What a great day at Stratford yesterday. Witness Protection returned from over a year off the track to win impressively under a great ride from James Best. WP was so unlucky on his hurdling debut for us at Ayr in October 2019 when he tried to make all the running only to be headed in the dying strides – still painful to watch! Sadly he sustained a tendon injury after that race but has been given plenty of time.
We’d hoped we’d got him fairly straight at home with Warren Marston doing most of his fast work and would have been pleased if he jumped well and ran into a place. James always had him perfectly placed, got him jumping really well and I couldn’t believe it when he was still taking a pull out of him after jumping the 2nd last and he effortlessly pulled clear. After he flew the last we could breathe a sigh of relief and start the celebrations! Very exciting and thrilled for all involved with Foxtrot Racing and all my team including our vet Jeremy Swan after all his help and it’s been brilliant to get him back to racing let alone straight into the winners’ enclosure! Fingers crossed he continues to be as sound as he is this morning and we’ll then be able to make a plan going forward with him.
That’s our last two winners now that have been nursed back from tendon injuries – City Never Sleeps twice had to have a year off and, touch wood, he is back cantering. Each and every winner always has a story, some more than others and hugely proud of the team here for all their hard work.
Debden Bank was making his debut for our Martin Keighley Partnership 6 – a really fun group of people and a couple actually also in with Witness Protection. Gordon Bendall and Sheila Lindsay were the lucky pair to secure tickets but the rest of the team kept in touch with us via WhatsApp and most were able to watch at home. We do our best to make our owners feel part of the whole experience from photos in the stable yard when they horse arrives to videos in the pre-parade ring, main parade ring, often when the jockey is getting on, cantering to post and of course the all important de-brief afterwards. Debden jumped for fun and seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself, travelling well and for a moment turning for home we thought he’d peg back the two in front. He didn’t but we were thrilled with a solid 3rd place and easily our busiest WhatsApp group of delighted owners! I’m sure they’ll all have more fun with him.
Enforcement gets on well with Lilly Pinchin and was fresh as paint after a quiet time at home to get him back bouncing. He jumped and travelled well to start with but his jumping temporarily fell apart mid race and he almost looked as if he was tailing off before staying on at the end to finish 5th. He may benefit from a spell over hurdles now to enjoy himself and he loves soft ground. He’s A1 this morning as is Debden Bank.
Farrier Nick Partridge and physio Maggie Turner in this morning so a busy one for the team but all obviously in good form with how the horses are running. One runner at Kempton Park for David Parry, Dariya, a new horse to the team who David claimed out of a Stratford Selling Hurdle from Charlie Longdson’s yard. Her chasing debut today and James has schooled her lots at home – a hot little race but we’ll have more options after today so hope she enjoys it, jumps well and we’ll know more about her after today. She’s a bonny horse and hopefully David and us will have some fun with her.