Paul Webber Racing Report – 15

That 2017–18 National Hunt season is already consigned to the bin and the new one is well into its unrelenting stride. It still seems wrong that there is no ‘proper’ break for Man nor Beast and that the seasons are interwoven together to produce seamless and unending campaigns.

Having a break of a week is no solution. Sensibly jockeys disappear near and far, but horses running during the first two weeks of the new season still need galloping and schooling, but their race-day partners are absent from our training grounds. Surely three weeks in July to coincide with children’s holidays and the flat season in its ‘Height of Summer’ mode would mean that National Hunt racing could stop for a little breather and let staff and horses have a short break from what is now a relentless routine?

That season finished on a very cheery note for us with INDEFATIGABLE providing us with our first ever dead-heat. Unfortunately and sadly as so often happens in ‘bumpers’, the race developed into a sprint with James Bowen not pressing on and attacking the leader as early as planned. “Mary” showed a turn of foot and courage to make up masses of ground to join Sweet Adare her joint winner, on the line.

“Mary” looks a lovely prospect for next season and will step straight up to 2½ miles over hurdles. Her form with Relegate is top-class as she was only beaten 3½ lengths by that horse on her debut, who then won The Cheltenham Festival Bumper! Victor Dartnall told me that his filly is the best female he has ever trained.






GO AS YOU PLEASE showed great promise when finishing 2nd in his debut in a bumper, ridden by Max Kendrick who was very thrilled to get to wear Mr McManus’ famous silks!

COPPERFACEJACK only got caught in the last 100 yards, having made the running for 3m4½f which was very cruel after such a great display of jumping! I made an error of running him back a week too soon after his exertions when he was fourth at Towcester. “JACK” will bounce back at Uttoxeter on 20th June.

EURKASH ran too free in a small field of four at Towcester but was only beaten 6 lengths despite not settling all the way into the straight. He needs a good Summer and will then be a lovely prospect for the Autumn.

BOUGHTBEFORELUNCH has run two good races on the prevailing better ground, finishing third despite a slipped saddle at Huntingdon and watch out for him at either Fontwell on 16th June or Uttoxeter on 20th June.

NEW AGENDA appeared not to enjoy jumping fences at Huntingdon but ran really well back on the flat to finish third at Leicester last week. He will probably have another run on the flat by the end of June and then aim at The Summer Hurdle at Market Rasen on 21st July.

KERRERA pulled muscles coming out of the stalls at Newbury which was a serious disappointment as we fancied her to run very well that day. I expect her to make amends on her next start.

ALL CHANGE is entered this week and galloped very well at Wolverhampton ten days ago. She ran well in both her mares bumpers but sustained a small hairline fracture in the second of them at Doncaster, but has recovered very well.

COSMIC DIAMOND was entered over fences at Uttoxeter but looks to have just pulled a little muscle whilst being turned out in the paddock over the weekend and so will not run this week.

There seems to be a sale every week of the year nowadays. Indeed the fear of over-production is back, with the calendar of flat ‘Breeze-Up sales trying to sell 157 more two-year-olds than last year and the market proving especially hazardous and picky. The National Hunt world could be in danger of doing the same with a new Tatts Ireland sale in May and bigger catalogues at all the established sales. This boost in numbers should supposedly give buyers a better chance of finding their preferred horse, but that is not the way this market seems to work. It seems that bigger catalogues are filled with the same number of ‘acceptable’ horses but with a greater number of lesser models, so the demand gets stronger for a smaller percentage of better class horses.

We have to search harder and further to find horses at realistic prices because the resale value of the proven horse is driving the cost ever higher for young horses to go flat racing and National Hunt un-broken ‘stores’. Taking the view that ‘you cannot win if you are not in’, we have already brought six exciting new prospects into the yard.


The New Recruits

Martalrique’jac in the jumping lane.

Martalrique’jac in the jumping lane.

Martalrique’jac was featured in our last ‘Report’ and we are so pleased that he has been bought by Bill and Liz Bailey. Having been sourced privately from Guy Petit, this gelding had a few weeks cantering before being turned away for the summer. He looked so natural both cantering and jumping, with a really good attitude.

Martalrique’jac in the jumping lane.

We bought SEE FOREVER at the Tattersalls Ire. Cheltenham April sale after she finished second in her only point to point in Ireland. She stands 16.2 with a lovely frame to fill into and looks to have all the scope to go chasing after hurdling. She is by Stowaway out of a half-sister to Garruth who was a Gr.1 hurdle winner over 3 miles at Aintree. Lovely “Coco” has been bought by Carolyn Kendrick and we hope that her son Max will have many exciting and successful visits to the winners’ enclosure aboard this filly.

One of the absolute bonuses of travelling around England, Europe and further afield in the pursuit of buying horses is the places you see and the people you meet. I am so fortunate to have bought horses in Deauville, Saratoga, Cape Town and Buenos Aires, but one of the most lovely sales to attend is Osarus at Teste La Buch near Arcachon in South West France. I’d been to the yearling sales there before without success, but couldn’t wait for a second chance! This was provided by the persuasive and charming talents of a long-time friend Jimmy George, Marketing Director of Tattersalls who bought Osarus a few years ago. I think Jimmy’s business ethic is, “I so liked the town that I bought the company!”

Our plan was to search for a couple of fillies that had the physique and pedigree to run in October onwards as 2yo’s, but with scope to become three-year-olds that will stay 1¼ – 1½ miles. Ku and I looked at 60 on Tuesday morning then watched them all ‘breeze’ on Wednesday morning, This gave us time for second and third looks and vetting before the sale began at 1pm. We have bought two very lovely fillies, in fact, they were the two fillies at the top of our final list of four.

2yo filly Linngari ex Silver Pivotal (Pivotal)
This filly is a half-sister to a Gr.3 winner in Dubai and her dam sire Pivotal is proving to be such a good broodmare sire. She has been bought by Martin Hughes.

2yo filly by So You Think ex Moraga (Acclamation)
Her half-brother won a Leopardstown maiden first time out this year for Ger Lyons. We are forming a partnership of four shares to own her. The first share has been sold, to Jimmy George himself and we hope the other will be bought next Monday, so there remains two or three available at the cost of £8,750 + VAT with no bills until 1st January 2019.

From these photos, you’ll see how attractive they are and they both canter so easily. They are relaxed with low head-carriages when cantering alone but are just perfectly competitive when upsides, we could not love them more!


For Sale

To me, the Goffs UK Spring National Hunt at Doncaster often presents very attractive horses that do not sell for unreasonable money. It was the first ‘N.H. store’ sale of the season, until the afore-mentioned sale at Tatts Ireland in May. Often in the past, it seems as though many Irish trainers prefer to wait until the Goffs Land Rover sale or Tattersalls Derby sale and buy in euros, rather than spend sterling at Doncaster.

This may be a personal preference but it always seems to me that horses get progressively more expensive as the sale goes on or as successive sales follow on. However to insure that you know the proper make-up and quality of a sale you have to look at plenty of horses two or three times before the sale even starts. My daughter Sophie, owner Bill Bailey and I looked at 130 horses on the Monday, which gave us a good overall view of the quality of catalogue for the following day.

From our work, we produced a ‘shorter’ then ‘short-list’ of about thirty horses. We have always found better value at the beginning of a sale as often a ‘feeding-frenzy’ can be created towards the end of the day when purchasers get more determined to buy. This ground-work gave us the confidence to get ‘stuck in’ and buy Lots 8 and 93.

Lot 8
2015 bay gelding by Winged Love ex Kiss Jolie (Cadoudal)

Strong, athletic gelding by a proven sire of staying chasers, from the family of Long Run and Getabird. I was under-bidder on his full-brother Dorking Cock at this sale last year and his purchaser was under-bidder to me this time! Dorking Cock ran very well to finish fourth on his debut in the Goffs UK bumper at Newbury. This horse is ‘breaking-in’ smoothly and has a lovely temperament already having a saddle on and will probably be ‘backed’ for the first time this week. He looks a proper horse and cost £37,000 in the ring.

Lot 93
Frippon De Vaige (Fr) (this name can be changed) 2015 bay gelding by Apsis ex Ratina De Vaige (April Night)

Standing 16.2h this is a fine, strong and scopey horse. He looks to have done most of his growing but does not look gangly in any way. His sire had two horses placed in a Gr.1 race at Auteuil two weeks ago and his dam-sire April Night is also the dam-sire of Bristol de Mai and Un De Sceaux. A future chaser but mature enough to run in the Spring. This horse is also an ‘AQPS’ bred horse which means that he is eligible for many AQPS bumpers and hurdle races in France that carry a lot more prize-money than our races here! He cost £28,000 in the ring.

Travelling to these sales coincides with a quieter time in the yard at home. We have four two-year-olds and four older horses to run on the flat and six horses that will have a few runs through June and July. The two-year-olds POURMORECHAMPAGNE and TULIPE ANGELIQUE are going for their second trip to Wolverhampton this week and hopefully will be ready for their debuts in July.

Then there are the new National Hunt horses to educate and a few others who are recovering from little ‘niggles’ and are re-starting their training. GWAFA had a little tweak in April but is making a Lazarus-like comeback which is both a relief and a great excitement.

ROYAL DEBUTANTE also had a hiccup at Kempton, but will be back on track in September.

We are also looking after twenty horses in the field who are currently enjoying the best of their summer holidays. Spring came late but the grass is still growing and the horses are loving it. The horseflies have not quite arrived and the weather is warm without being hot, so the horses are thriving just now. Some of these horses will soon be holding their tummies in, trying to disguise them from my prying eye during our daily inspections, less we have to get them back in sooner than they’d like!


Spanish Rodeo!

We all think we are Horsemen of some experience and talent… but this fellow is a serious genius!


This week’s Man on the Spotify

Wild Horses
by The Rolling Stones
from the album The Rolling Stones Singles Box Set

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