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30th April 2018
Plus 3 and blowing a cold wind when driving in.. rain on the way..?.
This mornings weather rather sums up what the 2017/2018 jump season was all about.
It was perhaps the most difficult season for training racehorses I have ever known as the dreaded weather played havoc with what we were trying to do.
Filthy conditions on the racecourses, constant rain and then snow to really mucked us about.. we shovelled snow off our all weather gallops by hand three times, and that was a first since we have been here. It really felt a cold and wet winter that went on for far too long.
Forgetting all that we have had a good season over all.. We ended the season with a total 48 winners which meant that we finished 18 in the trainers list numerically and 25th place in the prize money list. Yes of course it could have been better and the last month certainly tried us.
Looking back over the season.. Mon Palois for Elizabeth Kellar started our season off with his first win at Ffos Las.
Robin The Raven and Dandy Dan followed soon after with wins at Ludlow.. Ludlow became our most winning course of the season which meant that I ended their season as leading trainer at that lovely Shropshire racecourse (and a case of Tanners wine to boot).
The summer continued with Rhaergar winning his bumper impressively at Warwick and although he did win his hurdle race he never really fulfilled that promise, but that could well change when over fences next winter.. Sonneofpresenting rattled up a three timer while Robin The Raven went on to win two more..El Presente and Laval Noir both won at another course we do well at.. Huntingdon.
Cresswell Legend burst onto the scene in October and he soon won three on the bounce on his preferred good ground, giving Virginia Johnson a golden patch as his new owner. Vinndication was next to win and what a revelation he was as he went on to win all his four starts and ended by winning the prestigious Sydney Banks hurdle at Huntingdon.. Yes we dream about him for next season.
Red River won well at Wincanton and after being placed at Sandown he had a wind operation and was again impressive at Musselburgh.. a chaser for next winter..Station Master won twice for Penny Perriss and looked a progressive horse.. again every inch a chaser.
By now we were in December and the ground changed to heavy on most racecourses and this was when First Flow appeared over hurdles at Lingfield.. He was impressive and went on to win at Newbury and the Grade 2 race at Haydock, The Sky Bet Rossington Main hurdle in January.. Great for Tony Solomons to have a good horse.. he has been my longest serving owner.. with me from my second season..Gold watch stuff?
Lake Field was sent over from Ireland by Martin Kiely and he was soon in the winners enclosure at Newbury and Catterick.. the handicapper grabbed him then..
Another Venture won twice for the Racing For Maggies Charity Partnership and gave the charity Maggies Cancer Homes in Cheltenham much needed cash and publicity.. He will go on next season to be a star chaser on his preferred soft ground.
Rosmuc Relay, who had already won a point in Ireland, won at Leicester and Wetherby for John Perriss and what a chaser he will be next season.. we probably never expected him to win hurdle races.. yes a horse for the future.
Patience is a virtue and those involved Silver Kayf were rewarded with two wins and several places..
Our bumper horses were good too.. Sea Story and Two For Gold both won two.. not many horses win a second bumper… Diamond Gait won one and was placed in listed bumpers.
Sainte Ladylime showed that she was very good over fences and although not a natural she won two, and beat some good horses.
The season was coming to an end when Kilfilum Cross won two novice hurdle races.. Chepstow and Kempton ... yes he just loved the heavy ground on offer..
Our season finished with Imperial Aura winning a bumper at Ludlow and Bandon Roc was to be our last runner and winner at Towcester on bottomless ground.. yes a difficult season and even in April it was almost un raceable heavy ground..
Other highlights of the season were The Last Samuri again showing how much he loves the Aintree fences by finishing a gallant second in te Becher Chase and then he was third over the cross country fences at Cheltenham.. he loves jumping.
Charbel finishing 4th in the Tingle Creek was something we thought we could buld on, but his prefered good ground never appeared again all winter.. Surely it will next.
On a different code I must not forget Sunblazer who won on the flat at Newmarket and Kempton.. a little star.. With his two wins we did make it 50 for the season!
On the jockey front David Bass rode 40 winners and young Mikey Hamill rode 12..Not all for us..
It really was not an easy season and you only have to look at trainers table to see that many trainers found the 2017/2018 season difficult..
A big thanks to all my loyal and supportive owners....my hard working staff...Peter Kerr.. and of course jockeys. Without you all where would I be?
Time moves on and we start a new season on Saturday..Yes the fun starts again..
2018/2019 has so much to offer... so many lovely horse to dream about over the summer.. The future's very bright...