Well what a few weeks we have enjoyed since our last latest news. Since getting back up and running this year, we have had 25 runners, of which 7 have been winners, at a whopping 28% strike rate. This will be impossible to keep up for too long, but we are enjoying it while it lasts. The last 10 days have been particularly impressive, with a total of 5 winners from only 6 runners, meaning we recently topped the ‘Hot Trainers’ list in the Racing Post. It’s great when everything clicks into place as it is at the moment, and if we could bottle what it is that makes yards come into form with a bang like this we would be very rich indeed!
The improvement that Atlantis Crossing has made in the last 16 months has been sensational. Originally winning his first handicap in November 2011 off 52, his last win in March 2013 off a mark of 87 saw his Official Rating raised to 91, following 6 wins and 4 places in that period. He is so much more mature now, and has a potent turn of foot, which is what always helps him win his races. The question now has to be how far can he go, but the Handicapper will surely catch hold of him at some point. Let’s hope that point hasn’t arrived quite yet.
What was very pleasing about our 7 winners is that 3 of them came first time out, proving that we are more than capable of getting one ready without a run. These 3 were Ree’s Rascal, Divine Pamina and Paloma’s Prince. Ree’s Rascal has been such a star, winning 5 races and being placed in a further 7 since we have had him. He is another that started life in handicaps off 51, and now finds himself in the 80’s, and he is so consistent that he is liable to remain at or around that mark for a while yet. Divine Pamina and Paloma’s Prince provided us with a memorable double at Kempton, whilst I was on a plane on the way back from the Dubai World Cup. They were in consecutive races, and I could almost hear the cheer from the plane when the second one came in, particularly as one or two of the owners and staff had placed small, but rather lucrative doubles on the two winning! On the following day we had another double, this time with Mr Knightley and Idle Curiosity. Mr Knightley got the strong pace he needs, and reversed previous form with the odds-on favourite to win a shade impressively, while Idle Curiosity overcame greenness to win going away, and give us a taste hopefully of what is still to come from this half sister of our old favourite Idle Power.
Final Delivery was the other of our 7 winners, coming good and showing what we knew he was capable of in a handicap at Wolverhampton under Matthew Davies. He is another horse that still looks feasibly handicapped so may be capable of further wins this year.
I’m really pleased to be able to call on the services of 3 top class jockeys this year, who I shall be using in the main wherever possible. They are Pat Cosgrave, Matthew Davies, and my apprentice Nathan Alison. Pat has had a successful stint in Dubai, riding as second jockey to Champion South African trainer Mike de Kock, but is back in the UK now and raring to go. Matt has come back from a short break really focused and motivated, as you can see by the way he is riding at the moment. He has a really impressive strike rate for us which I hope between us we will be able to continue. Nathan has been honing his skills on the all-weather this winter and is turning into a polished 5lb apprentice, skills which were showcased to great effect when getting a great tune out of Ree’s Rascal when winning first time out at Kempton. I’m really pleased with the progress he is making, and I hope I can provide him with plenty more winners this season. They are 3 cracking lads, who are all hungry for success, and they make up a really important part of the team.
Speaking of the team, the staff here have had to endure a particularly miserable winter, coming hot on the heels of a wet and cold summer, so have really deserved the run of good results that we have been getting. It can be a really hard job over the winter, and this winter has been no exception, so I’d like to thank them for their hard work in trying circumstances, and I hope we are blessed with a nice Spring and Summer to finally clear away the winter blues once and for all!