Philip Kirby Racing

Racehorse Trainer based at Richmond, North Yorkshire


While we are not suggesting racing should come back on imminently as we don’t feel it would be right in the present circumstances, we do have an exciting small team of runners for when racing resumes, plus a second group who will be prepared for later in the summer/ early Autumn. This does not include our Autumn/ early season NH horses who will be discussed at a later date.

We have a strong hand in the staying division, the type of horse that we’ve always loved,  (Old Borough Cup winer ‘Platinum’ being a memorable example featured at the end of our piece ) and the three horses pictured above are particularly talented. Notably they have all won on their last start for us.  Add into the mix ‘Kangaroo Valley’ who is currently for sale but we hope he might find a buyer to stay – and we can’t wait to see these four 90+ rated horses in action…. We’re looking closely at each of the 3 above for this evenings NEWS post.

STARGAZER  Official rating 104

7 year old by Canford Cliffs x Star Ruby

Stargazer In front

Bought by Phil at Tatts HIT sales in October 2017 for £8000 out of Michael Stoute’s yard, he had obviously had his problems as he hadn’t run for just over a year. However, after a steady build up he was ready for us to run by the Spring of 2018 and made an immediate impression with a neck 2nd in a Class 2 Handicap at Newcastle over 2 miles. His next run was heartbreaking as although he won the £55,000 1m 4f handicap at Newcastle he was demoted to second after he was found to have interfered with the 2nd, mainly due to a loose horse on the track pestering him all the way up the home straight. A frustrating day but Stargazer had proved his class over a middle distance trip. He was 8-1 for the Chester Cup next time out but didn’t break well, and was subsequently found to have injured his pelvis despite finishing 7th. It was still a very solid run all things considered. Box rested and given time to heal, he couldn’t reappear until the late Autumn. It took a couple of runs for him to be fully firing and then he signalled his well being with a 3/4 length 2nd at Newcastle in a Class 2 Handicap off 95 in November.

That magic first official win for us came next time out, again at his favoured Newcastle – off a mark of 97. Despite being sent off 9-1 he won cosily by a length for Robert Winston and was duly put up to a career high of 100.

A 2nd and 3rd followed at Newcastle and Lingfield, both off 100, before winning his final start to date on 1st April 2019 – another Class 2 Handicap at Newcastle, going up to his career high mark of 104.

It’s been very frustrating as ‘Stargazer’ has been on the sidelines with injury since then… but he’s BACK and looking in fantastic shape at home with regular rider, Sammi in the saddle . Phil has always thought the world of this horse and we certainly haven’t seen the best of him on turf yet…. he is no all weather one trick pony. Probably most effective at 1m 6f on the turf on a galloping track or 2m on the all-weather, he is still loving his job and we can’t wait to see him back in action for The Hassall family and ourselves (as we retained 50% of him, one of Phill’s best decisions!)

ICE PYRAMID Official rating 92

5 year old gelding by New Approach x Coolnagree

Ice Pyramid wins impressively at Newcastle earlier this year

Bought to make a high class Juvenile hurdler for Owners Bill Fraser & Adrian Pritchard, Phil secured Ice Pyramid for £30,000 at Goffs Autumn HIT after he had run once for Saeed Bin Suroor with a 2nd in a maiden at Redcar. A big upstanding 3 year old, he had obviously needed time with just the 1 run for Godolphin, but having cost £120,000 as a yearling, he looked value to Phil and his new Owners, and it’s certainly been proved so judged on his racecourse appearances since.

Phil was keen to give him a couple of runs on the level for experience & so that he could obtain a handicap mark for the future, and he made his debut for us with a promising 3rd at Newcastle as a warm up to go hurdling. However, he required a period on the sidelines after this and possibly it’s been the making of him, however frustrating for us all at the time.

Reappearing on December 14th almost 346 days later, he was beaten just 1/2 a length in a Novice Stakes under Ben Curtis having been fully entitled to come on for the effort. January 2020  saw his first win for us off a mark of 75 for Paul Mulrennan, 5 lengths being the winning distance in this his first handicap. Racing Post describes him winning ‘readily’ and he was duly handed a 5lbs rise to a new mark of 80.

There are no such things as ‘certainties’ in racing and we were reminded of this when Ice Pyramid was turned over at 4-11 in a falsely run Amateur race at Lingfield ( 2nd beaten a neck) under a penalty, but put matters straight on his final start to date on the 15th February. Winning by 5 lengths off a mark of 85 at Newcastle for Ben Curtis, he made the shortlist of many notebooks with his performance and Phil & his Owners made the decision to keep him to the flat for now given that he is progressive. He will resume his season from a mark of 92.

Ice Pyramid’s  races have all been over 1m 4f to date but Phil sees no problem upping him in trip as he gains more experience racing. He is an exciting young horse with ‘few miles on the clock’  and a cheeky character on the yard.

DECEMBER SECOND  Official rating 92 

6 year old gelding by Teofilio x Bulbul

December Second in front wearing the blue and white colours of David Platt

23rd January 2019 was a memorable day for Phil & Owner David Platt, selecting the unraced Shadwell gelding for £7000 at the Goffs UK January mixed sale and by 13th April he had won the ultra competitive Scottish  National Meeting  bumper at Ayr by 3  3/4 lengths at odds of 16-1 for Tommy Dowson.

Taking his chance at The Punchestown Festival, he was just out the frame but beaten only 6 Lengths in the Grade 1 Bumper and the race was not run to suit him – it was a taking  performance for a horse having just his second start.

With Tommy back on board and at odds of 1-8, December Second made it Bumper win number 2 in effortless style at Huntingdon in May 2019 by 5 lengths, The Racing Post comment read  ‘ a very promising winner’ and ‘it’s no surprise that connections are contemplating running him on the flat’.

That’s exactly what Phil was planning, and after 3 seconds in maidens ( the final one over 1m 1/2 f  and beaten a neck)  he made his handicap debut off a sensible mark of 82 at Haydock under Andrew Elliott. All went smoothly and he recorded his first flat win by 5 lengths at odds of 3-1 and earned himself quotes for the big Autumn staying handicaps . It was not to be however, and a couple of little niggling problems led to him finishing his season a race or two early,  but it had been a first season to remember for his Owner.

December Second is a very talented individual who has proved he stays well in bumpers yet has plenty of toe for middle distances on the flat. He’s another that may have been bought with hurdling in mind, but having shown so much class,  he will remain on the level for the foreseeable future. Who knows how far he can progress once racing resumes…. Phil believes we are yet to see the best of him.

December Second wins his second bumper.

Our flat horses for the Season as it progresses through to Autumn will also include:


Plus a small number of dual purpose jumpers who may have a warm up on the Flat…and a couple of as yet un-named 2 year olds.

To complete the post we will remember the career of PLATINUM who is now in retirement in a lovely home doing dressage, and his resurgence with us proves again that you can find a bargain if you look hard enough in the right places. Having dropped to selling class on his previous start,  Phil bought Platinum for £2000 at Goffs Sales. He gave us some wonderful racing memories. Sadly The Cesarawitch proved his final racecourse appearance in one incredible year. 

Staying Power – December Second with his head in front

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