20 Oct Sales Fever
We have had a slightly frustrating time of it over the last couple of months here at Castle Hill Stables, with the horses running well but not quite making it to the winners spot. However, there have been plenty of positives to take from many of the performances.
We were very pleased with Lady Lekki’s (Champs Elysee X One Zero) (left) run at Beverley on the 16th September, where she ran on promisingly into 4th on her handicap debut over 12 furlongs. It can be quite hard for horses who have won first time out to then take on much more experienced horses, especially for a filly like ours who has made rather a late start to her career! She acquitted herself well against some battle hardened rivals and we are looking forward to seeing how she has progressed when she goes to Redcar next Monday, where a step up in trip should suit. A real stayer in the making, and a bit of a late developer, we are very grateful to her owners Al Fresco Racing for the patience they have shown with her, as we believe there is plenty more under the bonnet!
On the same day we were also pleased with Trojan Horse Partnership’s Epeius (Arakan X Gilda Lilly) (below), who progressed from his maiden to finish 4th. A big horse, sure to do better as a three year old, jockey Graham Lee was very pleased with him and taught him plenty in a messy race. Unfortunately, his next and final start for the year at York was very disappointing, but it was felt the ground didn’t suit. We know there is plenty left in the tank of this impressive looking colt, so he will now be put away until next year where we have our fingers crossed he will be lucky for his enthusiastic owners.
The J.P. McManus owned Ever So Much (Westerner X Beautiful World) has come gallantly close to achieving yet another couple of wins, but has been just denied on his last couple of outings. Uttoxeter saw him come against a determined front runner – Mo, as a horse who needs to come from the back, fought so hard up the home straight for Andrew Tinkler, but was agonisingly just denied by a length at the line. He followed up with another 2nd at Sedgefield, but has come out of these two races really fresh and well and will hopefully find an opportunity to add to his 5 victories soon enough.
Perhaps the most heart wrenching result, however, was Whisky Marmalade (Duke Of Marmalade X Nashatara) at Huntingdon in the juvenile hurdle. Travelling well throughout the race, she loomed up to challenge the leader at the last, but slightly stumbled on landing unseating her jockey. However, we do at least know there is a race to be won with her, and the form was franked when the winner ran a good second to a Triumph Hurdle fancy next time out. A beautiful jumper at home, her record rather now calls me a liar, but I am sure she will make amends on her next foray to the racecourse for owners Middleham Park.
Away from the racecourse, we have had a very hectic time sifting through the blue blooded yearlings of Tattersalls to find our ammunition for 2016. Having managed to buy some smart, but slightly backwards horses, last year (which we are looking forward to seeing next season!), we busied ourselves looking for a couple of 2 year old types this time around! The sharpest of the lot looks to be a very gorgeous chap by Sir Prancealot, out of Greenflash (left). A first season sire, we have been endlessly impressed by the colt we have by him that came from Doncaster Sales. A stunning looking horse, he has proved to be a workaholic with an unflappable temperament (if only there were all like that!), and we were certainly not adverse to adding another one to our string. The new one is simply stunning, and looks a very strong type with plenty of energy and exceptionally well balanced. Shares in him are still available.
The darling of the bunch is a filly by first season sire Casamento, out of Angel Bright (below, right). From Yeomanstown Stud, I saw Ben’s eyes light up the moment I saw her and knew there was no way we were leaving without her! Her sire was a fantastic racehorse, winning the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy as a 2 year old, and looked to be really stamping his stock from what we saw at Tattersalls. Our filly is the first foal out of an 80 rated 2 year old winner, and comes from an incredibly fast family packed with sprinting black type. An absolute sweetheart, she is already a firm favourite here, taking everything in her stride. Shares are also available in her.
Impressed with Epeius this year and his work at home, we have dabbled in another colt by Arakan, who has a good record with his boys, including Toormore, Dick Turpin and Trumpet Major. Our new boy is out of the 90 rated 2 year old winner Ambonnay and is the full brother to dual two year old winner, the 82 rated Ample. A sharp pedigree, he is a good strong stamp and has taken well to life here, already sporting a saddle on his back around the lunge ring without a qualm. Fingers crossed he will be lucky for his new owners, James Pak and the Trojan Horse Partnership.
We have gone for a more long term project with a son of Lope De Vega out of Al Basar. His sire has made a cracking start to his new career, with Dewhurst winner and Champions Stakes 2nd Belardo in his first crop of horses. Ben was very taken with this colts walk, and whilst he still has a little furnishing left to do, he is proving easy to work with. With his huge, ground covering stride, he looks a nice horse for the future and still has shares available in him.
Finally, totally exhausted from Book 2, we delved into Book 3 by purchasing a lovely filly by crack sire Zoffany, whose exploits need no explanation with three Royal Ascot winners in his first season! Out of Dame Rochelle, the producer of three winners so far, she had a cracking walk but has gone out for winter to strengthen up a little. She looks every inch a racehorse and we are hugely looking forward to getting started with her in the spring.