Welcome to what will be my weekly blog, giving insights into life here at James Ewart Racing, looking at what’s been going on, on and off the track, as well as previewing and reviewing some of the big races around the country.
For those of you who don’t know me I’m fairly new to the yard and enjoying my first job in the racing industry. Coming from a background as a professional footballer before suffering a career ending injury, I have always loved my horses and racing. After moving down to England when I was 16 to play for Scunthorpe United, 2 years later I found myself back in Scotland and playing for Motherwell and lastly my home town club Queen of the South, the latter of which I suffered with my career ending injury in my first game for the club. Since then I have been back in the saddle, bought my own horse and had the honour of being Cornet of Dumfries for 2015 - (the same role that our jockey Dale Irving took on in Langholm the previous year)….anyways enough about me!
There has been very exciting times, with some excellent performances in recent weeks, with winners at Musselburgh and Sedgefield. For me even the horses that didn’t win put in some excellent performances and will benefit from their run, with some of them (Bering Upsun, Ascot De Bruyere & Lycidas) having their first run for the yard. Ascot De Bruyere arrived at the yard at around the same time as me, he’s the 1st horse I see every day as I check the work boards and we always have a chat about which race he thinks he will win at Cheltenham in the coming years. I love him to bits and I’m very excited to see his progress, especially after his impressive win 1st time out.
Bouncebackability - A word invented by former footballer Ian Dowie, which somehow found its way into the oxford dictionary. Meaning – (especially in sport) the ability to recover quickly from a setback.
I think that after the disappointment of Aristo Du Plessis in the Scottish County Hurdle (which for many factors on the day I think we can put a line through), the yard showed how much of that we have in abundance as we bounced back with winners the following day and then again the day after that. I am also enormously confident that Aristo will be full of ‘bouncebackability’ when he next returns to the track!
We enjoyed a night at the Buck Hotel in Langholm supporting Dale Irving’s fund raiser, which was well attended and a great night had by all. There were some fantastic prizes in the auction, most notably the up and coming ‘Golden Horse Racing Club’ kindly donating a year’s membership to their club and share in Sparks of Gold, who is a gorgeous young filly that is in training here at Craig Farm. So who was the highest bidder???? Obviously a completely non-alcohol influenced bid from yours truly! Any alcohol consumed at the (in)famous Buck was only to ease the pain of a fall I suffered when jumping a dyke out hunting with the Dumfriesshire & Stewartry that morning. Thank you to our amateur jockey wee Jimmy Gormley for the accommodation so I could make it in to work the next day…Which let’s be honest, was a bit of a struggle.
The following weekend my dancing shoes were on at the Easterbrook Hall in front of crowds totalling 1500 over the 2 days as I danced (for the 1st time in my life) as part of Dumfries’Strictly Come Dancing, in aid of some great charities. Raising over £30,000 in total, it was well worth it and well done to all involved!
We patiently await the return of Dale but I am confident that he will come back stronger than ever and I believe his operation was a success and that he will be back riding winners for us in the very near future! Lucy Alexander, Diarmuid O’Regan and Nathan Moscrop have all been riding out for us and it’s fantastic to have these top young jockeys riding out on some top young horses that we have coming through! Not to forget some of the old boys and old horses too! In any sporting team or working life, David MacLeod is one of the most dedicated men that I have ever come across. His work ethic and natural ability can only be admired (Almost as much as our new stable lasso Kendra admires Tom Forsyth).
Then to see Sa Suffit bounce out his stable the next day after another testing race with a creditable performance is such a joy. At 13 years young he owes us absolutely nothing yet clearly still loving life as he gallops on all the way to the post in every engagement.
Elsewhere in the yard we are gutted Katie Smith has left us as she moves to Hexham with her boyfriend. We wish you lots of luck in the future!
A very well done to Tom Forsyth, getting another P2P ride under his belt with Lonely Solider and most importantly both coming home safely. Both will come on loads for the experience.
All 4 horses came back safe from Ayr, as has Leading Score from his trip to Catterick. I’m sure that Heather Walker will be such a proud Mum of Blue (Bering Upsun), a horse that she bred herself and ran an excellent race to go second at the bumper at Ayr on Monday. We have entries coming up at Doncaster, Kelso and Sedgefield but how likely some of these engagements are is very dependent on the weather and ground.
In next week’s blog I’ll be reviewing the weekends racing as well as looking at our own entries. I’m off to Stuttgart this weekend on a friends ‘Stag do’, so I’m sure it will be a very quiet weekend with no stories to tell!! I will also looking ahead to Cheltenham and previewing each of the big races there. If there is any races in particular or any horses that you would like me to talk about then please let me know in the comments!