Keep Calm & Carry On Into 2021
As 2020 draws to a close, I think many of us will be breathing a sigh of relief as we firmly close the door on a dreadful year. The pandemic has been the cause of many losses including human life, businesses, employment and of course sport. The loss of racing for 3 months which then returned with a reduction of what is already poor prizemoney was enough to put off most owners. Not only that but the lack of revenue from racing behind closed doors has made a bad situation even worse. I can only hope that 2021 brings us some better fortune and that racing will work proactively to boost prizemoney and encourage new owners to be part of our great sport.
Thankfully, the Gods have been looking down on us and numerically we have had our best ever Flat (25 winners) and National Hunt (12 winners) season in less than half the time. I know I have mentioned it before, and I will continue to do so, but the success of Southgate Stables, especially through this torrid year, has been down to the loyalty of my owners, a massive team effort behind the scenes and, of course, the horses themselves. I must also point out that Jack Quinlan is well on his way to his best ever season. Jack is an integral part of the team and is an exceptional horseman who regularly makes a difference to the performance of a horse.
There have been some tremendous memories to reflect on this year and, without a doubt, the performance that Mercian Prince produced at Kempton was enough to make the bottom lip of any hardened professional wobble – Jack Quinlan. Over the last season or so, Prince has struggled with his wind and, although he made a winning reappearance at Bangor earlier in the year, there were signs that his breathing was beginning to trouble him again. With this in mind, we tried holding him up in his races, however, this is quite simply not his style. As the tapes went up, the old boy was happy to bowl along in front and that, as they say, was game over for the rest of the field. Treating us to his flamboyant jumping that we are all so used to, he happily skipped clear of the field from the home turn to win by 12 lengths.
Mercian Prince & Jack Quinlan at Kempton
Alborkan secured a second win for us this year, this time at Yarmouth on heavy ground, under George Wood before heading to the Tattersalls Autumn Horses in Training Sale. He was a horse that I was hoping to retain, however, my on-spec budget was not enough to buy him back. Thankfully, due to unforeseen circumstances, Alborkan was returned to us and is now in the ownership of Mr Jamie Hambro & Partner. Being lightly raced, he is an exciting and versatile dual-purpose prospect for his new owners. With wins on the synthetic and the turf he should prove to be a horse with plenty of options.
To say that Trouser The Cash could test the patience of a saint is probably an understatement. She has been an exceptionally tricky filly to handle to the point where she threw a tantrum at Chelmsford as a two year old and was unable to run. With a lot coercing we have managed to persuade her that being a racehorse is not too bad and, along with a drop back in trip to 5 furlongs, we have managed to bring out the best in her. I must mention our Head Girl, Jemma Mead, who has worked wonders with Trouser especially with her aversion to the starting stalls. It was also our first winner for Alan & Pat Braithwaite which made her win even more special.
Trouser The Cash & Jemma Mead
Recent purchase, Book Of Secrets made light work of his race at Lingfield under the ever brilliant Hollie Doyle. This is our third horse for the R S Hoskins & Partner partnership with Marble Statue and Eufemia providing previous wins for the ownership. The same day, Hollie was also on board Jennivere who was narrowly beaten on the winning line. I am sure most of you will know that Hollie is a nominee for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. I would urge anyone that is able to do so to vote for Hollie on Sunday 20th December as a victory in this prestigious award would not only bring much needed coverage to our sport but would also be a huge boost to women in racing.
Sports Personality of the Year contender Hollie Doyle on Book Of Secrets
The ever young Napping took everyone by surprise at Kempton by scorching home under Cieran Fallon. Pre race, her All-Weather record was 0/18 so we were all convinced that the synthetic surface was against her. Cue Napping making a laughingstock of us all and, in doing so, notching up win #3 in 2020. Owned by the Eclipse Sports Racing Club which is run by Steve Surridge, Napping provides the members with a tremendous amount of fun days at the races.
Eclipse Sports Racing Club manager Steve Surridge with Napping
A special mention must go to the two warriors we sent to Cheltenham for the International Meeting. Marlborough Sounds has been desperately unlucky not to pick up his first NH win of the current campaign. On both his starts so far the ground has been way softer than he would prefer and at Cheltenham he also gave a stone to the winner and a stone and a half to the second. There has to be a nice win in him in the near future. Kalashnikov ended his 19/20 campaign with two below par runs and, in some ways, he now feels like a forgotten horse. There are too many people to mention who have worked extremely hard to rectify his issues, however, our vet Stuart Williamson has been pivotal to his recovery. To see him jump the last at Cheltenham and briefly take the lead in the Grade 2 Peterborough Chase meant more to us than anything. Now, more than ever, we must take each race as it comes but I know that my team and all of his supporters, of which there are many, can begin to see him firmly back on the road to redemption.
Kalashnikov & Lemos post race at Cheltenham
Looking forward to 2021, we have our biggest ever crop of yearlings and shares are currently available in a host of nicely bred prospects. If you are interested in getting involved in racehorse ownership and being part of our team then please do not hesitate to contact our office for more information. We also welcome new members to either of our Racing Clubs which, if you are struggling for an alternative Christmas gift, then membership could be what you are looking for.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year – the script for 2021 is ours to be written so let us make it a good one.
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