Last weekend saw us host our annual owner's do down at our Whitsbury stables and gallops. The annual event, now in its 5 year, signifies the real start of the national hunt season for the yard.
The day is a great chance for our owners to come down to Whitsbury, to see the horses in action on the gallops and meet the team who look after the horses so well on a day to day basis. This year we even had a few special guests as top jockeys Nick Scofield, Tom O'Brien and Paddy Brennen came down to ride out and talk racing.
On a delightful sunny September Saturday morning tea, coffee and cakes were served, before everyone headed down to the gallops to see some of this year's top contenders out on the gallops. The horses looked fit and strong, ready for the season ahead; even a small down pour and a lack of umbrellas couldn't dampen spirits (even if it did dampen a few outfits).
Back at the yard the sun came out and the horses again took centre stage as the parade got underway. All 22 horses in training took their turn in the spotlight, while Paul gave some insider details on and background on our equine stars.
A fabulous spread and a few beverages finished off a fantastic afternoon. It was fantastic to see so many of our owners attending and great to get the opportunity to talk racing with so many knowledgeable enthusiasts.
Now we look forward to seeing some exciting prospects perform in the season ahead!
Tom O'Brian popped in today on his way to Fontwell racecourse. He rode Ring Minella (top image) and Good Man Vinny (bottom image).
It was one of the most eventful days in Paul Henderson Racing's history on Saturday as the Medburns and their owners were out in force. We made our debut at Royal Ascot and then went on to make a splash at an unsuspecting evening meeting at Lingfield.
There was a quiet buzz around Ascot as we arrived with Medburn Cutler for the final day of Royal Ascot. As the people poured into the course, top hat and tails in tow and we built up the first race, the buzz soon turned into a roar of excitement. A day of hugely exciting racing ensued and we were spoiled by the fantastic hospitality as we waited with high excitement for Medburn Cutler's race.
Medburn Cutler was going in the final race of Royal Ascot, the Queen Alexandra Stakes. It was the last and longest race of the day at 2m5f. Picked in trap 1 he jumped off well under J F Egan and was well in touch up against a classy field, which included last year's Derby runner-up, US Army Ranger. Still well in the mix, as they came around the final bend Medburn's fitness showed through as he stayed on to gain a respectable top 10 finish.
There was little time to enjoy the moment for Paul though. As soon as the race was run and the horse had been checked over, it was time to hot hoof it out of the course to beat the crowds, who were now streaming out on mass, and start our own race over to Lingfield in time for our second runner of the day.
Medburn Dream was next up at Lingfield. Having made the trip in good time and checked in on the horse, it was time to ensure that the owners, who had made the trip from Ascot by helicopter with jockey Silvester De Sousa, were settling in ok. However, Eddie was nowhere to be seen.
It turned out that after jumping down from the helicopter Eddie, still in his full morning dress had had a desperate call from nature and, in the absence of any foliage for cover and in an effort to save his modesty from the onlooking crowds, had decided to relieve himself next to the Eden Brook river in the middle of the course. However, Eddie, a couple of vinos to the good, had slipped down the bank and ended up taking a dive into the water! The racecourse sent an ambulance to his aid, but other than being soaked through and minus his favourite top hat (which was floating down the river), Eddie emerged unscathed. After a quick shower at the course hotel, Eddie rejoined the racegoers in good spirits and a full Lingfield Racecourse tracksuit. Shortly afterwards his dry cleaning bill was covered as Silvester De Sousa jumped out well on Medburn Dream who controlled the race and came home to win in the same kind of outrageous fashion his owner was now displaying up in the grandstand.
So an exciting day all round: a debut runner at Royal Ascot, a first flat winner of the season at Lingfield and we are happy to report that all horses and owners made it home safe and sound!
Read more about Eddie's exploits in this Racing Post article!
It's been an excellent start to the new season over the jumps with five winners already! Two wins from Minella Tweet since joining us in April, two from the ever consistent, Amron Kali and finally a real staying performance from Raising Hope at Newton Abbott last week. It was Raising Hope's first win since joining the yard and was just deserts for a horse who is always a willing runner.
The flat season has also seen some exciting races and great success with great performances by the two Medburn horses on the flat who've had three seconds at Goodwood. And hot off the press: we have will be taking Medburn Cutler to Royal Ascot on Saturday. The 7year old will be running in the Queen Alexandra Stakes. Our first ever runner at the world's premier flat meeting!
Mount Vesuvius' run at Exeter on Wednesday rounded off a fantastic jumps season in style, as Nick Schofield rode a perfect race to bring the gelding on in a comfortable first place.
Wednesday's win was the 16th of the season for the yard, equalling the record set for most wins in the 2012/13, however this year it took 15 fewer races meaning Paul and the team finished the season with a career-high 14% win percentage (16/115).
After a slow start to the season, waiting for the rain to come Un Beau Roman really kick started the season with a huge win in the Bet Victor Handicap Chase at Cheltenham. Un Beau had come back after 114 days off to put in an incredible performance under Nick Schofield to fend off the pre-race favourite Pair of Brown Eyes in a thrilling finish up the Cheltenham hill. The pair almost went on to repeat the feat a month later when they finished 2nd in another hot Cheltenham race.
Doitforthevillage had delivered the yard's first win of the season back in May and was not going to let Un Beau take all the limelight. On the same day, Un Beau came second at Cheltenham, Doit had kicked off proceedings will a fantastic win at Lingfield under James Best. Doitforthevillage would go on to be the yard's most successful horse of the season, picking up 5 wins and 2 places under some great rides from Paddy Brennan.
A newcomer to the yard, Amron Kali, kicked off the new year with a win at Fontwell on the mare's first start for the yard. Amron had failed to pick up a win in 15 previous starts before coming to Whitsbury. Amron went on to pick up a further 4 top 3 places in 5 runs this season.
The wins weren't just on the track, as in February Jamie Bunsell won Work Rider of the Year at the Godolphin Stud and Stable Awards. Jamie had been nominated by Paul for the outstanding work he'd done with Un Beau, getting him ready for his win at Cheltenham, and his all round ability and passion for the job and the horses. His win was well deserved and a real boost for the yard.
Wins and places came thick and fast over February and March. At the end of March Thepartysover and Turban gave Paul a double at Plumpton which took him to his highest ever prize money haul with a month still to go in the season.That double also ensured that every owner in the yard had had at least one winner over the season.
Further wins for Miss Oscarose, Doitforthevillage and finally, Mount Vesuvius finished off the season in superb fashion, with a total of 16 wins and 31 places from 115 runs. A record win percentage of 14% and total earnings of a sniff under £150,000.
A big thank you to all our staff, jockeys and of course our fantastic owners. We couldn't do what we do without your ongoing support. The 2016/17 season was our most successful ever. Now on to the flat and here's to an even bigger year in 2017/18!
Doitforthevillage won the feature race at Warwick in great fashion yesterday in his 5th win of the season.
Up against some stiff opposition, the 8-year-old put in a fantastic performance under Paddy Brennan to come home at the head of the field in an exciting finish to the UBS Wealth Management Novices Handicap Chase. The win takes Paul's record seasons prize money total up to over £145,000, nearly £30,000 better than his previous record total, which he set in 2013/14.
It's the yard's 15th winner of the season, and they've ensured I in the process that every owner in the yard has had at least one winner this year. Add the 41 place finishes the yard has delivered this season to the wins and that's 56 place finishes from 112 runs. Meaning our owners have enjoyed the winners enclosure in over 60% of races this year!
With the season ending in a few short days, we are off to Exeter tomorrow, hopeful that Mount Vesuvius can deliver the win that will take us to a record 16 wins in a season and the big 100 career jumps wins for Paul. We'll all be pushing to finish this campaign with a bang, and get ready to go even bigger next season!
We are now taking a very limited number of orders for the 2017/18 season, so if you would like to be part of next year's success contact us today!
We're turning our attention back to the National Hunt season today, as we head to Fontwell with Easter in Paris and Thepartysover. These two horses both won within a day of each other last month. Easter was successful at Hereford under Paddy Brennan, while Thepartysover delivered the following day at Plumpton under Tom O'Brien. Both horses are reunited with the same jockeys today. Let's hope we can give birthday boy, Chris (owner Thepartysover) his second winner of the season, or at least an exciting day out!
The jumps season might not be completely over yet, but the sun has been out this weekend and that can only mean one thing: the flat season is coming!