Our previous article rounded off with the exploits of Grade 1 winner Adagio, the rapidly improving juvenile from David Pipe’s Pond House Stable – he went on to to finish runner-up in both the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham and the Aintree version. No mean feat and we look forward to seeing him next season. He cleared £86,000 this season over hurdles, not bad for a €26,000 claim!
McFabulous took advantage of a rearranged Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle at Kempton where he put up a personal best to win cosily despite criticism of the ride from some media quarters. He has won on both visits to the Sunbury venue so far and is a very exciting prospect for fences next season. He has won more than half his races from Ditcheat and this was 4th Black Type victory already.
Miranda took her earnings north of £50k this winter, after a warm-up on the flat, she won at Ludlow and the Yorkshire Rose Grade 2 hurdle at Doncaster. She has also won half her starts and is another fab horse for the owners group syndicate and Paul Nicholls.
Another mare that has outperformed her purchase price is Annie Mc. She was bought on-spec £20k from Cheltenham Sales and has won nearly £100k and 5 of her 8 chase starts. She is yet to be beaten in mares company over fences and is very much a favourite with Chris Hughes’ Coral Champions Club at Jonjo O’Neill’s Jackdaws Castle yard.
The legend (and prize-money millionaire) that is 11yo Native River gave us another great day at Sandown in February when winning the Cotswold Chase, another race to be moved from Cheltenham. That was his 14th win from 30 starts and his 10th Graded Chase for Colin Tizzard.
Over in Ireland, Quilixios was still unbeaten. We bought him after winning on debut at Compiegne in March 2020, since then he had won two for his new Cheveley Park/Gordon Elliott connections and at the Dublin Racing Festival took the juvenile Grade 1 by 5 lengths. He continued from here to win the Triumph Hurdle for Henry DeBromhead at the Cheltenham Festival under Rachel Blackmore. The Cheltenham Festival was run behind closed doors without owners. The Irish trainers dominated the week by 23 wins to 5 but we were responsible for Quilixios who took a late change of yard in his stride
8yo Remastered made his debut over fences this Autumn and kept his unbeaten record intact in the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot. He went on to be 5th in the National Hunt Chase where he led until 2 out. He looks to be one to follow in Soft ground staying steeplechases next season.
A horse that has never really been given the credit he is due in some parts given his rating is Secret Investor. He has been first or second in 15 of his 19 races and culminated this season by winning the Grade 2 Denman Chase from the double King George winner, Clan Des Obeaux.
We bought a mare at the 2016 Cheltenham December Sale called True Self privately from Don Cantillon after she was led out unsold for £20k. She won 2 of her 7 starts over hurdles and is rated 130 but what she has done on the flat is nothing short of remarkable. Since breaking her maiden on the level at Cork, she has won at Bath, Newmarket, Gowran, Flemington twice, been midfield in a Hong Kong Group 1 and this Feb went to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to win the Neom Cup, a 10 furlong conditions race where Hollie Doyle timed her run beautifully to win a whopping £438k first prize for Willie Mullins! Yes, nearly half a million, and she is now the best mare produced by leading jumps sire Oscar by a wide margin.
The pre-Cheltenham build up was capped by Umbrigado winning the Grade 3 Greatwood Gold Cup for David Pipe. This was the 7yo’s third on the bounce and sixth overall. David’s Sexy Lot had a productive winter. From November onwards the Camelot mare from Germany had 4 wins and 3 seconds, beaten less than a diminishing length each time.
Knappers Hill won the Grade 2 Aintree bumper for Paul Nicholls. The 5yo son of Valirann remains unbeaten from 3 starts on the level. Having beaten another of our store purchases by a length at Ascot in December, he won by a similar margin here. Both very exciting prospects for hurdles next season.
A stop start season with the majority of it run behind closed doors culminated with a Listed win for the Shantou gelding Threeunderthrufive, who is 5 from 7 and Mighty Thunder who won the Scottish National for Lucinda Russell. He was a €15k store from Fairyhouse Tattersalls sale by Malinas who has now won £174k.