An early start this morning – I was up at 4.15am to feed as four of our horses went to Newbury for a racecourse gallop thanks to Clerk of the Course Keith Ottesen. We took Debden Bank, Robsam and two possibly destined for the Goffs Sales Bumpers – Pinnacle Peak at Punchestown and Dreamsundermyfeet in the Goffs UK Sales Bumper at Newbury at the end of March. Thanks to Harry Stock, Conor Shoemark, Harley Cornock and Paddy Berkins who also got up early to ride them.
We were fortunate enough to be be the first people on the course and therefore had the freshest of the ground albeit it was soft. It gave us time to give them a good warm up and get used to the Paddock and we had the wash off area to ourselves too so we definitely benefited from the early start. Apparently nearly 150 horses were due after us and the horsebox park was getting very busy as we were leaving. Jon & Jack Hughes, George Thornton – who even managed to persuade partner Tracey and daughter Ava to get up early to come and also Matthew Capp were all there too and braved the rain but were pleased to do so. A worthwhile morning.
We had a good day yesterday at Doncaster too albeit without a winner. Brillare Momento was pleased to be back over hurdles and ran a solid race without troubling the leaders late on to finish 4th. Harry Stock was sympathetic and didn’t knock her around when beaten. She jumped well and seemed to enjoy herself so that was a step back in the right direction for her.
Cotswold Prince was making his debut over hurdles in a competitive field of 5 which resulted in him being priced up as the 66-1 outsider of the field. He has done plenty of schooling at home but has always been quite green and was green yesterday giving his hurdles plenty of daylight. Harry knows him well and I did joke to Harry leaving the paddock to ‘not win by too far’ as we all knew we’d be happy if he ran well and finished 5th (last) but not beaten too far.
However, he always seemed to be travelling at least as well as the rest of them and hit the front two only to make his only proper mistake of the race at the last and flatten the last hurdle landing on all fours losing vital lengths however he still battled back to go down by just 1 1/2 lengths. I bet those who heard me say not to win by too far thought we knew something they didn’t!
To say we were delighted was an understatement! To quote Paul Davis who runs the partnership from Switzerland ‘Never has a 2nd place felt so much like a winner’! He’s a horse whose owners have been so patient. Broken in by P J Colville in Ireland, the original plan was to run him as a 2 year old on the flat however we turned him away and brought him back with a plan to run him on the flat as a 3 year old. However, we increasingly thought he was a bumper horse and Warren Marston worked him one day and we both managed to convince Paul and all the other owners to run him in a bumper.
This he did, albeit he was a non-runner for his first race as he was under the weather for the first, and hopefully only, time of his life – typical! He managed two bumper runs which were solid but unspectacular but we always hoped we’d see more over hurdles.
So patience rewarded – we think they have got an exciting prospect and indeed even Aidan Coleman (on the favourite in 3rd) said we are bound to win a novice hurdle with him and they think a bit of the winner. Cotswold Prince was a little shell shocked and we don’t think he quite realised what had happened!
He’s A1 this morning so it’s exciting times for all of the Cotswold Prince team and a beaming Jasmin who looks after him and rides him every day and only returned to work yesterday after having some teeth out earlier in the week.