Katya and I landed at Gatwick airport at nine twenty this morning having returned from our little January getaway. From looking at the picture on the front cover of the Racing Post my suspicions that it may be rather cold in England were confirmed as soon as I stepped through the arrival doors! We had a wonderful time in hot Cuba, it was our second trip out there and once again we discovered some really beautiful and extraordinary places. The team at home did a great job in my absence, there have not been many runners due to the weather conditions but everything has ticked over nicely which is a credit to my staff.
Royal Redemption ran today at Chepstow in the novice hurdle, Noel reported he hated the ground but he finished a respectable third. He looked a picture and jumped exceptionally, he will make a great chaser in time.
We are sending four horses up to Musselburgh tomorrow. Two run on Sunday and two should run on Monday. There is a lot of money on offer up there and the ground is the best in the country right now. Superb Story runs on Sunday in the Triumph Hurdle Trial and Seventh Sky runs in the novice chase. On Monday Attimo will run in a handicap chase and Murray Mount in the bumper. So it looks like I am heading back to the airport on Sunday morning but this time I will be seeing the Scottish Isles out of the aeroplane window when I land and not the Caribbean sea!
Having only just touched down I apologise for the lack blog but hopefully by the middle of next week I will have plenty to report!
Apologies for the lack of blog this week but you can expect more at the end of next week.
A brief update on some of the goings on at Neardown include our Charlie Mann Racing Club morning on the gallops last Saturday. We all had a lovely morning, although a tad chilli! Katya cooked fantastic breakfast for everyone before heading up to the gallops to see Cody Wyoming in action. Once back in the warm everyone enjoyed a glass or two of bubbles and some cake made by Rose to celebrate the wins. CMRC members also had a chance to take some photos with Cody, who as it turns out is the perfect model! He didn’t move an inch and had his ears pricked for every single picture. We still have more spaces available in the CMRC, if you are interested then please don’t hesitate to get in contact as it is not to late to join.
Other good news is that we have had a fantastic response to ‘The Steeplechasers’ as mentioned in last weeks blog. Interested parties have been invited to the launch day in a box at Sandown Park at the end of the month. We hope this will give everyone the chance to get to know each other and discuss the plans for the syndicate. We are really excited about ‘The Steeplechasers’ and can’t wait to put the plans into fruition.
Portmonarch and Nimbus Gale run tomorrow at Doncaster. Nimbus Gale makes his handicap debut and although he is possibly well treated I would worry that tomorrow comes a bit soon after his last run. He is in good order at home and is nice young horse. We have plenty of entries over the next week but the weather will play a big part on where the horses run. Seventh Sky is unlikely to take up his entries on Saturday, nor is Royal Redemption on Sunday and Superb Story on Monday unless the ground dries up considerably. There are plenty of opportunities for Champagne N Caviar who could go to Leicester next week and Native Explorer could head to the mares maiden at Towcester.
After a lively response from our video last week we have been doing bits of filming for a short film on ‘A day at Neardown’ to show plenty of behind the scenes footage. Keep an eye out for it appearing shortly.
We worked a few horse on Wednesday morning, Tony Stapleton came in to see Run To The Rhythm being put through his paces. Seventh Sky roared up the bank and Cedre Bleu did a nice bit. Later that day I went to get my shoulder treated at Oaksey House by Kate Badger. I think it seems to have done the trick. Oaksey House is an extrodinary place, I think they offer a great service. The jockeys are extremely luckly to have a place they can go to and I am sure it goes a long way to keeping them fit, healthy and on the road.
On Thursday morning it really rained! We schooled Native Explorer and Libeccio. Cody Wyoming ran at Catterick, he stayed over night so he was well rested after his journey there. He made most of the running and jumped beautifully, he managed to win by a couple of lengths. Catterick do a good job and the prize money is top notch. Cody Wyoming has been a phenomenon this year, he has been first three times and second in his other three runs. We still have membership in the CMRC available. With a lot of new people to racing in the CMRC they have all had an excellent time being involved with such a fantastic horse.
On Friday I rode out for the first time in a while which I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed and my shoulder didn’t feel too bad. We ran Seventh Sky at Huntingdon in a chase that on paper looked quite competitive. Apart from trying to demolish the second fence he ran a nice race, he jumped the last upsides a fairly good horse and put seventh lengths in between them when he got to the line. He was very impressive and I hope the handicapper doesn’t kill him. He has some constitution as that was his tenth run of the season and he still looks as big as when he came in! I have to say I am glad his mistake at the second wasn’t as bad as the one at Newbury below!
We had Andy Stone stay on Friday night and the next morning Bill Brindle came to see the horses work and discuss plans for their new syndicate ‘The Steeplechasers’. We had a good meeting and I am proud to endorse this new venture, I am also very excited to be training the horses for the syndicate. Andy and Bill have worked very hard to get this up and running and they have great vision of where they see the syndicate heading. We all believe this new initiative is the way forward to bring higher quality Saturday horses in to the yard. I would be delighted to see some of my owners and some new faces join the syndicate for the 2015-2016 season. To kick start the launch, Andy, Bill and myself are hosting a days racing for interested parties at Sandown Park on the 31st January.
‘During the past ten years of racehorse ownership I have found the key for me is the fun of watching good quality competitive horses with like minded co-owners. The syndicate will be based on tweleve members of ‘The Steeplechasers’ syndicate buying in at an upfront cost of £10,000, to be invested initially in three decent horses. It is important to us that all twelve shareholders will be on an equal footing with the involvement of the horse purchases. I am also excited about the use of our own app which will provide a platform for every member to comment and express their views.’
Andy Stone & Bill Brindle
If you would like any more information on ‘The Steeplechaser’ then please do not hesitate to contact the office.
Libeccio ran at Kempton on Saturday, he finished fourth which I was a tad disappointed with but Noel did report that he would go better with a tongue strap. Katya and I then joined Paul Mott and Jackie at the Butchers Hook before heading to Stamford Bridge to watch Chelsea beat my team Newcastle 2-0. We then had a very good dinner at Kozu and stayed the night in London.
After a very good breakfast Katya and I went to have drinks with Nigel and Ros Kempner in The Heron Tower. We then had the most delicious lunch (including beetroot sorbet!) at the Mondrian Hotel on the bank of the Thames. It was extremely good food as you can see from the pictures below. We drove back to Lambourn later that day after having had a very enjoyable weekend in London.
We have a few entries this week but the weather is going to play a large part in where they all head. I rode Superb Story today and I can say he felt very well, he may well go to Ascot on Saturday. Cedre Bleu has entries at Ascot and Haydock next weekend.
On Saturday Rose sat out riding out and came up the gallops to do some filming, she has made a short film with the footage to give you a taste of a Saturday morning on the gallops. I hope you enjoy watching it. If it doesn’t appear below follow this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mhij9MIV3VM
On Wednesday my daughter Tildie got out of bed early to do a work experience day with me. It was good fun and nice to have her around. She did a lot of work with Rose in the office and I think everyone enjoyed themselves. She was great help.
We decided at the last minute to declare Superb Story at Musselburgh, we wanted some half decent ground for him as we knew he would not like it too soft. It meant that Iffy left straight after declarations to take him up the night before and enjoy seeing in the New Year in Scotland! As racing was off and I was at a loose end I was taken food shopping with Katya to Waitrose, it certainly was an experience which I hope I don’t have to go through again!
We had a very good New Years evening at home with John Francome, the McEwen’s, Rodney Powell and Alex, the Bowlby’s, Evelyn Faber, and Riddles and we had a very fun evening.
On New Years day we had a fairly busy morning and Superb Story was running in the first race at Musselburgh. I was expecting him to finish in the first four but I was very pleasantly surprised when he won quite impressively. He jumped really well, seemed to enjoy himself and was given a good ride by Richie McLernon. I hope we may have a decent horse on our hands as he still has plenty of improvement. We then had a very impromptu lunch with fifteen people! I have to say I have had worse starts to the new year than this!
Friday was fairly quiet but all back to normal on the yard. Mark Hitchcroft had come to stay over night to see his horses in the morning. He bought his daughter with him who had her first taste of racehorses and had an excellent time.
Paul Mott came to stay on Friday night to see his beloved Sureness who is now back in work. We went up the gallops on Saturday morning to see Bridal Suite work well with Nimbus Gale. Portmonarch led Expedite and Run To The Rhythm up back of the hill gallop in a bit of work, I was very impressed with the baby horses going so well with Portmonarch who is a good consistent work horse. Gowanauthat and Attimo worked well together on the bank.
I drove to Wincanton to watch Champagne N Caviar run in appalling conditions. I thought Harry Bannister gave him a nice ride, he jumped okay (which was better than before!)and he finished fifth, I think he is capable of winning a small contest now his mark has dropped to 108.
We had a family day on Sunday with all the children and had a very nice lunch without any guests!
On Monday I made a big mistake by running two horses at Lingfield on virtually un-raceable ground. Nimbus Gale was never going on it and finished sixth which should now get him a mark. Sands Cove just didn’t finish his race and Noel had to pull him up. He was very consistent last year but seems to have lost his way this year. Nothing seems untoward this morning but we will do some further investigation. It wasn’t a very good start to the week, however you have to be so careful running horses in ground as bad as this.
We have entries this week at Catterick, Kempton and Warwick. Cody Wyoming may well go up to Catterick again and Libeccio hasn’t taken his chance at Ludlow tomorrow as I think the Kempton race may cut up form him.
This week Lord of House, Plum Stone, Always Smiling, Sureness and Western King are all back in work, it will be nice to get them back on the race track soon.