Monday, 31 December 2012

Winners in France again!

Dance with Dragons was award 1st place at Deauville after getting badly bumped up the straight and finishing a close second. The stewards enquiry didn't take long and after seeing the head on view it was clear he had been hampered. He picked up over £8,000 but did not get claimed so he comes home to run for us next year.

Silverheels also ran the same day at Deauville and finished 3rd. He ran very well under J.Victiore and after having a good start, went into the lead but came under a bit of pressure 2 out. It was a very open handicap with horses rated 90 to 68 so he was giving lumps of weight away. He has come out of his race well and will now have a break before next season.

We are unlikely to have any runners on the all weather now as the Deauville programme has finished and it is a pointless exercise as the prize money hardly covers the costs of the trip out. It is only really a punting medium. We have lots of nice two year olds to look forward to next year including a Fastnet Rock colt who is still for sale.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Silverheels wins impressivley at Chantilly!

Our good fortune continues in France, it is now six winners and a second from seven runners. I think the reason for this is the dreadful, chopped up, loose, soft ground that we have had all year has not suited the horses.

Silverheels romped home today showing his preference for fast ground and picking up 14,500 euro which seems a massive amount of money compared to the rubbish prize money on offer in this country. Racing at the moment in the UK is purely fodder for the bookmakers and a tiny bit of kudos for the Owner & Trainer. We have six or seven more runners in France during December.

Circumvent not only got lent on at Lingfield last Saturday but also got a few wacks round the head by another jockeys' stick. I have noticed recently that if you are in the lead in the last two furlongs if you lean on the second and stop him in his run you keep the race. I have seen two incidences like this at Southwell & Wolverhampton in the last two days. If this had not happened he would have been second.

Gifted Girl runs at Lingfield on Saturday, she has a tendency to hang left otherwise she would have won at Leicester. Lingfield should suit her, we will try to make all and the left hand track should help. She should go close.

Stormbound showed a glimmer of hope but he has been disappointing, he will like the track at Lingfield but we are hopeful rather than expecting.

I saw an amusing thing at Kempton the other night, we have just had had the HIT sales and a horse travelled down from the north, owned by one of the top five owners, ran in a 0-60 and finished last. Explain that to me?

Monday, 12 November 2012

Carlton Blue carries on the winning formula in France

We are keeping some of the string going until Christmas on the the All Weather, not the English All Weather, mainly in Deauville where you are at least racing for a reason (prize money). The English All Weather is basically for kudos and fodder for the bookmakers. We have so far had five winners and a second from six runners. It is no good taking rubbish out there though, they have to have some ability.

We have two runners here coming up on the All Weather, Gifted Girl runs in a handicap at Lingfield next week and Circumvent has been entered in the Listed race at Lingfield on Saturday. Both horses are in good form.

We look forward to next year with twenty or so two year olds, all likely sorts, and better racing ground rather than soft,heavy & chopped racing surfaces that we have had this year.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

New yearlings in and for sale!

We have had a quiet season in the UK although we have had four winners and a good second in France and will continue to cross the channel for the good prize money on offer.

Carlton Blue could well go for the 6 1/2 f two year old race on the All Weather at Chantilly.

Keep The Dream has been slow to get his act together but should keep improving.

Intermix runs at Nottingham tomorrow, he is working well although he will make a better three year old as he is quite big.

Kuantan One has run with promise but will make a better three year old.

Serenata will run on the All Weather and looks like she will win at two.

Strawberry Jam may run at Nottingham on the 7th of November, he got off to a slow start, he is by Duke Or Marmalade.

Puteri Nur Laila was disappointing at Leicester, she should have won, she has been very unlucky.

Gifted Girl - although unlucky at Leicester when she was a close second, she would prefer faster ground and should go better on the All Weather.

Silverheels goes to the sales off the back of a good second at Deauville last week and should sell well.

Circumvent who does not really like it soft, is in at Newmarket on Saturday but may wait for a Listed race at Lingfield where he will get his ground.

We have assembled a nice bunch of yearling colts for sale they are all by sires that produce decent horses -
Azamour, Bahamian Bounty, Cape Cross, Captain Rio, Fastnet Rock, Iffraaj, Piccolo, Mount Nelson.
All the prices and pedigrees are on the website with a video of each.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


Carlton Blue runs at Kempton on Wednesday  to attain some fast ground on the all-weather, he should go well. Bluegrass Blues runs at York we are not sure about the ground. Kuantan one, working well, may need a race.  Puteri Nur Laila broke slowly and came wide at Wolverhampton, he should have been better. Silverheels ran better at Ascot but not well enough, the ground should have been better, he is on the All-weather on Thursday if he has a good draw. Daring Damsel is proving unreliable. Gifted Girl ran below par on Saturday, she ran a bit free and should perform better on more suited ground. Circumvent is in at York but it might be too soft for him.
We are Going to Book One Tattersalls, but the horses could be too expensive, hope to buy ten or twelve at Tattersalls, Book 2 and 3. Great racing in France ruined by the soft ground, and the weather suited the French horses better. We have a few horses to take to France later on. We are demolishing forty of our lesser boxes made of London brick with flat roofs. This will leave the yard looking fantastic we will still have 100 boxes.  Pictures will up on the website when it’s finished. 

Monday, 1 October 2012

Jumping at Chester?!

Carlton Blue runs at Kempton on Wednesday and is in good form, he will be back on the fast ground he likes.

Bluegrass Blues runs at York. He has come out of his race well.

Keep the Dream runs at Kempton on Wednesday, he has a good draw.

Secret Success runs at Nottingham, he is a horse for the future.

Puteri Nur Laila showed improved form last time out on the faster ground and the blinkers fitted.

Silverheels ran poorly but needs to be held up to show his best. He runs at Ascot on Friday and Jamie Spencer rides.

Gifted Girl is back in full work and could run at the weekend. She may need a race.

Hunt A Mistress is going well,  she has a good draw tomorrow and should run well.

Jumping at Chester ??

If I had not read it in the paper I would have thought it a practical joke.

Programme book

I don't know who Paul Bittar thinks he's kidding, everybody knows that the programme book is written with the betting industry in mind. Endless poor handicaps for the public to lose their money on and fodder for the bookmakers. The French programme book is compounded with the owner's interests as paramount. The owners provide the raw material that gives all of us involved in racing a livelihood, including Mr Bittar.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Circumvent misses out at Ayr

Carlton Blue has ran two disappointing races but continues to work well at home and we are putting the poor runs down to the soft ground.

Dance With Dragons is in good form and may contest a race at Chantilly.

Kalicamix, after his successes in Deauville may be sold to Hong Kong.

Bluegrass Blues race a good race at Newbury from a poor draw and everybody was pleased with his run.

Keep The Dream runs on Wednesday at Kempton, he has a poor draw but will probably need the race anyway.

Puteri Nur Laila runs at Folkestone tomorrow, she continues to work like a winner at home but has been disappointing on the course, blinkers have been fitted this time.

Don Libre has come out of his Kempton race well, we will probably keep him to that sort of race for the time being.

Kaiser Wilhelm runs today and is probably best watched.

Silverheels was disappointing at Newbury, he broke too well and ran far too free.

Hunt A Mistress and Joy to the World both finished 2nd last time out and are progressing well.

Circumvent ran well enough at Ayr to be 2nd in the Listed race despite the very soft ground. He is a fantastic horse and normally earns money where ever he runs.

The yearling sales are upon us and we have decided not to go to Goffs in Ireland as they have a greatly reduced catalogue which means because of the strength of the pound, they are selling the best horses at Newmarket. You also have the added cost of the transport from Ireland to Whatcombe. Having said that, 2 of 3 that we bought in Ireland last year have won and the other will win.

I noticed they had an all Arab race meeting at Newbury yesterday. The way things are going they will have an all Arab owners day in England soon. Lets hope there are a few gaps at the sales so that the indigenous population can get a look in!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Don Libre wins again!

We have been plagued by poor ground all year, chopped, loose, soft, making results on the course difficult to predict.
Carlton Blue has only had his ground twice this year, he needs fast ground.
Don Libre kept us out of the cold column with an easy win at Kempton at the weekend.
We run some promising two year olds this weekend, the most forward of which is Bluegrass Blues.
Gifted Girl, Swingland and Circumvent are all back in full work and going well.
Flashbang has her usual bad draw but is fit and well and should go close, worth an each way bet.
We have bought our first yearling by Verglas, please see the video on the horses in training page.

Monday, 27 August 2012

York ground unpredictable again

Sorry we missed the News update last week, we had runners in France and attended the Deauville sale.

Carlton Blue's jockey ignored the instructions at York, he crossed over to lead, effectively writing the horses' chances off, instead of going straight. He is a nice horse and should win again.

Dance With Dragons was very disappointing at Windsor, all three runs on the soft have been dissapointing and the one run on firm was good so this speaks for itself.

Kalicamix runs today at Deauville, we are hoping for a repeat of his win 2 weeks ago, he is fit and fancied.

Sovereign Power is weak and backward and should make up into a nice horse.

Puteri Nur Laila runs on Thursday at Lingfield, I'm sure she has not reached her potential but doea not want soft ground. She is fit and fancied.

Daring Damsel is a disappointing filly with an exceptional USA pedigree and is for sale. Any reasonable offer would secure.

Circumvent is back in full work and should run soon.

We have one or two nice two year olds in the pipeline which we are looking forward to running before the end of the season.

Making plans with these strange weather conditions is almost impossible. York, one of my favorite tracks and a place we always do well there, continued with its unpredictable going last week. It is like the straight at Ascot and some form should be taken with a pinch of salt.

English prize money contiunes to dip and I wonder at the heavy presence of the major owners wo operate at the bottom of the market, as I see it, for no purpose at all. Picking up races all year round which is the bread and butter of the smaller indigenous trainers.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Deauville bekons...

Our spec horses are beginning to work out. Carlton Blue now goes for the DBS Sales race at York after his win at Ascot and is in fine form.

Dance with Dragons now goes for the Median Auction Novice at Redcar on 25th August after his win at Doncaster.

Kalicamix has won £11,500 for coming 1st past the post at Deauville and runs there again at the end of next week.

Composed was second at Thirsk and now runs on Saturday at Deauville, we think he is still improving.

Our two Strategic Prince colts who are not named yet are shaping up very well and are not too far off a run.

Sovereign Power runs today at Salisbury and will improve from the race.

Don Libre has a poor draw tomorrow at Kempton for a front runner.

Mystic Melody has had problems and will need the race.

Gifted Girl is back in full work and may run at Goodwood on Sunday week.

Mons Calpe runs at Newbury on Saturday in the Ladies Amateur race, he is not an easy ride and will probably have to wait until Windsor next week for that win.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Deauville runner this week

We were very pleased that Kaiser Wilhelm could followup his success with another win at Folkestone. He found the ground too quick at Newmarket last time and should run again soon.

Carlton Blue ran a great race to win the Nursery at Ascot under apprentice Ashley Morgan. He has come out of his race well and may go straight to York for the DBS Premier sales race at the end of August.

Kalicamix finished a good 2nd to The Gold Cheongsam from Jeremy Noseda's stable, she has since won again (40k race) at Newmarket, and now goes to Deauville tomorrow for a valuable claimer. We are hopeful he will run a big race.

Ziefhd won her claimer at Lingfield and got claimed by David Evans so she has left the yard.

Composed ran a better race in the claimer at Thirsk to finish 2nd. He may go to Deauville for another claimer or stay here for a nursery over 7f.

Don Libre came back to form on the All Weather on his latest start at Kempton when he finished 2nd. He found the ground too soft at Salisbury when he finished 6th, he should have a better class race in him.

Dance With Dragons race a much improved race to win his maiden and 10K bonus at Doncaster. He is a nice, improving horse and is still for sale. We are looking at conditions & valuable nursery races for him if he doesn't get sold to go abroad.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Ground looks hopeful

At last better ground, we have a few runners this week that are working well and have been waiting for a trip. There isn’t much between Composed and Standing Bear, both are going well. Composed is penciled in for some Deauville claimers, afterwards.

Mons Calpe has been waiting for faster ground for entries, to give him a better chance. Zing Wing is in good form, he runs at Lingfield on Wednesday. Don Libre hated the bad ground at Newmarket and found it difficult to run. Gifted Girl is back in work, we have high hopes for her. Kaiser Wilhelm came out of his race well and runs at Folkestone, he could be improving. Silver heels runs at Goodwood, looking forward to that. Swing Land is back in work, after a rest. Carlton Blue has not yet shown her true potential, on the course, hopefully this will happen at ascot on Friday.

I though Lee Newman's punishment was totally out of order like most of racings penalties, it was way over the top. Poor lad had his punishment, in the fact it happened at all. One week would have been enough. One of the dangers of backing an apprentice, is that, we all make mistakes all our lives.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Rain delays runners..

Many of the horses here require fast ground so until the weather changes there won’t be much action. We were pleased with Dance With Dragons first run at Windsor as it was too short for him and he was green, he should have a chance on Wednesday 18th July at Sandown. Kalicamix may run at Lingfield on Saturday. We are not sure if he 6f or 7f. Don Libre runs at Newmarket on Friday 20th July, he won well at Lingfield but I'm not sure how he will go on the soft ground. Silverheels received a bump at Newbury which may have cost him the race according to the jockey. There is a possibility he will run again at Haydock on Saturday as he does go on the soft. Kaiser Wilhelm runs tomorrow at Lingfield, he has a chance but he wouldn't carry any of my money.

Charlie Mann's loan effort to improve prize money was given the thumbs down by the media, lots of tut tutts on channel four but no suggestions on what else should be done?! With racings weak leadership we have been run over by the government, especially the tote fiasco, the Rubens brothers and Northern racing and every Tom, Dick and Harry but I am lead to believe his protest has probably worked.

On a lighter note Sheik Mohammed’s stallion parade hosted by Nick Luck is one of the most enjoyable days and lunches of the year. Fantastic food in a beautiful setting, very well organized and New Approach, who I saw as a yearling, looked magnificent.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Picking up a bit..

The weather is still affecting the horses performance but of course it is the same for everyone. The jump trainers should be cleaning up with these conditions. Carlton Blue runs at Epsom on Thursday if there is no more rain, he needs the fast ground. Composed who needs 7 furlongs may run at Newmarket on Saturday in the Nursery if he gets into the race. Dance with Dragons (Namid Colt still for sale) ran well last night at Windsor (4th ) he needs better ground and seven furlongs but he looks like a winner. Standing Bear runs at  Warwick on thursday if it is not abandoned, he needs seven and it's anybodys guess what will go on the heavy there. Cut No Ice ran well at Newbury but would like faster ground. Don Libre is working well and will run when the ground is better. Velvet star has imporved with a tongue tie on at home and is probably well handicaped. Looking at the results from France, their prize monet for claimers are nearly the same money as our Listed races. Even if you halfed their prize money it would be better than ours. Without the Arabs, racing in the UK could collapse. At least the trainers at the top are ok but I think 70% of trainers must be losing money.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Rain still getting in the way

Carlton Blue was a little disappionting at windsor, he was struck into at the four pole but then finished well and was only beaten by 1 1/2 lengths. Kalicamix runs today at Wolverhampton in the 3.15pm maiden. It looks like a stiff task but he will run well. We will have two or three runners at newbury on Thursday but none of them will like it if the ground if it remains soft but Cut No Ice is looking well. The good news is that our two best fillies are back on the move, Gifted Girl's form at kempton was given a boost at Royal Ascot when Fallen For You won the Coronation Stakes andSwingland has recovered from her virus and is back in work.

Monday, 18 June 2012

We have not got many runners at Ascot this year, the two year olds haven't really found their form, mainly because of the ground. Carlton Blue, who we like, will not run until the ground is back to normal. Composed will wait until the Nurseries are out. St Paul De Vence has been entered for the Chesham at Ascot on Saturday. He needs a run, we like him a lot and he may be heading for the July Meeting at Newmarket. Puteri Nur Laila who finished 2nd at Lingfield on Saturday has been working really well at home, stupidly they didn't move the turf races to the All Weather track for that meeting. Most trainers are fed up with silly results created by bad ground at the Racecourse. York's valuable sprint looked more like the end of a four mile chase at Cheltenham, the ground at York has been unpredictable for the last four years. Silverheels may run in the Buckingham Palace Stakes on Friday if he gets in. It is not an easy race to win and he is not an easy horse to fins a race for, otherwise he is in good form. Gifted Girl and Swingland, two of our best horses, have recovered from minor set backs and our back in training. Kaiser Wilhelm's run at Yarmouth was disappointing, he couldn't handle the rough, firm ground. There is a small race in him somewhere. Ziefhd ran satisfactorily at Goodwood, she will improve on faster ground. We were pleased with Don Libre's win at Lingfield and Puteri Nur Laila will win when the ground gets faster. 

Monday, 11 June 2012

The weather continues to affect our racing plans. Carlton Blue ran a good race at Leicester on conditions that didn't suit. He may run at Salisbury on Sunday and he looks good to win a maiden race for us. Composed runs today, I would prefer faster underground conditions but his experience should help. He is still for sale in shares or full ownership. Kalicamix was only beaten 5 1/4 lenghs at Newmarket last Saturday and over seven furlongs he sould improve. Cut No Ice ran a little below expectations but seems to want further. Puteri Nur Laila will run when the grouns gets faster, she seems to be improving. The runners for the rest of the week, depending on the ground, include Ziefhd, Joy to the World, Flashbang and Daring Damsel. Hayley Turner was onto a good point in her article about fines, why not start with a warning. The power that be are too keen to levy heavy and over the top fines on people who can ill afford to pay them. It is up to the bodies that represent them to take up this problem (some hope!!) Jockeys and Trainers associations, both as inaffective as each other.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Historically horses at Whatcombe seem to run best on good or faster ground. The gallops here are so good that they only work on perfect ground and after the rain this week it makes the withdrawals more likely. I always believe it takes four chances to get one winner. At the moment I am finding hard to get a horse in with a chance. Carton Blue goes very well at home but is unlikely to run at Leicester tomorrow because he ran poorly on the soft at Newbury, although it was a good race and he was beaten only by five lengths. Zeifhd will not run today due to the soft ground, she may run at Newmarket on Friday. Puteri Nur Laila is learning with every run and should improve again. Kaiser Wilhelm will need further and has a bad draw tomorrow. Mons Calpe runs at Goodwood on Friday, it is difficult to predict how he will run. Zing Wing runs at Kempton in the Handicap on Wednesday and our apprentice Duilio Da Silva rides her. I think the French Derby’s shortened trip looks like a disaster. Most of the horses that ran in it need a mile and half, so why run a derby over a mile and quarter, that thinking is out of date. The Maktoom / Coolmore battle looks one sided at present, with the Maktooms having a last at Epsom and not much else, they seem to be better on the all weather in the winter.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

29th May report

Most of the horses are fit and well, the change in ground suits the two year olds. Composed ran with great promise, it was likely the second best horse in the race and he is still for sale, and he is a ready made winner. Kalicamix ran with promise and pushed wide the whole way, and then ran onto finish fourth, should win on a future endeavor. Nelsons Dockyard runs at Ayr on the 30th, he is working well. Standing Bear runs at Brighton, probably needs further. Puteri nur laila had a good race at lingfield, where he was placed 2nd. Not many runners the rest of the week, however next week is a relatively busy week..

Monday, 21 May 2012

The horses have not been running as expected, we think the ‘odd’ tacky ground is the expected culprit. Not much happing at present, we run two nice two year olds today and Wednesday, lets hope they fair better. Silverheels was disappointing and will be dropped back to six furlongs. The two year olds are going well and expect results soon although competition is tough. Newbury racing was saved by Frankie. The ground was awful, I can’t stand the race cards not user friendly. The new members bar and catering – Rubbish. Horrible, bookmaker’s signs - all over the place. Not racecourse of the year for me!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Still a bit soft...

We are all still suffering from the soft ground at the racecourses. The two year olds that are working well are not running as expected on the soft ground. It is always the opinion that the ground should be soft, good or firm. Good is used by clerks of the course to coax runners into races, as at Newmarket on guineas day. We have had few runners with chances and I feel that you need four chance runners to get one winner. Circumvent ran a fine race at Lingfield on Saturday, the field were outclassed by the winner Retrieve and has a possible engagement at Royal Ascot in the Wolferton Stakes, a Listed handicap over 1m2f. Kalicamix is working well and runs in the Statford Place Stud Maiden at York on Thursday. Stormbound is improving with every run but needs good ground, he has two entries over the weekend. Winner will follow on better ground.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Soft, heavy or abandoned..

The weather is making life difficult for everybody and it is difficult to predict wether horses will show their true form on the various degrees of soft ground. The O'Brien team are doing extrodinary things on the racecourses but one way of another they still seem to come out in front. Circumvent got bogged down at Newmarket, luckily they have put Lingfield on Saturday to the all weather track which means I can enter him in the conditions race, he is in good nick. We are not running any two year olds this week because of the soft ground. Faluka who is quite speedy may run on Monday at Windsor. Daring Damsel runs tonight at Kempton, she won well from the front last time but has a poor draw today so we may not be able to do the same. She seems to lose interest in behind but she is fit and well. Gifted Girl, Silverheels and Stormbound all ran with potential last week. Gifted Girl goes to Newbury on 18th May and Silverheels goes to Newmarket on the 19th May. Ziefhd ran well at Lingfield, she goes to Newbury on 19th May in the 7f fillies race. Swingland scoped badly after her run at Pontefract, that was not her running, she can do better. Flashbang and Pearls From Sydney both have chances at Yarmouth tomorrow if the meeting is on. Not sure what will happen to French Racing with a true lefty in charge, have to wait and see.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Good runners today!

A lot of well laid plans have gone out of the window because of the bad weather. Historically the Whatcombe horses fare better on faster ground. Circumvent and Silverheels are both working well and would not like it too soft for Saturday. Gifted Girl is working well and will run well at Kempton today. The two year olds are working well but need better ground. We have a nice Oasis Dream colt arriving from the breeze up sale this week. I hope the weather improves for the weekend otherwise the Newmarket meeting will be full of strange results. Zing Wing runs at brighton tomorrow and should be thereabouts, she was badly interferred with at Kempton last time. Flashbang has had two bads draws from her last two starts but has been better drawn tomorrow at Lingfield in stall 2, she should go well.

Monday, 23 April 2012

More rain...

Ground conditions are seriously affecting the way the horses are running. Newbury was a bit of a disaster unless your horse wanted testing ground. We ran a very nice two year old in Carlton Blue, although only beaten 5 lenths he ran well below his gallop work. Hunt A Mistress ran well enough but could not handle the ground. Daring Damsel came good at last, being out of an Alleged mare she should stay further. She is beautifully bred and will probably go back and run at Kempton

Zing Wing runs at Kempton on Wednesday and should go well. Silverheels in on schedule to run in a Conditions race at Doncaster.

The two year olds are shaping up well, they could be our source of winners this year. We have some shares for sale in two year olds that are on the verge of running and are going well. I think it will be three weeks before the string really get going.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Here comes the rain

Everything we have ran so far has run up to expectations, the horses are a little behind this year by choice. We have our first two year old runner on Friday at Newbury, Carlton Blue is probably not fully wound up and he is bred to get further but he is expected to run really well.

Daring Damsel runs tomorrow at Kempton, although she looks well, we do not expect her to win. Our nice fillies, Gifted Girl & Swingland are on course for their intended starts. Gifted Girl at Ascot on May 2nd and Swingland at Pontefract on May 2nd. Circumvent is in good form and goes for the big handicap at Newmarket on 5th May. Moynahan who ran extremely well yesterday at Windsor, only beaten 2l, goes to Doncaster Sales on Tuesday.

The horses continue in good form and we expect to have some winners in the near future.

The rain is most welcome not only for racehorse trainers but ducks as well, trainers like to see the damp weather at this time of year to knock the pollen out of the trees and fields and to keep the dust down so it's not breathed into the horses lungs creating mucas problems.

I thought it was a fantastic Grand National this year, a great spectical which racing should be proud of and look at the positive side of things and not the negative. It seems everything that can be done to make the race safe has been done. You get accidents in all sports, I think people would be shocked if anybody published the deaths and accidents on the ski slopes.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Flashbang a good bet!

It is nice to see the recent rain, it has helped the grass grow and dampen the dust down but not improved the ground so most work is continuing on the All Weather gallops.

Silverheels who was a Listed and Group performer for us last year is a possible for the Free Handicap at Newmarket. Although he has done very well during the winter, it is not easy to get ready on the All Weather gallop.

Gifted Girl and Swingland both showed promise last year and are in good form, we are short of races for them at the moment.

The runners we have coming up this week should all be in the frame without having strong win chances. Possibly the best chance is Flashbang at Kempton tomorrow although her draw is not ideal.

Gripe - Queen's Prize - It is my understanding that handicaps should be competitive and that the handicapper tries to get a close finish as possible. The Queen's Prize at Kempton on Saturday is normally a competitive race but was fought out by two Maktoom horses, both obviously thrown in, with the rest of the runners no-where. If this is the best the handicapper can do, maybe he should become a starter.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Just getting going..

It is another quiet week at Whatcombe with regards to runners, we should be in full swing by mid April. All the horses are fit and working well. The ground remains very firm which makes grass work difficult.

Pearls from Sydney runs at Southwell tomorrow, as yet she has not shown a lot.
Hunt A Mistress is fit and well, she ran a promising race at Newbury last year and is ready to do herself justice. She is entered on Thursday at Folkstone, a decent draw would help and it would be nice if the race split, she should run well.

The World Cup was enjoyable to watch but I think one day a year would suffice. The Dubai World Cup lacked depth and I think that the Dubai Sheema Classic was the quality race of the meeting which was beautifully ridden by Olivier Peslier. All credit must go to Roger Charlton for producing Cityscape to win such a massive prize. With regard to the staying race, the fatalities amongst the older horses who have run many times before would put me off running in that race.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Not much chance of rain...

Everybody is enjoying the wonderful weather except for racehorse trainers who universally are waiting for some rain to soften the ground and make the grass grow, everywhere is very dusty at present. A trainer can get horses fit on the all weather gallops but by their very nature they are not good for assessing a horses' trip or how well they are going against each other.

Although there is some interesting racing this weekend, we have very few runners. The two yer olds are shaping up well and we could have some fairly early runners maybe in the middle of April. We have one or two sharp fillies and one that is shaping up well is Cut No Ice.

We were delighted with Circumvents run at Lingfield in the Winter Derby (3rd), like the 1st and 2nd placed we were poorly drawn but we really pleased he was only beaten a head and a neck as we think he is a better horse on grass. We have made a tentative entry for him at Maisons Laffitte where he is only a possible.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Silverheels a possible for Free Handicap...

Circumvent's target is the Winter Derby at Lingfield on the 24th of March. He is in fine form and with a reasonable draw he is a live contender. Jimmy Fortune is booked for the ride.

Unusually for us we have a runner over hurdles at Kempton on Saturday. He jumps well but he lost his enthusiasm in the last couple of years so if he runs well we will continue, if he doesn't he will be retired as a hack.

The horses are in full work, although the ground is good on the grass gallop it is a little on the fast side for unfit horses so we are just on the all weather gallop. We are likely to have a few early runners at Kempton and Lingfield. Silverheels has wintered well and is a possible for the Free Handicap at Newmarket.

I think most of our winners for the coming year will probably come from the two year olds, they look a precocious bunch and for the first time we have Strategic Prince's offspring and they are shaping up well.

Our numbers are down this year but it's hard to compete without middle eastern backing, their battalions are getting even bigger and they seem quite happy to win the last at Dundalk or the first at Southwell.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Lovely weather!

It is a wonderful morning down here at Whatcombe, dry with a light frost with plenty of sunshine. We had our first work morning today, some went well and some got a little tired. Circumvent pleased and is on target for the Winter Derby which is shaping up to be a competitive race. He was plagued with poor draws last year, his last draw at Lingfield after running a good 2nd in the Listed, had him going wide the whole way.

The two year olds went through upsides today, Carlton Blue, Another Name and the Sakhee's Secret look early. It is a great time of year, it is like being dealt a new hand of cards and the expectation before picking them up. I'm sure all trainers all over the country will be in the same position, eager to get the turf season started after it seems to me even more boring All Weather racing which seems to be deteriorating in prize money and interest and looks like bookmakers fodder. Roll on the grass and the proper racing.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Possible Hurdle runner...

Everybody is back from their holidays and the horses have gone back into full work. They have generally put on the required amount of weight and they are all doing steady canters. It appears more than ever that racing doesn't kick into gear until mid April but the weather has been good this year for trainers to make an early start. We are taking our time and will probably have no serious runners until April. We have bought more precocious individuals this year and they are shaping up well. There are a few shares left (see horses for sale).

Gifted Girl and Swingland are two fillies knocking on the door to be Listed class, they are both looking and going well.

Strategic Mount is schooling over hurdles at Nicky Hendersons and could run at Huntington over the Cheltenham period subject to working well. He seems to have taken to jumping.

We have three Strategic Prince two year olds this year, the first ones we have trained. He has had a recent Stakes winner in the US, Tones, who was trained by Richard Hannon as a two year old, won a $81,000 stakes race at Santa Anita on Sunday 26th of February.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Chilly start to February

As per usual, the horses started cantering on February the 1st. The two year olds have done particularly well during the winter. We have bought a more precocious bunch this year with more two year old types. Our only All Weather runner at present is Circumvent, whose target is the Winter Derby. Although he won last year, he was permanently badly drawn, including last time at Lingfield. We are slightly down on numbers this year, we will have 40-50 in training.

Swingland & Gifted Girl have done well during the winter. Both are knocking on the door to be good fillies this year. One of our nicest three year olds, Stormbound, who did not run last year for various reasons is in great form and one to keep an eye on, he may run in the Wood Ditton.

Sovereign Power is shaping up well, he is half brother to Overpowered (one of our nicest two year olds last year) there is a 50% share remaining in him.

It has been as low as -15 degrees here, I was riding out the other day after my holiday and it was -13 degrees, big drop from 34 degrees! But there is nothing better in life than riding out on a sunny, crisp morning and looking forward to the season ahead.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Update from Whatcombe

The weather seems to have turned cold again this week but all the horses are continuing to do well, the two year olds look great and are still trotting. Swingland, Pearls From Sydney & Joy To The World are back in work here after having a winter holiday at Kirtlington & Stratford Place respectively. Circumvent and Strategic Mount are both cantering. We are planning for Circumvent to run in the Winter Derby at Lingfield at the end of March.

I didn't catch up with Putin or Berlusconi (rumour) but I did catch up with Pete Towshend who is working over here at the moment. Willie Carson leaves on Thursday and Chris Wright & Martin Myers arrive at the weekend (Racing Update!)

Carlton Blue, Standing Bear and our Dark Angel Colt (still for sale) have all been entered in the DBS Premier Stakes at York on 23rd August. Silverheels is qualified for the European Free Handicap at Newmarket on 18th April, he has 8st 5lb.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Not much to report!

There is not much happening during January at the yard. The horses have been trotting throughout the holiday period and will start their cantering work on the 1st of February. We have one or two to run on the All Weather before the season starts at the end of March.

Gem Of Wizdom has been retired as her performances on the track have not been good enough to compete with others at the same level.

We have a very nice hand of two year olds and look forward to the start of the season. We have a few shares left in our two year olds if you are interested ranging from £125 all in shares per month to 1/4 shares or full ownership. Please email or ring the office on 01488638433 for further details.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

There is very little happening during January, we just have two running this month, Witchy Moments and Gem Of Wizdom.

Gem Of Wizdom runs at Kempton tomorrow in the 4pm Maiden, she has a poor draw and will probably need the race but she is fit and good in the stalls.

Report from the Caribbean - Pete Townshend from The Who was spotted in English Harbour at New year and Prince Albert of Monaco was staying at the Inn. It is rumoured that Putin & Berlusconi are in Eastern Antigua at Berlusconi's estate.

New Year was headed up by the best band in the Caribbean, Paddy Prendergast (Itchy Feet) also Paddy Prendergast the ex trainer arrived yesterday. The weather is great and the tennis is great.

We are all fresh and ready for the fray.