Runners Repay Owners' Patience & Support
I think it goes without saying that the past few months have been testing, not only for the horse racing industry, but for the whole country. Without doubt, measures needed to be taken to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, however, to lose our great sport for over two months was gut wrenching and harboured the potential to be financially irreparable. The National Hunt horses had to begin their holiday 6 weeks earlier than usual and judging by the ever expanding waistlines, I think it is fair to say they have enjoyed their extended break. The Flat horses were just below peak fitness, so it was a case of keeping them at that level without boiling over or getting bored. We also had to adapt to a new way of working. The yard was closed and remains closed to visitors and government guidelines were implemented as best as possible in a working equine environment.
Thankfully, we made it through the darkness, and this could not have been done without the loyalty of my owners and staff. We were lucky enough that numbers did not fluctuate meaning we were able to keep all full time staff employed. I can not thank my owners enough for standing by me through what must have been and continues to be a difficult time for them. Racing resumed on 1st June and we returned with a bang.
Kennocha kicked off proceedings with a replica of her seasonal debut in 2019, the only difference being the jockey booking of Hollie Doyle. Drawn wide, the pair were away quickly, so much so that Hollie had grabbed the inside rail within a furlong. Coming out of the home turn Hollie and Kennocha booted for home to win decisively. Again, similar to last season I am sure that this will not be Kennocha’s only success in 2020.
Kennocha - our first winner since the resumption of racing
Picture courtesy of Lingfield Racecourse
Two days later we turned our attention to Breath Of Joy at Haydock in the afternoon and Lilypad at Chelmsford in the evening. Breath Of Joy, owned by Imad Alsagar, is a filly we have always liked at home having shown plenty of natural speed as a two year old. Based on her efforts in 2019 I was shocked to see she was 33/1 in the market having been placed in some extremely hot two year old novices. James Doyle gave her a confident ride and was full of praise on his return to the winner’s enclosure. Hopefully, the plan is to send her back to Haydock for a 7 furlong Listed race at the end of June.
Breath Of Joy & James Doyle winning at Haydock
Picture courtesy of Haydock Racecourse
A few hours later and it was the turn of our new Amy Murphy Racing Club horse Lilypad. Having bought her from the July Sale last year, she has been a frustrating character based on her fast work at home. However, she had some time out in the field over the winter and has been working well recently with the likes of Really Super and Thaqaffa. So, again, it was not much of a surprise to see her win comfortably under Gabriele Malune and, hopefully, she still has a few pounds in hand. Membership for the Club is always available so if you are looking for an affordable introduction to racehorse ownership then please do get in touch.
Lilypad at Chelmsford give us an across the card double
A day later and Angel’s Whisper was back on track when running away with the last race at Pontefract under Silvestre De Sousa. Quick ground is the key to her and looking back on last season she may also be a filly that runs best fresh. The handicapper will determine where she goes next but with any luck, she will be another one to get back in the winner’s enclosure before the year is out.
Most of our other runners have also run well while lacking full fitness. Really Super, Thaqaffa and Esprit De Baileys all ran respectable races during the first week of racing ahead of their summer jumping campaign. Seprani was far too fresh for seven furlongs and gave Gabriele no chance of getting any cover when leaving the stalls like a bullet. She did well to keep on for fifth place and we shall look at dropping her back to six until the fizz has calmed down. En Famille, Soldier On Parade and Thunder King all need their first runs and will also benefit for a step up in trip next time out. Private Matter has already run two similar races over 6 furlongs and we shall now look at stepping him up to 7 furlongs ideally with a bit of cut in the ground.
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