Cheltenham Festival 2020

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            Delface & Mr Clarkson

There have been significant developments in the last week in the racing world with regards to the resumption of racing in this country.  Everyone is now focusing on a return to flat action behind closed doors on 1st June at Newcastle.  A programme of race meetings and races has been released for the first eight days while they are hoping to produce the fixture list for the rest of June by the end of this week.  There is a big weekend planned for 6th/7th June with the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas scheduled to take place while Royal Ascot will take place on its original dates 16th – 20th June.

Obviously it is great that the plans are in place and we will wait with bated breath to see if the government will allow racing to re-start on this date, depending what happens with the Coronavirus in general in the next couple of weeks.  I have been enjoying watching the action from France in the last week.  They particularly had a good jumping card at Auteuil over the weekend but their strategies and plans they put in place to get racing back on seem to be working and fingers crossed we can have a similar result over here.  The good news over the weekend as well was that racing is set to return in Ireland on 8th June.  Everyone is moving in the right direction and while everything will be far from normal we have to start somewhere.  It all seems positive and we can hopefully look forward to getting a run into some of our horses on the flat in the not too distant future.

INDIVIDUAL WINNERS

In the last few weeks I have been looking back at some of the highlights from lasts season.  We have looked at the highs and lows, multiple and dual winners and now I will look at some of the individual winners and give a brief update on each to be continued next week!

You Say What – winner number two of the season for the yard in a chase at Newton Abbot last year.  Owned by the Turner and Webb families he was a lovely big staying chaser.  He finished runner up at Newton Abbot after this before we very sadly lost him in a fatal fall at Uttoxeter last summer.

Percy Street – won a hurdle race at Wincanton in May last year.  A character with a lot of ability he didn’t win again after but was placed several times.  He is likely to run on the flat before going back over hurdles later this summer.

Van Gogh Du Granit – Only joined the yard as a ten year old in March last year but quickly became a yard favourite for his big heart and infectious enthusiasm for racing.  He ran ten times for the yard last summer and only finished out of the first four once when still running a good race to finish midfield in the Scottish National last April.  He won at Market Rasen in May with David Noonan on board and they struck up a wonderful partnership.  He even went over to Belgium last August to run in the Belgian Grand National and he ran another good race to finish fourth, a first and wonderful experience for all of us involved.  We very sadly lost him after a freak accident when schooling over some cross country obstacles and he is greatly missed. 


       Van Gogh Du Granit in Belgium

 

Mrs Miggins – Finally got her first win at Uttoxeter last June after being a model of consistency and being placed lots of times beforehand.  She finished runner up back at the track on her next outing as well.  She can be forgiven a bad run at Wincanton in December as she hated the ground that day and was ready to run when racing was called off in March.  She has had a little break in the field since then but will be ready to run over jumps later in the summer. 

Jacbequick – An admirably tough and consistent horse he was a winner at Newton Abbot in June with Isabel Wiliams on board.  He finished third after this and then picked up a little injury.  He returned to the track in December in the colours of the David Pipe Racing Club but did not enjoy the soft ground.  He is in training and will run on the flat when racing returns and then will go jumping later in the summer as well.

Barranco Valley – Unfortunately Barranco Valley is a horse with a mighty engine but his wheels have stopped him fulfilling his potential.  He won impressively at Ffos Las last June on only his second start for the yard but another injury afterwards meant that we had to retire him.  He is very happy living just down the road with Dynaste and Tamarinbleu!

Ourmullion – I was delighted to finally get a win for his owners David and Elaine Long who had been very patient with him and they came down to watch him win at Newton Abbot last summer.  He had been very consistent but had found getting his head in front hard so it was great to finally pass the post in front.  Due to his owners reducing their racing interests he was sold at the sales later in the summer and has been running for new connections since.

Picture Painter – A character who had plenty of ability but did not always choose to use it!  Owned by our local Blue Ball syndicate it was brilliant when he got his first win for them at Newton Abbot in July.  There were some celebrations that night!  They decided to move him on after this and he went off for a career in the point to point field. 

Stream Lady – carries the colours of yard sponsor Geoff Thompson.  She enjoyed going chasing last summer as she is a brilliant jumper.  She got her first win over the larger obstacles at Sedgefield in August and has been placed since.  Her form is a little in and out but she has done well out in the field and think there is more to come from her over fences when she returns.

Vieux Lion Rouge – He has been a star for the yard for many years.  He won first time out last season taking advantage of being able to run in a veterans chase for the first time at Chepstow in October with Conor O’Farrell on board. He completed over the Grand National fences once again in the Becher Chase at Aintree in December and was being prepared for a crack at the Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse before racing was called off.  Veteran’s chases are likely to be on his agenda again when he returns in the autumn.


                Vieux Lion Rouge

Make Be A Believer – a gorgeous young horse who made a very pleasing winning bumper debut at Chepstow in October.  He unfortunately picked up a little injury after this but he was ready to run again when the season was prematurely ended.  Now at a grass he has huge potential going forward.  He is likely to start off in another bumper in the autumn before going novice hurdling.

Poker Play – He loves the mud and took to fences well when winning his chasing debut at Ffos Las in October.  Things did not quite go to plan after this but he was highly tried at Cheltenham and there is better to come from him over the larger obstacles.

Know the Score – Improved for the switch to fences when winning on his debut at Worcester in October.  Nothing much went right after this and he ran too bad to be true on a couple of occasions.  We stopped with him after this and while nothing much has come to light I know he is far better than he has been able to show so far and I look forward to getting him back on track after the summer.

Queens Cave – She is a mare I hold in high regard and it was brilliant to get her first win over hurdles at Exeter in November.  I was disappointed with her effort at Cheltenham the following month but on reflection she was upsides two subsequent Cheltenham Festival winners at the last so it was not a bad run at all!  We have definitely not seen the best of her yet and there is more to come.

Duc De Beauchene – formed part of a memorable Cheltenham double on the Sunday of the November meeting.  Ridden by Jonjo O’Neill junior, the conditional jockey’s race had been the long term target.  Given a super ride by Jonjo it was a great performance.  He didn’t quite go on from this but he is a lovely big chasing type who should appreciate the switch to fences this winter.


 AP, David, Charlie Swan and Jonjo O'Neill Jr

I will continue a look back at some of our other winners next week.

KIM GINGELL

It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Kim Gingell at the end of last week at the age of 42.  Daughter of trainer Colin Tizzard and mum Pauline it is desperately sad times for all of her family.  My thoughts are with her husband Dave and their young son Freddie, who I know is doing extremely well as a jockey on the pony racing circuit and is emulating Uncle Joe in the saddle. I actually saw Kim at the Cheltenham Festival in March but since she had been diagnosed with cancer and sadly it was an extremely short battle.   She played a huge part in the running of the Tizzard yard and will have left a big hole in everyone’s hearts.  My thoughts and best wishes are with the whole family at this time.