Paul Webber Racing Report – 7

I was so exceedingly lucky to work in Newmarket for 12 years from 1983 to 1995; some would say a ‘golden era’ for assistant trainers! If I give you the list of who was working there at that time, you will get an idea of how diligently we worked and also how hard we played.

James Toller (L. Cumani), Alec Stewart (H.T. Jones), William Jarvis (H. Cecil), William Haggas (J. Winter), John Hammond (S. Piggott), Alex Scott (H.T. Jones), Mark Tomkins (R. Jarvis), James Eustace (M. Tompkins), William Jardine (H. Cecil), John Ferguson (M. Stoute), James Fanshawe (M. Stoute) John Hills (H.T. Jones) and Me (J. Hindley).

Add to that Messrs. Batten, Beckett, Gold and Lascelles and you have a hand-picked bunch of legends!

Kerrera (Fran Berry)
winning at Newmarket by 3 ½ lengths
Photos courtesy of John Hoy

You can now appreciate why I love going back to Newmarket for the sales and the racing, but training a winner there is an even bigger thrill than buying a horse! To be then presented with the prize by James Toller himself, what could be of greater pleasure? KERRERA has the profile of an improving filly; she is bred to stay 1 ½ miles, will stay further, very genuine and is a late-maturing type. She won by 3 ½ lengths and Fran Berry reported that she was going fastest after the line and took a fair bit of pulling up. She has been raised 8lbs to a rating of 68 but will continue to climb her upward curve at Lingfield on 16th September. We will keep her ‘low key’ this Autumn and then hope to see her step up in grade next Spring.


Every winner is celebrated with Hot-Dogs for the Team!


KERRERA is another Juddmonte-bred about whom I have typed plenty in our reports. Was not Enable’s win in the King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth Stakes just sublime to witness? It was reassuring that our visible impression was confirmed by hearing John Gosden say that she’s the best filly he’s trained. How spoiled have we been in very recent years to be able to admire Sea The Stars, Frankel and Enable.


Sophie Smith winning on Follow The Star at Stratford

We are very fortunate to have had Sophie Smith riding out and even more pleased that she is to become a regular rider here whilst completing her studies at Agricultural College. Sophie has already ridden 30 winners from just over 60 rides on the pony racing circuit, which is proving to be such a wonderful training ground for young jockeys.

The tuition, instruction and race-riding experience gained is immense and gives all these English-based riders some of the advantages that Irish-based children have had for many years. There are so many opportunities now for children to get the chance of riding in a pony race, with over 140 races staged during point-to-point meetings and the Charles Owen series of 50 races staged at racecourses, culminating in finals at Newmarket. All this is very professionally overseen by The Pony Racing Authority, led by Clarissa Daly and a host of helpers and professional jockey-coaches. By combining with Clarissa and Henry Daly, we have organised that Sophie will ride out in Newmarket, spending a week with John Gosden and another with Ed Dunlop to further her experience.

In the Autumn she can make her amateur debut on TINDARO whom her parents have bought as a ‘schoolmaster’ for her to learn further on. If she loves riding out at Newmarket as much as I think she will and because she is so light, I can seriously envisage her becoming the next ‘Josephine Gordon’, once her studies are completed.

We are delighted to welcome a new member to our team as Lee Quirk starts work here next week. Lee is nineteen and has worked in Ireland for the Doyles at Monbeg Stables and Dermot Weld. He is arriving at just the right time as Danny Pebody last week has had his first child with Claire. Gracie May will no doubt occupy plenty of his time and he will need plenty of paternal leave, but I’m sure he’ll be coming in here as much as he’s allowed too! Neil Connolly is making a good and steady recovery from his horrific broken leg which happened on 19th May and hopes to be back in the yard very soon.


Turkey Creek and Richie McLernon practicing for their chasing debut.

This last wet week has delayed NEW AGENDA from running on the flat when he was due to go to either Goodwood or Sandown. We are now aiming at Windsor next Monday if the ground has dried up sufficiently by then. The forecast looks a little better so hopefully he will get a run soon and more importantly we’ll be able to get our hay cut and collected. TURKEY CREEK schooled very well over fences last week and if he schools in the same manner next time, he could run in his first novice handicap chase at Market Rasen on 18th August.


This week: ”Weary Eyes” – Augustines
from the album, The Augustines (in August!)




The horses love their Top Spec feed so much, they’ll even try to eat the picture!

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