30th April 2015 – Blog

30th April 2015 – Blog

We worked horses up the back of the hill on Wednesday and To
Begin went nicely. I saw an old friend of mine, Simon Christian, having a
coffee in The Lambourn Café and ended up asking him for lunch. Katya has been
busy in the office so it has been up to me to cook lunch and Simon was very
impressed with my culinary skills! After lunch Foxy drove me to Ffos Las where
we had two runners. Royal Redemption ran a lovely race over hurdles finishing 2nd
when needing the run. It will be his last hurdle race as he will be a lovely
chaser for next season and is now going on his Summer break. Our second runner
Gowanauthat ran disappointingly but we subsequently had his blood tested which
showed he isn’t quite right. I think a lot of the horse so will send him off
for his holidays as he needs time recover and look forward to bringing him back
for next season. The drive back from Ffos Las took a long time … it is a very
long way away!
We schooled Verano and Sureness over  fences for the first
time on Thursday with Gavin Sheehan on board (see videos below) and they both
jumped very well and I look forward to sending them chasing. That evening we
went to Bobby and Ali McEwen’s for dinner.  It was a very jolly evening
and it was lovely to see Rodney Powell and Alex.
On Friday we went to the Cheltenham Sales with an owner
Terry Simmons who had never been to the sales before. We saw some lovely horses
and having been under bidder on quite a few we eventually managed to buy a
really nice 4yr old by Daylami called SOME KINDA LAMA (IRE). He was beaten a
neck in his only Point to Point and the winner went through the sales an
hour earlier (TANARPINO) and was sold for £80000. We paid £30000 for ours so I
think we got a bargain. See photograph of SOME KINDA LAMA below.
He is the first horse bought for the STEEPLECHASERS
PARTNERSHIP and we still have 2 more to buy for them. There is still one share
in STEEPLECHASERS available so do give me a call to discuss if you are interested.
Tony and Rita Stapleton came for Supper at Neardown that evening.
We hadn’t seen them for a while as they had been away and as always it was
lovely to catch up with them. We had 3 Red Letter Days for breakfast on the
Saturday morning and I think they all enjoyed themselves.  We then drove to Michael and Judy Maynard’s
for lunch before going to Sandown for AP’s last day as a jockey. I took a
photograph of him weighing in for the last time … it was a very sad day. 
We had a lovely lunch with the Maynard’s before going off to
the races. The atmosphere at Sandown was very emotional  and I don’t think
I have ever seen so many people in tears at the  races before  but it
really was the end of an era as we will never see the likes of AP again not
only in racing but in any sport. We have all taken the great man slightly for
granted as he has been around for a very long time but we are going to be an
awful lot worse off without him as he was a great ambassador for our sport.
We went to dinner at James Regard’s in Eastbury that
evening. There were lots of interesting people and the food was delicious.
On Sunday morning Bill Brindle (who is running the
STEEPLECHASERS PARTNERSHIP with Andy Stone) and his wife Hilly came to see
the new horse SOME KINDA LAMA and gave their seal of approval.
Katya and I rode to Ashdown to meet my daughter Tildie and
her friend Ella where we all went on a great fun ride to celebrate Tidies’ 15th
Birthday. On the way home we stopped off for an impromptu drink on horseback at
Kim Meehan’s  (see photos below)  and then having put our horses away we then
returned to Tumbleweed for a delicious lunch.
We then got Iffy to drive us to Heathrow Airport and as per
usual the M4 was blocked! We had to take a diversion and iffy had to drive like
Lewis Hamilton and we arrived at the airport with only 20 minutes to spare.
Katya and I ran through Terminal 2 like Usain Bolt and only just managed to get
on the flight. I was sweating like a pig unlike Katya who took it all in her
My man Rheinhardt picked us up from the Airport and we
went to my favourite fish restaurant which Katya enjoyed enormously. On the
Monday morning we got up at 4.30 and Rheinhardt picked us up from our hotel and
drove us to Cologne racecourse where we looked at horses in Peter Schiergen (who
we bought SEVENTH SKY from) yard followed by 3 other yards in the same
area. We saw 17 horses in total and I liked 2 of them – one of which I rode in
the pouring rain. 

We have subsequently done a deal on one (subject to vetting)
and are in negotiations for the other one. We flew back to England on the
Monday evening.
We had Ian Piper in all morning on Tuesday updating our website.
He took some incredible photographs which you can see below. I think the one of
Sureness’s mane is a work of art.

Iffy tried to drive me to London that evening as I was meant
to be having dinner with Nick Bannister but once again the M4 was a disaster. It
took me 4 hours to get to junction 12 and in the end we turned around and came
home. Katya had stayed at home to do some office work with our new secretary
Tessa who will be joining us in July so I stopped off at the local Indian
restaurant and surprised them with a curry.
We had Steve Cole and his girlfriend for breakfast and 2nd
lot on Wednesday. They have just joined the newly formed CMRC which now offers
an all-inclusive price of £2000 plus VAT to have a sixteenth share of Cody
Wyoming for the season(  there are 2 shares still available so please do
call the office if you are interested )and they wanted to see him before he
went away for the  summer.  We than had a telephone man in who is now
going to put in a very high tech telephone system for us and then we loaded up
Superb Story and Nimbus Gale who were going off to Colin Tinkler for their
summer  holidays. We also collected Airpur Despois (see below) from Colin’s who has
had a short break and is now coming back into training. 

Charlotte and William stayed on Wednesday night and at super
we played some very competitive general knowledge games.
We are busy trying to buy horses for the new season and am
off to the sales at Newmarket on Friday. We are also going to have our first
runners of the season this Friday evening at Fontwell . We are running a nice
new horse called TO BEGIN for the first time in a maiden hurdle race and Miller
of Glanmire will run in a chase.
We had a very good schooling session this morning.
 Sureness and Verano were very good (once again) over fences with James
Davies on board this time and we hope to run them both over fences in the very
near future.


On Tuesday there was a drinks party for Rodney Masters at
Oaksey House as he is retiring from being the Lambourn Correspondent for the
Racing Post. Rodney has been in Lambourn for 27years and was a great ally for
the jockeys and trainers in the area – I think he will be a hard act to follow.
There was a very good turnout which is testament to how very popular he is
within our community.
We had 6 people for breakfast on Wednesday and as usual
Katya cooked a delicious breakfast and they all seemed to have a jolly time.
Later on I had a salesman attempt to sell me solar panels but he failed to
convince me. Having got rid of him I went outside and took delivery of the most
beautiful weather vane which is my birthday present from Katya. It will be less
expensive to keep than the birthday present I gave to her!!
Harry Bannister came into school Thursday morning and we
then left to go to Cheltenham to watch Sureness run in the Listed Mares Race at
Cheltenham. We had a fun lunch with Paul Mott, his girlfriend Jacquie and some
really fun friends of theirs. They were really pleased to see Sureness looking
a picture in the paddock and were hopeful of a big run. She travelled and
jumped really well in the race but unfortunately they had over watered the
course for her liking so she got stuck in the gluey ground when she went to
quicken. We will take her chasing this summer as she is a big mare who wants
fast ground.
On Friday I took Evelyn Faber racing to Fontwell where we
Had three runners. Murray Mount ran in his first hurdle race. He was very green
and was a little precise with his jumping. He will come on a lot for the run
mentally. We also ran Verano who made the running. Unfortunately he looked at
everything and although he finished 3rd he probably should have
won. I have ridden him out since the race and judging by how fresh he is I
suspect the race didn’t take much out of him!! Always Smiling ran in the last
race at Fontwell. Her jumping let her down and is off to the sales as she is
owner ridden and Harry is looking for something slightly better. Katya
organised a very jolly supper party that evening with Ba Gilmour, Nick Gaselee
and Anda and Tim Fitzgerald- O’Connor. We were very impressed with Tim’s
stamina as he had only arrived back from Bermuda that morning!
We had another busy morning on Saturday with some very nice Red Letter Days folks. I ran Seventh Sky at
Ayr in The Future Champion Novice Chase Group 2 in the afternoon and
although he ran a little bit flat he still ran very well in defeat picking up
£11000 in prize money for second place. This was his 16th run of the
season and in my 23yrs as a trainer I have never had a horse run as often as
that. In 16 runs he has only been out of the prize money twice and has won 5 races.
He is a credit to his owner John Heron. We are off to Germany this Sunday to
try and find another one like him and he is now going away for a well-deserved
Iffy drove us to London that night for Natasha Kempner’s 21st
Birthday party at the Belvadere in Holland Park. The fact that we didn’t get
home until 3 in the morning is testimony to what a good party it was.
We had a quiet day on Sunday … Riddles dropped in for a
drink with Sean Shelley who was looking really well having had an operation
recently. Katya and her daughter Charlotte then cooked a delicious lunch.
I rode out 2 lots on Monday and then went to Ascot Sales
where I sold Attimo. He had been breaking blood vessels and I thought it was
time to move him on.
I played my first game of tennis this season  and was
very pleased with my performance but am open to improvement!!
We ran Bridal Suite in cheek pieces for the first time today
at Exeter but unfortunately they worked a bit too well and he had run his race
by the second last.
We plan to run 2 tomorrow at Ffos Las if the ground is okay
but you have to be terribly careful at this time of the year as the ground is
getting quick – there were 3 races at Exeter today with only 2 runners in them
because of the ground.
We are going to Cheltenham on Friday to buy horses and will
keep you informed.
Blog Update

Blog Update

We had Paul Mott down to watch his horse Sureness work on
Wednesday as it was her Birthday and he wanted to give her some polos! She went
really well and is bang on course for Cheltenham this Thursday.
That afternoon I managed to get all the lawns mowed although
this seems to be a thankless task as the grass has started growing with a
We have had a house full of children … hence the lack of
blog until now.
James Davies came in to school Libeccio on Thursday. It all
went to plan as he schooled enthusiastically and we were hoping for a good run
on Sunday. I went to Taunton races that afternoon to meet up with Tony Taylor
as we had Superb Story running. The ground had dried up a bit and he did not
run as well as expected but Dougie Costello said he would not let himself down
on the ground as it was too quick. He still finished 4th and I think
he is a lovely prospect for next season and will benefit from being turned away
for the summer.
We had a young girl called Tessa Champion ride out second
lot for us on Friday. We then had an Aintree lunch and had an enjoyable
afternoon watching the action at Aintree. Later on we went to a leaving dinner
at The Plough for Rose Osbourne. She has worked for me for nearly 3 years but
we do not need a full time secretary so we have had to let her go.
Saturday morning Iffy drove me to Heathrow and I flew up to
Edinburgh to attend my nieces wedding. I can’t really understand why
anyone would want to get married on Grand National day!! My brother Robbie and
I made sure that we got to the church extra early so that we could find a pub
in the vicinity as the service finished at 4 leaving us very little time to get
there in order to watch the big race. The service was absolutely lovely and
luckily for us it finished on time enabling us to make it to the pub in time to
shout Many Clouds home. It was a fantastic training performance by Oliver
Sherwood and a great day for Lambourn … well done to all involved.
Sadly I missed the celebratory parade the following day as I
was flying home but Katya was there to watch it and said that the atmosphere
was electric. On the subject of winners. We ran Libeccio up at Market Rasen
that afternoon. He was given a really good ride by James Davies and went on to
win his race by ¾ of a length. It has taken a bit of time for the penny to drop
with him but there should be more to come from him this summer.
Native Explorer ran at Chepstow on Saturday and we also had
hoped for a good run. Unfortunately she found the ground too quick and did not
let herself down and she definitely needs a cut in the ground.
I rode out two lots on Monday morning and was delighted with
Seventh Sky who we plan to run at Ayr on Saturday. We do not have many runners
this week but have got Cheltenham on Thursday ( Sureness ), Fontwell on Friday
( Always Smiling, Verano and Murray Mount ) and Ayr on Saturday ( Seventh Sky
). The runners are all ground dependent but it would be great to have a few
more winners.
Lambourn Open Day

Lambourn Open Day

On Wednesday we drove all the way up to Bishop Auckland to try a horse called To Begin. He had recently won a point-to-point in the north. I rode him in a piece of work, liked him and have managed to buy him for Mr John Heron. I hope to get him out fairly soon. Unfortunately Katya spotted a grey mare up there which she fell in love with and as it was her birthday I managed to buy that as well.
We schooled Superb Story and Murray Mount on Thursday morning. We then spent the rest of the day having a big tidy up ready for the Lambourn Open Day.
On Friday morning we got two lots out very early as the gates opened to the public at 8.30am. The day started a bit quietly as we had a damp morning with a bit of rain but we got busier as the day went on. We had a lot of people for drinks before we went to the main event and we sold two more shares in The Steeplechaser which brings it up to ten paid up members. We only need to sell two more shares to have the full partnership.

We had a big lunch on the field itself and a lot of people came over for a drink and to join the picnic. I took part in the chariot race along with AP McCoy and several other racing personalities, it was good fun but unfortunately I didn’t win! It was a great afternoon of entertainment with camel racing, jockey show jumping and also a schooling demonstration in which Noel rode Mr Big. In the end there was a good turn out and it was lots of fun. The Lambourn Open day is a great event and it was a big success again. A lot of people work very hard to make it such a good day and we must be very grateful to them.

My two children Tildie and William came to stay on Saturday having spent a week skiing in Italy. It was lovely to see them both. We had a delicious dinner at The Royal Oak with Martin and Nicole Myers later that evening. On Sunday I hid a lot of eggs in the garden for an Easter egg hunt for the Children. Tommy rode Katya’s new horse Agnes B to settle her to her new surroundings. We had a very nice family Easter lunch followed by a painful football match where Sunderland managed to beat my club Newcastle 1-0.
On Monday it was Katya’s birthday so we went for a nice ride together on Mr Big and Agnes B followed by a late Champagne breakfast and lunch for twenty outside in sun at The Royal Oak. Sands Cove ran at Huntingdon but seemed to sulk a little before running on to finish 4th, I think he will need riding more positively next time.

In Seventh Heaven

In Seventh Heaven

Our new jackets for the races arrived from Lavenham last week, they look very stylish and the lads say they are very warm. They have also kindly supplied us with waistcoats for the summer months. Myself, Katya and Rose have also been sporting some of Lavenhams other jackets at the races, they are very good quality and look very smart.

Tuesday I rode out a couple of lots including Superb Story who was very fresh and is definitely coming back to himself. I also heard from Lady Rothermere who is Katya’s sister and who has had Lambro on trial as a hunter. He hasn’t put a foot wrong, she is very happy with him and sent me some lovely pictures.

It has been a fairly quiet week as we haven’t had much to run. Some of the horses have a had a bit of a bug and it has been difficult to tell which ones have it and which ones don’t. We have taken the necessary precautions to stop the bug spreading and have taken blood tests to determine each horses health.
On Wednesday Will Riggall from the Jockey Club Gallops came over and very kindly repaired my paddock and put some grass seed down. This was prompted by the upcoming Lambourn Open Day on Good Friday. All the yards in Lambourn are open between 8.30am and 1pm then there is an afternoon of racing entertainment in the village. It is a great day out for all the family and I thoroughly recommend that you all come along. For further details follow this link. http://www.lambourntraining.org/open-day/good-friday-open-day
At this time of year I like to school the bumper horses in preparation for a forthcoming hurdling campaign next season. Murray Mount has a real love for jumping and looks like a pro already, he will make a lovely chaser in time. Expedite had a jump in the school for the first time and seemed to be a real natural.

Murray Mount
Later that day Katya and myself  had a very good lunch at the Royal Oak with Mark Hitchcroft who owns Murray Mount and No Bad News.
We had a very long lunch at the Woodspeen on Friday as it was my new tenant and owner Evelyn Fabers birthday. The food was exceptional and it is well worth a visit. Unfortunately Chilli ran away later that evening so it was a sleepless night trying to find her but she luckily came home safely.
On Saturday I watched the races at Meydan and saw an eight year old win a ten million dollar race – I can promise you we are going to run something in it next year!
I was suffering from a terrible cold on Monday but still headed over to Warwick with Evelyn Faber and Foxy. Verano ran in the first race, he finished fourth but he should have been ridden handier than he was. I think he should have finished closer. Seventh Sky ran in a £25,000 h’cap chase, he jumped beautifully and made most of the running, he won on the bridal by eight lengths. It was nearly a career best for him. He is an extraordinary horse as it was his fifteenth race of the season. He has now won five, only been out of the money once and has accumulated £56,000 this season alone. We could do with another one like him!

An old owner of mine John Davies came for lunch on Tuesday with a friend of his. They had a nice tour of the yard and watched third lot on the gallops. I mowed all the lawns in the afternoon in preparation for Friday. We are hoping for good weather and a big turnout.
We will have no runners until Monday where we have entries at Huntington and Plumpton. Sands Cove should take his chance somewhere and I will take a look at the two young horses races. Today Sureness worked very well with Superb Story and Murray Mount.
I managed to do an April fool on Katya this morning, I told her that her favourite horse had got loose and galloped up the high street. She promptly jumped in the car and drove straight up the high street and went looking for the horse! Little did she know that the horse in question was safely tucked up in her stable! It is Katya birthday on Monday and I am trying to decide whether to take her to Huntingdon or Plumpton as a treat!