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Thursday at Cheltenham & Hexham

Today’s post is dedicated to the memory of ‘Fasterkhani’ who we tragically lost yesterday following a fracture injury sustained at exercise. Bred by us & Ace Bloodstock, and never knowing another home, it is so sad that his life has been cut short at just 4 year old. He was very much a ‘work in progress’ at the track and had jumped well in his novice hurdles, we felt he was just ready to start progressing off a workable handicap mark on better Spring ground, and we’ll never now know how he could have blossomed. Fasterkhani was a happy little horse, the first foal of resident broodmare, Musikhani and the late sire, Fast Company, and he was a real character on the yard. It was a sad afternoon for all our team and our hearts go out to his Owners, Marj Hodgson & Dave Carter.

When things like this happen it serves to remind us that these four legged athletes are fragile creatures, and that accidents can happen anytime, racing or not. We are always relieved when we bring a full team back home from the races, and in our game bad days aren’t when they aren’t placed, its when they don’t come back. Thankfully it’s a rare event but an inevitable part of the sport. With this mind we were all hugely relieved when Lady Buttons & Desaray Girl finished safely at Cheltenham despite the fact that we weren’t placed on Tuesday. Lady Buttons has won two Grade 2’s so it wasn’t that she wasn’t up to this level, although being placed in a Grade 1 is never easy, and she was a brave 4th last year. This was her 3rd visit to Cheltenham and she has never really enjoyed it, being much more at home on a flat track, and providing all is ok (she seems fine following the race) then she will hopefully have her final run of the season at Aintree in the Red Rum Chase in which she was 2nd last year. It was an epic race with two exceptional hurdling mares 1st and 2nd, and an honour to be part of. Lady B looked as imperious as ever in the paddock, and duly won Best Turned Out for Julie who had her looking superb. I was lucky enough to lead her up as it was felt that the younger Desaray Girl may be a bit of a handful in the atmosphere, but she actually behaved beautifully. Sam Twiston Davies took the ride and he was very complimentary about her jumping, and thought she was a lovely mares chasing prospect to look forward to for her Owners, Resdev Ltd.

This is a short video – a brief snapshot of our day at Cheltenham on Tuesday…

And some photos from a blustery but bright day in the Cotswolds.

Indy keeping busy with the colours bag

Indy & Jayne with Lady Buttons

Julie with Desaray Girl

A pat in the saddling boxes

Desaray Girl on her way to the start

On to today and we have 4 at Hexham and 2 at Cheltenham….let’s look at our Festival runners first, its a huge day for all involved. First up will be the handsome LOUIS VAC POUCH, a second season chaser contesting the Brown Advisory Plate at 4.10 and he’ll be carrying a handy weight of 10 stone 13lbs in this 23 runner ‘cavalry charge’ of a handicap. Tommy’s been schooling him a fair bit the last 2 weeks, and sound jumping will be the name of the game here – if he can jump well and travel then he is capable of giving a good account, although his form suggests that he does prefer a flat track and he’ll have to cope with Cheltenham’s undulations today. Louis was a close 2nd in a jumpers bumper at Newcastle and its felt that this has put him spot on for todays test. Providing all is well following this he will head to Aintree for his next start, a track he has winning form at. You will see Katie leading up Louis today for Owners The Vacuum Pouch company, and Katie will have him presented immaculately in an effort to make it a BTO win on day 3 . We won three best Turned Outs at Newcastle on Tuesday as well as Lady Buttons winning it at Cheltenham, and we take great pride in how well our horses look.

Louis & Tommy having a quiet hack out yesterday

Photo ‘hot off the press’ of Katie getting Louis ready

On to the next race and we are straight up with the Poet’s Voice 5 year old, ‘RAYNA’S WORLD’ who takes her chance in the Daylesford Mares Novices Hurdle at 4.50 for Owners John Hanson and Rayna Fitzgerald. Phil has always held this flat winning mare in high regard, and soft ground is crucial to her running a good race – luckily the ground hasn’t dried up too much yet and her two runs over hurdles at Wetherby to date have both been very promising. She has plenty to prove but we think she is capable of running respectably, and this will give her further experience for a proper novice campaign next NH season, it’s been a stop start winter for her so far through no fault of her own. She is ridden most days at home by Apprentice jockey, Nick Barratt-Atkin and he tells me he will be watching her with his hands half over his eyes later on, everyone gets very attached to the horses they are involved with. Tommy gets the leg up and he’s ridden her on both hurdling occasions to date, Henry will be leading Rayna up today.

Our first at Hexham is ‘Jupiter’s Way’ in the Conditional Jockeys Mares Handicap at 1.55, we’re minutes away and she’ll be watched closely by Victor Coglan who bred her and rides her every day at home. She’ll be ridden  by new yard Conditional, Joe Williamson who claims a valuable 8lbs which could prove handy on today’s testing conditions.

Jupiter’s Way

Joe was just touched off on the novice handicapper, ADELPHI PRINCE at Sedgefield on Tuesday, his conqueror non other than a certain Mr Quinlan on a handicap first timer. We were pleased with this effort by Prince  who jumped straighter than at Wetherby and he seems to reserve his best form for our local track.

Joe Williamson just beaten in a photo on Tuesday on Adelphi Prince for Owners Barry & Virginia Brown

We also had a 2nd at Newcastle on Tuesday – Ravenscar running a good race for Ben Curtis and just finding one too good.

Our best chance today is clearly our veteran ANIKNAM who tries his hand over fences for the first time in the 5 runner novice handicap chase at 2.35. He escapes a penalty following his latest Sedgefield hurdling success but the only precaution could be wether this comes ‘too soon’ following his latest run, its sure to be a stiff test over 3 miles on heavy ground but he’s been kept fresh at home since and the schooling has gone to plan. His main market rival, ‘Cudgel’ looks a worthy opponent and also has winning course form. Julie has sent us this photo  from the track…he’s all plaited up and looking smart. Can he make it three wins for the season ? 🤞🏻🍀🤞🏻

Aniknam at Hexham

The novices ‘Get Real’ and ‘Bushy Park’ complete our runners this afternoon and they  contest the 3.15 race, a Novice Hurdle over 2 miles. Both bring point to point form to the table and it’s likely that they will need handicaps to be truly competitive. In particular, GET REAL looks more of a National horse than a hurdler, he’s a great big fine individual who should eventually make a nice chaser in his grade. Bushypark is a recent acquisition and has a good attitude at home, Sean Quinlan takes the ride on him.

Bushypark with Colm McCormack



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