Solstice once again lived up to his name yesterday by winning again – he really has been an absolute star for us. After a brilliant 2015/16 season which saw him win 5 races in a row including twice at Cheltenham and earn a nomination for the Special Achievement Award at The Racehorse Owners Associations’ 2016 Horseracing Award Dinner for being the horse who improved the most during the season, he’s been well and truly in the grips of the Handicapper.
So yesterday we went back to Chepstow with Richard Johnson, who’d won on him last time, on board and Richard showed once again how brilliantly he rides the track. Solstice jumped for fun out in front, which he loves, and he’s got such a high cruising speed he was able to fill him up and then kick for home – a superb ride.
The Members of Foxtrot Racing, who have leased him for the season from Richard East & James Gibbs, were out in force and now have a 100% strike rate for us – long may that last! Dan Abraham heads Foxtrot Racing, who have horses with quite a few trainers, and they have had nearly 20 winners in 2018 – what a year for them! Our 15th winner of the season too – brilliant and a huge credit to my whole Team.
Lerichi Belle ran as if she has lost her confidence after her run over fences last time so we’ll need to do even more schooling with her at home. She also needs to be stepped back up in trip too as Harry felt she was always flat out yesterday. She’s A1 this morning and I’m sure we’ll be able to get her to bounce back.
We then had two runners at Kempton Park last night on the flat. Matravers ran a much improved race, after some disappointing efforts over hurdles, to finish 9th for our Racing Club only beaten 5 lengths. We need to do more stalls work with him as he was slow out but Joey Haynes gave him a good ride and it was very encouraging.
2 year old Sarasota Star was making his racecourse debut for Jon Hughes and Torben Dal. Jon was braving the cold night at Kempton but Torben was watching from the sunnier climes of Sarasota and both were no doubt thrilled with his debut run. He finished 5th, beaten in a photo for 4th & under 4 lengths in total with the 6th horse another 7 lengths behind us and the rest of the field strung out. It was very noticeable though throughout the last couple of furlongs that Sarasota was gaining ground on the leading group with every stride. He was covering a tremendous amount of ground in a very determined manner and was slightly unfortunate to have his way blocked inside the final 100 yards, otherwise he would probably have come 2nd. I loved the way he then stuck his head out and galloped all the way to the line which unfortunately came half a furlong too soon.
Within a few strides of passing the line, he had gone clear of the field and flew round the bend with Joey struggling to pull him up! He was late back into the unsaddling enclosure as a result of this and Joey’s smile said everything. Firstly he recommended that we consider stepping him up in trip soon, although he could easily win at a mile. Secondly, he asked if he could have the ride next time out! How exciting – two of our ‘Stars’ performing brilliantly yesterday.
This morning it was bitterly cold here and Mark Boothright braved the cold to watch 1st & 2nd lot and had hoped to watch Debden Bank have a schooling session at Jon Trice-Rolph’s yard in Todenham however it was frozen today so both Debden and his naughty brother Buckle Street had an away gallop at Richard Hobson’s yard. Richard regularly uses our gallops and was pleased to repay the favour.
Farriers Nick Partridge and Amy Clarke in this morning. Chairman Jon Hughes here too along with our Bookkeeper Deb Kedward and vet Jeremy Swan here this afternoon. Always busy!