Monday, 30 April 2018

Kavanaghs Corner wins at Exeter by 22 lengths

                It was great to see Kavanaghs Corner win at Exeter the other day. He certainly deserved to win after becoming very consistent having finished 4th, 2nd and 2nd in his most recent runs.  Casey (as he is known at home) loves heavy ground and I was so pleased driving down to Exeter to see it was raining.  In fact it rained all day and there was also the mist from the sea – it might have been miserable to most but there was no one happier than me!
                When I walked the track before his race I was glad to see how deep they were going in. I felt we had a great chance especially if jockey, Conor Shoemark, could keep a head on the horse’s exuberance, especially going down the hill.  Casey was quite keen as they didn’t go very quick, Conor had quite a job on his hands to settle him and keep him behind as he kept making up ground at his fences. Finally he let him have his head a bit towards the end of the back straight and he was always going the best.  Well done Conor.
                Casey has come out of the race in super form, I really think we will see him improve significantly and he is worth following.  He feels loads better than before; it’s all about confidence with him.  The handicapper has put him up 9lbs but I feel he is way better than that still.  Casey races and trains without shoes.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Get Back To Me: retirement

        We have been lucky again to find a lovely new home for Get Back To Me (stable name: Tommy) who has recently been retired at the age of 10.  I delivered him a few weeks ago to his new home near South Molton in Devon.   If you are a horse, this is the one place where you would want to be! Fresh air, no traffic, amazing views and green fields with lovely hedges for shelter (and for picking at!).  My drive down there included several miles of the smallest single track country lane before we got there.  As with Headly it is so nice to find people who really care about retired racehorses.  Tommy is getting his own, made to measure saddle before he is being ridden. 
      We were pleased, again, that Get Back To Me has been retired sound, has never fallen and has perfectly clean legs.  Sadly he never produced his considerable potential due to numerous niggles over the years and never had the chance to prove what he could do.  His owner has been brilliant throughout and very loyal to his horse but it was felt, quite rightly, that it was time to stop.  Tommy will be very pleased that he can enjoy life without the pressures of being a racehorse.  We hope to hear from time to time how he is getting on.  Some pictures below of his time with us.

Get Back To Me (left) enjoying the paddocks with Headly's Bridge (right)

 Christmas Day!


Friday, 15 September 2017

Headly's Bridge retired and on to a new home

                It was a mixed day recently when I took Headly’s Bridge off to his new home between Bath and Bristol.  I was sad to see him go but also pleased that he looked quite happy walking out to his new paddock with interest and had already forgotten about me!
                Headly has been with us since he arrived in October 2010 from Ireland as a 4 year old and has, over the past 7 years been great fun. He has been retired at the grand age of 11, sound and in good health.  He has never fallen in his career and has won and been placed many times.  It is so important to us that he was retired sound and without any leg trouble. 
                We hope to see him in the future doing some of the ROR (Retraining of Racehorses) parades and doing a bit of eventing etc.  It is very important to me that the racehorses go on, once retired from racing, into something that they enjoy as they so deserve it.
                I remember clearly the day we went to see Headly in Ireland with his owner – what fun was had on that trip!  He has been such a kind, gentle and fun horse but also a successful racehorse.  He ran 30 times for us over hurdles and fences and in that time won 4 races and was placed 15 times and earned over £39,000 in prize money and had a highest official rating over fences of 135.  Most notably he bolted up by 19 lengths to win at Newbury under jockey Andrew Thornton - his first time over fences.  I understand that by Headly winning that day at Newbury one lucky person won the Scoop 6 and became a millionaire!  He won at 14-1 and wasn’t near that price again.  We’ll leave you with a couple of Racing Post comments from his career & some photographs from his time here.  We wish him a long and happy retirement. "No hanging around in this open looking handicap but the race produced a clear cut winner in Headly’s Bridge leaving his hurdle form behind and fairly bolting up on his chasing debut at Newbury." "Headly’s Bridge put in a useful performance under top weight traveling well and asserting readily when asked, he has earned a crack at something better."


Friday, 25 August 2017

New horse arrives - Golden Hour

      Our daughter was incredibly excited I was going to the sales on Tuesday as she was thinking I was going to come back with a pony as well as a racehorse (she is reading ‘The Racehorse who wouldn’t gallop’ by Claire Balding!).  Unfortunately for her there were no ponies for sale but she was still so happy to see Golden Hour.
      I wasn’t expecting to buy anything but thought I would make the trip up to have a look.  Prior to the sale I had been through the catalogue and had been to see one nice, un-raced horse but I just wasn’t sure about it.  There were a few others that were worth a look, two of which were from Goldolphin’s draft.  Godolphin are really good at letting buyers know if there have been any previous issues/problems with their horses.  The lady in charge of their horses told me that they had sold 900 horses last year at various sales over the world - there were some good ones in there who have gone on and done well.  One of the horses I was interested in hadn’t run for a good few months and there was a bit of a list of problems – the biggest of which was a tendon injury which meant he would need a year off, plus I didn’t really like his conformation, which may well not help the tendon issue in the future.  I then looked at Golden Hour, a gorgeous un-raced 3yr old, who has lovely conformation, must be 16.2, moves like a dream, lovely big ears, an honest head and is beautifully bred by Medaglia d’Oro, an American sire who won over $3.6m in prize money aged from 2 – 5 and won and was placed in many of the worlds best flat races including the Dubai World Cup and Breeders Cup Classic.  No less than eight of his progeny have won over $1m including Songbird (over $4.5m), Rachel Alexandra (Horse of The Year) who was also the best 3yr old filly since the 1970s and won over $3.5m.  Medaglia d’Oro has sired 17 Grade 1 winners so far.
      Golden Hour was in training with Andre Fabre in France and never ran as he was too big and backward.  We will give him time and take his shoes off, turn him out in the paddock and plan to run him after Christmas/Spring time.  He is certainly something to look forward to.   His sire, Medaglia d’Oro means gold medal in Italian and the Golden Hour is just after sunrise or before sunset where there is a wonderful golden glow on the land – something we have been noticing more since he arrived and now understand what it means! 
      Below is a picture of him in his paddock after his first night out, it is really good news that he has quickly relaxed and is enjoying being out for the first time, probably since he was a youngster in Kentucky.

 Golden Hour relaxing in the paddock this morning after his first night out

 At Ascot sales

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Jim Bolger

      I flew out to Ireland to see a horse trained by Jim Bolger a couple of weeks ago and it was quite an experience.  Jim Bolger is unique in the racing world.  He started out by owning and breeding which normally would be a very good way to the poor house – but he has made an enormous success of it, with some of the wealthiest people in the world investing with him and buying his classic winning stock.
       Some of the best people in racing have also started their careers with him including AP McCoy and Aidan O’Brien [who was champion amateur rider there].  They have learnt the job of training as well as conducting themselves properly and most of all respect for others.  It was great to be welcomed into his home and wonderful that he found time to sit down with me and chat about things in the past.  
       We then went over to his stud where he has 50 youngstock running around plus the broodmares all on wonderful pasture, they looked fantastic, I am sure this is where future soundness starts with good quality grass and feed whilst still growing; it really was 300 acres of dream land in the middle of Ireland.
       He also showed me his grass gallops which were a straight mile and a quarter long and about the width of 3 motorways, I won’t tell you which grasses he had planted as it might give away a secret. I also saw his 2nd cut of grass for hay or haylage coming along and try as I might I couldn’t see one weed.  
       I have to say Jim Bolger sets the standard - he is also a very kind and generous man who does a lot for people and charity behind the scenes.  I had mistaken the man and I will never judge someone again by what I see on TV. He clearly does not like the media glare, and prefers to be surrounded by his horses at home, horses are much easier than people!

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Tattersalls Newmarket July Sale

                I got up at 5am yesterday and drove our lorry up to Newmarket sales full of excitement and hope that it would be coming back full!  I had two good orders – one from a past owner who was with me the day I started training and who I used to ride for and another was for a new client.
                There were two horses that I had my eye on and I had done plenty of homework on too – I’d also been to see them at their yard before the sales. They looked and felt super, were not over trained or crippled as I often see when buying horses off the flat as a lot of them are trained and run too early.  I had them both vetted at the sales and they passed with flying colours.  I started to get nervous!  I was hoping we would get the first horse for between 20-30,000gns but it went for 45,000gns!  I think he goes to the Middle East so we are unlikely to see him again – let’s hope he gets looked after well as he was a lovely, good looking horse with a great, honest attitude. The second horse had rather thrown in the towel and had lost his form and personally needed sweetening up.  We were hoping to get him for under £5,000 but he went to Gordon Elliott for 15,000gns!  It will be interesting to see how he gets on and how I will feel when he lines up at Cheltenham after winning a few!
                There was a lot of foreign money at the sales pushing the prices up – as so often happens at Newmarket – but we will keep looking.  Sadly I came home late last night with an empty box but on the upside I had a great afternoon enjoying the racing at Newmarket, with some new friends.  It is important to try and get value for money for my owners.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

In the Money - Headly's Bridge 4th again at Hereford and Get Back To Me 4th at Stratford

                We ran Headly’s Bridge at Hereford over 3m1f which was the furthest he had been and it looked like it was too far for him but he still kept going well enough to finish 4th (not far behind the 3rd).  It was certainly good to be back racing at Hereford especially after the racecourse was closed down for so long.  Headly’s owner is from Herefordshire and she enjoyed going back there, especially driving home through the beautiful Wye Valley.
                Get Back To Me ran back over fences at Stratford on Saturday, after finishing 3rd in horrible ground at Huntingdon 20 days previously.  He came there nicely at the end of the back straight looking like he could win, only to run out of energy.  The Huntingdon race probably took more out of him than we thought and we might have run him again too soon.  We shall give him a good five or six weeks and then find another nice race for him, again over fences.  Thank you to Stratford for putting on a race worth over £11,000 for us to run in.  It’s not very often we can say there is good prize money!  Although with the new levy replacement receiving support from across the political spectrum in the House of Commons, it is expected that up to £40 million of extra funding is expected each year for our sport – so perhaps there are better times ahead with better prize money?

Pictures below of Headly's Bridge schooling and Get Back To Me in the paddock at Stratford