A little bit of time has passed since we finished the season with yet another thrilling, prestigious race victory in the Bet365 (previously known as the Whitbread) at Sandown. Step Back was prominent throughout and using the spectacularly efficient jumping skills that our horses are becoming famous for, he stayed on up the stiff Sandown hill to win by an unextended 14 lengths from the well fancied Rock the Kasbah.
It was a game performance from our charming and talented lightweight, but athletic, little horse because he has had plenty to overcome. With unbelievably flat feet that mean he has to wear bar shoes, and with muscle enzymes so fragile that he ties up frequently and sometimes for no apparent reason at all, we are delighted with his success and thrilled to add a Whitbread Cup to our Hennessy and Cheltenham Gold Cup’s, with another relatively cheaply bought horse who has thrived with the individual attention we give our horses.
Step Back’s heroics lifted the spirits of all in the yard and Roberts Star gave us a perfect start to the new season with an impressive 13 length victory in a novice handicap chase at Huntingdon! He has been a great servant to us and his owners – bought very cheaply and almost never out of the first three; he has won two races this season and his confidence is growing all the time.
Min Tiky ran at Southwell and appreciating the better ground, gave Nicko a great feel jumping well and travelling easily before she audibly choked as they quickened three from home. Nicko got off her saying that he was completely confident that she would be transformed by a wind op and when she came home it was discovered that her lazy left vocal chord had deteriorated and we immediately referred her to the great expert Geoff Lane who operated on her last week. Nicko is adamant that this will allow her to show her true ability on the racetrack and I completely agree with him, so we cannot wait to get her back to the racecourse in the early Autumn.
A lot of the horses are now out in the field for the summer. We have tested the soil and dressed the field accordingly to ensure that the mineral content is exactly as it should be, so we have kept most of them with us for this summer to make sure that they benefit from this and make the most of their time relaxing.
While a lot of the horses are out, we have welcomed the first of the new generation of our favourite family; a small but perfectly formed son of Malinas out of Maid of Oaksey who is, of course, is out of the late, great Plaid Maid, mother of Coneygree, Carruthers and Flintham. He has been a delight to back and is already cantering away on the gallops. He has shown none of the slightly quirky temperament of his mother and many signs that he has the genes that have served us so well, so we are greatly looking forward to having him in training next season!