It was very good to end 2018 with Charmant winning at Kelso. There was a huge crowd on their last meeting of the year and it was a rare day as every single race was won by a Scottish trainer!
As we go into 2019, the forecast again is for dry weather and so this is giving us cause for concern as we have plenty of entries coming up.
The new team in the office are settling in really well and we are very lucky to have both Gemma and Patricia doing such an excellent job.
We have installed the first two turn out pens. These will make a great addition to the facilities allowing horses a more natural and dust free day time environment and some good relaxation down time. They have been out in them on the nicer days for most of the day. Many leading trainers use these and so this is an interesting experiment.
We are having a New Year Staff party at The Douglas Hotel this Saturday. Everyone worked so hard over the holiday period which is always a difficult time for those working with animals, so we are very grateful to all our staff. We are also pleased that Peter Vencel was able to enjoy a trip home to Czechoslovakia.
We have two 25% shares left in our exciting newcomer Honourary Gift so do please contact the office on 013873 70707 - a great New Year present!
The Maestro made his debut under rules in the Bumper at Catterick on Tuesday 18th December. He won best turned out and was very professional throughout the day. Ridden by Brian Hughes, he settled well and ran an excellent race to come in second beaten only six lengths in holding ground. This was a promising start to his career.
The Maestro at Catterick with Gemma
Saturday 22nd December was a busy day with Aristo du Plessis travelling to Haydock and four runners going to Newcastle.
The going at Haydock was heavy but Aristo was very full of himself on arrival and in the paddock. Ridden by Bruce Lynn, he bowled along in front for most of the way but made a few uncharacteristic mistakes and carrying plenty of weight he came in sixth. He was only beaten by nine lengths and came out of the race extremely well.
At Newcastle Bingo D’Olivate ran in the 2 mile ½ furlong Handicap Hurdle. Steven Fox was on board and Bingo was a lot keener than in his previous race. He pulled very hard to start with and this probably affected the result as he finished sixth beaten 14 ½ lengths. The going was soft and he probably needs deeper ground and a stronger bit.
Ca Le Ferra (bto) was unlucky in the 2 mile ½ furlong Novice Chase as he was travelling well when the horse in front fell three out badly hampering him and knocking Steven Fox out of the saddle. The horse is absolutely fine and will run again shortly.
In the Junior Bumper we ran Foxey and Aquitaine Boy (another bto) who came third and fourth respectively. This was Foxey’s second race and he was given an excellent ride by Ross Chapman to come third beaten by four lengths. He handled the ground well and has made good progress from his first race and if he keeps on improving should be a fun horse for the future.
Aquitaine Boy ridden by Conor O’Farrell showed excellent attitude on his first time away at the races. He ran well in this quality Juvenile Bumper and he will be suited by better going and a step up in trip but this was a good run to come fourth.
We were at Kelso on Saturday 29th December with Charmant and Bullion. It was a difficult choice for James to make for Charmant between Newbury and Kelso but all credit to Kelso who offered slightly more prize money and Charmant followed up his previous win with another smooth success in the 2 mile 1 furlong Handicap Chase. Given a great ride by Brian Hughes on the inside rail, he jumped well throughout in a fast run race to win by nine lengths. This was a very good effort and Steven Fox has done a great job with Charmant at home as he is not an easy ride being very keen. This was Brian’s 50th win for the yard!
Charmant with Brian Hughes at Kelso
Bullion had his first run since a wind op in the 2 mile Novice Hurdle and ridden by Conor O’Farrell he jumped well to start with but when he was squeezed for space he did not enjoy this and was pushed right back. However, once switched wide he ran on again and made up ground later on in the race to finish sixth.
Into the New Year we ran Aristo du Plessis at Musselburgh on Tuesday 1st January in the 1 mile 7 ½ furlong Betway Hogmaneigh HandicapHurdle. This time the ground was probably just a bit too fast for him but he was given a good ride by Billy Garrity and he was travelling well until three out when he just couldn’t quicken when the others went on and was outpaced in the closing stages to finish eighth.
Weather permitting we have a busy time coming up with at Newcastle, Musselburgh, Ayr and Doncaster.