What a fantastic day yesterday was! Some days it all goes to plan and it was one of those days!
Enforcement started off proceedings at Uttoxeter in the Happy Birthday Nigel Kirby Handicap Chase – a race to recognise the racecourse’s Official Photographer Nigel Kirby who is a huge friend of our Team and such a lovely guy. We really want to win every race but we wanted to win Nigel’s race even more! Paul Davis, who runs our Racing Club who own Enforcement, was at the track to look after the Racing Club Members that were able to attend – amazingly we did have a couple of badges spare so do get in touch if you’d like to join our Club and have the opportunity to go racing. Sam Twiston-Davies was on board as James Best had chosen to go to Ffos Las to ride our other runner – a brave shout as Enforcement was a much shorter price. In fact he was favourite for a part of the morning as there were a few important non runners.
Sam rode him to the letter, he needs to be ridden aggressively and kept up to his work and to quote Paul Davis, his jumping was so foot perfect even Mr Mafia would have been proud! They put the race to bed 2 out and galloped home to win by an easy 11 lengths and delight us all.
Across at Ffos Las I was with the owners of Pay The Woman, Foxtrot Racing, who was making her debut for us. A mare who’d not shown much previously but who was found by our fantastic Bloodstock Agent Gerry Hogan and fabulous value at just £8,000 – another horse Gerry had spotted that he felt had run better than her bare form suggested and whom he felt would benefit from our training and facilities here. Everyone who has ridden her has liked her – she’s only been here 6 weeks but I was hopeful of a good show and certainly not expecting her to drift out to 40-1! James had to endure watching Enforcement bolt up in the Paddock ahead of her run knowing he’d made the decision to ride her so it was poetic justice that she should win for him and what a ride he gave her. She was a little bit green but he’s a horseman and was very strong in the finish and they went on to win by 1 1/4 lengths and make it a truly memorable 15 minutes for the team! What a replacement for Solstice Star! Thrilled for everyone.
The team at home had the Champagne on ice at home and Enforcement’s team of Paddy & Paul were the first to return to base. I wasn’t that much further behind and finally Ernie, Beth and Pay The Woman returned and a few more corks were popped. A brilliant end to a super day and so lovely that my Team are being rewarded for all their hard work over the past year. Three winners in a week keeping us in the top 20 Trainers with a 14% strike rate, 42% of our runners finishing 1st or 2nd and 60% of our runners finishing in the top 4. We now need to keep this going!
A huge thank you to Jon & Jack Hughes who, until recently, had leased Digger to the Racing Club and then, a month or two back, gifted him to the Club so that he is now under the Racing Club’s permanent ownership. And there were few people happier than Jon and Jack when he passed the winning post yesterday at Uttoxeter. They are members of our Club and it was their 100th winner so huge congratulations to Jon & Jack.