Having been stuck on 13 winners for what felt like an eternity, a very productive March and early April have proved to be somewhat fruitful!
Mr Chua, Robin Des Theatre, Caldwell, Court Master, Caltex and Copper Coin x 2 have all contributed to make it a great few weeks for the yard.
Robin Des Theatre got the ball rolling again when winning the “Think Smart at Verem Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle” at Newcastle, ridden by Brendan Powell, for owner Mark Dunphy. She made all, jumped brilliantly and showed a great attitude to win by half a length. She has had one more run since, running well to be third with a penalty. She is set to make a lovely chaser next season, so with that in mind, she has already been turned out on her holidays.
Mr Chua, who had such a productive time on the Flat last summer, went up to Catterick to have his first run over hurdles for over a year. We thought he was very well handicapped judged on his flat form and so it proved, as he won the “Racing Again On The 10th March Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle”, ridden by Bryan Carver for owner Jimmy Chua. This was Bryan’s first ride for us and an important win for him, as he tries to win this season’s Conditional Jockeys’ title. Mr Chua won here off a mark of 102 and a trip of 2m4f, so there should still be more to come from him. He stays 2m well on the Flat, so he should easily stay further than this trip over hurdles. He will hopefully have a mixed campaign under both codes through the spring and summer, as better ground is very important to him.
Mr Chua and Gabby after his Catterick win.
On 7th March, Copper Coin headed to Huntingdon for his first run since October. Having just his second start over fences, this race was the “John Bigg ‘Oxo’ Handicap Chase”, a very important race for the family. Oxo was the horse on which Grandfather won the 1959 Grand National and John Bigg was his owner. The trophy for this race was the exact same one that John Bigg received when winning the National. We have been wanting to win this race for a very long time, but never really had the right type until now. Together with owners Phil and Sue Truscott, a plan was hatched to aim for this race. The right result didn’t look very likely early on in the race, when he was a couple of lengths in the rear, but it was a fantastic ride by Tom Scu as he passed all the other runners to win by 1/2 a length. It was Copper Coin’s first win and very special for the family and the Truscott’s. It was their first winner with us and they bred Copper as well, so an emotional win all round ! Copper then went to Wetherby over hurdles on 1st April, for the “Bet At Racing TV Novices’ Hurdle”, again ridden by Tom Scu. This was a much more straightforward win, where he looked happier to be back over hurdles. He jumped well and went on to win well, by three lengths. The aim would be to run in another Novice with a penalty, but we will see how he is and how quick the ground gets.
Copper Coin and Tom Scu take the last in style.
Caldwell has been racking up the road miles in March. To begin with, he went up to Kelso on 6th March, for a Juvenile Novice Hurdle ridden by Tom Scu and ran a great race to be second. This and his earlier second at Wetherby, saw him qualify for the “ITM Northern Lights Juvenile Hurdle Series Final (Handicap)”, at Musselburgh, with some great prize money on offer. This time ridden by Richard Patrick, he made all, although jumping a little slowly at a few, but galloped them into the ground to win well by 61/2 lengths, going away. Owned by Neil and Aly Dower, Caldwell is their first horse with us and their first winner. He is a very exciting 4 year old, who is improving with every run. There isn’t much for him over hurdles now, so he may well have one run on the Flat before going on a break.
Caldwell and Gabby after winning at Musselburgh.
Caldwell and Gabby working at home.
Court Master went up to Kelso for the “LCS Joinery 50 Years Of Trading Handicap Chase”, ridden by Brendan Powell, for owner Lynne MacLennan. He travelled well through out the race, although didn’t jump with his usual fluency at times and victory didn’t look that likely jumping the last, but he stayed on very well to win by two lengths. This win was very important to him, as we want to run him in the Topham Chase on the Friday of Aintree. This win will allow him to get in now and he could run a big race there, as he is only an 8 year old and improving all the time. Do Your Job is another who bypassed Cheltenham to go to Aintree and he has two options in a Novice and a Handicap.
Caltex brought up the 20 winner mark yesterday when winning at Carlisle, ridden by Luca Morgan for owner Mark Dunphy. This was Caltex’s second win since joining us and the 10th winner we have had for Mark in just over a year since he joined us. It was great to be able to welcome owners back to the races and brilliant that Mark and Joanne were there to cheer him home ! It was a fantastic ride from the young 7lb claimer Luca Morgan, who looks real value for his claim.
Caltex (farside)jumps the last well to go on and win.
Caltex and Bella in the Carlisle sunshine.
It has been a great few weeks and a fantastic effort from all the team to reach 20 winners for the season. There are still a few weeks of the season left and some big targets still to aim for!