It would be fair to say that it's been a disappointing Flat season with my horses with MPR. Sweet Lightning was retired after sustaining an injury, which at the age of 9 and a glittering career behind him, we felt it kindest to give him to his devoted lass at David o'Meara's, rather than send him to the sales to scrabble round the gaffs for another yard. Stand my Ground has struggled since his great opening run at Doncaster in the Spring Mile, never getting his ground until landing a claimer in the fog and mud of Musselburgh. Hopefully he can pick up a handicap in the Autumn mud before the end of the season.
Lexington Place was sold to Ruth Carr after failing to sparkle in his early season work after a brilliant 2013, hopefully Ruth can rekindle some form with him as she does with so many horses switched to her very gentle training regime.
My two stars have been the Richard Fahey trained pair Tatlisu and Latenightrequest.
Tatlisu has has had a superb season contesting many top sprints but has been incredibly unlucky with the draw on a number of occasions. Drawn on the wrong side at Goodwood (Stewards Sprint), Ripon (Great St Wilfred), Curragh & Ayr (Ayr Silver Cup), he has risen to a mark of 92 and surely has one of these big prizes in his grasp either this year or next. That said, he has won over £27000 in win & place prize money and been a real star taking me to many big meetings this year.
Latenightrequest has just come back after a mid-season break as she is a filly who relishes give in the ground. In winning two competitive handicaps she has risen from a mark of 79 to 89 and ran a great race on ground that didn't suit in the Group 3 Musidora at York. 1m 4f on Soft ground should bring out the best in her and there are 1 or 2 targets still left this season at Newmarket and Doncaster, where I hope that she will continue her impressive progression.
The three 2 year olds that I got involved with this year have been slow to come to hand and are still awaiting their first victories. Signoret has just qualified for a handicap mark of 70, which should allow her to be competitive in back end nurseries. 5f and softish ground looks like suiting and she is a very fast filly. Codgers Gift, also with Richard Fahey, has run two very nice maidens, looking like a trip of 7f plus will suit, she has always looked like a 3 year old , so hopefully a lot more to come from this very well bred filly. Finally Eagle Empire made his debut at Chepstow for Richard Hannon, running far too free to last home. He may have one or two more runs this year but again looks a handicapper at this stage.
Whilst away at Ayr I missed the seasonal debut of my own syndicate horse Mission to Mars (Marty) trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies. He had made his chasing debut back in May, in a hot novice chase where he battled for 3rd place but unfortunately collapsed at the end of his race and was found to have been suffering from a virus. The stable had reported him in superb form at home but with nothing coming to light over the summer, I wasn't confident that he would even finish, let alone win at Newton Abbot. But win he did!!, backed in from 6/1 to 11/4 in the morning (not by me!!), he jumped beautifully and travelled behind the long time leader before taking it up 2 out and then battling on bravely when lack of fitness started to tell, to hang on for a fantastic handicap chase victory on only his second run over fences. Unfortunately Marty again collapsed at the end if the race and had to have oxygen in order to bring him around. Once up he was right as rain, but the cause of the problem remains a mystery and we will allow Nigel's vets to give him a thorough overhaul before looking at his next race. Masses of potential if we can sort the medical problem. A first ever win for Staplegrove Racing!!!
I've shares in 3 over jumps with Middleham Park Racing this year. The enigmatic Mad Moose goes back before the BHA in November to see whether he will be allowed to race again, assuming he wants to. I would love to see him run and prove his ability just one more time, so that people's memories of him are of him racing rather than not!!
John Quinn has wrapped Distime in cotton wool for the second time in 3 years after getting a leg again back in January. He has masses of untapped potential as a novice chaser and has an entry at Uttoxeter on a Sunday, should the going turn at least good to soft. Fingers and everything else crossed.
Finally very excited to be involved with Quiet Candid at Nicky Henderson's yard at Seven Barrows. This mare came over from Ireland and ran close up in two bumpers at the end of last season. Refusing to settle, she still showed tremendous potential and will almost certainly go straight over hurdles within the next few weeks.
I've been looking to expand my own syndicate over the summer and have been speaking to two local yards about part leasing horses for this jump season. I've had lots of initial interest but nothing concrete as yet but hopefully after Marty's success, people may feel more like joining me in my ventures.
I've agreed to lease 50% of Arrayan, a 9 year old hurdler in trainer with local (West Buckland) trainer Alexandra Dunn. Arrayan will try to achieve a lifetime ambition of mine to win a race at my local track (Taunton) in my colours. Rated 118, Arrayan will be aimed at Sellers and Claimers, with a view to picking up prize money every time he goes to the races. Alex and her husband Tom are really positive, forward thinking people with a real passion and understanding of horses and I am really looking forward to being involved with their yard this season, suspect it may be a lot of fun!!
I am also trying to set up a small partnership in a promising Novice Chaser, Chance Encounter, an 8 year old gelding in training with Linda Blackford nr Tiverton in Devon. Linda and her partner Mike are real enthusiasts and have a lovely set up in the Devon countryside, with some smashing young NH horses purchased from Ireland. Chance Encounter appears well handicapped over fences and should give any potential owners a lot of fun this season and again I am looking to find partners to join me in a lease deal for the horse to stay in Linda's yard.
I intend to advertise both horses over the next couple of weeks but if anyone fancies joining me, either DM me on twitter @flutter61 or email email@example.com.
Once again Many Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you found it interesting and mildly entertaining. Thanks for your support.