A lovely, rangy steeplechasing type who has really strengthened up so well through the summer. His work was good and he had a couple of ‘away day’ gallops where he went well. Has a great temperament, always just do enough but giving the impression that there is always plenty left in the tank! We wanted to run him and took him to Ludlow in April, but it was a hot drying day and I became scared of the ground either side of the raised road crossings and decided not to run him. He is a lovely prospect and will run in his debut bumper when the ground is genuinely safe for a chasing type like him.
With him finishing second in his only bumper in April 2017 we were hopeful of an exciting time with this horse last season. He was unexpectedly too keen in his first run over hurdles and then we ended up taking the handicapping route as we learned that it was the soft ground that was stopping this horse from showing his true ability at home. He needed his comeback run in the spring at Warwick more than his trainer had hoped but then ran a proper and representative race when third at Huntingdon. He would have been second that day but for a slipping saddle and the winner Salix was extremely well handicapped and easily won again next time. We had hoped to win with him a few weeks later but he scoped wrong and went on his short summer holiday. We think he is on a ‘fair’ mark and is such a fantastic jumper that
2016 bay filly by Linngari (Ire) ex Silver Pivotal (Ire) (Pivotal (GB))
Stunning filly who really stood out as the top of her class at The Osarus Breeze-Up at Teste de Buch, near Bordeaux in April. She just ‘breezed’ so naturally in a very good time and showing a lovely low, honest head-carriage. She is such a lovely filly with a massive exhaust, a very big engine! Her sire was a tough Gr. 1 winner who sires similar types, while her dam was a listed winner who has already bred a Gr. 3 winner in Dubai. This filly cantered here for six weeks before having a little holiday. She strengthened so well in such a short time that we had to start cantering again. She was weighing over 520kgs which is pretty amazing for a 2.y.o. filly. The plan is to run her in late October or November over 7-8f., then put her away for the spring.
In his last 15 starts this horse has won two, finished second eight times and been out of the first four only once. His jumping has always been so consistent and despite sometimes being criticised for finishing weakly on occasions, always does his best but is possibly in the grip of the handicapper. The trouble with brave front runners is they seem to take longer to slip in the weights, as they are usually still in contention at the last fence. He is at his best going right-handed on good ground, so will keep going until the ground gets too soft. I hope that we will find another couple of 0-110 or 0-115 handicaps, which appear to be his grade.
2015 bay filly by Fame and Glory (GB) ex Great Idea (Ire) (Lion Cavern (USA))
I hope it was a very opportune moment when we bought this filly as Lot 7, very early into the Tattersalls February sale for just £13,000. This is a very attractive filly, full of quality and by a very popular but terribly sadly deceased sire. Her dam has had four winners from her first four foals and this filly had been in training as a two year old with Martin Meade but had been too backward to do too much. She has always done things so easily and worked well in her first racecourse gallop at Kempton. She then had a slightly high muscle enzyme count and cut her knee in the field, so was delayed a little. I hope that she will make her debut in a fillies maiden over about nine furlongs in mid-September.
Strong, handsome gelding who has filled his frame and matured so well since the spring; he almost seems to have shrunk by an inch, usually a sign that a horse has strengthened so much. No longer the gangly school boy, now the solid youth. He showed great promise on his bumper debut at Warwick in March, travelling well but then too green to quicken with his rivals before staying on strongly. His work looked good afterwards and he was much sharper, so I thought he had learned enough to be worth having a crack at The Tattersalls George Mernagh at Fairyhouse on Easter Sunday. What a disastrous trip that was. For some reason “KAP” hardly ate or drank a thing for thirty six hours and ran a flat, uninspiring race. He came home a shadow of his former self and all tests proved that he had dehydrated, despite having all the correct preventative intra-venous drips before he went. The trainer was also delayed three hours to and from Dublin by Ryanair, so neither of us enjoyed the trip! Have no doubt this is going to be an exciting horse over hurdles this autumn.
By a decent French N.H. stallion and a half-brother to a horse who has won over 175k over fences in France. He grew and lengthened a lot through the winter and with the very heavy ground we had to wait until the end of April to run him at Warwick. Nothing went right in the race where he got shuffled back through the field and was in an unpromising last turning into the straight before staying well to finish seventh, beaten only six lengths by the winner. In an attempt to ‘cash in’ at the sales, we had to run him back too soon and we was too revved up in a four runner race at Towcester, making the running and doing too much in front but was still only beaten six lengths again in fourth. He has got plenty of ability and remains a good prospect for the autumn.
2015 bay gelding by Apsis (GB) ex Ratina De Vaige (Fr) (April Night (Fr))
Mrs R L Banks & Mrs Nicky Kappler
Bought at the Goffs UK Doncaster May sale and now hacking around the farm. This is a well-grown strong horse who looks mature for his age. His withers are well up and I think he has done most of his growing already. A very athletic horse who already thinks the jumping lane is tremendous fun! His sire has got Grade 1 performers in France and his damsire, April Night is also the damsire of Bristol de Mai and Un de Sceaux, so he has plenty going for him on pedigree. He is obviously qualified at this early stage for the Goffs Bumper at Newbury in March worth 50k. and that might be a suitable aim, with a ‘prep’ race beforehand.
Arrived from Martinstown Stud in July and has shown himself to have a sensible mind and be very athletic and thoroughly professional about his work. He is by an excellent sire who sadly died earlier this year, but who in his short career left good horses of the calibre of Jer’s Girl, Our Conor and Kool Kompany. We hope to run him in a bumper by November.
Such a straight-forward star when winning the Swinton Hurdle in 2016, but it has not been quite plain-sailing across still waters since then. He has only managed five runs since, but they do include a highly-commended third in Market Rasen’s Summer hurdle under top weight and a cracking effort on his last start in February at Wolverhampton when beaten just a length by Dubai Fifty, who then finished fourth in the Chester Cup and second in The Ascot Stakes at The Royal meeting. We fully admit that this fellow has thrown up a few little niggly problems, but his wonderful previous owners have been kind enough to give him to us. When I think I know that we have a very good chance of a comeback run and then a few to follow, I will be inviting our supporters to form a partnership to lease him. He may not run often but we’ll be running in proper races!
Bred by John O’Connor for whom she ran when third on her debut in a mares bumper at Punchestown in January beaten just 3½ lengths by Relegate who then won a Grade 2 at Fairyhouse and the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham… some form! We are so lucky to have this horse and it is down to an old friendship between myself and John. He rang me after the race saying that he thought this filly was special and asked whether I could find him a partner. Fortunately Philip had mentioned a month before that he’d sometime like to find a filly to race and then breed from. Her debut came at Southwell, where they went no gallop and it turned into a sprint for home and she did well to dead-heat on the line with Sweet Adare. To half-win over a slowly-run two miles when she will relish 2½ miles over hurdles was a relief to all, but as Victor Dartnall said that his filly is the best female he has trained, we are all very excited about this filly.
Developed well last summer winning at Newmarket in early August and then ran a good third at Kempton at the end of the same month. She ran well in her ‘prep’ race at Wolverhampton in April and we then fancied her at Newbury next time only for her to disappoint massively. It looked as though she was sore in her back which was treated but she then hung badly right at Doncaster. By x-raying her withers we found the problem to some bony changes occurring exactly where a little racing saddle with minimum padding would sit and pinch her. We hope we have sorted this with injections, shock-wave treatment and a little time without a saddle. This has looked a promising staying filly and we believe there is more to come from her.
Guy Petit had drawn our attention to this horse and we planned to go over and view him the week after Cheltenham, however the snow arrived and we had to delay for a week. This meant that we were driving over at the exact moment that Malaya, a full-brother to this horse’s dam was winning at Ascot for Paul Nicholls! This is a very attractive compact and strong gelding by the sire of Binocular amongst others. He settled in very quickly and was soon cantering well up the hill, showing a lovely low, honest head-carriage. He is an AQPS-bred so may easily make his debut in a bumper in France confined to his breed in the late autumn, as there may be more choice for three-year-olds over there.
Won two novice hurdles easily going right-handed on quick ground last May and October, but made a bad mistake at the first fence on his chasing debut at Ludlow and that was it for him as the ground got soft. He did not look to enjoy fences on his second attempt at Huntingdon but has run two very good races on the flat when placed at Leicester and Kempton. He schooled very well back over hurdles and we were preparing for the Summer Hurdle at Market Rasen when he got cast a week before and bruised himself. He hope that summer weather lasts well into the autumn and he can ‘mix up’ hurdle and flat racing. A positive sign is that he is relaxing in his races now and looks to get 1½m., which bodes well for staying better over hurdles.
Bought at the ACPSIE Madrid Yearling Sale last September, this fellow has developed really well and especially so since being gelded. There is a saying that, “some trainers, most horses and all jockeys benefit from gelding!” You may alter that as you wish. This horse was always getting into bother, either fracturing his bottom jaw by biting the horse-walker or keeping too many eyes on the fillies! He has been as good boy since and worked well on all his ‘away-days’ to Wolverhampton and Kempton. Somehow after behaving immaculately at Lingfield, he had some sort of ‘brain-freeze’ after jumping out of the stalls and just seemed to forget all his well-taught lines. It was one of the most solitary and sad drives home I’ve ever had. We’ve trained first-time out two year old winners before and this horse was as well-prepared as them. He has a lovely staying pedigree as his dam is a half-sister to Rule Of Law who won The St. Leger, so he will of course make a lovely three-year-old on the flat and then a dual-purpose prospect.
We bought this rangy filly at the Tattersalls Cheltenham sale in April after she had finished second on her only start in an Irish poit-to-point. The video showed her to go all the way around the outside and possibly find three miles a little far at her young age, she is also a May foal. She stands 16.2 +h., has a lovely frame to fill and has had a really good summer which has helped her to begin doing just that. She looked to love her jumping in the loose lane and I imagine will go straight over hurdles in the autumn, ridden by her owner’s son Max, who has done well for us.
Suffered a non-displaced hairline fracture to the left illial wing of his pelvis three weeks before he was to make his debut in a bumper in the Spring of 2017. He was given masses of time to overcome this by his wonderfully patient team of owners but then we were keen not to run him on really stressful heavy ground. Huntingdon did not look too bad so he made his debut there at the end of January where he finished a really pleasing second, running on very well on to the line. He followed this up with a very honourable fourth at Kempton beaten under five lengths by horses who went on to run well in top class bumpers at Aintree and Ayr. This horse has had to overcome some skeletal weaknesses but has the right attitude to battle on and now the maturity to run more often.
An equine hooligan who put in an appalling display at last year’s Owners’ Day, getting loose and ‘throwing all sorts of shapes’ as he evaded capture! He did however begin to grow up, settle down and become less of a lunatic with the routine of work through the winter. May be this horse has just need more time than I envisaged to grow up and mature and by syndicating him early, I was in too much of a hurry to give his owners some action. Through the early spring he did settle down and really concentrate of his work. His debut at Kempton in a bumper in March was a very nerve-racking event but he did us very proud by finishing fifth in a very decent bumper, indeed the fourth and sixth horses both won next time out.
2016 bay filly by Planteur (Fr) ex Belle Chasse (GB) (Kyllachy (GB))
The Bailey Stokes Partnership
Bought at the Madrid Yearling sale last September where my daughter Sophie and I were the only people present from the UK as everybody else was at Keeneland or Fairyhouse. Her young sire Planteur won Prix Ganay Gr.1 over 1 ¼m and she is from the family of Mons, who I was under-bidder on as a yearling and went on to win the Royal Lodge Gr.2. This filly will be at her best as a three-year-old but is developing really well and has had three educational racecourse gallops. She is laidback on her own but very competitive upsides and looks to be a trier. She coughed at the end of July and then the appearance of some nasty spots on her head put paid to not only her debut, but also our original plan to take her back to Madrid for the ‘sales race’. She will run on either the grass or all-weather in October.