3 Winners in 5 days and the retirement of a legend !!!!
Just as the rain starts to come and the National hunt season is in full swing, life at Eccleswall court has hit top gear in more ways than one. The horses have started the season in great form and we as we managed our 11th winner of the season so far with Grace Tara winning on Tuesday. It was a busy week as Dawnie River took the long trip to Fakenham looking for a four timer!
Dawnie River has been a revalation this season winning three races in a row at Cartmel, Uttoxeter and Plumpton (by 49 lengths!!). We went to Fakenham for a mares only 3m h ‘cap chase having been put up 7lb for winning last time. There were only 4 runners but all had a chance, with the pace very steady early on Tom Scu decided to try and make the running not plan A but we certainly did not want a sprint either. Dawnie jumped brilliantly all the way and going out on the final circuit there were only 2 with a chance. She was still just leading going to the last but sadly could not quite hang on and was beaten half a length. It was disappointing to gt beat but this was another improved performance form her in a race that was definitely not run to suit. She is only six so hopefully she will improve again as she gets stronger but has certainly given ‘Dont Tell Ken’ the group of friends that own her a lot of fun this summer.
Twenty Eight Guns, who had been unlucky at Hexham last time when she was in the process of running a big race before making a mistake at the third last. She battled back well to finish fourth on that occasion. So we sent her down to Ffos Las with us full of confidence she would go very close. She was given a great ride by Richie Mclernon, she tracked the leader all the way before taking it up turning for home. She jumped well up the home straight and managed to hold on to beat the short priced favourite by a length and a quarter. This was a very well deserved success for this mare who had been second five times last season! Alistair and Irene part owners had made their way down and Alistair even had to do an interview on ATTHERACES afterwards. Hopefully she can build on this win now, she may well head back to Ffos Las on the 13th December.
Alistair, Irene, Richie Maisie, Maz and a very happy Twenty Eigth Guns.
About ten minutes after Twenty Eight Guns it was the turn of the exciting 4 year old Cadeyrn to run at the Betfair meeting at Haydock. This son of Flemensfirth had won his point to point very impressively back in March had joined the yard in the summer and was having his first run for us. This was a very competitive bumper as you would expect at a big meeting like this. Ridden by Robbie Dunne he ran a very encouraging race to be third. We had not been able to do as much work with him up the grass as I would have liked going into to this run so was delighted with this result knowing he was going to improve a lot for it. He is a big strong 3 mile chaser in the making so this was an extremely satisfying result to see him run so well in a hot bumper over the minimum trip for him. A big thank you must go to Meadow View stables and the Slattery brothers who did such a good job with him in Ireland which hopefully allows us to have a lot of fun with this lad in the future. His owners Judith Murray, Lynn and Angus Maclenann were there and John Murray was watching from New York!! The Murrays had another runner Criq Rock who ran a really good race to be second at Ascot in a good 2m novice hurdle. It was going to be a nervous night though for Lynn and Angus as they had Mysteree running at Haydock for us the next day!!!
Mysteree another who had joined us in the summer, at the same as impressive Uttoxeter winner Cobajay Island. Mysteree who had shown very good form last season when fourth in the Eider Chase, but was having his first run for us here. He was running in 3m4f handicap chase and it was going to be run on very heavy ground following all the rain that had come overnight. We went into the race full of confidence that he was a much better horse than the handicap mark of 120 which he was running off. Champion Jockey Richard Johnson was booked to ride and as we had no fears over trip or ground we were very hopeful of a big run. He jumped off just behind the leader, he jumped well throughout took the lead at the second last and stayed on powerfully to win by 3 1/2 lengths. He is only a very lightly raced 8 year old who we feel is still improving as he get stronger, he has gone up 9lb for this win to a rating of 129. We would love him to get into the Welsh National and that will be the aim although it may be he just misses out off this mark. He is definitely a staying chaser on the way up!
Mysteree and Richard Johnson coming home clear of Chase the Spud in second. Being led back in to the winners enclosure by Bella.
It had been a very long time since Grace Tara had been seen on a race course, 929 days in fact! There had been not many ups and quite few downs in that period of trying to get her ready. The owners ‘Having a Mare’ have been amazing, unbelievably patient and never putting any pressure on us no matter how disappointed they must have felt during the set backs last season. There patience had finally paid off when Grace headed to Lingfield on Tuesday (22/11/2016). She was to be ridden by Tom Scu who had already had a winner earlier in the day, we were hopeful she would run well as she had won a point to point in Ireland and a bumper for us in her earlier days. This was her first run over hurldes and all her home work suggested she still maintained her ability but after so long off we went in hope of a good run. She jumped and traveled well through the race and as they turned for home with two to jump she was in the lead, the further she went the better she went and ended up winning by 7 lengths comfortably….Que very joyous scenes by many of the syndicate who had made the journey down! This was a great performance from an incredibly tough mare, who if she can now stay sound hopefully can build on this. A massive congratulations to her amazingly patient owners and well done to all the team at home for getting her ready to go after such a long lay off, but especially to Kate who has done everything with her this season and last.
Very Happy owners in the winners enclosure…. Grace and Kate before the race
Tuesday was a mixed day of emotions as we announced the retirement of MONBEG DUDE due to a small recurrence of an injury . He has been such a legend here and really put us on the map. His wins at Cheltenham then the Welsh National under that incredible Paul Carberry ride all the way through to his 3rd in the Grand National. He has been such a wonderful horse and it has been a pleasure to play a small part in his strange but true story, he will always mean the world to me and I would not be training the nice horses we are today if was not for Monbeg. As a group of owners he gave four friends the most fun you could ever imagine. In the yard he really was a Dude, he really loved being a race horse, he loved the attention when people came to see him and was great fun to ride. He will go and have a nice and well deserved retirement at Gatcombe Park, we will certainly miss him here. Thanks Dude!!!
Monbeg and Jaime Moore after his first Cheltenham win. Monbeg Looking very well at our owners day in September 2016