NH Fixtures & Sales Dates

Thu Aug 16
Uttoxeter
Fri Aug 17
Uttoxeter
Sat Aug 18
Uttoxeter

Entries & Recent Form

What an amazing weekend of action on the flat! I couldn’t help but be awestruck by the performance of Frankel in the 2,000 Guineas on Saturday. The way in which he dismantled a field of Group One calibre horses was something that I hadn’t seen in a Classic since Slip Anchor won the Derby in 1985 – and this was only over a mile! I was thrilled (as I think everyone in racing is) for Henry Cecil…this horse looks like a monster and I will be fascinated to see how he is campaigned. It would be some spectacle to see him take on the best of the older generations over a mile against the likes of Canford Cliffs and Goldikova – I certainly wouldn’t want to be opposing him after the way he won on Saturday, especially with the promise of further improvement to come!

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Saturday marked the end of the 2010/11 National Hunt season and as is traditional, the Bet365 Gold Cup (formerly the Whitbread) at Sandown saw us out in fine style. We had a brace of runners in the season finale and Faasel came very close to landing the big prize that his talent so richly deserves. Young Conor O’Farrell was aboard, and he looked as though he was going to continue his excellent run of form, until collared within the last half furlong. We were of course thrilled for David Johnson, who owned the winner Poker de Sivola – he came from the clouds to beat us under a finely judged ride from Timmy Murphy.

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It’s back to the grindstone for the final week of the 2010/11 National Hunt season following a very enjoyable three days racing spent with Leanne and Jack up at Ayr where we were looked after in fine style by Sean and Josie Tracey. I would like to congratulate Ayr racecourse on the fantastic job they did to make the meeting such a success. Clerk of the course Emma Marley and her team should be applauded for providing beautiful, safe jumping ground, while their hospitality team provided a first class service for owners and trainers. I was extremely impressed by the entire operation and Ayr should be very proud of themselves – a number of other racecourses could certainly learn a thing or two from them.

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What an extraordinary week, culminating in the Grand National at Aintree on Saturday and a fantastic victory for the Donald McCain trained Ballabriggs, ridden by Jason Maguire. It is great for them both, as well as owner Trevor Hemmings, although I am especially pleased for Donald – I know what a relief it is to be able to say that he has won a Grand National like his father! I am pleased to say that despite a horrible looking fall for Or Noir de Somoza at Becher’s Brook on the first circuit, all three of our Grand National runners have come back safe and sound.

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The colours Or Noir de Somoza will carry in the 2011 Grand National

It was another good end to the week with an across the card double at Uttoxeter and Chepstow on Saturday with Dan Breen and E Street Boy scoring in good style. With the blinkers that were applied for the first time at the Cheltenham Festival left off, Dan Breen was able to get back on the winning track in the novices’ chase. He jumped better the further they went and won well in the hands of Tom Scudamore to record his second success of the campaign.

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Following the frantic goings-on of the Cheltenham Festival, last week was just the opposite with only three runners. It was still very productive nonetheless with two of them winning (both in the hands of man of the moment Conor O’Farrell).

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Connections with Minella Four Star and the
rather sizeable Midlands National Trophy
 Following all of the preparation and efforts of everyone at the yard it is difficult to believe that the Cheltenham Festival is over for another year. Once again we had a wonderful time of things with two winners as well as numerous placed horses over the course of the four days, and just when I thought that things couldn’t get any better, we won the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter on Saturday with 25/1 chance Minella Four Star.

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I hope you will excuse me if this weeks’ blog is slightly shorter than usual, as I am sure you can understand with the Festival now only 24 hours away I have many things to oversee and arrangements to make.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the best four days of jump racing in the world and we will be represented by three runners.   Great Endeavour goes in the Stewart Family Handicap Chase, Dan Breen in the Arkle and Swing Bill in the Centenary Novices’ Handicap Chase. Timmy Murphy will partner the David Johnson owned pair, while Tom Scu gets the leg-up in the Arkle.

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Last week certainly had its share of highs and lows. The obvious high was my son, Jack’s first birthday on Wednesday – we hosted a little party for him with some of the local little‘uns from around the yard and village in attendance. Jack received his first rocking horse, so he will be getting an early “leg-up” – it’s just as well that A P McCoy is from a different generation…I bet he would be shaking in his boots otherwise! It was a great afternoon, but I am glad that birthdays only come around once a year…I thought that training racehorses was difficult enough, but trying to keep tabs on a bunch of little people makes it look like the proverbial child’s play!

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It has been a hectic week and I was pleased to see the rescheduled Totesport Trophy at Newbury go off without any problems on Friday following the tragic events of the previous weekend. We were represented by Notus de la Tour who ran a bold race under different front running tactics to finish a valiant and close third behind Recession Proof. As the meeting was rescheduled from the previous weekend sadly the prize money suffered and so we took the decision to re-route Ronaldo des Mottes from the Totesport to the Bathwick Tyres Kingwell Hurdle and he too performed creditably to finish third behind Mille Chief.

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