The end of the season is always a time for reflection and it certainly has been an up and down campaign.
The winter started slowly with the horses not quite right, and the particularly wet weather also hindered our progress. Despite that, it has been a massive team effort to keep the show on the road and overall, I am delighted that we still managed to pick up close to 60 winners over the jumps.
We have also had plenty of success on the flat which has been fantastic for the yard, and I am extremely optimistic for the future.
There have been plenty of highlights to look back on with Tikkanbar’s success on New Year’s Day perhaps the stand out moment. It was terrific to see him win the listed novices’ hurdle in such exciting style at Prestbury Park for my Father, and a novice chasing career awaits in the Autumn.
Sandown is always a fitting final day fixture and it was pleasing to see our two runners perform well in the bet365 Gold Cup. Carole’s Destrier produced an improved display to finish 5th after travelling into the race in lovely style, with the headgear seemingly doing the trick.
It was fantastic to see him running with his old enthusiasm and hopefully there are still some big days to come off the current mark.
We are also looking to the future positively for The Young Master who finished a creditable 8th on ground that would have been a touch too soft.
It wasn’t all good news at the weekend with Solighoster falling at the Esher venue, but he appears to be fine, and there is a race at Haydock we could target before the summer break.
The wet spring has been frustrating but that means we are likely to have a busier summer than usual, with a fast start to the new campaign the aim.
We have a plenty to look forward to over the next few months and into the winter with some exciting horses in the yard.
Kalondra has been a flagbearer for the team over the past 18 months with the win at Cheltenham back in December a stand-out moment. He’s a horse with a huge amount of talent and plenty of gears so we are keeping our fingers crossed the best is yet to come.
It has been frustrating not to have Dead Right available due to a couple of little setbacks, but the form of his Punchestown Festival win looks strong which is exciting. The aim now is to have one run over hurdles before returning for a full campaign in the Autumn.
Espoir De Teillee is another horse who has had a couple of setbacks which has been disappointing, but the break will have done no harm and he remains an exciting prospect for the future.
I mentioned last week that Doing Fine will be aimed towards the Grand National, and we will be working towards getting him qualified for Aintree in the new season.
Impulsive Star will remain a novice which should work in his favour, and a return trip to Cheltenham for the four miler in 2019 is already the long term aim.
Dandolo Du Gite has shown plenty of talent in two bumper starts, and we will try and win a novice hurdle before he goes out to grass for a break.
Queen’s Magic is a horse I have earmarked as a potential runner in the Mares’ Novice Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2019, so fingers crossed she can continue to build on an excellent start under rules.
We are excited to send Shantou Village to Uttoxeter at the end of this month for the contest we won with Minella Present a couple of years ago. The race is an important one for the owners, so we are hopeful of a big run if the ground is decent.
Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has followed the column this season and I wish you all a happy and long summer.