Finally, after 6 starts for the yard and 3 places, Minella Gathering got the win to justify everyone's hard work and the gelding's fighting spirit.
After a disappointing start to the day, with Easter In Paris struggling to get through the ground and only managing to finish 5th, what had been a rainy Monday at Plumpton really brightened up when Tom O'Brien rode another fantastic race for the yard, ensuring Minella Gathering broke his duck and won in some style.
Minella has always been a horse who gives his all and we are delighted for him and his connections to get a well-earned win under the belt.
It's been 3 months since we announced that our dedicated work rider Jamie Bunsell had been nominated for this year's Godolphin stud and stable staff awards, and it feels like forever since we found out that Jamie had made the final. But, after much anticipation, the day of the awards finally came around this week.
The prestigious awards, now in their 13th year, are set up to recognise and reward the hard work of British Horseracing's stud and stable staff employees. They are run by the British Horseracing Association and generously sponsored by Godolphin and in association with the Racing Post.
Jamie was entered into the Rider/Groom award, which is for those who have shown a talent for horsemanship, consistency and reliability in and out of the saddle and who have achieved something outstanding in the 2016 season. Jamie was nominated for his outstanding work ethic and enthusiasm, but also the fantastic work he has done with Un Beau Roman this year, which lead to a Cheltenham win back in November.
We found out Jamie had made the final 10 back in December, and then in January, we found out he'd been selected into the final 3. And we are pleased to announce to those of you who don't already know, that at a lavish awards ceremony, held at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower hotel in London on Monday, Jamie won his category, picking up the award from Richard Johnson.
After the presentation, it was off to do a couple of quick interviews before the real celebrations could start!
It's a real achievement to win one of these prestigious awards and we are all really happy to see all the hard work and enthusiasm Jamie has put into the sport over the years recognised. He's a credit to horse racing. Well done Jamie!
Thanks to Godolphin, the BHA and Racing Post for supporting the men and women who put their heart and soul into racing behind the scenes, and for a fantastic evening.
Paul himself made the nomination and shared his own personal thoughts on Jamie. You can read the full nomination below:
It's been another exciting week at Paul Henderson Racing this week, culminating in a great result for Sizing Sahara who finished 3rd at Wincanton Races yesterday.
The week started at Plumpton, where we had 3 runners; Amron Kali, Miss Oscarose and Raising Hope. Amron was first up and the 8-1 chance started well, held up at the back but still in touch. She progressed through the pack from 3 out and was rallied well but Tom O'Brien 2 from home and stayed on well to take 3rd place. Next up was Miss Oscarose. She was running her first race since winning well at Plumpton 12th December. The 10-year-old chased the leader and was in good position until 3 out. Though she pushed hard, when ridden by Paddy Brennan, she ended up a respectable 3rd. So it was two down and two places going into the 4 pm and Raising Hope was up and hoping to put her best hoof forward and secure the ew treble. The 8-year-old gave it everything she had, didn't quite get the trip and could only manage a fourth place finish on the day. As always it was an enjoyable day's racing with a good crowd of our owners, and we left on a positive note, with the feeling that there is still more to come from all three of these promising mares.
On Tuesday we were racing again, this time down at Fontwell with Thepartysover. It was desperate ground and the 12-year-old struggled to make an impact in the race, finishing 5th under Tom O'Brien.
So to the packed out Betway Kingwell Hurdle meeting at Wincanton on Saturday, and Sizing Sarah continued his comeback from a fractured cannon bone last year. The gelding had been out for 7 months before making his return at Fontwell in December. On that occasion, he unseated his rider in a nervy performance. In January he was pulled up at Leicester, after which Paul made the call to ease him back in over hurdles. The switch in tactics had an immediate impact, and in February Sizing put in a solid performance finishing 4th under a good ride from our man, Gordon Treacy. Yesterday was yet another step in the right direction for the 9-year-old grey. After stealing everyone's heart in the parade ring, picking up best turned out, he was well ridden by another one of our promising young talents, Bradley Paris-Crofts, who guided the plucky 28/1 shot home into 3rd. With his recovery now well behind him, Paul is firmly focused on progression. You cannot argue that Sizing Sahara is really looking more and more like the real deal with every race, and it is surely now a matter of time before this powerful thoroughbred delivers a well-deserved win for the yard!
Images all from our fantastic resident photographer, Michelle Day.
For the second time in a week, Doitforthevillage and Paddy Brennan have teamed up to deliver a win for Paul Henderson Racing!
Just 7 days ago we were celebrating at Lingfield as Doit and Paddy jumped well on heavy ground to win over 2m. That win was Doit's 3rd since May, and he returned today under penalty trying to make it 4.
Since Doit's last win, Minella Gathering and Sizing Sahara had both gone to Towcester on Thursday and put in good efforts, but without the rewards to show for it, finishing 6th and 4th respectively. Then on Saturday at Sandown, Turban didn't quite live up to expectations. After a promising run last time out, when he finished 4th at Kempton, he didn't quite get into his rhythm at the more undulated Sandown Park and finished 5th. It was a great day out, with the Turbanators, at a fantastic Grade 1 course. Turban came out well and will live to fight another day.
Three days on, and it was up to Market Rasen where Doitforthevillage went into the race as favourite, and after a small mistake at the 2nd, came through the ever depleting ranks to stay on comfortably over 2m 3f, winning in style for the Rockbourne Partnership. The result gave the partnership their 4th win of the season (a 20% strike rate).
And there is plenty more exciting racing to come; Easter In Paris, Miss Oscarose and Raising Hope all to run in the next few days.
Paul Henderson & Jane Patten