Making his debut for our Martin Keighley Racing Club, Dr Dunraven recorded the first victory of his career yesterday at Worcester – our first runner there this season. A hugely poignant winner as this was a victory for Judy Pimblett, one of his part owners, who sadly died earlier this week following a courageous battle with cancer. Judy, along with the other members of his partnership, had graciously allowed him to be leased to our Racing Club for the summer, and fortunately postponing his appointment in the Sales ring. Owners Caroline and Geoff Godsall were able to be there in person to represent the partnership and the rest of the owners are generously spirited enough to be pleased for Dr Dunraven, for us and our Racing Club rather than frustrated and I was thrilled that James Fairrie called me last night too to congratulate us all.
He hasn’t been the easiest to train with quite a few problems, and indeed his old Trainer Philip Hobbs, who advised his owners that he thought he’d struggle to ever win a race, was the first to come up and congratulate both Belinda and myself – a true mark of the gentleman that he is. A huge mention must also go to my Assistant Trainer Foxy who has worked so hard on the horse and never lost faith in him. An invaluable member of our team and I’m thrilled for him that he won.
Undoubtedly our Leisure Ride Carpet Gallops have helped us to get Dr Dunraven to peak fitness and keep him sound as the surface has once again shown how fabulous it is for fragile horses and I wasn’t surprised that two more trainers came up to me yesterday wanting to come and visit and get in touch with our sponsors Leisure Ride. An owner remarked that perhaps I should be keeping the ‘secret’ to myself however the fabulous thing about racing, and jump racing in particular, is that we all enjoy helping each other in what is such a tough sport.
Back to Dr D though and a superb ride from Andrew Tinkler and the strong pace allowing him to settle better than he sometimes has before. He jumped for fun and was always looking happy and even a less than fluent jump at the last wasn’t enough to stop him and he eventually won by 2 1/2 lengths to thrill us all and become our 4th winner of the season.
Our Racing Club’s first winner of the season – later than last year as we’ve got some youngsters in the club this year as opposed to Buckle Street & Viking Mistress who did so well for us last season. However Dr Dunraven can surely give the Club something to cheer about all summer and with Matravers set to debut soon too, it puts less pressure on youngsters Peeping Penny and Ask Alice. There are still places available in our fun club where friendships are made and, those there yesterday can confirm, nothing beats standing on that winners’ podium and then being whisked off to enjoy a glass of champagne and watch the re-plays. Get in touch if you are interested – just £500 a year or £42/month.
After he’d eaten his tea Dr D was turned out with his friends in the field for the night and enjoyed a night under the stars. He was happily grazing when I opened my curtains this morning and is A1 today. Brilliant.
Mick Deady, who was meant to be enjoying the first day of his holiday, very kindly came back in to get up before dawn and take Enforcement to Hexham and share the driving with his jockey Harry Stock. Arthur the pony went as a companion to ensure Enforcement was as chilled as possible and Mick reported that Arthur was a huge hit there!
Enforcement was making his hurdling debut for us and owners Jon & Jack Hughes also made the long journey north to support. We do plenty of schooling with all our horses and I’d be surprised to find a better schooling ground than ours especially amongst other yards of the same size and I was thrilled with his quick and accurate jumping. He pulled far too hard early on refusing to settle however he still kept galloping to finish a decent 3rd and he will have learnt lots from the experience so we were all very pleased. A great team effort ensuring a successful day all round.
No runners today – a relaxing day at home catching up with owners. The paddling pool is out for the boys, who never lie in and were up early, and Freddie especially enjoys helping the team feed the horses out in the fields. There is not much more satisfying than looking around the horses out in the fields early evening dreaming of what the coming season lies ahead for them all. Let’s keep up this 18% strike rate!