive racing, and although less than a “normal” year, there was plenty of fantastic racing to take us into the New Year. We had three of the four racecourses in action covered, starting with our sole runner at Wetherby, Eau Top. The conditions were challenging up north, but this should have suited Eau Top, who relishes a test. This time around he ran a bit of a head scratcher, jumping well up front but backing out of it tamely reasonably early on. Nothing seemed amiss afterwards so it’s back to the drawing board for him.
The most serious racing on Boxing Day was at Kempton where first up was Severance, on something of a retrieval mission after his disappointing run at Haydock last time out. Kielan Woods retained the ride, and he ran a much-improved race in decent company. After initially making a few minor mistakes at the first two, he then jumped much better, and on a track that was probably a little bit on the sharp side at 2 miles, he briefly got outpaced, but then ran on to finish third, and it was particularly encouraging to see him settle so much better.
Severance at Kempton Oistrakh Le Noir also at Kempton
Oistrakh Le Noir was the outsider of the party on his first go at hedges, and was initially settled nicely out the back by Gavin Sheehan. From here he gradually crept into the race as his confidence grew over the larger obstacles. Though never on terms with the front two, he finished with a fair rattle and was unlucky not to nab fourth on the line. An excellent first go in a very decent race.
Whatsupwithyou and Tel’Art were up against each other in the last race of the day. Tel’Art ran another solid race, in a stronger grade than he had previously been contesting. He’s been a model of consistency since winning twice in the summer and this was another solid effort over a trip that could have been a bit short for him. Whatsupwithyou continued his excellent partnership with Luca Morgan with a pleasing fifth, which could have been even better but for a mistake two from home. At that point he was very much still in contention, but his blunder cost him ground and impetus, and that did for his chance. He has been unlucky so far this season, but a win cannot be too far away.
Last up on the day was well fancied bumper runner Mucho Mas, who ran out a lovely victory at Wincanton. He was held up near the back of the field by Sean Bowen and crept his way through the field. He briefly looked a bit green before finishing strongly as he looked to be learning on the job. It was an impressive performance for what should hopefully be a promising horse going forward.
Olly leading in Wincantion Winner Mucho Mas and Sean Bowen Winners at Wincanton
Sunday saw the return of Global Citizen at Kempton; unfortunately for the second time this season he ran well below par. He jumped ok for four fences before backing out of it and pulling up. We are going to attempt to tweak his wind and see if we can get this incredibly talented horse back on track.
While everyone at BPR got a heavy dousing of snow on Monday, the weather was lovely and clear on the run up to Catterick with our sole runner Uisce Ur. Unfortunately her round of jumping wasn’t quite as clear as the weather, as she came a cropper at the eighth fence when still travelling strongly. Hard to say what she would have done but she put in a lovely round of jumping without her unfortunate jockey Brian Hughes, who had something of a challenging day, falling off twice before his luck changed with him winning the last race.
Tom and Uisce Ur at Catterick One Touch and Nathan with Matty and Nadaitak at snowy Doncaster
It took two inspections before racing went ahead at Doncaster on Tuesday due to the heavy snow falling on the way up there. One Touch and Nadaitak were reopposing each other over fences for the second time. Unfortunately, neither handled the sodden ground particularly well; One Touch jumped well for a time before getting tired whilst Nadaitak never really got involved due to a mix up at the start; potentially both may return to hurdles.
Kennack Bay, also at Doncaster, has had a tricky season so far, not showing the verve of last season, so it was something of a fact-finding mission with him. All things considered he ran an excellent race, jumping well and running out a game fourth place.
Matty and Kennack Bay at Doncaster Quinta Do Ma and Flo at Market Rasen
The Cob has been one of the stable stars so far this season, winning two races and scooting clear both times. Up in grade again, this time at Newbury, he never quite looked himself and did well to still be in with a chance with a couple left to jump. He didn’t travel with the gusto he’d shown in his previous races, but though he finished a trailing third it was still a solid effort.
Nestor Park, looking to build on his solid start to fencing life, had Luca back onboard after their excellent second together at Newbury earlier in the season. He travelled and jumped superbly to be just touched off a neck in his third race over fences. Always at the front end, he and Luca looked to be in a flowing rhythm over the hedges and looked the winner all ends up two from home. Unfortunately, he made a small mistake at the second last and a big one at the last which probably did for his chance, though he still rallied on the run-in. Despite two unfortunate seconds a return to novice company should see this exciting lad get his head in front.
Just one runner at Taunton the following day, Minella Away; he seemed to hate the testing ground and stopped quite quickly. Quinta Do Mar was the first of three runners we had at Market Rasen. He had not seen a racecourse of any description since the previous December, and that had been a point-to-point, so whatever the result he’d definitely come on for the run. He ran a cracking race, albeit a bit green at times, looming up to shadow the eventual winner and being very unfortunate to get touched off for second on the line, in what was an excellent run.
Leading Knight took a significant step forward in his run, showing a much-improved attitude and the penny seems to be dropping as he begins to see his races out better. Pencreek, in the last race of the day, continued his run of thirds with another excellent run. He got massacred on one of the turns and would have found the ground soft enough over the extended trip as he tired towards the finish, getting pipped for second on the line. A shorter trip on better ground should see the best out of him.
Flo and Leading Knight at Market Rasen Pencreek at Market Rasen
On New Year’s Eve we had two runners at Warwick with Rintulla first up. This go he made amends for his early fall last time out, jumping well up front before becoming slightly outpaced on the home turn. He then ran on after the last so would look to go over a bit further next time; the front three came well clear.
Bowtogreatness was having his second run in a bumper and jumped out smartly in front, travelling strongly in very testing ground before showing signs of greenness on the home turn, hanging towards the stable block; in doing so he forfeited the lead but got back motoring on the straight, giving chase to the leader before tiring towards the finish and taking second. This could very well turn out to be a strong bumper.
Bowtogreatness and Evan at Warwick
The Grade One Unibet Tolworth Hurdle was our only weekend race, for which we had the unmistakable Shakem Up’Arry, always noticeable for his very distinctive low head carriage when running. After blitzing the opposition in his opening race of the season at Ffos Las, Arry had come an excellent fourth on Betfair Chase day in November, before having a short break to prepare himself for this race. Setting the fractions in his customary front running manner, he ran an excellent race with regular jockey Daryl Jacob, setting an even gallop before being joined by the strong travelling favourite at the second last. And though the winner went away convincingly, Arry was still well clear of the rest. We can look forward to the rest of the season with him, and further down the line jumping over the bigger obstacles.
Shakem Up'Arry at Sandown Matty leading Shakem Up'Arry at Sandown
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Keep on Rolling
Poor Leicester racecourse had more issues last week with racing abandoned on Wednesday, meaning our first runners of the week fell on Thursday, just down the road at Warwick. Our first runners were Conceal and Not at Present in a competitive looking maiden hurdle, with Daryl Jacob and David Bass taking the respective rides. Conceal had run an excellent race at Sedgefield previously while Not at Present was looking for a confidence boost after a disappointing first run of the season. Both horses jumped off prominently with Conceal taking the lead and Not at Present in the vanguard; both horses jumping and travelling nicely. Three hurdles out and things were looking very promising but Conceal appeared to get very tired very quickly and eventually finished eighth whilst "Notty" ran an absolute blinder, and though passed by a few he still ran all the way to the line finishing a very creditable 6th. Conceal’s final finishing position was a bit disappointing but he seemed fine afterwards and scoped cleanly, so he will have a few days off and we will try to get to the bottom of why he didn’t run quite so well; possibly he didn’t quite stay, though it was lovely to see Not at Present run so promisingly.
Anightinlambourn ran a nice race in a big field handicap, she was held up and made progress three out but never really got on terms with the front horses, and possibly was beaten by a trip too far, she still finished a solid fourth under David Bass.
Fine Casting at Warwick Evan and Anightinlambourn (with Hannah) in the stables at Warwick
We saved the best til last at Warwick as Fine Casting really stepped up on his first bumper run, finishing an excellent second. Both he and the winner came clear in what looked an above average race. They set a good gallop up front which suited our horse well as he tucked in behind the leaders, and as the pace quickened, with the eventual winner taking the lead, our lad stayed on stoutly. All in all an excellent performance and he looks a smart prospect for owner Mrs Sue Davis.
We had three runners on Friday starting with recent Irish point-to-point recruit Minella Away at Bangor, ridden by BPR amateur Megan Fox, on her first ever ride under rules. He initially took a bit of a hold before settling well and jumping nicely, however he appeared to get outpaced and came home in his own time in what would have been an excellent learning experience for both horse and jockey.
Raven’s Tower competing in another Veteran’s Chase, at Doncaster this time, and was ridden by Luca Morgan. His jumping, again, was excellent and if anything, he jumped a bit too well, but for a few issues with traffic and a mistake four out he might have finished a bit closer than the 5th he finished. Whilst Unai, returning from a wind operation, was ultimately disappointing, he sat in behind the leaders but never looked entirely comfortable and was struggling four out before being pulled up.
Minella Away and Megan Fox Unai at Doncaster Raven's Tower in the stables at Doncaster
We were up and at them bright and early on Saturday with the two runners, one at Doncaster and one at Hereford, starting with Lifeisahighway at the former. He ran a nice race coming 4th showing signs of improvement and it looks like his time will surely be coming soon. We might get his wind done as he made a slight noise on the home run but a positive run none the less. Optimise Prime, returning to Hereford, venue of his previous victory, had to shoulder a penalty for his last time out success and he was certainly no 50-1 shot today but again won convincingly. His jumping was much slicker, and he travelled well at the head of affairs, motoring on and barely having to be pushed out to win cosily with Luca Morgan. It was great for Luca to get a win under his belt after hitting the crossbar a few times recently and congratulations to the Brodie family.
Ashton and Lifeisahighway in the stables at Doncaster Dual Hereford Winner Optimise Prime with Luca, Matty and Ben and Owners the Brodies
The lovely Saturday weather gave way to some damp old fare on Sunday; we had three runners at Southwell where the ground would most certainly be affected by the wet weather. First up for us was bumper newcomer I’m Spellbound with Daryl Jacob onboard for his owners, Simon Munir and Isaac Souede. He was possibly a bit too enthusiastic up front on very testing ground, tiring on the home front and dropping to 4th, it was still a promising first run. Bangers and Cash, having his first attempt at hurdles ran a mighty race, learning as he jumped round and given an excellent educational ride by David Bass. Second this time confirmed his potential as a jumper and though long-term, fences will be the target, he’s certainly capable of winning over hurdles this term. Towards the Dawn and Luca were looking to go one better after being touched off last time at Ludlow, unfortunately he did not seem to enjoy the attritional ground at Southwell and dropped away quickly. Once returned to the paddock, he had slipped a hind shoe and had trodden on his toe clips, he was very sore, and this would have explained his poor run. We patched him up and he’ll be off for a short time but it’s nothing too serious and he’ll return racing again soon.
Evan and I'm Spellbound Alice and Bangers and Cash Evan walking Towards the Dawn
Monday was a no racing day so plenty of time to reflect on the weekend’s action and prepare for the week ahead. Kildisart had run an excellent race in the Ladbroke Chase and all the runners on Sunday had run positively.
Tuesday saw four runners round the country, one at Lingfield and three at Southwell. First up on the day was Delahaye Gold, having his first run in a bumper with Luca Morgan taking the ride. Unfortunately, he was too green to do himself justice and finished down the latter end of the field. It will have been an excellent learning experience for him as his career develops.
Eliza leading Delahaye Gold and Luca at Southwell Ashton with Pencreek and Daryl Jacob
Everyone was looking forward to seeing Pencreek run again after his excellent first run at Newbury and Daryl Jacob was retaining the ride. This was another tough task, but his prep work had been good, and we’d put a bit of extra polish on his jumping. He jumped away smartly and raced prominently throughout, he was still a bit messy at a few fences and got very tired jumping the last two, he’d had a long layoff prior to his first run so he may have bounced from that first run, all in all finishing third was an excellent effort.
The old campaigner Raven’s Tower was having his first go at a Veteran’s Chase at Lingfield. Having stepped up markedly in trip last time, he was going over a bit shorter, but the forecast heavy ground was a bit of a concern. Ben Jones on board gave him a nice quiet ride and he looked and jumped confidently until about three out when the ground seemed to tire him, and he slipped to last of the field. Nothing was lost in defeat as he jumped well but hated the ground.
Bobby Bow, winner on his first run at Hexham, was attempting 3m for the first time at Southwell with Luca on board. Unfortunately, he pulled very hard this time and found himself up near the front only dropping the bit turning in. At the business end those early exertions appeared to have sapped him and he did well to finish fourth.
Raven's Tower hiding Paul at Lingfield Ashton getting a lead from Bobby Bow at Southwell
The Cob backed up his excellent win at Uttoxeter with a polished performance at Haydock, winning nicely in a strong field. He relishes soft ground, and it certainly was that at Haydock, but he went through it like his namesake would on the hunting field. This time we had David Bass on board, who’s ridden our last two winners and has been on a hot run of form. He settled much better this time and began to make a move halfway round, asserting three out and winning nicely, his jumping, bar one, had been very slick throughout. It was a fantastic result for the hugely supportive Ben Pauling Racing Club; having waited two seasons for a victory, this season they are two from two.
Haydock Winners: The Cob, David Bass and Olly with BPRC in the background The Cob decidedly more relaxed in the Stables!
Enchancia announced his intention to commence his Point-to-Point career imminently, with a lacklustre run at Ludlow, hopefully this career change will reignite his enthusiasm as he was unbeaten in Points before starting his career under rules.
Overnight and morning rain meant Thursdays conditions were looking fairly attritional all around the country, and it was going to take some getting. Malinello was our first runner of the day at Market Rasen; he’d already got some very solid form in the book with a number of winners coming from the races he’s run in. Daryl Jacob was taking the ride and he kept it simple, jumping soundly and tracking the leaders before taking the lead four out, from that point in there was only one winner, and despite making a mistake at the last when he probably got a bit lonely, he came clear to win very impressively, a massive congratulations to owner Martin Jones who looks to have a very nice prospect going forward.
Malinello Winner at Market Reason with Daryl Jacob, Ben and Fi with owners Martin and Lynne Jones in the Background
De Barley Basket had been on a recent hot streak winning his last two races, but the deteriorating ground, which had softened significantly overnight, saw him struggle at Leicester. David Bass, who’d won on him the last twice, drove him to the front but he never looked comfortable and didn’t jump with the aplomb he’d shown in his previous runs. Once headed he backtracked quickly and was pulled up. After a highly successful autumn campaign he’ll be put away til the spring and we’re delighted for the Embiricos’ that Barley has finally come good.
Linenhall had run a solid race last time over hurdles and a return to the bigger obstacles was hoped to bring some improvement. Conditions had got considerably worse over the course of the day though it was thought he’d probably appreciate a bit of cut in the ground. He broke away slowly and found himself a bit too far back, he was never travelling that well but kept finding for jockey Luca Morgan’s urgings, and but for a mistake two out, would have finished closer than this eventual fifth. On the whole his jumping was good, and it was a nice performance.
South Mountain, running in the bumper at Market Rasen, was on something of a recovery mission after hanging badly last time he ran. The ground was also something of an unknown, but he ran a much-improved race, dropped in he travelled kindly and was given a tender ride by jockey Daryl Jacob, who probably enjoyed this experience a fair bit more than his previous effort. Great to see this big lad back on track for his owners.
De Barley Basket and Nathan happier inside than out at Leicester
Super Saturday saw three runners around the country starting with Nestor Park at Aintree. Nestor had run a fantastic comeback race at Newbury rattling home to nab second on the line. He ran a nice race but made a mistake on the home straight which probably cost him any chance, like his previous race, he ran on up the straight and finished 5th.
At one point it looked like The Captain Inns might never run again such was the severity of the injury he received the last time he ran back in April 2019, so just a return to the track was a win. The patience of Andrew and Jane Megson in that respect has been amazing and it was great to see him back in action at Chepstow. He jumped nicely and travelled well for a time before getting tired, he has come back roaring and we’re looking forward to seeing him run again.
What more is there to be said about the legend that is Le Breuil, he looked to absolutely adore the jumping challenge of the National fences with Kielan Woods, and took the lead early on, jumping like a stag. He carried on in this vein jumping superbly in front til he decided to take one of the fences with him and was briefly headed. That mistake would do for most horses but Breuily is made of sterner stuff, and proper warrior that he is, he regained the lead only to be headed by another legend, Aintree course specialist Vieux Lion Rouge who hit the front swinging. Le Breuil still finished an honourable 3rd, but for that mistake he could have taken 2nd.
Le Breuil excited about tackling the Aintree fences
With Huntingdon abandoned due to flooding, it was up to Kelso to carry the racing flag on Sunday. We had two runners in the same race, Nadaitak piloted by Tom Bellamy, and One Touch, ridden by David Bass. Our horses ran in contrasting styles; One Touch was sent on in typical Bassy fashion jumping big and bold from the front, whilst Nadaitak took his own more leisurely approach, jumping well but needing a bit of encouragement. Unfortunately, One Touch was a bit too bold out in front and David Bass unseated at the twelfth fence, though he very nearly managed to stay on through some impressive aerobic skills; it won’t be long before he returns to the winner’s enclosure. Nadaitak overall jumped solidly, and though he made a mistake at one, he continued to roll along, finishing a very creditable 3rd, he will continue to improve as the season progresses.
Ida and Nadaitak at Kelso One Touch and Nathan also at Kelso
TOO MANY TWO'S
The monsoon like conditions of the weekend and the previous week had left their mark down south; so on the hunt for better ground we took Big Difference to Leicester on Monday. Big Difference had run an excellent race last time out, coming clear a fair distance from the third but not quite able to get his nose in front. The handicapper hadn’t been very lenient with him for that, admittedly, good run but we still had high hopes. Kielan Woods was in the plate this time around and he gave him a nice, patient ride, jumping economically all the way round and producing him over the last. Unfortunately, a bit like last time, there was a lurker hidden away, and just when it seemed our horse had done enough, another swooped late over the last. Second again was a nice result but he certainly deserves a win.
Olly and Big Difference at Leicester Olly and Shanroe Tic Tec at Market Rasen
Tuesday was a schooling day with Nico, Daryl and Tom in to jump some of the horses over hurdles and fences. Overall, with just the occasional fit of high spirits, it was lovely to see all the horses feeling so well.
Daryl jumping Kildisart our big Ladbroke Chase hope
Our current malady of seconditis struck again on Thursday with Shanroe Tic Tec and Lilly Pinchin just bumping into one at Market Rasen. Lilly and Shanroe had popped away nicely behind the early leaders and, as they began to fall back, hit the front. She was joined by another that was travelling well and the two settled down into a ding-dong battle with Shanroe going down by just over a length. Frustrating though it is, it’s great to see the horses consistently running so well.
There was some very good racing round the country on Friday, and we had three runners, two at Catterick and one at Ascot. First up was Lifeisahighway at Catterick ridden by Kielan Woods; last time he did a bit too much up front and pulled up, so we were looking for a more patient approach this time around. He jumped out prominently behind the leaders, and travelled smoothly for a time, however he looked a little flat footed when the pace quickened. In the end he only finished 13l behind the winner and it was a step in the right direction.
Gentleman Valley was up next, again at Catterick, and again ridden by Kielan. He can be a quirky lad at home but is very talented and we were all looking forward to seeing him run whilst hoping he’d behave himself! As it transpired, he managed a bit of both, getting loose in the preliminaries before running an excellent race. He jumped off sharply and led from 2f out, initially looking like he was going to get swamped before rallying well under Kielan to take the lead once again, only being headed in the last 100 yards finishing a length third.
In the gathering gloom Apple Rock looked to brighten up our day. He’d had an excellent win on the soft at Carlisle back in October and had conditions to suit at Ascot with Luca riding again. Unfortunately, he probably travelled a bit too well in behind the leaders and was taking something of a hold. He briefly led four from home but began to weaken two out eventually finishing 6th.
The "Ninja" aka Paul leading up Apple Rock at Ascot Ollie with Gentleman Valley at Catterick
We had four runners around the country on Saturday including two of our exciting younger horses at Haydock. Severance had put in an impressive performance at Carlisle under Kielan Woods and although it was a quick turnaround, he had come out of the Carlisle race really well. Though short on runners it was a high-quality field with plenty of last time out winners. Sadly, the Carlisle run had taken a bit more out of him than we’d thought, and he didn’t run the race we knew he was capable of. Kielan popped him round and he was right as rain when we got him home; he’ll have a short break to freshen him up and we’re looking forward to seeing him run in the New Year. Shakem Up’Harry had had a great spin around Ffos Las last time out, and we were excited to see him up in grade at Haydock. He loves a bit of mud and conditions looked to suit as there had been plenty of rain over the previous few days. Kielan, riding for us again, jumped Harry, with his distinctive low head carriage, to the front, reasonably early on where he jumped and travelled well until he was joined 2 out. Even then he carried on stoutly to the line, coming a very pleasing 4th and with the front five well clear of the rest of the field. Imperial Knight ran an excellent race at Huntingdon under Luca Morgan, sitting in midfield before making headway to the front from 4 out, and though he was headed two from home, he rallied on the run in, finishing a close third, a much improved run.
Shakem Up'Arry and Matty at Haydock Matty leading up Severance at Haydock
Earl Biffy Biffen was our last runner in the gathering gloom at Ascot, anything he achieved in his bumper would be a springboard on to other things but as it was it was a run full of promise and he was hampered on the home turn so could have finished even closer than he did.
Poor Rintulla didn’t get much of a run at Uttoxeter on Sunday where he’d barely got going before he fell at the 4th fence. Luckily both horse and rider were unscathed and will live to fight another day.
Ashton and Rintulla at Uttoxeter Alice and Earl Biffy Biffen in the gloom at Ascot
HITTING THE CROSSBAR
The busy theme from the previous Sunday rolled into Monday, with horses running at Kempton, Carlisle and Chepstow. First up on the day was Chess Player at Kempton, having his second run of the season. He’d pulled far too hard in his first race, so it was important that he settled better this time. He certainly seemed to do so under David Bass, appearing very relaxed at the back, and he briefly made some progress 3 out but he wasn’t able to sustain his challenge, he finished well clear of the 6th placed horse.
Northern racecourses, and Carlisle in particular, have proved to be very lucky for BPR so far this season and once again this proved the case. Severance, a handsome looking son of Nathaniel, had won on the flat for Mick Channon and had reached a career high mark of 90. He has always had plenty of ability but not been the easiest to train due to his exuberant attitude. The key to him running a good race was the ability to get him settled early on, no mean feat, but Kielan Woods riding him for the first time, did a fantastic job of putting him to sleep and he stalked his way through the race, coming to the last swinging and forging clear to win easily. He looks a very smart horse for the yard.
Severance, Kielan and Myles with owners the Megsons in the background, Winners at Carlisle
Malinello, having his first start over hurdles, was taking on some strong opposition on his first go at hurdles. He and the eventual winner pulled clear of a listed winner of Nicky Henderson’s and our lad was very game all the way to the line. It was a nice performance with him jumping well and possibly the winners previous hurdling experience was the difference at the finish, they both finished well clear of the 3rd placed horse.
Jovial Spirit was in the last chance saloon at Chepstow and had the addition of cheek pieces, unfortunately these seemed to overegg him, as he charged to the front pulling far too hard. His exertions proved too much and he faded very quickly.
Our last was in the bumper at Carlisle, where we had Del La Mar Rocket, a smart Fame and Glory gelding, again ridden by Kielan Woods, who put in an incredibly game effort from the front, just getting tagged on the line by an Irish raider. It was a very pleasing effort and rounded off what had been a very satisfying day all round.
Malinello and Glyn at Kempton De La Mar Rocket and Myles at Carlisle
It was just Special Buddy representing BPR on Tuesday at Lingfield. He was having his first run over fences and Adrian Heskin had the leg up. He jumped very nicely for a time but weakened after hitting one and finished 5th, there was still some promise in the run.
We had just the two runners on Wednesday both at Exeter Dock Road. A fairly recent recruit, was having his first run of any sort, he’s a very laidback character at home who’s jumped nicely schooling, so he went straight into a novice hurdle. He was taking on another new recruit in Ranch Hand, a 106 rated ex flat horse of Andrew Balding’s who’d won a listed race on his last run on the flat. Having briefly got outpaced halfway round, on the home turn Dock Road really started rolling under Tom Bellamy and, despite being 4 lengths down at the last, finished a closing ½ length behind Ranch Hand which was a fantastic effort.
Seaside Girl, trying to make the most of the autumnal ground, was up next, again at Exeter. She’s an incredibly hardy lady who loves jumping and despite running slightly in bursts, she was doing her best work at the finish to come 4th. Hopefully there will be one more race for her this season before the ground gets too slow.
Special Buddy with Ollie at Lingfield Dock Road at Exeter
A nice quiet day on Thursday, we had Nico and Daryl to the yard to school some of the horses over fences and hurdles, and all of them jumped well. The season is really swinging into gear with all eyes on the start of the Cheltenham November Meeting.
Nico jumping Shanroe Tic Tec Daryl jumping Whatsupwithyou
It was a slow day on our racing front, and though there were plenty of racing around the country, we had just the one runner in the bumper at Ludlow, South Mountain. He settled well over the first few furlongs under Daryl Jacob but unfortunately when he came to challenge, he hung badly and Daryl did a sterling job to get him home. We got him home and he is right as rain. He is a big handsome son of Westerner, and despite this minor setback, he’s got a big future ahead.
The start of the Paddy Power Festival at Cheltenham saw just the one runner there, Tel’Art in the Conditional Jockeys race with Luca onboard. Luca jumped him out smartly and he led the field a merry dance, jumping fast and cleanly, 2 out he had every chance but got swamped by the closers. He still ran all the way to the line, finishing a very decent 6th, a very pleasing performance considering his busy summer season and the step up in clas
Tel'Art hiding Matty at Cheltenham Alice leading Anightinlambourn at Soutwell
Sunny Southwell saw two of our runners competing, Northern Bound, a summer jumper, having one of his last runs of the year, and Anightinlambourn, who’d run a very promising race last time out. The former, ridden by Daryl Jacob, was smuggled into the race and looked to be travelling nicely but was temporarily pushed along 4 out and then got outpaced when he hit 3 out, he weakened after that finishing 4th.
Anightinlambourn ran an almost perfect race but jumped slightly awkwardly at the last, giving the winner a head start up the short Southwell run-in; which she couldn’t quite reel in. Tom Bellamy on board, slip-streamed the winner the whole race and brought her to make her challenge between the last two, she had travelled and jumped supremely well up to that point and it was a real shame she couldn’t quite get her head in front.
Saturday was a sofa and fire day, with horrible squally weather dampening spirits but that doesn’t apply to racing folk, and the show must go on. We had the one runner at Uttoxeter, Mister Watson, having his first run over hurdles with David Bass. Unfortunately, he made a number of mistakes at the rear of the field and though he made some late headway, Saturday wasn’t going to be his day, he’s a lovely horse so there will be plenty more opportunities.
Ollie and Mister Watson at Utoxeter
Tragically we lost our first runner at Cheltenham on Saturday, Equus Secretus “Egg”, was having a lovely spin for the first time with his new jockey Nick Phillips. Unfortunately, he made a very bad mistake at the water jump and had to be put down. As well as being a successful horse for the yard, Equus had been a real joy to have around the place and will be sadly missed particularly by Nathan and Myles in the yard. Our condolences to all connections.
Whatsupwithyou is a horse we’re all very excited by and having run a very promising race last time out at Cheltenham, hopes were high. The worsening conditions were very much in his favour as he’d won a maiden hurdle on heavy and Luca Morgan had retained the ride, taking off a handy 7. He’d got a lovely position behind the leaders 3 out and looked to be the winner jumping the last 4 lengths clear. However, possibly the horse got a bit lonely in front and he wandered hard right on the run in and was headed just short of the line. Despite being a painful result, it was a great run, and we’re looking forward to seeing him turning out again.
Nathan and Equus at Cheltenham Megan and Whatsupwithyou also at Cheltenham
Going up Through the Gears
We started the week with four runners at Exeter, where unfortunately we didn’t get off to the most auspicious start, Now is The Winter didn’t put his best hoof forward and pulled up in the first race of the day. He has struggled since winning a good bumper back in March 2019; post race he looked to be suffering a sore back, hopefully if this can be resolved we can find the spark to reignite his enthusiasm. On a more positive note he was awarded best turned, so a big well done to Myles.
Honor Grey fared somewhat better in his race, his first over hurdles, travelling in the vanguard, before having a good blow two out. He then rallied and ran on very nicely to take 4th; he’ll really benefit from the run.
Honor Grey and Flo at Exeter
The big race of the day was the Haldon Gold Cup, won in the past by such luminaries as the great Cue Card, Somersby and more recently Cheltenham winner, Politologue. There were some strong entries this year including Global Citizen, one of our stable stars, and hopes were high. Well known for his front running tactics, which have been so successful, different tactics were being tried over this slightly longer trip as a prep for potentially going over further this season. He settled nicely but as he was coming to challenge he hit one and that seemed to knock him, he pulled up not long after that. There are plenty more targets for him and he’ll probably revert to his exuberant front running tactics.
The Megsons had a second horse running in the last race, Lady Chuffnell, having her first go at a handicap and with Luca taking off a helpful seven pounds. She has shown flashes of ability thus far, but this time she really stepped forward and ran a cracking race from the front. She was only headed coming to the last hurdle, and though she missed the last three, she carried on finding and despite not being able to reel in the winner it was still a very good effort to come 2nd.
We had two of our regular jockeys in on Wednesday, Nico de Boinville and Tom Bellamy, as well as Nick Phillips (one of the owners of Equus Secretus) to school some of the horses over hurdles and fences at the Yard. We had the perfect weather conditions on a crisp, cold, beautiful morning and it was great to see the chasers in particular enjoying the good ground.
Nick on Equus Secretus Nico on Linehall
There was a feast of racing on Thursday, and we covered all three courses. The furthest to travel was the solo challenger, Conceal running at Sedgefield, he’d gone up the night before with Bobby Bow, running at Hexham the day after. Charlie Deutsch had the ride, and gave him a great spin, travelling and jumping nicely, he finished in a dead heat second having run on after the last, a very pleasing result.
Ashton leading up Conceal and jockey Charlie Deutsch Ben interviewing Daryl after his great ride on Pencreek
Pencreek, having his first run for Ben, upped the ante further with a superb effort at Newbury. Despite jumping off last and having a few shaky jumps to start with Pencreek, under a very cool Daryl Jacob, slowly weaved his way through the traffic and but for a big mistake 2 out would have finished closer to the front two, both very smart horses. Having had over a year off it was a very impressive effort.
De Barley Basket has always looked like a proper chaser and he confirmed that with a great win at Market Rasen. David Bass in typical “Bassy” fashion took Barley to the front early on, and despite jumping the path early on in the race, he jumped his fences brilliantly, repelling all threats and sticking his neck out all the way to the line. It was a very polished jumping performance and a change in tactics really brought out the best in him.
David Bass, De Barley Basket and Nathan. Winners at Market Rasen
Nestor Park had become something of a forgotten horse, his last win coming in a novice hurdle back in January 2019, since then he’d had 3 pull ups and a 4th though admittedly he had been keeping fairly illustrious company. This was only his third run over fences and first attempt at a handicap and though he was very unfancied in the market, under, a once again inspired, Luca Morgan, taking off a handy 7 pounds he ran an absolute corker. He certainly wasn’t foot perfect at all his fences and was badly hampered on one bend but kept finding for pressure and fairly flew up the home straight to grab 2nd on the line, with a clearer passage who knows what might have been but it was still fantastic to see him get back on track.
Front running tactics on Leading Knight didn’t bring the much needed improvement we were after, the penny is taking a while to drop, we know he has ability but he’s making us work hard to prove it, and despite David Bass’ urgings decided that today was not the day.
The bookend of the card was two highly competitive bumpers and we had two of our nice young horses running, Bowtogreatness in the 3.40 and Fine Casting in the 4.15. The former, ridden by Daryl Jacob travelled smoothly but may have been positioned too far back, he lacked the gears as the pace quickened and lost 4th near the finish, it would have been a highly informative experience. Nico de Boinville on board Fine Casting had a tough time settling him and that probably did for his chance, he stayed on inside the final furlong but didn’t have the energy to challenge, coming in a respectable 5th.
Harry and Sandra Redknapp cheering on Bowtogreatness
Friday’s racing by comparison was somewhat more relaxed, with three runners at Fontwell and one up at Hexham. We started somewhat underwhelmingly at Fontwell with On Springs, who never seemed to be travelling under Tom Bellamy, he was eased towards the finish and it transpired he’d burst a blood vessel.
Linenhall made a perfectly satisfactory start to his season, running a nice race with Luca at Fontwell where he got tired towards the finish, we’re looking forward to seeing him jump a fence.
Alice and On Springs at Fontwell Fi and Linehall at Fontwell
Bobby Bow, one of our two northern raiders, really came up trumps with a pillar to post win at Hexham under an excellent ride from Brian Hughes. He jumped and travelled supremely well, and it never looked in any doubt. He’s always worked very well at home and this couldn’t have been a more pleasing start to his racing career at BPR.
Bobby Bow and Brian Hughes winning at Hexham
Bangers and Cash was our final runner of the day, making his racecourse debut in the bumper at Fontwell. He jumped smartly away, leading until he was headed on the home turn, as this was very much a learning experience he wasn’t given a hard ride and will certainly have learned plenty from the experience.
Our weekend runners were somewhat up and down. We had Slipway and Nadaitak at Aintree where Slipway ran a nice race jumping his hurdles particularly well, he got outpaced up the home straight but ran to the line and will come on for the experience. He will in time be a lovely staying chase. Nadaitak was always going to need the run having had over 18 months off the track, so anything he did on Saturday was going to be a springboard for later in the season. Tom Bellamy, who’d ridden him last time out at Cheltenham 2019 was taking the ride. He jumped him out to the front where he jumped well but appeared to get tired halfway round before rallying. He doesn’t do much at home so we’d have struggled to get him cherry ripe first time out, he’ll certainly strip fitter for the run.
Alice giving the thumps up to Slipway Matty and Nadaitak at Aintree
Sunday was a real up and downer; starting with Shakem Up’Arry at Ffos Las. Sometimes when you’ve got the best horse it’s easier to keep it very simple and that’s exactly what Harry Cobden did on him, out from the front unopposed, made all and never came off the bridle, he looks an exciting horse for the rest of the season. Your Darling, having his second run of the season at Sandown, looked to do it from the front and three out he appeared to have his opposition cooked but stopped rather quickly when headed 2 out. We were in some ways relieved when Nico came back saying he was making a noise as this can be resolved and more than anything we can look forward to having our top class horse back. Nothing positive came out of Hawk Wind’s race at Stratford, he never looked entirely happy and we’ll put a line under that. Ups and downs, but a very healthy 33% strike rate for the day.
Shakem Up'Arry winner at Ffos Las with jockey Harry Cobden and Matty
The dawn of a new week was a quiet one; with no racing til Wednesday it was a relatively laidback start for the horses and the personnel. This can be particularly useful when dealing with the specifics of logistics and with trips as far as Scotland planned this week it was good for everyone that they could ease themselves gently into the week.
Tuesday was a Ben Pauling invasion of the Lambourn Gallops, we had four lorries headed there, working in two shifts; in total we took 13 horses, and even managed to pick one up to take home, welcome to Dock Road. Nico and Daryl joined our riders and were very happy with the horses they rode.
Oistrakh Le Noir left & Shakem Up'Arry Special Buddy left & Ange Endormi
With plenty of rain overnight and all through the day the ground had changed a lot by racing time on Wednesday. Lifeisahighway was having his first run in 18 months at Fontwell and he jumped out smartly and went clear alongside the unfortunate Van Megeeren, a last flight faller when clear. He travelled and jumped well until three out, in hindsight he’d probably done a bit too much early on on the tacky ground and stopped very quickly.
Unai and Anightinlambourn were taking each other on at Hereford, where again the ground had taken on a fair bit of water, both jumped well, particularly Anightinlambourn who briefly looked to get competitive three fences out but her challenge petered out, interestingly all the horses that finished in front had had the benefit of a run this season already. They finished 5th and 6th respectively, which was a solid starting point for both horses.
Seaside Girl, none the worse for her trip to Wincanton, was strongly fancied for her race at Fontwell, but she’s a good ground girl and the going was all wrong for her, she jumped nicely enough under a patient ride from Luca but was always struggling with the ground and it was great credit to her and Luca that she finished where she did.
Thursday epitomised the ups and downs of racing, starting the day with Jovial Spirit at Ludlow. It was a hot novice hurdle, and with it being his first run over obstacles, he was always going to be slightly up against it. Things didn’t really go to plan and unfortunately some novicey jumps didn’t help, he pulled up 3 out and he’ll need to show a bit more next time he runs.
Granny’s Secret, again at Ludlow and again ridden by Daryl Jacob, showed much improved jumping and travelled nicely for a while but faded towards the end of the race, she’ll come on plenty for the run.
At Lingfield Bryony Frost had the leg up on Not at Present. “Notty”, again over hurdles for the first time, jumped the first two a bit clumsily and struggled to lay up after that. He briefly rallied but ultimately finished down the field. He will have learned an enormous amount from this initial experience and was given a very gentle ride.
Luckily we saved the best til last, super Luca served up a treat on Apple Rock at Carlisle. It certainly wasn’t good ground at Carlisle, with earlier runners coming back coated in mud. Whether Apple Rock likes the mud or not, he certainly went well enough in it. He was taking on a Skelton hotpot and travelled and jumped well throughout, given a super cool ride by Luca Morgan, he gradually made headway through the field, jumping the last in front and staying on well to win by 3/4l. It was a much needed boost in what has been a tricky couple of weeks.
Apple Rock winner at Carlisle ridden by Luca Morgan and led by Paul Tait
The equivalent of Christmas came for jumps folks on Friday with the start of the first Cheltenham Meeting. We had just the one runner there on Friday, Whatsupwithyou, entered in the super competitive Handicap Hurdle. Ridden again by Luca, he smuggled Whatsupwithyou into the race, and despite hitting a few flat spots in the race, he kept finding for pressure and was bang in contention at the last, making a beeline for the rail and running on strongly to the line to finish a highly creditable 7th. All in all it was a great days racing obviously only lacking in the fans but fingers crossed going forward.
Whatsupwithyou at Cheltenham led up by Megan Fox
Two yard favourites ran on Saturday, Cheltenham festival winner Le Breuil up north at Kelso and The Macon Lugnatic at Cheltenham. Both were having their first runs of the season and so entitled to come on for the run. First up was Le Breuil at Kelso; the race started in dramatic fashion with three down at the first fence leaving Breuily in the front pair, he jumped and travelled nicely until three fences out when the tank began to empty, despite that he only finished 5l behind the winner so all in all a very positive run. For some reason or another it was not the Macon’s day at Cheltenham, despite showing his now much improved jumping, and jumping out in front he looked beaten very early on and cruised home in his own time. His first run last season was disappointing and he went on to win his next two so we can hope for better going forward.
Sunday, unfortunately didn’t quite go to plan with both One Touch and Sebastian Beach heading up to Aintree. One Touch hit the front early on but jumped markedly right and Nico pulled him up quickly as he thought something had gone wrong, he’d given himself a bang but should be fine. Sebastian Beach has had a great summer and this was probably his last chance before the ground goes against him. Luca jumped him out in front, and he looked happy enough but the ground must have been too wet as he struggled to get home.
Finally on a lighter note, its been a real animal week at BPR and here are some of the images from this week.
An unexpected visitor to the Gallop Cracker supervising the horses work Newest recruits could do with a bath
Time for Some Rain
The weather may have stayed fair for the week but that’s all that did at BPR; it’s been a tricky last 10 days, but fortunately as the weather looks to change for the worse bringing some much needed moisture to the courses so the green shoots of improvement have been shown over the weekend, starting the week with some much needed enthusiasm.
The week started with a trip to Lambourn for another schooling session, including two owned by football legend Harry Redknapp, who came along to watch his horses, Shakem Up’Arry and Bowtogreatness do a piece of work. Whilst Bangers And Cash, Baxter Basics, I’m Spellbound and De La Mar Rocket also came along for a spin. Yard jockeys Nico de Boinville and David Bass rode Bowtogreatness and Shakem Up’Arry respectively and were pleased with how they worked. The other horses looked good too, and we are looking forward to seeing some of them run very soon.
Harry holding Court. Shakem Up'Arry left. Bowtogreatness right. Luca leading on Baxter Basics.
We had three runners at Huntingdon on Tuesday; Your Darling had a nice first run to finish third to one that probably got a bit of a soft lead. In the same race, poor King Erik landed badly at the first and was pulled up quickly afterwards. Unfortunately he has suffered a serious injury will be off for a while now convalescing, we wish him a speedy recovery. Later on, Northern Bound, in a very open race, had to cope with a 12 lb swing from his previous run. He’d been raised 6 lbs for his win, and without Luca’s 6 lb claim he had a tough task. He finished 5th, which was respectable without ever being overly competitive. Finally, Myles Osbourne, one of our stable employees’, had a ride in the final race for his parents and despite being a very big price indeed, ran brilliantly to come 6th.
Wednesday saw horses working home and away, with jockeys Tom Bellamy and Nico de Boinville coming to the yard, and another 6 horses going to Lambourn. All the horses worked well, with Equus Secretus particularly tanking along, much to his jockey’s enjoyment!
With racing at Carlisle and Wincanton on Thursday, we had lorries heading in different directions; Wireless Operator going to Carlisle with Hannah and Glynn, whilst Seaside Girl was heading to Somerset with Ida and Flo.
Unfortunately, Wireless Operator’s race was run at a dawdle with a sprint at the finish, and both the race and the ground didn’t suit, with him finishing down the field. Seaside Girl jumped beautifully for all of two jumps, but some miscommunication between jockey and horse, saw Luca Morgan unshipped at the 3rd fence. Seaside Girl carried on on her jolly way for a bit longer before she was safely caught. However poor Luca stayed down, he was later taken to hospital but luckily there were no serious injuries and he’s back on the yard already. On a happier note, local trainer and friend of the yard, Jennifer Mason’s horse Frilly Frock won that particular race so it wasn’t all doom and gloom!
Luca, Flo and Seaside Girl at Wincanton. Glynn & Wireless Operator at Carlisle.
Friday was a nice quiet day, we had just the one runner at Fakenham in a novice hurdle. Hawk Wind, who was having his first run of any type, was ridden by Bryony Frost. Dropped out the back, he became a little detached to start with, but then really got the swing of things to finish a very pleasing 4th. Softer ground and a longer trip we hope will really bring the best out of him.
All the big action was at Ascot on Saturday with Champion Day’s, the grand finale of the Flat Season going on. Considering the course was flooded a fortnight ago, it was very impressive that racing went ahead. With the flat nearly finished, the jumps season now starts in earnest, and it is very exciting to think the first Cheltenham meeting is only a week away. There was still some competitive jump racing on at Stratford, where Now is the Winter ran, and at Market Rasen where De Barley Basket and For Luck ran in the same race.
Now Is The Winter was running a nice race, jumping and travelling well, until David Bass pulled him up as he felt there was something amiss, luckily he was absolutely fine but better to be safe than sorry. De Barley Basket ran solidly enough to finish midfield, he’s been consistent this season without threatening to get his head in front just yet. For Luck jumped considerably better on his first attempt over fences and there was definitely some improvement.
There was no resting on the day of rest, with Artemision at Ffos Las, and grand servant Raven’s Tower at Kempton. What a contrast in experience, Artemision at 4 yo’s, having his first ever run, whilst Raven’s Tower at 10 yo’s, was having his 58th run in total, 51st for us. Both horses ran absolute stormers, Artemsion having run in the vanguard for the majority of the race came a strong 4th, only 5 lengths behind the winner and ½ a length behind the hot favourite in a strong race. Raven’s Tower, trying a new trip, travelled beautifully, but for suffering for the lack of a clear run when he was making his move, would have finished even closer than the very decent 3rd.
We had three birthdays this week, Gill, our Head Person and Ashton, one of the stable grooms and finally the illustrious man himself, Ben. Plenty of cake was had by all!
Gill Schooling. Ashton after her Birthday dunking. Ben managing the Gallop.
Finally we wish the best of luck to Jazz Chapman, one of our Stable Groom's, who is going to train to be a Veterinary Nurse, thanks for all your hard work.
(Below riding her favourite horse Delahaye Gold)
So Close.... but not to be.
It was a disappointing start to the week, with racing abandoned at Stratford, after the River Avon burst its banks, not surprising after all the rain we have had recently. Luckily, the majority of runners entered there, have been redirected to Newton Abbott this Sunday.
Of the runners this week, Eau Top and Lady Chuffnell ran well at Sedgefield without getting their heads in front, they both ran promisingly for their first runs of the season.
Similarly, Shanroe Tic Tec ran a solid race at Exeter, he is a quirky character that needs his mind focused on the job in hand, but hopefully the penny is dropping
A number of horses have had an away day, schooling at Lambourn, and Ben was pleased with how the horses worked while a lot of their normal jockeys came to sit on them.
On Friday the world-renowned Coach and Instructor Yogi Breisner came to the yard to give some instruction to the young riders, everyone, young and older, learned a great deal from their sessions and can hopefully put some of his instruction to good use going forward.
On Saturday we had just the one runner at Chepstow, Doubly Clever, who tragically suffered a fatal injury when falling, our condolences to the Morgan family. Doubly wasn’t here long but had done brilliantly in a short, busy stint over the summer, we’re all very sad to see him gone.
Sunday didn’t entirely go to plan, we took 3 runners to Newton Abbott but unfortunately everything ran a little bit underwhelmingly. We’ve had a good look at all three this morning and they seem perfectly well in themselves so maybe it was just one of those days! Onwards and upwards.
Luca on Doubly Clever. Yogi Breisner Clinic.
Back to back wins for The Macon Lugnatic at Doncaster!
Having won on this course over this distance on his last start The Macon Lugnatic repeated his fabulous performance, this time on better ground in the Novices’ Hurdle. David Bass gave him another superb ride. He dictated the pace from the front until he was joined at the last and responded to the pressure brilliantly finding plenty to take the race by a length and a quarter. Huge congratulations go to his owners Genesis Racing Partnership II, who weren’t there but watched and celebrated in style from Cheltenham!
The team brought two wonderful winners home from Huntingdon on 1st March!
To kick off the double Equus Secretus won the MansionBet Proud To Support British Racing Beginners Chase. This was a competitive little race in which David Bass gave Equus Secretus and inspirational ride. He lost a shoe and was briefly headed but fought back bravely to get his head in front when it counted. Congratulations to the Bourtoneers and well done Nathan Green who looks after him.
Granny’s Secret went on to win the MansionBet #getitready For Cheltenham Mares' Maiden Hurdle by 5 lengths under another great ride by Nico de Boinville, providing the team with a double! Every winner is exciting but this one was extra special as it’s the first winner Ben’s trained for his mum and her JP girls, who definitely enjoyed it!
What a way to kick things off with our new sponsor Jeremy Houghton! It was the debut outing of our fabulous new kit provided by Jeremy who was with us at Huntingdon on the day.
STOKES WINS ON DEBUT AT WOLVERHAMPTON
Stokes is shaping up to be as good as his namesake. Winning on debut under David Bass at Wolverhampton in the Best Odds Visit novibet.co.uk Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race. He made all, set the pace, saw of the competition and won decisively. He is a very exciting horse who looks to have a bright future and we can’t wait to see what it holds.
The Macon Lugnatic wins the 1st Security Solutions EBF "National Hunt" Novices' Hurdle (Qualifier) at Doncaster
The Macon Lugnatic made all and kept finding out in front for David Bass who gave him a truly superb ride. Their timing was perfect as was the way they controlled the pace and they thoroughly deserved the win. The Macon Lugnatic was always a nice bumper horse but it was evident after his first run of the season at Leicester that his jumping needed work, so we sent him to Lucy Jackson who has done a fantastic job of schooling him. It's been a big team effort to get him back to this sort of level so it was great to see. He’s an improving horse and it’s always exciting when they win a qualifier like this. Congratulations to his owners The Genesis Racing Partnership II and to all connections!
Notice how clean they are.. one of the many perks of never being headed!
Legal Eyes wins the Every Race Live On Racing TV Handicap Chase at Kempton in style!
What a horse! The beautiful Legal Eyes was given a superb ride by Nico De Boinville, whos talent for reading races and hard work schooling the horses here at home to ensure their jumping is confident and accurate on the racecourse was as evident as ever. Having won at Plumpton in October this was Legal Eyes’ first run since having his wind operation. He rewarded The OAP Syndicate’s faith in him in spectacular style, winning this competitive race by 11 lengths! He jumped and galloped his rivals into submission and truly deserved the win, having led from the 3rd fence and given his all.
Your Darling wins the Premier Food Courts Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race at Newbury
The hugely exciting Your Darling looks to have a very bright future, winning on debut at Newbury for his owner Lord Vestey under Nico De Boinville. He was up against some strong competition including the incredibly well bred Flinteur Sacre (full brother to the famous Sprinter Sacre) making the win all the more impressive. The brilliant Henrietta Knight, who sourced him from Ireland thinks that he ‘is as good a horse as Best Mate’. It is safe to say that we are all incredibly excited about him!
29th December 2019 - One Touch serves up a festive treat to win at Doncaster!
One Touch made light work of the competition in the CWS Plumbing and Heating British EBF ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier) at Doncaster. He was given a peach of a ride from David Bass who did what he does best and bounced him out to make all. One Touch went clear two out and was (to quote the commentator on the day) a ‘touch too good’. He was eased down to win by a convincing eight lengths for his brilliant owner Mr Martin Jones having jumped like a stag throughout. He won his only Point To Point start, a bumper and now he has also won over hurdles. We are anticipating a bright future for this classy horse over the bigger obstacles.
27th December - Global Citizen wins at Kempton!
Global Citizen produced a fabulous front-running display to win the Ladbrokes Wayward Lad Novices' Chase (G2, C1) at Kempton. He made all and set a good galloping pace which was 4 seconds faster than the Desert Orchid Chase. He has really stepped up and returned to form after making his chasing debut in October. In spite of the unfavourable ground we knew he was a brave and gutsy horse with the necessary class to win this competitive renewal.
David Bass rode him very positively settling him in a good rhythm and getting him jumping fantastically. Going into the last he had seen off all of his rivals except for Rouge Vif, however Global Citizen's valiant leap over the final fence and gallop to the line made him impossible for any of the others to get on terms with, let alone past.
His owners, The Megsons, have plenty to be excited about for the rest of the season as with this win under his belt we will now set his sights on the Arkle at the Cheltenham Festival or Aintree. The winners of the Grade 2 Ladbrokes Wayward Lad Novices’ Chase in recent seasons include the likes of Sprinter Sacre, Altior and Cyrname, five of the last eight winners have gone on to win the Arkle.
20th December - Whatsupwithyou and Cavok provided Ben with a welcome double
Whatsupwithyou won the eventmasters.co.uk Maiden Hurdle at Ascot for his owner Co-foundations Ltd. David Bass gave him a fantastic, expertly timed ride. He has made the perfect start to his hurdling career, taking the inside line and jumping brilliantly throughout the race. He coped with the testing conditions very well and stayed on brilliantly to win this strong maiden hurdle convincingly by 3.5 lengths.
Cavok won the Richard Winterton Auctioneers Novices' Handicap Chase at Uttoxeter under Luca Morgan for her owner Mrs Carrie Zetter-Wells. This was Cavok’s season and chasing debut. Cavok won her Irish Point to Point on heavy ground so we knew she would be able to cope with the conditions. Luca Morgan gave her an excellent ride taking on the leader two out and seeing off the favourites challenge.
Espoir De Loire wins at Musselburgh