We have had an exciting few days. Between Monday 20th and Thursday 23rd January we had five runners with three winners and a very close third. Beat Box and Dunly provided us with a double at Newcastle and the highlight of the week was Charmant’s win at Wetherby with Racing Post rating him the Star Performer of the meeting.
This was so encouraging for the whole yard as the hard work in all weathers from the staff remains the same whether the horses win or not so this was a real boost.
Charmant with Brian Hughes, Briony and Gemma at Wetherby
There were two runners at Kelso on Sunday 12th January. Brian Hughes rode Multipede in the 2 mile 7 furlong Handicap Chase but he was not happy on the heavy ground and was pulled up. We will wait until the ground improves when he should be competitive off a low handicap mark.
Multipede at Kelso
We ran one of our older horses Knockrea (Nathan Moscrop) in the 2 mile Handicap Hurdle. He had not run for 831 days and so not surprisingly was very keen and as a result did not settle or jump particularly well but he showed plenty of exuberance and should come on for the run.
On Friday 17th January at the Newcastle evening meeting, For Three ran in the 1 mile 4 ½ furlong Handicap on the Tapeta. Ridden by Paul Mulrennan he was sandwiched between horses at the start of the race and this caused him to light up and run far too keenly and so his race was soon over and he finished ninth. However, we hope this has taken the edge off him ready for his return to hurdles.
At Ayr on Sunday 19th January Nathan Moscrop rode Bluefortytwo in the 2 mile 4 ½ furlong Maiden Hurdle. The ground was very testing and towards the end he was hanging to the right but he did run on and finished fourth. Hopefully the handicapper will drop him and this will give us more opportunities in the future.
We had a great day at Newcastle on Monday 20th January with two runners and two winners!
Beat Box was having his third run for us in the Juvenile Maiden Hurdle over 2 miles. His previous runs had been at Catterick and Musselburgh and he clearly appreciated the softer going and a more galloping track. Danny McMenamin gave him a good positive ride on the inside and his jumping was excellent. He travelled well throughout and stayed on strongly to win by 1 ½ lengths. This was a competitive race and the first three have finished well clear of the others. He has come out of the race really well and looks to have an exciting future for owner Jim Gordon.
Beat Box with Danny McMenamin winning at Newcastle
Beat Box before his race at Newcastle
Two hours later, Dunly ran in the 2 mile ½ furlong Handicap Chase. After his previous success at Ayr, once again Brian Hughes set off in a positive mood. Unfortunately, Le Frank (Derek Fox) took us on coming into the first and crossed him slightly which is awkward for a horse wearing blinkers and so he was a little slow but after that he jumped very well and just had a bit of a peck down the back. He travelled strongly throughout and a slight mistake at the last did not impede his progress to win by nine lengths. The ground was quite tacky but he is in fine form after the race and this was another winner for The Craig Farm Syndicate. Jill Dodds has very kindly leased Dunly to the club.
A Winning Double Act! Beat Box and Dunly in the stables at Newcastle
It was was back on the road again to Newcastle the following day where I am Dandy ran in the 7 furlong Handicap. Jamie Gormley used to ride out for the yard before joining Iain Jardine as a flat jockey so it was good to have him back on board. Fitted with first time blinkers, he travelled very sweetly and Jamie was keen to get a bit of cover and a lead for as long as possible. This almost worked but the winner just got first run and we stayed on well and were just pipped into third but only beaten ¾ length. This was a good performance and we will try and find a similar race for him before too long. He is now for sale - a sound consistent and fun horse who would probably benefit from a change of scenery.
At Wetherby on Thursday 23rd January, Charmant really appreciated having Brian Hughes back on board in the 2 mile 3 ½ furlong Handicap Chase. Brian gave him a brilliant ride and setting off on the inside, he was just a little keen over the first two fences but then he settled into a lovely rhythm and never missed a beat. His main rival The Paddy Pie knuckled over on landing at the third last but Charmant was travelling equally well at the time and went on to win by 23 lengths. This proved conclusively that he stays 2 ½ miles and maybe in time he will stay further. It was an excellent result and a great win for owners Andrew Phillips and Nicholas & Jill Sperling.
Charmant and Brian Hughes winning at Wetherby
Owner Andrew Phillips collecting his prize on behalf of himself and Nicholas & Jill Sperling
Racing Post on Friday 24 January picks Charmant as the Star Performer at Wetherby
Tom Frost has recently joined the yard and has already proved to be a very useful addition to the team. His father Kevin Frost is a dual purpose trainer in Staffordshire. Tom has had eight years of experience working for him and he spent time as a pupil assistant for both Nicky Henderson and Harry Dunlop and also at Shadwell with Owen Burrows. Aside from racing, he enjoys shooting.
We also have an interesting new horse Westland Row - an 8 year old by Oscar out of a Presenting mare - Presenting Proform. Formerly trained by Gordon Elliott, he has won four hurdle races and two chases from 28 runs. Bobby O’Ryan acquired him for us and a web page with full details will be created shortly but the horse is FOR SALE.
We have entries coming up at Kelso, Newcastle and Catterick.