Two bonuses in one day as for the first time ever we didn't have to pay to get into Wales and Doitforthevillage, owned by the Rockbourne Partnership, flew home in the Download The Coral App Handicap Chase (Class 2) 2m 3½f.
Paddy Brennan held him up to begin with. We were concerned that he would not get the trip but slowly as he jumped he over took a couple of his rivals until he came to the first in the straight and he jumped into the lead. After that Doit didn't see another horse. He finished with a huge leap at the last and Paddy was able to coast home seven lengths in front. He obviously did get the trip, with a bit to spare. This opens up many more racing opportunities for him.
Shaw's Cross won the
JLT Group Novices' Handicap Hurdle (0-120)
at Sandown giving the yard it's first winner at the venue. We'd had a couple of seconds but no winners.
Shaw's Cross, given a great ride by Tom O'Brien, traveled and jumped well throughout the race, getting his head in front when it mattered the most after the last.
Doitforthevillage ran a solid race, jumped well and travelled well in the BetVictor Chase, which he won last year. He moved nicely into third at the second last when unfortunately he slipped on landing and lost his back end. Tom had sat patiently on Doit and crept into a good position, he did extremely well to stay on board as Doit was very close to coming down.
You'll be pleased to here Doit trotted up sound the next morning and appears to be ok after his mishap.
We flew out to Ireland to look at a number of horses which Aidan Kennedy had lined up for us. The first we saw was Crossley Tender
We liked him and although we saw many others, we felt he was the nicest and the best value. He's a good looking horse, forward going, jumps well and has won a point to point , he was also a good 3rd in a winners of two point to point. He's fit and ready to run and is being syndicated.
Whilst visiting Ireland we had the pleasure of staying at the Minella Hotel, Clonmel.
We have had a few Minella horses over the years. John Nallen who's family owns the Minella Hotel prefixes all his horses with the hotel name. I'd been looking forward to staying there sometime. It was great to finally visit the place. we had a great stay.
Big Man Clarence Ran at Fos Las supporting Pittville Park Syndicates new colours. It was a long way to go but for the first time we had heavy ground.
Run Don't hide also ran in the 2 mile chase and jumped and finished well, James Best thought he would come on for the run.
Duarigle went to Sandown in his first novice hurdle and was 7th in a competitive event, we were pleased with the way he travelled and Paddy Brennan thought it was a good performance for his first hurdle race.
Not only did Turban win the doughnuts for best turned out , he showed the others a clean pair of heels leading from start to finish. His jumping was fantastic and Tom said he was able to take a pull on him after every jump.
This was a perfect example of team work, a week before the race George and Brad had advised me that Turban was a bit bored with his daily routine, we changed his work, we backed off him and took him leading the youngsters over the hurdles. He arrived at the course a happy horse, fresh as a daisy.
Mount Vesuvius win at Plumpton under Tom O'Brien.
He was running for the 68th time. Tom said he just loves the quicker ground and moves so much easier on it.
We had a great day on Thursday, with a 20/1 winner and a second at Fontwell. Tom gave Turban a brilliant ride and although Paddy, on Ruby Russet, tried to take him on, Turban and Tom still persevered and won by 9 lengths. Paddy also rode Mr Mulliner in the next race and came (a well deserved) second. Mr Mulliner led for most of the race but was overtaken after the last bend, having given his all. We think that the blinkers help as it means he can concentrate on where he's going but they do make him a little bit too keen so Paddy wants to try holding him up next time.
We used the grass today for the first time in months as the bit of rain this weekend finally eased the ground. Previously the grass was brown and dead and the ground too firm to use.
We'll have to get on and school a few now as we head towards an exciting new season.
Nick Scofield came down today to School tomorrow`s runners. Questionation, who is first time out for us and Turban, who will both run at Newton Abbot.
We schooled all the horses which have had a mini break. They are all ready to run as soon as there is a bit of ease in the ground.
The horses that have come back from a prolonged summer break and the new arrivals are all coming on well. They are all starting to lose their grass bellies and are on strong exercise up the short gallop. Soon they will be ready to progress to the long gallop . Nick was impressed by the depth and quality of string.
Paul Henderson & Jane Patten