Praise The Lord for more winners!
We were able to parade the horses outside in front of the house for the 20th year out of the 21 that we have hosted this lovely day. I had no idea that our owners were capable of such effective prayers and have encouraged them to apply for more winners from The Lord rather than Just good weather on Owners’ Day!
Forty-two horses were paraded in front of a crowd of almost 200 and most behaved well, that’s the horses as I cannot vouch for the owners! Breath of Blighty and Blue Revelation battled it out for ‘Freshest Horse Prize’ with the judges awarding the prize to the former due to His slightly more vertical rear!
In all honesty we have a few less horses this year, but they look a more mature bunch who should be able to go racing more often this season. I think the owners and crowd in general, including such N.H. legends as Jim Old and Steve Smith-Eccles, thought the horses looked fitter and more forward than in previous years. Many people told me that Blue Revelation, Detonate, Dreyfus, Gwafa and Orchard Boy particularly caught the eye, this must have been before they’d had a couple of the deliciously potent Cotswold Gins from the So Cocktails Bar!
David Higgins made a very rallying speech to encourage people to get involved with our Cropredy Lawn Racing Syndicate and a few shares were sold due to his kind and brilliant oratory. A wonderful variety of fabulous canapés were produced by Kate Pinnell, owner of the A Delicious Cook Company, whom we would recommend to everybody. Ku’s garden looked amazing and provided a perfect setting for a very relaxed afternoon.
Owners’ Days, horses in training brochures and the appearance of a certain Nicky Henderson’s guide to his horses in The Racing Post are sure signs that the core National Hunt season is almost upon us. Of course jump racing has continued un-abated through the summer and the bigger stables are already charging ahead.
Our trips to San Sebastian as opposed to Market Rasen have sadly been less fruitful than in previous years. Logistics have been fined down so precisely that the travelling is now very straight-forward and big thanks to Lucy Greayer and the team at Luck Greayer for that. Because of all the strife and trouble at Calais, our favoured route is now overnight Portsmouth Le Havre, then a couple of hours drive to the lovely Haras du Buff near Alencon. There Edwige Le Metayer and her family could not do any more for us to insure horses and people get plenty of rest.
It is then about a 10-hour overnight drive to arrive at San Sebastian at 8am.
Both Gwafa accompanied by Jerry Walsh and Sophie Webber and Tindaro with James Hughes and Sophie again could not have had smoother journeys. However Gwafa lost his chance with a slow break from the stalls and getting trapped six wide on a very tight track. He did well to come from almost last into the straight to finish fourth, so making a reasonable contribution to his costs. Tindaro¹s chances were ruined the day before with the advent of completely un-forecast heavy thunderstorms that changed the ground to soft and heavy.
The problem is that the racetrack at San Sebastian has a permanent rail, so they can save no ground for the better days of their fourteen meeting season. The ground gets very worn and soon opens up badly with any rain, as they are watering through the meeting as well. I don’t think we will risk going there again until they guarantee some better and fresh ground for these feature races. It will be a shame as the prize money is good for the class of horse and there cannot be a better city to visit than San Sebastian and the surrounding area. Fabulous beaches, amazing scenery and outstanding food (La Rampa on the harbour!)
It is now time to concentrate on more local journeys and get this proper season off to a really good start. COPPERFACEJACK runs on Tuesday, the first time since he had a soft-palate operation two months ago. He is rated 80 when we think he has the ability of a 115 horse, so let’s hope that he can show his true mettle now.
We like the attitude and ability of KERRERA who makes her racecourse debut at Lingfield in the 1 14 fillies maiden also on Tuesday. We bought her from Juddmonte Farms in July 2015 and she has been given plenty of time to mature. She will obviously benefit from the experience and has some frightening-looking opponents, but she will show plenty of promise.
It is time on Saturday for TOO MUCH TOO SOON to repay his owners patience and generosity. He had hob-day and soft-palate surgery but then went through a long and anxious colic operation a few weeks later, so has stacked up some fierce bills for his understanding owners Iain and Linda Watters. ‘CRAIG’ as he’s called has done two good pieces of work around Wolverhampton and should be fit enough to do his best (with the help of cheek-pieces to make sure!) at Market Rasen.
Here we go again!