Latest News – keeping up to date with our runners, events and horses for sale
|October / November 2015||
When we bought He’s A Bully with Philip Hobbs at the Brightwells sale in May 2014 we had expected to get a win on the board fairly quickly, as he’d shown good form in a point-to-point and a bumper. Like so many things in racing, the first year didn’t turn out to be straightforward at all. Many Westerners can be excitable types and our horse was most definitely in that mould. He refused to settle and we had to go through a period teaching him to race properly. Now the penny has dropped, he has turned out to be one of the most robust horses in Philip’s yard. He really is a strong, game, hardy type and although not a superstar, is a really fun horse to be associated with. He has raced ten times in 2015 and has been in the money on nine occasions, finishing 3, 3, 2, 2, 3, 6, 4, 2, 1, 2. Some of the owners have joked that it’s like going racing with an ATM. He finally got his win on the board at Wincanton, also bringing up Richard Johnson’s 100th winner of the season. His next run will be on a left-handed circuit over a trip in excess of 3m. As he settles, he is staying much better and we could easily see him at some stage running in a race with the word “National” in the title.
We’ve always been big supporters of Philip Hobbs, and in turn he is a good supporter of OfO. Not least, he always comes along to our champagne picnics at Cheltenham, with the most recent being held there on Paddy Power Saturday. It was also an excellent opportunity for him to meet a number of the owners who have bought into the Sholokhov yearling, being looked after by Aiden Murphy, who will go to Philip in a couple of years’ time. Indeed, as Sausalito Sunrise (7/1) and Aiden’s Copper Kay (15/8) both won later that afternoon, some contribution to keep costs was gratefully picked up by most of our owners. All the shares in the Sholokhov have now been sold.
In terms of the other NH horses: Bilbrook Blaze put up an excellent show to come 3rd in a competitive handicap at Ascot on 31st October, and we’re debating now whether to switch him to fencing or stay hurdling for the rest of the season. Shantou Magic showed a lot of speed on his seasonal debut at Newton Abbot in early October, and then put in an immaculate round of jumping at Bangor in the 3m Anne Duchess of Westminster Memorial Handicap Chase. We’re probably going to bring him back to 2½m, and the possibility is to go for the £100,000 Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at the next Cheltenham meeting on 12th December. Our other horse with Charlie Longsdon, The Fugitive, will come out in a bumper at the end of November. He was taken down to Lambourn for a day out on the lengthy Back of the Hill gallop, with Marcus Foley riding, and has come on 2 stone since then. Very much a long-term project, but a gorgeous horse. Thady Quil has had a wind op and won’t be out again until the end of the winter.Jolievitesse has also had to be taught to settle in his races, and put in a more promising run on the A/W at Kempton in early November. He will run again at Kempton, since he likes going right-handed, before a winter holiday. Lord Ben Stack and Timeless Art are both on holiday already. The 2yo Timeless Art had his second outing, at York on 10th October, and was unlucky not to win a valuable maiden. Timeform have given him a mark of 80p and commented, “Went the right way in no uncertain terms; better to come.” That keeps the dream alive over the winter! Finally, the yearling, Sunday Prospect, has been backed and is now learning the ropes with the other youngsters at Spigot Lodge in Middleham with Karl Burke.
|August / September 2015||
Once the leaves start dropping and autumn approaches, it is time for the sales cycle of Flat yearlings. There has been yet another big hike up in the prices of these horses, with the Doncaster premium, Arqana and Goffs Orby sales reaching record highs. There may be global deflation in the broader economy, but prices are definitely inflationary in bloodstock. So, as before, we have been looking for value in France and went to the Osarus sale at La Teste de Buch near Bordeaux on 16th September with Karl and Elaine Burke and bought a strong, precocious colt by Sunday Break. There is stamina in the pedigree and we are already dreaming of him running in the Chesham at Royal Ascot. After all, this year’s winner, Suits You, was bought in this sale last year, as was Karl’s exciting filly, Katie’s Diamond. Such is the support for Spigot Lodge that the yearling was partnered out within a week. We are deliberately increasing the number of Flat horses so that we balance the team 50:50 between Flat and Jumps, rather than 25:75 as in the past.
Lord Ben Stack won’t run again until next spring, as a four-year-old. Frustratingly, he had a very small stress fracture but is far too good a horse to risk and could be very exciting next year. While recovering he has also been gelded, as was Jolievitesse, who reappeared at the Ayr Western meeting in a 1m 2f handicap. Alas, everything went wrong for him in that race and it is definitely one to put a line through. He was meant to be dropped in and covered up, but instead bolted out of the stalls, ran freely for a mile and then didn’t last home. That certainly wasn’t the plan, so we’ll now need to teach him to settle. He may reappear at York on Saturday, 10th October, as could Timeless Art whose debut at Ascot at the beginning of September went well, given a considerate ride by Silvestre de Souza. It is a valuable Plus 10 maiden over 7f, which is bound to be competitive. However, Karl loves this horse and, indeed, has now entered him for the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh next spring.
Likely race plans for the jumpers are as follows: Shantou Magic will start his campaign in a 2m 5f intermediate chase at Newton Abbot on Friday, 9th October; He’s A Bully had a pipe opener at Stratford before running two lengths 4th at Market Rasen on 24th September, and should be out again by mid-October at the latest; both Thady Quil and Bilbrook Blaze have had minor wind ops and could be ready to race in the second half of October; while The Fugitive won’t be out in bumpers until later in the autumn.And finally we are saying a fond farewell to one horse and a temporary goodbye to another. Primo Capitano is an absolutely gorgeous horse with a superb temperament, but alas, was frightened by racing and we’re looking now to find him a second career, probably within the hunting community. He is off to enjoy cubbing with the North Cotswold Hunt and if you are interested in taking over this horse, please let us know. Wilde Oak had a scary mid-summer suffering from a spinal condition due to immaturity, and two of the partners have acquired him with the intention of turning him away for a 12-month sabbatical at Anthony Honeyball’s. He is also a lovely horse, and one that we are hoping Mother Nature will look on fondly so that he can come back into racing in the autumn of 2016. The great news with him is that he is now fit and well, and quickly settled in to a temporary life of luxury in the paddocks of Potwell Farm. Enjoy your sabbatical, Oaky.
Normally our Latest News update would concentrate on our horses, but this month it seems more appropriate to congratulate all of our trainers. With so much going on and not wanting to give greater or lesser importance to various events, here is a summary.
Philip Hobbs has passed numerous milestones on the track as one of the top three NH trainers. However, in mid-July he passed a personal one, turning 60, before heading off for a family holiday in Botswana. He will probably be one of the few intrepid tourists out there to have the Programme Book with him. Bilbrook Blaze and He’s A Bully are back in training now, with the latter hopefully reappearing at Stratford on 20th August.
A highlight for Anthony Honeyball and Rachael Green was their wedding in Portugal. They had a fantastic time out there with close friends and family, before hosting a magnificent party at their yard. As dark descended and Anthony could no longer read his script, his speech became funnier and funnier as he had no choice but to go “off piste”. There is a lot of goodwill to this up-and-coming young trainer who had his best season last year. Our Wilde Oak, who had been at death’s door a month or so ago, reappeared at Newton Abbot on 27th July. We didn’t quite have the dream outcome but at least he ran into third place, and pulled out sound the next morning, which was a huge win.
Staying with the romantic theme, everyone was delighted to hear that Jamie and Lucy Snowden are expecting their third child in November, and bets are being taken on whether the birth will coincide with the Paddy Power meeting, where their star Present View will be hoping to bag the big one. Jamie has been investing in new facilities in his yard with a brand-new barn recently completed, increasing capacity to 40 horses. All is set up now for a super season, with probably his strongest string of horses to date.
Earlier in the summer, Martin Keighley finished off the fabulous new “carpet” gallop at his yard. It must be the springiest surface of any gallop in the country and it is certainly demonstrating its value in recent results as the yard already has 7 wins in the new season, including the ever young 10yo Champion Court who has won his last three races. Owners, friends and family were all at Uttoxeter to see the most recent of these, and also the lovely interview with sons Freddy and Harry. Marvellous that they got their lines right: when asked who the best trainer was, they both said “Daddy”. According to Martin, they sometimes say: “Jonjo”! Primo Capitano will run at Worcester on 19th or 23rd August, while Thady Quil doing well in pre-training.Finally, Charlie Longsdon and his wife, Sophie, were lucky enough to take part in the procession at Royal Ascot and showed no signs of being nervous at all as they were seen in the carriages and the Royal Box. Charlie put up well with all the teasing, particularly whether he asked the Queen “Would you be interested in a beautiful Yeats bumper, Ma’am?” He has also been firing out the winners over the summer and we’re looking forward to seeing Shantou Magic back out in a valuable chase at Market Rasen on 26th September, as well as The Fugitive back in full training. Charlie has also been investing in new facilities and has just started putting in a two-furlong circular gallop.
Unless you’re an owner, it’s very easy to forget that racing stables are totally reliant on the quality and commitment of the stable staff who brave all the elements to look after the horses that they adore. One of the real pleasures of owning is getting to know the yard and watching the horses being trained and put through their various paces. I’ve acknowledged this with two nice pictures: one of Susie Leeson who has been nursing Wilde Oak back to health, and the other of Zander Voy, who will become Kelly Burke’s husband later in the summer and who rides out Lord Ben Stack regularly. As you can see, they have become real pals.
So, starting with Lord Ben Stack, his form this year is looking better with every week. Golden Horn and Jack Hobbs, who beat him in the Dante, filled the same positions in the Derby, while Star Of Seville, who beat him at Newbury, won the French Oaks (Prix de Diane). Best of luck to Jack Hobbs in the French Derby at the end of this month. Ben himself is likely to be out in a 1m 2f handicap in early July, at either Haydock or York, ahead of going to Deauville – hopefully with one or other of Jolievitesse and Timeless Art.
Wilde Oak has made a miraculous recovery at Anthony Honeyball’s; so much so that he is being stepped up steadily with every week of cantering and isn’t too far off starting to do some serious work. Everything crossed that we can get him back on to the track this summer. That same comment had applied to Primo Capitano at one stage, so we were delighted when he came 4th in his comeback in a 3m handicap hurdle at Ffos Las on 4th June. He will be running at tracks such as Worcester, Uttoxeter and Newton Abbot through the summer.As can be seen in the photos at the bottom of this page, all the rest of the NH horses are out enjoying their summer holidays. However, not for much longer – Shantou Magic, He’s A Bully and The Fugitive will probably be the first brought back in to start pre-training in early July. Bilbrook Blaze and Thady Quil won’t be too far behind them. Alas, the one who won’t be joining them is Future Gilded, who will miss the whole year with a tendon injury. The good news for him though is that he will be luxuriating in the paddocks of Adelstrop, near Stow-on-the-Wold, under the guidance of Claire Hart and her mum, Helen, who is an equine physiotherapist.
|April / May 2015||
We all know that owning horses can be a very emotional business, and over the last two months we’ve definitely experienced the highs and the lows. In terms of the highs, one of the really encouraging features has been that from 13 runners, we’ve been in the winner’s enclosure and won money on 11 of them. The results have been 4th, 3rd, 4th, 2nd, 4th, 1st, 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, PU, 5th and 3rd.
Quick Decisson was the first horse we bought for Owners for Owners, and also our first winner on his first-ever outing. “Denis” was one of those horses where everything had to go right, and over the last year we had spent quite a bit of frustrating time trying to convince him and ourselves that he was a 2m+ chaser. He would have none of it. Philip Hobbs concluded that the horse was out-paced at 2m, and didn’t stay a yard further. The only positive was that the handicapper continued to drop him all season until, on 7th May at Newton Abbot under a superb ride from Dickie Johnson, he was never headed and won a valuable Class 3 hurdle. A tight track, 2m, soft / heavy ground and a fast pace that he dominated really suited him. Having won four races for us, as owners we all elected to put him into the Doncaster sales and he has now gone off to Scotland to race. We wish him well, and everyone will be very appreciative when they receive a sizeable cheque from the prize-money and sale proceeds.
Shantou Magic is an example of the lows and highs. He bled badly at Doncaster at the turn of the year and we even feared that it could be “game over”, but having hacked up in a novice chase at Bangor, he did exactly the same at Southwell on 17th April. He will be our flagship horse in staying chases later in the year, and is now enjoying a super summer holiday at Claire Hart’s yard near Stow-on-the-Wold. The Fugitive is also there. We decided not to race him in his first season. As a lovely, big, immature horse there is no alternative to giving him the time he needs to grow into his frame. We’re lucky to have owners who are patient and all feel the same way. Hopefully he will be out in bumpers from October onwards.
On the Flat, pride of place goes to Lord Ben Stack, who enjoyed his spin in the Dante, finishing 5th behind the likes of Golden Horn, Jack Hobbs and Elm Park who all now go to the Derby. We had a couple of multi-million pound horses from Aidan O’Brien’s yard behind us in Ol’ Man River and John F Kennedy. We’re keeping Ben ticking over and the intention is to build a late summer campaign around races in Deauville to take advantage of the valuable French premiums. Jolievitesse ran with plenty of promise, but a decision was taken to geld him and he will hopefully also be going to Deauville. Timeless Art, our Medicean 2yo, has really come to hand well and could be out in a maiden race at the end of June / early July; who knows, he might be on the box to go racing in France as well. Some of the owners are already contemplating several holidays in Normandy.
Elsewhere on the jumps, He’s A Bully showed what a hardy type he is by being placed on his last five runs, and stepping up on form once switched to fences. He will be back later in the summer after some time in Philip Hobbs’ paddocks with Bilbrook Blaze, who will be going novice handicap chasing in the autumn.
Thady Quil had us all scratching our heads when pulled up at Newton Abbot, but was then found to have pulled some muscles behind the saddle. He could well be out in early June, and still looks an exciting prospect. Primo Capitano, who has had a number of problems all season, may be out at the same time.And now to the real lows of racing. Wilde Oak was on the verge of coming out in his second bumper (and with every prospect of improving on his first-time-out 3rd) when he pulled out of his box with what was feared to be Wobbler’s Syndrome (which is where the information flow from brain to legs down the spinal column goes awry). Throughout the second half of April and all the way through May we have had expert input from several vets, and having once feared that we might lose him, he began to improve and everyone appears to be cautiously optimistic that he will make a good recovery. Indeed he starts back in light work during the first week of June. Finally Future Gilded, who won his handicap chase impressively at Market Rasen, fuelled everyone’s dreams when he put in an exuberant run to come 3rd in the £50,000 Grass Roots Chase final at Haydock on 4th April, only to pull out sore the next morning, having done a tendon. He has been treated and is off for a year. Come back, “Frankie”, better than ever!
We try to plan a complete series of Meet the Trainer mornings every year with all our trainers. This gives a great opportunity for any owner (not necessarily those who have a horse in the yard) to see different stable methods and conditions. When we planned the one with Karl Burke at Middleham on 3rd March, the last thing we expected was Arctic blizzards. Despite the snow, we were still able to see our highly promising 3yos, Lord Ben Stack (whose debut this season will be either at Newmarket in the Fielden Stakes on 15th April or, more likely, at Newmarket in a conditions race on 17th April) and Jolievitesse (likely to run at Kempton in a conditions race on Easter Saturday). We also saw our 2yo, Timeless Art – a really nice Medicean.
Throughout March we have been trying to find better ground for horses, and were thrilled when Future Gilded showed admirable battling qualities to out-stay the hardened, experienced handicapper Sergeant Pink in a 2m 4f chase at Market Rasen on 8th March. We’ll try to win another race this season (possibly at Haydock on Easter Saturday or Fakenham on Easter Monday) before giving Frankie a relaxing summer off. He looks a lovely staying chaser for next season.
The Cheltenham Festival now seems completely to dominate the NH scene, and it was really enjoyable to see so many of our owners at Prestbury Park, particularly with Future Gilded having won the weekend before. Lots of celebrations. A number of us decided to blow the cobwebs away at Martin & Belinda Keighley’s Meet the Trainer morning on Thursday, 12th March, not least because our latest purchase, Thady Quil, has really been coming to hand. There are still a couple of shares available in this horse – but probably not for much longer. He is a really enthusiastic type and we may see him out in a bumper later in the spring.
Shantou Magic, who came back from Doncaster at the turn of the year a sick horse, bounced back to win a 3m novice chase at Bangor on 21st March. Charlie Longsdon found an ideal confidence-building race, and under a sympathetic ride from Will Kennedy he jumped for fun and won with plenty in hand. We’ll find him another, similar race. The Fugitive has just gone back from a winter break with Claire Hart. He is a gorgeous young prospect and we’re giving him plenty of time to develop.In terms of the other NH horses, Quick Decisson runs at Exeter on 31st; Bilbrook Blaze at Taunton on 2nd April (preceded by our final Meet the Trainer morning with Philip & Sarah Hobbs); He’s A Bully came 3rd recently at Stratford and is likely to continue running through the early spring; Wilde Oak is almost ready to race and entries in bumpers will be found for him at the end of March or early April; finally Primo Capitano is on the sick list at the moment and won’t be seen out again until the end of April at the earliest.
|January / February 2015||
Thady Quil: Our new 5yo Stowaway gelding goes to
Last year we came to the conclusion that National Hunt bloodstock prices were increasing rapidly from when we launched Owners for Owners. While still prepared to search for and buy the right “ready to go” horse, we felt that there were very distinct advantages in buying high-quality stock at a much younger age and considerably lower prices. Having discussed this in detail with renowned bloodstock agents Aiden Murphy in England and Gerry Hogan in Ireland, as well as our trainers, particularly Anthony Honeyball, we embarked on buying three young horses. All were sourced in Ireland – two at the Tattersalls sale and one privately from Bryan Murphy of the Dunraven Arms Hotel, who has been closely associated with Philip Hobbs, amongst many other trainers, over the years. Full details of two of these can be found on this site here >. The Oscar stays in Ireland with Denis Bergin, near Coolmore; the Sholokhov is with Aiden Murphy at his stud near Stratford-upon-Avon; and the Milan arrived in England towards the end of February, and is with Anthony Honeyball in Dorset.
Owners can buy into one, two or all three of the horses. We have increased the size of the partnerships so that there will be 10 owners in each horse. This has been done to spread the inevitably higher risk of buying young horses, and the time it takes for them to develop. They have been bought primarily to race, although over the next few years the owners can always decide to sell. To buy into one of these horses costs between £2,000 and £2,500 per tenth share, and the annual keep is between £500 and £650 in the first year. As you’ll see in the details, there is a financial incentive for owners who buy in at an early stage. If you would like to discuss any aspect of the store horse partnership, please phone Jon Hughes on 01451 850780.
But we haven’t just been buying yearlings! On Festival Trials day at Cheltenham, 24th January, when Martin Keighley had his 11th Prestbury Park winner in Annacotty, we went to the Brightwells sale with him and Gerry. We had already been tipped off by Irish contacts about a gorgeously scopy 5yo chestnut gelding by Stowaway. We all fell in love with him, and were delighted to buy Thady Quil for a very reasonable price of £42,000. He went straight to Claire Hart’s yard on the Adelstrop estate near Stow-on-the-Wold for some R&R, and will be coming in to full training with Martin after the Festival. He has raced twice already in Irish point-to-points, coming second each time. Of the two who beat him, Hawkhurst went for £200,000 at the same sale, and Delusionofgrandeur was reserved at £100,000. We’ll be making a decision during the spring whether to have an educational outing in one bumper or just turn him away for a relaxing summer, and then get going properly in the autumn. There are only two shares left in Thady Quil >, so if you fancy being involved with one of the most popular Cotswold and Cheltenham trainers in Martin Keighley, please let us know as soon as possible.
On the current NH front, we’ve had a frustrating time mid-season due to a combination of bad weather and a number of horses suffering from ulcers. Virtually none of our horses will come out until there is better ground, so we are looking forward to a super spring from March to May. Bilbrook Blaze came 2nd at Taunton on 22nd January, having been leaned on throughout the finishing straight, and on the old interference rules would have been awarded the race. He is being treated for ulcers at the moment. Future Gilded may go to Market Rasen on 8th March. He’s A Bully is also being treated for ulcers, which fortunately weren’t too severe; looks to be on an attractive handicap mark. Primo Capitano could be at Southwell on 2nd March, Chepstow on 7th, or Huntingdon on 11th; wants three miles on good ground and will run in cheek-pieces to make sure he concentrates properly on his jumping, which at home is excellent. Quick Decisson ran poorly at Uttoxeter on 7th February and is another being treated for ulcers; races being identified for him from mid-March. Shantou Magic was going to be our Festival flagship horse in either the 4m novice chase or the Kim Muir, but unfortunately he bled at Doncaster on 23rd January in a 3m novice chase and came back a pretty sick horse. He is bouncing back really well at the moment, and could reappear at Newbury on 20th or Bangor on 21st March. The Fugitive is having the second of his winter breaks with Claire Hart before returning to Charlie Longsdon and final preparation for hopefully a debut for us in a spring bumper. He is a lovely horse from the Albertas Run family, but still quite a backward type, so we are giving him all the time needed to develop. Wilde Oak will come out again in another bumper during March / April. He ran with bags of promise at Taunton before Christmas, only beaten a head and a neck.
Although we still have a number of months of the NH season ahead of us, excitement is already mounting for the new Flat campaign. Lord Ben Stack has developed considerably over the winter, and may reappear in a 1m 2f conditions race on Day 1 of the Greenham meeting, Newbury, 17th April. If all goes well, that will be his prep run for the Dante at York on 14th May. Because of the regard in which he is held, we have continued with his entry for the Derby on 6th June and have also made a recent entry for the 1m 4f Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp on 14th July. Jolievitesse is really forward and again has matured magnificently into a very classy-looking horse indeed. He could easily be out at the start of the Flat at Doncaster on 29th March. The fact that Karl has entered him for the French Derby, Prix du Jockey-Club, over 1m2½ f at Chantilly on 31st May says everything. Our latest Flat “baby”, the 2yo Timeless Art, is coming along really nicely, but as a slow-maturing type by Medicean out of a top-class Gr.1 winning dam line, will probably have a short holiday in March and be brought along steadily through the spring and summer.Finally we’re half-way through a round of “meet the trainer” mornings. Charlie and Sophie Longsdon kicked off the first one on 24th January; Anthony Honeyball and Rachael Green were next on 14th February, followed by Jamie and Lucy Snowden on 28th. A large group of owners is going up to Middleham to have dinner with Karl and Elaine Burke on 2nd March and then visit the yard the next morning. Martin and Belinda Keighley are hosting one on the Thursday of the Festival, 12th March, and finally Philip and Sarah Hobbs just before Aintree on Thursday, 2nd April. Lots to look forward to in these visits which provide an excellent opportunity for owners to see different training and stable management methods.
|Summer Off: Shantou Magic, The Fugitive and Future Gilded at Claire Hart’s yard, Adelstrop, June 2015|
|Our Flagship Flat Horse: Lord Ben Stack, Karl Burke, Middleham|
|Our Flagship NH Horse: Shantou Magic, Charlie Longsdon, Chipping Norton|
|The Next Generation: Buying NH yearlings for the first time over the winter, 2014/15|
|Smart Horses and Even Smarter Owners: With Lord Ben Stack, Quick Decisson and Shantou Magic|
|Meet the Trainer Mornings: Lashed by the weather at most of them this year, 2014/15|
|Last year’s Cheltenham Champagne moment – with Jamie & Lucy Snowden before Present View’s magnificent Festival win.|