Never Change Your Mind

            First up – leg update – not perfect – but improving.

            Monday morning started with an Auditoria entry – Olly had earmarked a handicap chase in Uttoxeter on Saturday for her. As I was having a look at what was entered around 9.00am I spotted a similar race, over slightly further in Bangor on Dee on the same afternoon and called Olly to discuss popping her in there as well. The approach I take to entries, is to keep as many options open for every horse, for as long as you can – it’s a bit like spinning plates, unless you have a solid plan and a target race, you keep as many races on the board as you can, often, right up to a couple of minutes before declarations close, so that you can see the strength of the opposition in all the races they are entered in and choose the route that will give you the best chance of success. With this in mind, I had also spotted a mares handicap hurdle in Stratford on Sunday, and although it was over a marathon trip, and we had bypassed a similar race a week or so ago, this one being for mares only, made it more attractive and certainly an option.

            Later in the morning we set off for Hereford where Mamoon Star was running in their 2m 3f Handicap Hurdle, as a result I couldn’t track the entries for the Stratford race, but as I always do – I popped the ipad in the car and would have a check on the entries on the journey across to Hereford. When they closed the A14 recover a broken-down car, I got the chance to check in, and when I saw what was entered, I called Olly and we chatted about giving her an entry in Stratford too. He put her in – so from having one option at 9.00am – she now had three over the course of the weekend, and we would select what looked like the best option for her.

            The A14 closure was the first hitch on the road to Hereford – the second was getting stuck behind a lorry hauling a very wide mobile home, on the undulating, twisting and narrow road between Worcester and Hereford. That leg of the trip was frustrating to say the least – taking twice as long as normal – but we got there in the end.

            A drizzly afternoon – but it was good to see Mamoon Star back in action. He had lost his form badly after winning on hurdles debut in Taunton, and we were all scratching our heads as to why. Having had quite a few horses by his sire Mamool, it was my theory that there were a couple of factors that had seen him lose his way – firstly he needed to step up in trip from 2 miles – which we tried, but sadly that didn’t seem to work, the second was to get him away from Soft ground and try him on a sounder surface. So, in mid-winter, we gave him a break, and decided to try him on better ground through the summer. Johnny Burke would be in the plate for the first time, and this would be a run to try and get some confidence back into him and see whether he still had the inclination to be a racehorse. Johnny had ridden him at home and said that he certainly didn’t feel like a horse that wanted a change of career, so we were all looking forward to seeing him back. He came jogging into the parade ring and looked fantastic. In the race itself, Johnny settled him in rear and gave him a lovely ride to finish fourth. He was really happy with him, and we learned a fair but more about him. He will appreciate a further step up in trip, but we will try a slightly different track first, and he will continue to run through the summer. He isn’t quite ready for a change of career yet!

            It was good to hear from Louise Kemble who sent through a picture of Savingforvegas, who had been confirmed in foal and was ready to make the trip home from France. She looks fantastic, and we are all very excited about her being scanned in foal to the very exciting Nirvana du Berlais, who had sired his first winner in the last few days! That afternoon we had expected SFV home at the end of the week – as it happened she was back at The Elms by Tuesday evening. Good to have her home!

Savingforvegas before she left France - in foal to Nirvana du Berlais

          Tuesday morning, and as ever Fergal was on early with a video of Mamoon Star trotting up after his run, he had come out of his race in good order, and he will be out again in mid June. He was also on with another couple of videos later in the morning. Greyval had given herself a bump on an old overreach scar when running in Stratford the week before and it had taken a day or two for her to come sound – but she was moving great again by Tuesday morning, so she would be heading for the field and a holiday. Before she went, I was keen to give her a school over fences, just to see if a switch up to the bigger obstacles was an option next winter, as you can see from the video – no problems on that front! It opens up the programme book a bit!

Greyval on her holidays

            Also on Tuesday – Jason Maguire sent an update through on ‘Barry’ our 3 yr old Blue Bresil gelding who is down with him going through ‘secondary school’. Barry had not been himself the week before, and Jason couldn’t quite put his finger on it – he was just not himself – on Tuesday the reason why became apparent, when he erupted out with a very heavy cold – full of the snots like a child in nursery! This was bad timing as he was due to head to Tom Georges and do the final part of his stint at Ivy Lodge with a swinging piece upsides another horse on Tom’s woodchip gallop. Now that he was under the weather, that would not be happening so instead of doing his piece of work and heading back to The Elms on Friday – he would have a course of antibiotics and if he was over his cold by next week, he would head down to the woodchip a week later. In the meantime, he would have a few schooling sessions over hurdles, nothing that would put his system under undue pressure, but just enough to keep him ticking over while the antibiotics do their thing.


            Wednesday was an early start – up at 4.15am – and on the road by 4.40am – first stop, Donald McCains to see Old Blue Eyes have a canter before he heads off for a summers break. I had caught up with Donald’s assistant, former jockey, Adrian Lane in Hereford on Monday and he had given me an update on how Old Blue Eyes was doing – he had been really quite sick after he returned to Bankhouse after a mid winter break, and it had set him back quite a bit, which meant that they were not able to get a racecourse gallop into him this spring – but he said that it would not matter as Old Blue Eyes had already shown them in the autumn that he was a very talented individual – his homework had been well above average, and that he was a horse they were all looking forward to getting going with in the autumn – so I was keen to get up and see him cantering before he heads off for a short summers break. It was good to meet up with Debbie, who joined me at Bankhouse, and got some great photos of Old Blue Eyes. There are a couple of shares left in Old Blue Eyes – although he is unraced, as I have mentioned, he has already shown everyone at home what he can do – and he comes very highly recommended – let me know if you would like a share – training fees would not commence until he returns to training in July. Get in touch – don’t miss him!

Old Blue Eyes cantering

He is a very talented lad - Don't miss him!

After a lovely couple of hours at Bankhouse we made the short trip up the road to Michael Owen’s Manor House Stables, where Debbie had arranged to see a couple of Arabians that Hugo Palmer has in training there. Roles reversed – I was to play the part of second camera – and get plenty of filming done. It was an interesting visit – Manor House have been very good customers with horseboxes over the course of the last couple of years, and it was great to finally meet Harriet in the office, we have spoken many times but never met – their new box is on it’s way!

Debbie and Hugo Palmer

From Manor House it was on to the third stop of our trip – Will Kinsey’s Peel Hall – where Ridin Solo is out on his summer holidays, and where our 2 yr old half sister to Hidden Beauty is out at grass with her friends. We also got the chance to see some of the finest national hunt broodmares in the UK with, their foals at foot, the likes of Limini with a beautiful Golden Horn colt foal – there were also some very interesting foals – including a very nice colt by Stradivarious, out of a black type mare. We were lucky enough to film all of these blue blooded mares and foals, which will feature as the next instalment of our ‘In Behind’ feature on the Members Area of the Red Sash Racing website – to be able to see this, and all of the previous In Behind episodes, simply head to Join the Club by purchasing a share in Ridin Solo – which will cost you the princely sum of £75, and will include the purchase price of the share, and all costs through to May 31st 2025 – and you will also get FREE Tote bets totalling £30 on joining! Our In Behind series in the Members Area aims to be both informative and entertaining and will take you to parts of the racing and bloodstock industries that are often overlooked. Needless to say – you will also get the chance to go racing with Ridin Solo who, after winning his Irish Point to Point in the autumn came to the UK and finished second twice in novice hurdles, before ending up a close 5th in Ayr on his last start. All of these runs have been over an inadequate 2 miles – he will be well handicapped when he steps up in trip, and even better when he goes chasing next season. Brian Hughes sees him as a very nice staying chaser, and he should give the club members lots of fun next season.

Ridin Solo on his holidays


 After looking at mares and foals, yearling colts, yearling fillies, two year old geldings and fillies we headed back to the yard and had a look at the three that Will has heading to the Doncaster Spring Store Sale next week.

 We must have seen over a hundred horses, and guess what – we missed the one that we went to see – Ridin Solo – only realising as we sat down to a very late lunch at The Morris Dancer down the road in Kelsall. Will was kind enough to get a video of him for club members the next day – he is summering well and looks in great order. Having come from the point to point field in Ireland last year, he had had a fairly hard time of thjngs before his arrival at Bankhouse, and Donald had to go sparingly with him, a summers break, the chance to reset, and he should be winning plenty of races next season!


While I was on my travels, Gary Moore dropped Cloud Dancer down to Ben Brains practice near Stow on The Wold, so that Ben could give him an overland scope, just to make sure that all was well with his breathing after finishing distressed after running on unsuitably heavy ground in Uttoxeter last time out. Thankfully there was no sign of a breathing problem with him, and he has now gone to Ivy Lodge Farm to spend the summer there. He just needs a bit of attention with a foot before he goes out, and that will be taken care of while he spends a few days in a small paddock ahead of going out in the field with the rest of the herd.

            Wednesday was a long day – I left the house at 4.40am and arrived home at 7.15pm. Time for a shower and a shave, a catch up with some correspondence and a quick look at the results that afternoon and a scan of the card in York on Thursday, as it was there, I would be heading.

I had been invited to join a tradition that has been going for over 40 years, when three close friends from Yorkshire headed to York for a days racing on the Thursday of the Dante meeting in May. Sadly two of the original cast are no longer with us – and it was a special day for me to be attending in place of Lewis who sadly passed away last year. I drove up, collecting Matt and Nick on the way – Nick keeping us entertained with some Country music on our way north– a pit stop for breakfast in a café in Oughtibridge – the biggest sausage and egg sandwich I have ever eaten – or indeed seen! And on to collect the last remaining member of the ‘original cast’ Billy Wortley – I had never met Billy, but had heard many stories about this ‘legendary’ son of Belfast. They all turned out to be spot on – the man IS a legend, and we had a great day. Saying that, Nicks day could have been better, having made the trip last year, he fell foul of changjng his mind as he placed his bets, missing out on several winners – his last words as we entered the track on Thursday were – ‘don’t let me change my mind!’ The Plan worked well for the opener, as he backed the winner, he then proceeded to do just what he had told us to prevent him from doing – change his mind – and missed three more winners! I had my first bet in years - £10 in the kitty for the placepot – I got all excited when we managed to find six placed horses in the first six races – less than excited when I realised that the dividend paid less than the stake! I knew there was a reason I didn’t bet – I won and still managed to lose! It was a fantastic afternoon of top quality racing – Economics, the winner of the Dante is a fine, big imposing son of Night Of Thunder and a striking individual – I said straight after he crossed the line that he didn’t look like a horse that would be suited by the undulations and twists and turns of Epsom, and I see they have now ruled out supplementing him for The Derby. It was also interesting to note that despite running out an easy winner of the Dante, he appeared to burst a blood vessel in doing so. ‘Bleeding’ in the racehorse is another topic we will be covering in our ‘In Behind’ series – another reason to join the Red Sash Racing Club! Our day was topped off with a stop at The Stafford Arms on the outskirts of Barnsley (Not Burnley) – take my word for it – if they can serve Billy a meal and get nothing but praise they must be good – last year, when they stopped for a bite to eat at another pub on the way home, he told the waitress he ‘wouldn’t put his steak on a black eye’ and challenged the chef to come out and eat it!! No such complaints this year! I got the passengers all dropped off and home by 11.00pm – a long day – thanks to Sarah for organising – to her and the rest of the squad for asking me – a privilege to be there – such a shame that Neil and Lewis weren’t.

            Friday morning – round the corner to the garage to get the part of the car that I detached on the way to Punchestown reattached. With that done, it was a case of tracking declarations in Stratford where Olly had decided he would run Auditoria – the fact that it was a mares race finally leading to the decision to run her. The trip of 3m2f an unknown, but she had not looked like stopping on her last run over hurdles when we stepped her up to 3m for the first time in Perth a couple of years ago – we didn’t find out that day as she fell when travelling very strongly 3 out, so hopefully the trip will be fine for her on her first start over hurdles since that day.

 When I had updated the syndicate, I headed off to The Elms Stud to meet some syndicate members. We all convened to see Finbar – our 2 yr old by Falco out of Molly Childers, who starts on his journey to being a racehorse (hopefully) next week when he leaves The Elms for the first time and heads down to Ivy Lodge Farm to be broken in. He will spend six weeks there before returning to The Elms for the remainder of the summer. He was always a little small – typical of a first foal, but has done well in the past 12 months, and gives the impression he will continue to do so when he gets some tack on him, and Jason pulls him together.





He will be joined on his trip by Floyd, our 2 yr old by Falco out of Savingforvegas. He is the spitting image of a few of his half-brothers and is a horse I have always liked – he looks like he is well up to continuing the family tradition of winning races! He will be retained on the racing squad and be syndicated when the time is right – which could be next year, or possibly the year after, depending on how we see him after he has done some work. Another one that really caught the eye was ‘George’ by Golden Horn out of Savingforvegas – he is a lovely lad and has an awful lot of quality about him. We also go to see Rockola, who is spending the summer at the stud. She has let herself down nicely and will benefit hugely for the break. Although she ran well in a couple of bumpers and finished the season with a second place finish in Hereford, she was held up by the very wet winter, and never really got the ground that suited her. Her trainer Alan King believes we will see a different mare next season, when she has had a summer on her back, and when he can run her on ground that is not as deep as she encountered last season! It was good to get a few videos from Jason – great to see Tintagel Queen back being ridden again – she will now head off for 6 weeks at grass, before returning to Warren Chase in early July.

Tintagel Queen back ridden - will now head off for a holiday

Another surprise was to get a video of our 2 yr old by The Grey Gatsby, who only came in from the field this week, and was being ridden around the yard by Friday. He had had plenty of lungeing and long reining last autumn before he was turned away – so after a days refresher course, Jason was able to crack on and he was very happy with him – another nice youngster! Just a couple of shares remain in this gorgeous gelding. We had considered sending him to a store sale next year – but we like him so much – we have decided to retain him on the racing squad! He looks the ideal type for Junior Bumpers and Juvenile Hurdles next year – have a look at him on the For Sale Page – he is a stunning horse, that moves as well as he looks!

            Saturday, and plenty of work to catch up on in the office. A couple of shares sold in our young horses on Friday – so paperwork to sort out for them – we wish their new owners the very best of luck with their new horses. We certainly have a lovely bunch of youngsters to add to the team in the coming months – the future looks very bright indeed!

            Today we head to Stratford – Auditoria back on the track. She has been working well, and always seems to go well fresh, so hopefully she will run well this afternoon. As mentioned, the trip is a bit of an unknown, but if she gets it – she should be in with a good chance!

            Around the remainder of the team – Fortune Forever has suffered a set back – the extent of which we are unsure of yet – we await a follow up visit from the vet. She is currently on box rest with Connor Brace. Maria’s Flame continues her rehab and is in fine form as ever. Intrepide Sud is out in the field with his mates at Ravenswell and summering well. Itchy Feet has had a period of box rest, to let his tired legs recover from their exertions last winter and has now gone out too. Dino Bellagio has completed his rehab and is now out for the summer and will return to Donald McCain on July 1st.

            I think that covers everything! Just one lesson from the week – never change your mind – it can be costly!

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