Thursday 18th of July 2019
Rachael Green

Spring Festival countdown

The season has been progressing well, with the horses in good order. Fountains Windfall ran an absolute blinder in the Grade 3 Betfred Mobile Heroes Handicap Hurdle at Sandown to narrowly get beaten at the weekend.

It was a tough race on testing ground and they were very tired coming home so he will need a few weeks before he races again. He will have an easy week, although he will probably still have a canter, but literally just a hack up the gallops.

He may get a qualifying run so that he can contest the EBF final at Sandown, or we might go to Aintree for a 3m handicap, but we’ve decided not to go down the Pertemps route.

Sam Brown

Sam Brown

Sam Brown ran brilliantly in a bumper at Wincanton to win impressively on his racecourse debut last week. He’s the latest to be bred by our good friends Tim and Monica Frost who live just down the road. They also bred Taradrewe and Horace Hazel, but this one is a bit special as he has the size, scope and attitude to make a decent three-mile chaser.

He’s such lovely animal but at 16.3hh he has a lot of filling out to do before he fully matures and he’s still very much a baby. We were keen to get Noel Fehily on him to give him as much assistance in the saddle as possible as he is still so green but he has a huge engine.

Chill Factor

Chill Factor

He will need a few weeks before we run him again, which tends to be the same for all young horses after their first run. The whole day takes a lot out of them. Chill Factor ran very well yesterday at Taunton on Monday in the Bathwick Tyres Handicap Chase to finish second.  We’ll find a staying chase for him somewhere, possibly Cheltenham.

The talk is all about the Festival and it can be a little wearing! I agree with Paul Nicholls recent comment that the season isn’t all about Cheltenham. There are other very good Saturday races that are well worth winning.

I’d fully support a winter Festival in the UK, which could take place over the Christmas period, in a similar vein to Ireland’s Christmas Festival at Leopardstown. 

Ascot Racecourse would be the perfect venue as the facilities there are fantastic and the ground really holds up as it drains so well. We’d be really supportive of such an initiative.

I had a day out at Cheltenham on Festival Trials day where we ran Regal Encore – he pulled up in the Hugos Restaurant 2m5f handicap, but we are far from disappointed as it was too quick for him.

I took Harry with me and met up with some friends including Sam and Hannah Watson (nee Bailey) who were over from Ireland. It was great to see them. Hannah used to pick me up on the side of the A303 and take me for lessons with Lucinda and Clayton Fredericks where she was working as headgirl at the time and where I spent my school holidays when I was about 13.

Sam does a lot with Willie Mullins working horses on the flat, as well as giving the staff lessons. Hannah could have been a top class rider in her own right. She’s an incredible horsewoman and such a beautiful rider,

When Hannah went to work for Sam and Dag Albert’s I went there too for a couple of years as a working pupil with my horse who I evented up to intermediate level. It was a lovely place to work and there is no doubt that it stood me in good stead with the racehorse, especially the youngsters. You never stop learning, but it gives you basis and it’s the reason why I am so particular about how our horses go on the flat. They have to be straight, forward, going off the leg, and even in both reins.

 

Chloe Elmsley

Chloe Elmsley

We’re so proud of our staff member Chloe Emsley, who made it through to the final ten of the Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff awards. The awards are a great initiative, but we were a little sad that no one came to see her ride, and she didn’t make it to the final three. Staff like Chloe are the backbone of our sport. She breaks in the youngsters, rides them away and she’s schools all the horses through the early stages of their education. She will literally ride anything, and she has such a good rapport with horses. Hopefully the awards organizers might address this in future and watch their finalists ride, as I am sure if they’d seen Chloe she’d have won.

Chloe also trained and rode her first ever point-to-point winner at Wadebridge at the weekend with Village Whispers winning a maiden. We were all over the moon for her.

www.ajhoneyballracing.co.uk

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