So far, 2015 has been a pretty good year for us here at South Hatch, notwithstanding we had a very quiet period through May and June when the horses were not quite right. We found a lot of them were scoping dirty, but it was very difficult to treat, as it was an allergic response to something in the environment (pollens, we think). However, we are over that now, and July has gone with a bang so far, with 3 winners from 9 runners and the rest all running well. That has brought our yearly tally up to 9 winners from 70 runners, at a perfectly healthy 13% strike rate.
The recent good spell was started by Liberty Jack who gave us a great thrill when winning at our local course. He won very nicely that day, and we hoped he would be able to follow up two weeks later, but got rather a troubled passage and was a pretty unlucky fifth. We may pitch him in at Glorious Goodwood later in the month, and he is the sort of horse that could run a big race in a big handicap one day if everything drops right for him.
We then had two winners in 4 days, with Onorina getting her head in front for the first time on only her fifth start with a battling victory over a strong favourite of Michael Bells at Lingfield. She has been a big, late maturing filly, and the step up in trip certainly helped, and now that she has got the winning habit I hope she can go on from here and win again for her lovely owners Sir David and Rosemary Prosser. The second winner that week was very satisfying, as it was a much overdue first win on turf for our old friend Atlantis Crossing. He has won loads of races for us on the all-weather over the years, but had gone 20 runs without a win on turf, which was really starting to frustrate me, especially since he has a much lower turf mark to work with. He’s a quirky old so and so, and needs everything to drop right, but for once he had a good draw, jumped great out of the stalls and pretty much led all the way, effectively out-classing a fairly moderate field. He will go back to Lingfield in a couple of weeks time where he will attempt to cope with a 5lb hike in the weights. He is easily good enough to defy the weight rise, as long as things work out similarly well for him next time.
It was great to see Sonnetation back on track at Ascot a couple of weeks ago, and she ran an absolute blinder to be third. This was her first run back since returning from stud, and she is currently in foal to Toronado. We will race her on till early September before she heads off for her second career at stud. She should make a fantastic mother, and if she passes on half of her determination to her offspring we’ll be very happy. I’d love to get another win or two into her before she retires, even though she is now operating off her highest ever marks (81 at present). She has been an unbelievably consistent mare for us, and it will leave a big hole in the yard when she goes which will be hard to fill – out of 26 starts she has won 7 and been placed 8 times, which is an incredible achievement, seeing her mark go up from 46 to 81 in the process. I think her sporting owners the In Recovery Partnership are looking forward to having a foal on the ground next year – it’s always extra special to see one through from foaling to the racetrack.
We’ve got a couple of our own home-breds in training at the moment, and I’m really looking forward to seeing our 2yo filly out of Spring Clean out on the track in the coming months. She’s a lovely big mare, and as she was nearly black when she was born and was the first filly foal by Dick Turpin to be born, there was always only one name we were going to call her (which I reserved a day after foaling) – Black Bess. Hopefully she’ll help us plunder a few valuable prizes over the course of the next few years, just as the original Black Bess helped her partner in crime commit Daylight Robbery. Come to think of it, she could be ably assisted by another of our inmates – What A Dandy (Highwayman)…………
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