There are always heart-break moments in every season and many of them occur at evening stables, with the discovery of the first signs of ‘trouble’ with the horses’ legs. This horse had schooled steadily and perfectly on Saturday morning, his last jump before making his hurdling debut four days later. That evening there is heat and touchiness in his near fore; sure enough he has given that tendon a slight strain. The worry of having to ring the owner themselves or the racing manager with the bad news is just dreadful and this is only lessened by how well most people manage to take the bad news. This horse has had his tendons fired and will make his hurdling debut in the spring.
Bought at the Goffs UK in May 2016 with the aim of running in and winning the Goffs UK sale bumper at Newbury at the end of March. Everything went absolutely right for this horse all the way through the winter… We built a wonderful new syndicate to own him, he progressed well, did some excellent work on the racecourse, recovered in time from a little muscle tweak and then ‘scoped wrong’ two days before his target and so could not run! A month later he ran an expectedly good race on debut to finish second in a decent bumper at Warwick, staying on really gamely in the last quarter of a mile. We sent him on his holidays after that and he looks to have lengthened and filled out through the summer. Will probably want 2½ miles when he starts off over hurdles in the autumn.
Has always looked so talented in the mornings but has not fulfilled that promise on the racecourse… yet! He is a very good mover and we do definitely know that he needs decent ground. What we have struggled with is his inconsistency as he runs a good race followed by a disappointing one and after his distant second over hurdles to Buveur D’Air – we were permitted to get excited! He won well over fences at Kempton in April where he jumped beautifully but then disappointed badly at Southwell next time. However, after that race we able to pin-point a problem with two close ‘kissing spines’ which have been injected. This type of problem would be good reason for his inconsistency, so let us hope that he can now show his true ability on the racecourse. I have always thought this horse should get to a rating of at least 140!
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.
2014 bay gelding by Oscar ex Nolagh Supreme (Supreme Leader)
Mrs Paul Shanahan and Ross Doyle
Very impressive and powerful son of Oscar who was bought from the Tattersalls Ireland Derby sale in June. He has been very sensible to ‘break-in’ and is an exceptional mover. Although standing 16.2h, he seems very together and well-balanced. We look forward to him running in a bumper in the spring.
2014 bay gelding by Winged Love ex Night Therapy (Mandulus)
We bought this gelding at Goffs UK May NH Store Sale. He is very athletic and has already shown himself off to great effect in our loose jumping lane. His sire has had good winners like Boston’s Angel, Josses Hill and Twist Magic and he from the family of Publican, Clondaw Warrior and Night Nurse himself. We would expect him to run in a bumper in the New Year. Surely you would like the honour of owning this horse and can think of a good name from ‘Winged Love and Night Therapy’?
Fine, imposing-looking gelding who stands a good 16.3h. He won and was placed second twice from four runs in point-to-points for Willie Codd and was bought privately by Ross Doyle for us in May. He is from the family of Time For Rupert and Jet Tabs while his sire has produced the likes of Champion Court and Court Minstrel. He had six weeks in the field and has filled out very well for a tall horse. He shows a lovely attitude and may well go straight over fences in the autumn.
Six consecutive seconds and seven from his last nine runs just about tells the story! Always jumping so accurately and often looking as though he might win, but somehow finding one opponent in front of him at the line. Plenty of doubters think him ungenuine, but I still believe that is unfair as he always has a decent ‘blow’ after his races and loses more weight during his exertions than many others who do their best. He started his sequence of seconds off a mark of 80 and has been raised to 93 without becoming a winner which seems a trifle harsh! He is still filling out and maturing so I am convinced some of those seconds will become wins very soon.
A very good looking filly who has not yet fulfilled the promise she showed when third on her debut in a bumper at Ludlow. Her homework has always been consistent and good, but her racecourse performances have lacked consistency and enough success. Having said that, she has grown more than expected and may have been a little weaker than we thought. She has shown that she does not handle soft ground and finished second on her last start at Stratford, despite not looking comfortable or travelling well at any stage during that race. She was very sore in her cannon bones after this race, not sore shins but little shin splints were trying to appear. She has been given time and is moving so well. I have always been her biggest supporter but now that she has to be mature, she needs to show us exactly what she is capable of.
A good looking son of a young and promising French stallion, Full of Gold. He was the heaviest ‘store horse’ that we’ve ever bought, indeed, he weighed 612kg when he went home to his owner’s farm last September! However, as he matured he began to shed weight and ran really well to finish fourth on his debut in a bumper at Huntingdon at Easter. Unfortunately, there was no pace at all on his second start at Warwick and we did not make enough use of his stamina, so he just finished mid-division when he should have been much closer. He is a very natural jumper and will make his hurdling debut over 2½ miles.
Finished fifth beaten only six lengths on his sole bumper start in May 2016. He had scoped crystal-clear two days before the race but then gave one cough at exercise the day before but as his tracheal wash had come back clean, we let him run. We were therefore terribly disappointed to get beat that day but reassured of our judgement when he was found to be full of yellow ‘gunk’, caused by the oil-seed rape that was present and flowering around us at the time. This disappointment paled into insignificance when some heat appeared in his near-fore tendon in October. He was fired and has been given all the required time as we need this horse back because he has undoubted ability and a wonderful temperament.
We bought this French-bred AQPS gelding at the Goffs UK May sale. He has strengthened amazingly since the sale and is cantering most impressively. He has a slightly plain head, but a great attitude and such a powerful way of going. He comes from a good, tough family, indeed he has a half-brother who has won over £175k over fences in France.
2014 bay gelding by Kapgarde (Fr) ex Queyrann (Fr) (Sheyrann (Ire))
Philip & Lesley Rocher
Very good-looking gelding bought with us by Ross Doyle at the Tatts Derby Sale in June. He looks very straight-forward and is a strong, well-made gelding by a top jumping stallion who has sired brilliant horses such as Milord Thomas, Garde la Victoire and many others.
Was kicked at the start in his first novice chase at Leicester which badly unsettled him, resulting in him running no sort of race at all. He finished second twice in his next three starts jumping really well on every occasion. He has just taken so much more time to mature than expected after he won a very modest novice hurdle as five-year-old. He is a half-brother to Shotgun Paddy and related to Patricksnineteenth so he should stay forever and cope with soft ground, but we are still not sure that he can do either as he can be a little keen. He is well handicapped and should be a lot of fun through the autumn and spring.
Started last season in such style by winning the Pertemps Handicap Hurdle at Haydock and then ran a tremendous race to finish third under top weight in the Summer Hurdle at Market Rasen. We were then tempted back to San Sebastian and assured of good ground, only for unforecast thunderstorms to appear and turn the ground soft. Despite the conditions and trailing into the straight dead-last, he ran on bravely to finish fourth. The real disaster occurred at Kempton in October when he over-jumped and so nearly fell at the third hurdle. In saving himself he tweaked his suspensory and pulled a little piece of bone of his sesamoid which just had to be given time. He came back in at the end of August with the aim of having him back at Christmas time, hopefully, at Kempton where the ground may be best at that time of year.
We bought this filly as a two-year-old off Juddmonte Farms in July 2015 knowing that she was going to be a long-term project. She is by Champs Elysee out of a Rainbow Quest mare so was always going to need time and 1½ miles plus. She had three runs while still maturing but got herself a mark of 60 in the process. After a very promising fifth over 1¼ miles at Lingfield where she got a glowing report from Graham Lee, she won very nicely over 1½m at Newmarket. Fran Berry reported that this filly was going at her fastest when she hit the line and was staying on so well. I think we’ll keep her ‘low key’ through the autumn and then she might develop into a lovely prospect next spring.
The gentlest of giants and most charming of characters, a real favourite throughout the yard! Gavin Sheehan who won on him at Market Rasen and Southwell has described this horse as ‘the best jumper of a fence that I have sat on’. Always tries his hardest but does need decent ground to be at his best. If only there was 0-120 handicap chase staged around Aintree. Looking forward to running him through the autumn over 2½ miles as his jumping will win him a couple more races.
We bought him from Simon Crisford at the Tatts Newmarket Horses in Training Sale in October 2016, after he had finished third at Ascot over 1¼ miles on his only start. He is by an excellent sire who is a very good influence for stamina from a family of Group-class staying horses. His year younger half-brother Nathan has won his last two and looks a lovely horse for the future. Unfortunately, the man I bought this horse for decided that he could not have him but took a while to finally say ‘no’, so this horse missed out on the break he needed during the winter. Eventually, he got out into the field and has developed really well. He schooled very naturally during the winter and will start off over hurdles when the ground is genuinely good or softer.
She stands only 15.3h but believes that she is at least 16.3h! This is the fifth generation of this family to run from Cropredy Lawn and the fourth generation to be bred here, so we are handling ‘hot property’! Very tough and determined, she won over hurdles at Huntingdon and Ludlow where her jumping showed amazing scope for one so small. Nothing went right when we stepped her up in class at Newbury as she missed the break and ended up wide. I then made the error in chasing ‘black-type’ at Cheltenham over 2½ miles rather than stepping her up to 3m in a handicap. Although small she has the attitude and belief to jump fences and this is the route we will take with her in the autumn.
Showed plenty of promise in his bumpers finishing third and fourth but then took a while to get the hang of things over hurdles. Although his schooling at home had been good, he seemed to have ‘forgotten his lines’ on his debut at Stratford and looked very confused and green. Finished fifth and third in two subsequent hurdle races and was given a handicap mark of only 90. He then let us down with a tendon problem at the end of November. His syndicate have shown plenty of the resolve required to be N.H. owners and I hope this horse will now reward everybody’s patience.
Is developing into a very useful dual-purpose horse and just you wait until he goes over fences! He has won and been placed on the all-weather and over hurdles but needs to go righthanded to show his very best, which I’m sure we have not seen yet. Finished a slightly flattering 2nd in a Listed novice hurdle at Kempton in October, a race that he may well run in again. Won at odds of 1-4 at Huntingdon but did not handle going left-handed at Uttoxeter and proved that to be the case with a life-time best performance when only being beaten a head in a competitive 0-90 handicap over 1¼ miles at Windsor. He used to a very aggressive ride and rather a ‘bull in a china shop’, but is beginning to relax and be more settled and this will help him to keep improving for a while yet.
Has won and been placed seven times on the all-weather and finished second on the grass but has to go righthanded. We had always hoped that he stay further than one mile, but his keen way of racing prevents him from doing so. He is very lucky to have a very patient owner who adores him, so he was granted a proper two month break, which we hope will have helped him to settle a bit better. A sound, tough horse who will probably always have his best chance around Kempton when there are very few people there, i.e. in the winter on the all-weather!
A really attractive mare with the look and pedigree of a future steeplechaser. She was second in her only point-to-point in Ireland before we bought her at the Goffs UK August Sale last year. She was too fresh and keen on her hurdling debut at Warwick where the ground was also heavy and sticky. She then ran very well to finish fourth at Doncaster and would have been second but for sprawling on landing over the last hurdle; the winner Copper Kay went on to be second in the big mares’ handicap hurdle at Newbury. She was also troubled on and off by sore shins in the spring, a sure sign of physical immaturity. She has ‘done’ as well as any horse through the summer and we are very excited about her as she continues over hurdles for this season.
Very tough filly who won a bumper on her debut at Ludlow then ran well in two more as a five-year-old. Won, second twice and third twice from six runs over hurdles last season with her only disappointment coming at Sandown on ground that was much softer than forecast. Her form is rock solid and she is now rated 120. She has a lovely pedigree being related to Queen of Spades, Pires and Heathfield who were all graded winners over fences, so it is probably time for her to go chasing too. She has always been a natural jumper and has the determination and character to match. A very exciting prospect.
Got to that dangerous stage in a young horse’s life when the trainer says: “This horse is about three weeks of a race” and a prospective plan is made! Those words are usually followed a week later by the trainer calling the owner with news of a set-back. This horse had worked well on the grass at Edgcote and was approaching his debut when he went very slightly lame behind. This got better but then the lameness re-occurred a few weeks later. This type of lameness is usually a warning sign that there is something going on in the horse’s structure that is more than just a pulled muscle. Eventually with the help of ultrasound a tiny non-displaced fracture was found on the left wing of his pelvis. Box-rest, walking, then a month in the field have sorted this and the horse is back cantering very well. We hope to run him in a bumper or straight over hurdles in late October.
We were so excited when Guy Petit sourced and bought this halfbrother to Tindaro for us as a yearling in South West France. Peter Bell was an enormous help in syndicating a large majority of shares around his ex-BBC colleagues and all looked set for a smooth path into ownership for a lovely team of first-time owners. It has been a very bumpy ride ever since! This horse was more backward than expected, especially mentally and became rather bollshy, then he had a bony problem in a hind joint that required rest, before striking into his right tendon when galloping over for his feed in the field! He is a very athletic horse with a great action and who has always loved his jumping so, hopefully, one day soon… I do not dare say any more, for fear of tempting the fates again.
I have no doubt in nominating this horse’s disappointing debut at Kempton in February as the lowest point of last season. This is one of the strongest and impressive four-year-olds that we have had; he felt more impressive than a certain Time For Rupert and everybody who sat on him concurred. For him to bleed on his debut was a catastrophic shock and so difficult to explain to his wonderful team of owners or understand for ourselves. Suffice it to say, we will take all known and legal(!) steps to assure this does not happen again and spend plenty of time praying that for whatever reason this was a one-off shock. This horse has it all physique, attitude and ability, we just need that extra intangible, Good Fortune.
Made a promising racecourse debut over hurdles at Sandown in February 2016 but then found Bangor too sharp on his next appearance. He was getting close to a run last December when he began to make a noise and had to have a wind operation at Ben Brain’s. All seemed to be fine but when he was scoped a few weeks later, some scar tissue had formed and he to have that removed. By the time that was sorted, the ground was drying and then he ‘threw a curb’ in mid – April. So, all in all, he achieved nothing except for causing his owner maximum frustration. However, these delays have meant that this very large steeplechasing creature is full matured and ready for the novice chasing season ahead. This is what he was bred for, being a very close relation to John’s Spirit and Spirit Leader.
Bought after winning probably too moderate a point-to-point in Ireland(!) for Tony Martin, he ran very well on his debut in a bumper at Ascot and then showed some ability over hurdles without winning and was not deemed good enough for his owner to persevere with. We got him to within three weeks of a run last May when some heat appeared in his off-fore tendon and he had to be ‘fired’. He has had all the time in the world and his work is good, so it is time for him to reward me for all the time, money and tender loving care that has been lavished upon him!
This horse has always been multi-talented having won over hurdles and fences as well as on the flat in Spain – he really has been a star. Now he is taking on a further and even more important role as school-master to his new owner’s daughter Sophie Smith. The plan will be run him in amateur riders flat and hurdle races for Sophie to gain as much experience as possible and I’m sure they will have a lot of success and fun together.
Big imposing gelding who had not achieved much in his earlier days and was sent here to see if the calming qualities of Cropredy Lawn would be better for him than the more hectic environment of Lambourn. He took a few weeks to get into a calmer groove but then began to do his work pretty nicely. He was still green and babyish when staying on very well to finish a closing third at 50-1 at Huntingdon and backed that up with a solid run to finish second at Worcester. Both these races were over 2 miles to make sure he settled but when he returns after a short break back at his owner’s lovely Fawley House Stud, he will be ready to run over further.
Showed plenty of promise when second in his bumper at Ludlow way back in March 2014 but went ‘backwards’ over hurdles and then got a tendon injury. He is lucky that his owner is the epitome of patience and he was mended and nursed back at Martinstown in Ireland but then bled at Warwick in heavy ground. He had a good break and has run well over hurdles during the summer. He has always looked like a chaser and it does seem as though if Scorpion’s offspring are any good, they can take time to show it.
Ran very well at Lingfield and Newbury on his first two starts of last season, finishing third on both occasions, then was not right after his disappointing run at Plumpton. This is a very reliable and sensible jumper but somehow he ‘lost his rider’ on his next two starts, carelessness on somebody’s behalf and no way to reward the faith of his new owner! He was travelling very well went it happened at the third last at Leicester and the next time they only got as far as the first, very sad. The ground then dried up too quickly for him to go on a retrieval mission. When the ground gets soft he will resume his winning ways of a mark of 95.
Queen by name, queen by nature but still to prove herself a ‘royal’ on the racecourse. She showed ability and a great attitude when battling through soft ground to stay on and finish third in a bumper at Doncaster in January 2016. She was one of biggest hopes for last season but did not get a chance to prove anything as she developed a tendon problem at the end of October. Why it should happen to this mare who so light on her feet is even more a mystery than usual. She has been given all the necessary time and treatment so let us pray (again) that she gets a clear run at things and came prove herself at last.
We were the under-bidders to Kieran McManus on this filly at the Tatts Ireland Cheltenham Sale in April and so were doubly-thrilled to then be given the ticket to take her home! She was part-owned by Barry Geraghty when she had three starts in point-to-points, so we hope that he’ll enjoy continuing that relationship by riding her. She was second on her third start and her form ties in very favourably with other horses that sold for nearly double what she made. She has had one gentle solo school over hurdles and did that with ease and the absolute minimum of fuss. She looks a lovely prospect for the excellent and ever-expanding program of mares’ novice hurdle races.