27 Feb Dancer’s Diary – Week 41
It has been a hell of a week here battling Storm Doris, and I must thank all the staff for their perseverance in what has not been overly fun conditions! Everyone has had their stirrups a couple of holes longer than normal in an attempt to not get blown off into the next county, and with only one trip to A & E I think this has been a successful tactic! We were also delighted to welcome a new lad to the yard, Chris Buck, who has fitted in seamlessly and brings plenty of experience to the ranks!
Monday saw an exciting night for June (left), who made it down to London for the Godolphin Stud and Stables Staff Awards, a wonderful initiative designed to reward those who work in the industry for all they do for us equine athletes. June herself was one of three finalists in the David Nicholson Newcomer Award, and it sounded like they were all treated to a fabulous day and night. Sadly, June just lost out on the winners spot, but it is a hugely tough competition and she should be very proud for getting so far.
The very naughty Henry (Vaux) went down to Wolverhampton on Friday night, where he was having his first start of the year after a good break. A horse who has been really quite frustrating for both us and his owners Ontoawinner, we were hopeful he would show some of the enthusiasm he had at the start of his 2 year old career. He certainly did down to the start, giving Luke Morris a bit of a rodeo show to contend with, much to June and Alice’s embarrassment! However, he proceeded to behave in the stalls, and jumped out well which has been a problem in the past. He was settled at the back, and coming round the last bend made the heart beat faster as he looked like he was going to do his losing interest thing. Luckily, he didn’t, and proceeded to run on really well to finish 3rd, beaten only a length. We were very pleased with his attitude, especially as he was running against race fit horses, and hopefully he will show us more of what he can actually do this year. I didn’t even have to roll my eyes at him this time when he got off the lorry, which I think he appreciated!
Looking to the week ahead, Wibble (Man Of La Mancha) may be heading to Newcastle, where we really hope he can have his sensible head on and not hold his breath! He will be running in a mile and a quarter maiden, where the slower pace early may allow him to get into a better rhythm early on. If not, the schooling lane beckons in an attempt to get him remembering the admittedly basic task of breathing in and out whilst moving!
Joining him may be Nina (Eponina) (left), a lovely three year old Zoffany filly owned by James Pak and Trojan Horse Racing. A big, lanky girl as a two year old, she did well to come 3rd second time out, and is looking stronger for the time she has had over winter. Hopefully she will put up a nice show in the mile maiden, as we have our fingers crossed that she has a nice future.
Also coming along is our recent winner Bertie (Skellig Michael), who has been very full of himself at home since! He has done well since his victory, though the rest of the yards ears have fared less successfully! He is looking to double up in another 6 furlong handicap, and if he does he may brag to his hearts content!
Finally, Violet (Violet Mist) will be making her seasonal debut in a five furlong maiden. Disappointing last year, she has been working better at home and hopefully this can translate to the track, though her future probably lies in handicaps.
Looking forward to Saturday, the enigmatic Mr Mole may be heading to Doncaster for a handicap chase. He has been perked up this week by the arrival of some fan mail (where is mine!) and we will be sending one of his shoes off in the post to an adoring fan. My comment that he is lucky to have any fans at all rather falls on death ears I must say!! Hopefully he will show some of the same enthusiasm he put into his last run at Sedgefield, but remember to stand up at the last this time!
Also on Saturday, the lorry could be weighed down on the way to Doncaster by two of the largest boys on the yard, Percy (Prancing Oscar) (below) and Loopy (Rey Loopy). The Middleham Park owned Percy is a particularly beautiful three year old colt, but boy does he know it!! He is massive, and we were pleased to get a run into him last year when he was very green in a 7 furlong maiden, before running on nicely into 5th. He has plenty of ability, and if he concentrates after a long break should go nicely – IF. If not, he will learn plenty and I am sure there are plenty of fun days to be had with him on the turf.
Loopy is also massive, and had the misfortune of joining me in the gelded ranks after his last run of 2016. We were amazed he managed three starts as a two year old, and whilst they were very babyish he learned plenty. He has his first spin in a handicap here, and should put up a good show though he may need the run fitness wise – that belly is taking plenty of shifting! He has some really lovely owners in the shape of Daniel Shapiro and David Clifford, and I am sure he will give them lots of fun this season.
The yearlings have been doing particularly well in the storm, not missing a beat. I am very taken with Middleham Park Racing’s filly by Showcasing (right), and was amazed to hear that she still had some shares left in her. Her rider, Chesney, is also very taken and when she is out all you can hear is repeated shouts of ‘this is a machine!’ echoing across the Moor – now whether she is or not, I cannot confirm as of yet, but she is handling everything Ben throws at her really well, and is certainly by the right sire. Beautifully elegant, and very forward going, she looks a nice two year old type, and if you wanted a bit of fun this year you could do worse than getting in touch with Tim Palin at MPR racing!
Until next time