Entries & Recent Form

I was thrilled to get off the mark for the new season at Stratford last week.  Leoncavallo’s first chase success was certainly the highlight of the week, although there were several other noteworthy performances to look back upon too.  Meanwhile, we welcomed a new arrival from the Arqana Sales who I hope you will be hearing more about in the coming weeks.

Leoncavallo Impresses

We wouldn’t normally be celebrating our first success of the jumps season in July, but these are unusual times indeed and Leoncavallo (pictured above) was just our eighth runner of the new delayed campaign.  A high-class hurdler during his earlier career, he joined us towards the end of last season and posted a very good first effort for us when just touched off on the flat at Sandown.

He had tried fences once before for previous connections and whilst not convincing with his jumping then, we had given him plenty of practice at home and been pleased by what we had seen.  He did get in close to a couple at Stratford, but on the whole I thought his jumping was good.  Tucked in behind a strong early pace, he was given a positive ride from Tom Scudamore who sent him on five from home.  He fairly took off when Tom gave him a crack when challenged on the home turn and the race was soon in safekeeping.  The time was good too, with him narrowly missing the 2m5f chase course record despite being eased for much of the run-in on the way to registering a 13 length success.  He certainly looks an exciting prospect for the season ahead and I was delighted to repay the owners’ trust.

There were several other good efforts last week with Midnight Magic finishing third in the 3m chase at Uttoxeter on Thursday, Jasmin des Bordes filling the same position in the 3m2f handicap hurdle at Newton Abbot on Friday evening and I’lletyougonow also finishing third in the 2m1f novices’ hurdle at Cartmel on Sunday.  They should all be capable of winning something similar before long.

We had a few hard luck stories too.  Story of Friends may not have won the 2m handicap hurdle at Uttoxeter, but he was staying on nicely and sure to reach the frame when falling at the penultimate hurdle, whilst Paricolor was travelling very well on his chasing debut when diving at the third last fence and coming to grief.  Only a four year old, he gets a very handy weight allowance from his rivals and he looks like a winner waiting to happen.

The Week Ahead

We get underway this week with our first runner on Wednesday as Lady Reset contests the 2m½f novices’ hurdle at midday.  She was not beaten at all far on her hurdling debut and will likely appreciate the prevailing quicker ground.

We have several entries at Southwell on Thursday with Mrs Miggins, Teaser, Collingwood Court and Le Grand Rocher all engaged.  The last named pair are both ground dependent so we will make a judgement on their participation tomorrow morning.

New Arrival

The Arqana Sales took place in France last week and I was pleased to welcome a new arrival to the yard in the shape of three year old filly To Fly Free.  A winner on the flat in France, she has been highly tried this season (contesting a Listed race on her reappearance) and whilst that may have been optimistic, she has a rating solidly in the 70’s on the flat.  We have already schooled her several times over hurdles and she jumps really well, looking an ideal type for juveniles.  There are plenty of good opportunities for three year olds at this time of the season and later on they claim a hefty weight allowance in handicaps.  You can find more details on my horses for sale page, but she looks like a real bargain and would be ideal for someone looking to enter the ranks of racehorse ownership for the first time.

Queen Of The Turf

Enable was the headline act over the weekend, producing another great performance to win a historic third King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes at Ascot.  Although not the deepest renewal of this great race with only three runners in the line-up, she can only beat what is put in front of her and although Japan disappointed, she still annihilated a former Irish Derby winner.

Racing needs its stars, especially during these trying times and it is great that Enable is still racing and producing efforts such as these at the age of six.  The public have taken her (and Frankie) to their hearts and we have been fortunate to see her in action for five seasons.  Indeed, it is a great sporting gesture by Prince Khalid Abdullah, for whom it would have been easy to send her to the paddocks for a career as a broodmare.  He is certainly being repaid handsomely.

Queen Of The Green

Finally, last week was a good one for Gill Shire, who is part-owner of Midnight Magic.  As well as her horse running well to fill the frame at Uttoxeter, Gill is quite the accomplished golfer and managed to sink a hole in one, her first in a competition at the 132 yard, par 3 6th hole at Pickeridge golf course, which is just up the road from Taunton racecourse.  This is a great achievement, even though it comes as little surprise owing to her very useful handicap mark of just 15.  I hope the round in the 19th hole wasn’t too expensive!  (Photograph from Wellington Weekly News)

follow me on facebook