Sunday, 26 June 2016

Happy in defeat

Most of the time I'd be a bit annoyed about a string of defeats but we have gone so close with our runners over the past fortnight or so that I'm just happy all the horses are in such great health. Over the past two weeks we have had eight runners, with four of them finishing 2nd and two others finishing fourth. Frustrating, but when you see the odds of those seconds (14/1, 14/1, 9/4, 8/1), it shows that they are running above or to market expectations. After a good start to the year we were due a run of seconds but hopefully it doesn't go on too long!

We have just the two runners this week to try and go one better.
Limerick Lord was meant to run over hurdles last time but the ground has just been too soft for him to have a go over two miles. I'm not sure he'd stay that far on fast ground, never mind slow, so we are giving him another run on the flat. He heads to Brighton on Tuesday and it is a typically competitive handicap for the track. He ran OK in quite a hot race last time and I think soft ground over a mile could be ideal for him as he has won at Southwell over that trip before.
Limerick Lord (Mark)

We will have plenty of time to get jobs done in the yard then as the horsebox isn't in action again until Friday when Duke Of Diamonds heads to Doncaster. He came alive last time with an easy win at Nottingham and I hope the 9lb rise by the handicapper isn't enough to stop him. He is dropping down in distance but the softer ground should make up for this. He is improving all the time and hopefully hasn't stopped yet.
Duke Of Diamonds (Caitlin)

The Requinto gelding I bought from the Breeze-Up sales is now all but sold with just a couple of shares left in him. He has been named Pitch High and will be set to make his debut at Sandown in a couple of weeks. He is a lovely laid-back horse who has done all his homework very well. I can't wait to run him.
Pitch High

The owners' golf day was a big hit last year with the sun playing ball as well. Readers of the newsletter (which can be seen by CLICKING HERE) will have seen that we are organising it again for this year with the date pencilled in as Thursday 18th August. Venue and timings will be confirmed closer to the day depending on numbers but you must register your interest with Ross by emailing as soon as possible.
Last year's winning golf team


Annette Hall 46
Jonathan Kinge 42
David Haddrell 39
Barbara Walton 37
Maureen Case 34
Anthea Telford 34
Pauline Kennedy 32
Jean Allen 30
Chris Shirran 30
Gay Chalklin 30
Dudley Lever 30

Sunday, 19 June 2016

So near yet so far for Valley

It was a quiet week with just two runners but we went a lot closer than we thought we would to winning with Valley Lodge on Saturday night. The trip up to Haydock was a long one but we thought it'd be worth it as the ground was soft and that's just what the horse needs. He started as the 14/1 outsider of the lot but we knew he would out-run those odds on this going and he did just that, only losing out by a head in a photo finish. It was a shame to get beaten as the race also carried the 'Plus 10' £10,000 bonus if he had won but it was a step in the right direction for the horse and gave owner Dick Creese plenty to look forward to.
Valley Lodge just misses out at Haydock

The coming week will be a much busier one, despite our two jumpers not going to Southwell on Monday due to the soft ground.
So starting on Tuesday we will be heading up the A1 to Beverley. Spirit Of Sarwan improved to win on just his second career start at Brighton last time and he has come out of that win full of beans. He is stepping up to seven furlongs but that looks ideal for him and I really hope he can win another race before we start thinking about some better races.
Accompanying him will be Star Of The Stage. He won last time out but there haven't been any races for him since and he had a little back issue, hence the time off. He is now fighting fit and could run well, even though I think he is a better horse on the all-weather.
Spirit Of Sarwan (Adam) & Star Of The Stage (Sarah)

Dakota City has had some time off to freshen up after a successful winter campaign but he is fully fit again now and goes up the road to Newmarket on Thursday. He has shown very little on the turf so far but he gallops well on it at home and I hope that now he is a bit more mature, he can start to translate his all-weather form to the green stuff.
Meanwhile, Handheld will be going to Nottingham that day. He loves soft ground and it is just that there at the moment so I wouldn't be surprised if he bounces back to form. He has good form in apprentice riders' races so that shouldn't be a worry.
Sabre Rock (Mark) & Dakota City (Chelsea)

As Harry Bosch looked likely to miss his hurdles run on Monday, I had a back-up plan of Yarmouth on Friday so that's where he goes now. He was a bit too keen in the blinkers last time so I may leave them off and hope he can finally get back into some form as he is very well handicapped now.
Harry Bosch (Tess) & Limerick Lord (Ross)

Rounding off the week, Sabre Rock will be our first runner at Newcastle's new all-weather track. He hasn't shone in a few turf runs since returning from injury and I hope it is just a case that he is better on the all-weather. He still seems to have plenty of ability at home but he needs to be showing us some racetrack form soon.
I'll also enter Valley Lodge at Lingfield that day as the soft ground is key to him and he needs to make the most of it before the weather improves. I'll see how he recovers from this weekend's exertions before making any solid plans.

Our two-year olds are already doing great on the racecourse but we also have some lovely unraced ones at home. The Requinto gelding I bought at the Guineas Breeze-Up is absolutely flying and I cannot wait to get him started over seven furlongs soon. He is still unnamed and there are a couple of shares left in him so as soon as he is ready, he will be racing...don't miss out!
Mungo Madness has really improved recently and won't be far off running either. He has a great attitude towards his work now and I know it will give his owner/breeder Emma Raffan lots of pleasure to see him in action.
Requinto gelding (Adam), Serendib's Glory (Chloe) & Mungo Madness (Liam)
Moment To Dream (Chelsea)
The Ducking Stool (Sarah)
Little Orchid (Chloe)

We've had a hell of a lot of rain recently but it has also been very localised. On Thursday night, we had 16mm of rain at the stud and got pretty flooded whilst just a stone's throw away, the July Course only had 8mm of rain and raced on good to soft ground the following day! Our mares are teaching their foals all about the weather and managed to herd them into the field shelter to keep dry.
Emma's Gift babysitting


Annette Hall 45
Jonathan Kinge 41
David Haddrell 37
Barbara Walton 36
Maureen Case 34
Anthea Telford 34
Pauline Kennedy 31
Jean Allen 29
Chris Shirran 29
Gay Chalklin 29

Sunday, 12 June 2016

May May go away!

The saying "never cast a clout until May be out" is usually used as a warning against getting your hopes up about the weather before the month of May is over but it seems to apply to our yard as our usual May drought ended in the best way possible with two winners this week.
Spirit Of Sarwan had shown on his Newmarket debut that he has plenty of ability and he improved a whole chunk more from that experience to get up late at Brighton on Monday. It was a relief to have a two-year old winner as it has been a while since our last one but that is mainly because we hadn't really had many over the past few years. This season is the first time we have made a concerted effort to buy some nice and precocious juveniles and I'm glad it's starting to pay off.
The second winner of the week required a bit more patience from his owners as Duke Of Diamonds finally lost his maiden tag at the age of four. It was only his sixth career run and his owners, Carol Bushnell and Jonathan Kinge, had bought him knowing he would need time to mature and I'm delighted that their belief in the horse and my team paid off. Duke has really thrived this year and I think there is more to come.
Patience rewarded: Carol & Jonathan collected their prize at Nottingham

As well as the two winners, both Silver Alliance and The Ducking Stool bounced back to form with a second and a third this week so I can only be happy about the well-being of the string.
Having said that, we don't have many runners this week as there just weren't the right races for them.
I'm delighted to report that after a three-month battle with the BHA, our apprentice Liam Doran has been granted an apprentice licence. At the age of 25, the BHA thought he was too old but, after compiling substantial evidence to prove he was capable, they eventually caved in (probably helped by the fact they've had enough bad press recently due to their own inadequacies) and Liam will be making his debut for us on Friday night at Newmarket aboard Attain. The poor horse has had no luck recently, being caught in the wrong position in his last three races. He remains in good order and goes on most types of going.
Attain (Liam)

Forecasters are predicting it to be a wet Royal Ascot next week with soft ground an important factor. Sadly we won't be represented at the big meeting but the ease in the going could provide Valley Lodge with a great opportunity at Lingfield on Saturday. He was disappointing last time but is much better than that and soft ground will be right up his street. Hopefully the mud is flying and he can too.

The rest of the two-year old squad continue to improve fast and I'm delighted with the way the Requinto gelding I bought from the Breeze-Ups is coming along. I'd love to run him but he still needs to be paid for and named so don't miss this opportunity to get involved in an exciting juvenile for £1550 per 10% share. Email me on for more details.
Also improving fast is Mungo Madness. A few years back his mother, Emma's Gift, finished fifth this week at Royal Ascot in the Albany Stakes and, although he isn't as early as she was, he certainly is catching up fast and should be hitting the racetrack in a few weeks' time.
Tallulah's Quest is a lovely, big filly who has grown some more over the past couple of weeks and has gone a bit weak as a result so I may back off her for a week or two just to let her body catch up. I do love her though and she will be worth the wait.
Tallulah's Quest, My Name Is Jeff,  Requinto gelding & Mungo Madness

Both Dakota City and Sabre Rock are all-weather specialists and run over the same trip with nearly the same ratings so it's no wonder they are likely to go head to head at Newcastle in a couple of weeks. Both seem in good form and fit for the task.
Sabre Rock (Mark) & Dakota City (Tess)

Little Orchid probably suffered the most out of the whole yard when the pollen count was high last month but she is now feeling a lot better and going really well. She is a tough and genuine filly who will pay her way.
Little Orchid (Sam)

After much deliberation between syndicate members, Limerick Lord has got the go-ahead to run over hurdles in a fortnight's time. We schooled him a while ago just to perk him up and he was a natural and, with no races on the all-weather at Southwell for him to run in, a change of tack will do no harm. He jumped brilliantly again this week and, if he stays the two mile trip, I think he could do very well in this sphere.
Limerick Lord (Ross)

After years of no hurdle runners, we'll probably have two in the same race as Harry Bosch is likely to go jumping the same day as well. His owners are mad keen National Hunt fans and, with Harry showing little interest on the flat, a go over the jumps could wake him up. He jumps well at home too and could prove useful if staying the distance.
'Flying' Harry Bosch (Graham)


Annette Hall 45
Jonathan Kinge 41
David Haddrell 37
Barbara Walton 35
Maureen Case 33
Anthea Telford 33
Pauline Kennedy 31
Jean Allen 29
Dudley Lever 28
Chris Shirran 28
Gay Chalklin 28

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Limerick dogs it!

We did something a bit out of the ordinary this week as Limerick Lord headed to Towcester - not to run over hurdles but to race a greyhound in an epic duel.
The encounter was over a distance of three furlongs and was arranged by bookmakers William Hill to promote both the Epsom Derby and the greyhound Derby which took place this weekend. Handily at the track, both the dog and horse winning lines are in the same place, meaning the finish is easy to judge. I thought it would be a tight call but, in the end, the greyhound came home an easy winner by eight 'dog lengths'. However, as per usual, our rider Adam was full of excuses after and said the greyhound had a decent head start as there was a communication error which meant the horse stalls were opened late. Add to that the fact we had to race on very soft ground, I'd be happy to have a rematch in fairer conditions! Jokes aside, it was a good morning out and I was happy to be part of something unusual like this - I even think Limercick had fun too! A video of the day can be seen by CLICKING HERE.
Horse & hound ahead of their duel
The greyhound scores a controversial victory!

Back to the proper racing and we have another busy week in store.
Kicking off at Brighton on Monday is Spirit Of Sarwan. He made a very encouraging debut at Newmarket last month and has come out of the run in great form. I think that effort entitles him to go close this time, providing he handles the course's unique undulations.
Spirit Of Sarwan (Adam) leads the string

Wednesday sees the return of Great Yarmouth after its recent ground issues and we'll be there with Harry Bosch. He was ready to run a big race last time but got taken on for the lead and went far too fast, so it is best to ignore that run. He is on a mark he can win off and this is his time of year so I hope he can start to get competitive again.
Harry Bosch (Tess)

Thursday looks set to be a busy one with runners all over the country.
Close to home, we have Serendib's Glory at Yarmouth. She shows lots of ability at home but hasn't matched it on the track. I'm inclined to think her breathing is holding her back so I'll put a tongue strap on to help her out and see if it can get her into top gear.
At Nottingham, Duke Of Diamonds looks to hold a great chance, providing the ground isn't too firm. The form of his Catterick run is working out very well and he has improved again since then. Also there will be Attain who has been unlucky the last twice after being in the wrong place during his races. He takes all his work well and is still in good form.
Duke Of Diamonds (Mark) & The Ducking Stool (Sarah)

Also on Thursday we have Silver Alliance at Newbury. He hasn't been putting in much effort since coming back this year so he'll wear a pair of blinkers in the hope that they can wake him up. We've won this race five times in the past before so hopefully some of that luck can rub off on the old boy.

Handheld runs at York on Saturday but you won't see him in your newspapers as he is taking part in a charity race. I was asked a month ago by a friend if I had a horse suitable for a young lady to ride and Andy was the perfect candidate. His rider Siobhan has raised over £10,000 and has come in to have a sit on Andy for the past few weeks. It's all for a good cause and for once the result doesn't matter so hopefully the pair have plenty of fun and come back safe and sound.
Handheld (Siobhan) & Attain (Ross)

Finally, on Sunday, The Ducking Stool heads to Doncaster. She missed a few weeks' work with a skin infection and needed her run last time so now she should be a lot fitter. She seems best in late summer nowadays and I'd be happy if she can just show a bit more spark.

My Name is Jeff, Our Cilla & Tallulah's Quest gallop on the grass


Annette Hall 45
David Haddrell 37
Barbara Walton 34
Jonathan Kinge 30
Pauline Kennedy 30
Dudley Lever 28
Chris Shirran 27
Gay Chalklin 27
Maureen Case 27
Anthea Telford 27

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Hoping Yarmouth can be great again

Yarmouth racecourse has had a bit of an up and down time over the past 12 months but I'm happy to hear our lucky and local track is now back on the right road and ready to host racing again.
The track closed in autumn 2014 to relay the home straight after some had complained about the undulations. Not one of the many horses I ran had ever been affected by the track's ridges so right from the outset I have thought the development was unnecessary. However, in racing, when the big names complain, heaven and Earth has to be moved. The course reopened again last September but, after a heavy downpour, the relaid turf became slippery and racing was abandoned until this year. After a spring setback, the track held a gallop morning this week to test the surface and all seemed to go fine.
I sent a pair of two-year olds there for some racecourse experience and both Our Cilla and Mungo Madness thoroughly enjoyed their day out. Yarmouth are set to race again on June 8th and we have a good few pencilled in to run so let's hope the weather stays kind and we can get back to winning there.
Our Cilla (Freddy Tylicki) & Mungo Madness (Danny Brock) gallop at the Yarmouth

Luck wasn't on our side much this week with Go On Gal finishing second to a Sir Mark Prescott improver at Chelmsford and our Brighton raiders didn't fire. May is never a very fruitful month for us though so I'll be happy when June arrives this week!
Two-year old Valley Lodge made a promising debut in a hot race at Windsor last time and he hits the track again on Tuesday. He has come on for the run but will need to as it looks a competitive race. He should stay the extra furlong and I'll be happy if he can land a place.
Secret Ballerina (Chloe), Valley Lodge (Liam) & Spirit Of Sarwan (Ross)

Sabre Rock hasn't fired in two turf runs since coming back from a long lay-off and I'll be hoping that a return to the all-weather on Thursday can rekindle his form. He is stepping up to two miles which is a step into the unknown but I can imagine he will stay as all he does is gallop. It won't be the end of the world if he doesn't run well but hopefully he can show a bit of a spark this time.
Sabre Rock (Mark) & Dakota City (Caitlin)

Friday sees us making our first trip of the year down to Goodwood. Attain has two wins on the board already in 2016 but was unlucky not to add to the tally the last twice. He is pretty high in the handicap at the minute but he is still in great form at home so I hope he can be a bit more lucky this time.
Dakota City will be heading to the Downs with Attain and he too has a couple of wins on the board this year. He's had some time off after a busy winter and needs to prove he is as effective on turf as the all-weather because the two runs we gave him on the green stuff last year weren't very good.

The following day we're back on the road to Lingfield. Secret Ballerina has been running ok recently and there will be a race go her way sooner rather than later so we will take our chance.
Candesta runs in the lucky last and I hope he can be a bit luckier than last time when he probably would have won if getting a clear run. He goes fine over the course and distance so I hope he can end the week on a good note.

Our Cilla (Mark) & Champagne Reef (Liam)

The third and final mare from our yard finally had her foal this week and both are doing absolutely fine. Bushy Dell was a successful filly for owner Dick Creese and he took the decision to breed from her once retired. Hopefully this little one can be just as fast!
Bushy Dell and foal with owner Dick


Annette Hall 45
David Haddrell 37
Barbara Walton 34
Jonathan Kinge 30
Pauline Kennedy 30
Dudley Lever 28
Chris Shirran 27
Gay Chalklin 27
Maureen Case 27
Anthea Telford 27

Sunday, 22 May 2016

One for the bargain buyers!

It was great to see a bargain buy win today's Irish 1000 Guineas after Jet Setting upset the odds-on favourite Minding at The Curragh. The winner was bought out of Richard Hannon's yard for just 12,000gns at Tattersalls Horses In Training Sale last October and it just goes to show you that bargains can be found for this kind of money. I think this sale in particular is a great one to buy from as the big yards often have a good clear out towards the end of the season and there can be some horses which are over-looked and sold without much thought. After today's win and the success of Makfi, who won the 2010 2000 Guineas after being sold cheaply, I carry on hoping that we will one day strike just as lucky!
Bargan buy Jet Setting gets the better of Minding in the Irish 1000 Guineas

Although not hitting the highest heights, we are still doing pretty well with our own bargains and I hope this week they can prove their worth some more.
Artbeat is declared at Leicester on Monday but she won't run unless the heavens open overnight. She has to have ground softer than good and the forecast doesn't look promising for her.

Go On Gal had a busy couple of weeks when she finished second and third and I've given her a few weeks off to recover from these exertions and she has done very well, regaining the weight she had lost. She is working nicely at home and I hope she can out in another good run at Chelmsford on Thursday. There could be a few unexposed runners in the race but we know she handles the track and is capable of running well off her current handicap mark.
Limerick Lord (Ross), Veeraya (Liam) & Go On Gal (Adam)

Brighton on Friday will hopefully see a strong raiding party from Harraton Stud as we head down to the south coast with four runners.
Veeraya is a frustrating type who struggles to get his head in front but we have worked out he runs best fresh and he is down to a good handicap mark so sooner or later things should go his way.
Kemsing has a great winter with four wins but he is high in the weights as a result. He hasn't shown much on turf but a step up to 1m4f should be ideal and his chances would be boosted by any rain.
Limerick Lord was a winner over the winter too and things really do have to go his way for him to win but a track like Brighton should suit him and I hope he can be in the money.
Rounding off the afternoon will be Harry Bosch. He ran a blinder to finish second at the track last time and he is still in flying form at home. A reproduction of that run would see him in the shake-up.
Duke Of Diamonds (Mark), Kemsing (Ross) & Serendib's Glory (Adam)
Dakota City (Mark) & Harry Bosch (Tess)

It was encouraging to see first-season sire Requinto have his first winner at York on Saturday after only two runners. We have a lovely Requinto two-year old up for syndication who, like the winner, was bought at the Breeze-Up Sales. Our horse has been moving like a dream at home and he will be out on the racetrack as soon as I can find an owner for him! Details can be found on my website:


Annette Hall 40
David Haddrell 36
Barbara Walton 34
Jonathan Kinge 30
Pauline Kennedy 30
Dudley Lever 28
Jean Allen 26
Chris Shirran 26
Gay Chalklin 26
Maureen Case 26
Anthea Telford 26
Phil Gunning 25
Sophie Feilden 25
Eileen Turner 25
Matt Bisogno 25