Typical Monday morning canters for those who will run again or through the summer months.
The Bet365 threw up more controversy and memories of when Docklands Express was wrongly awarded the race. Kitty’s Light would no doubt of won had he not been interfered with. The second horse was awarded the race when not impeded in any shape or form. Without the interference Kitty Light would most likely have beaten the first two horses past the post yet only got promoted to second place. It seems incredibly harsh, the rules are in place and now is time to review them.
I suppose it is time to reflect on last season and realize what changes we need to make and consider how to improve things. Our numbers of winners to runners was down, this is inevitable given we had more horses and more runners. The season got off to a great start with summer winners and Tea Clipper winning the Silver Trophy Grade 3 at Chepstow in October. Things continued to move nicely until the second week of January when we were hit with a virus that basically took the wind out of our sails and stalled us for the guts of ten weeks. Routine tests suggested that all was well with many of the horses yet they didn’t perform as if that was the case. Excluding Adrimel winning our first Grade 2 at Warwick on January 16th January, February and March were incredibly hard. The virus was first identified on January 10thwhen a horse returning from a winning run at Lingfield was filthy 48 hours after the race. The following ten weeks or more were very testing indeed. When faced with theses situations and horses are showing no signs of illness with the vets advise one has to take risks. You have to run those who test clean to find out where you are with them. Some ran acceptable races other flopped. Although they were bucking at squealing at home we were always faced with uncertainty. One leading trainer told me in January that one horse was coming back form the races sicker than the other when all tests had been clean going into the race. I think it has been a tough year for many on the virus front. We will be doing all of the typical deep clean procedures of the yard throughout the summer months. It wasn’t all bad, on the back of his Grade 3 victory, Tea Clipper was placed at the Cheltenham and Aintree festivals, JohnBB finished second at the Aintree festival and Adrimel won our first Grade 2 race at Warwick. I am not over the moon with the season but we managed throughout all of the challenges to have 34 winners, 28 seconds, 27 thirds and 27 fourths from 240 runners. I will have to leave the mathematics to someone else but that is roughly just under 50% of runners making the frame. Many of the horses we have coming through the ranks have been bought for the long term and they have not been rushed, many have only made their debuts this season and have not been over campaigned or trained hard to win in their races. We are very much in a building period with many of the horses. I’d like to think some of those we have been nursing will repay us on the racecourse this season. As always the staff have worked tirelessly, they play a huge part in many decisions that are made with the horses and they deserve as much credit, if not more for any success we have than I do. Without the staff or the owners, I have no business and am most grateful to have their combined support. It all starts again on Saturday and as always, we will be looking to better ourselves in the 2021/22 season.