2020 will always be remembered for the outbreak of Covid19 which changed life forever. In the racing/bloodstock bubble, it meant no sales or racing for over two months. Racing stopped completely on 17th March where Song Of The Hunter gave us a good send off winner at Taunton for Gail Haywood. Jumping restarted again on July 1st at Southwell after a 14 week break and Hunters Call obliged in the feature race of the day for Olly Murphy. Owners were able to attend initially but that pleasure was thwarted again when restrictions were imposed. We all hope we can get back to attending racing soon particularly given the launch of a vaccine to slow down the spread of Covid19.
It was back in July that a horse called For Pleasure began a remarkable winning run for Alex Hales. Rated only 107, he left everyone gobsmacked by making-all at Stratford by 22 lengths. This was no flash in the pan however, as he was to win another three races culminating in the Grade 2 Supreme Trial at Cheltenham at the November meeting. He currently has an entry in the Champion Hurdle. Live auctions got back on track in July and we were able to attend Newmarket, Doncaster and Deauville sales but unfortunately the Land Rover Sale and Derby Sale were held mainly online. Restrictions meant this was to take another step back over Christmas and into the New Year and even Irish points were halted.
Yes No Maybe So was bought at Cheltenham Breeze Up Sale for Straightline Bloodstock and was then re-sold after winning his bumper. He won four times over hurdles for new connections since July and finished up in a class 2 at Aintree running Unowhatimeanharry to 2 lengths.
Winter jumping got going at Chepstow in October where Paul Nicholls hit the ground running with eight winners over two days. The highlight was McFabulous taking the Grade 2 Persain War hurdle. Amoola Gold keeps running consistently and improved to win the Listed Chase at Ascot for Dan Skelton. He is by Mamool and was bought as a yearling in Germany.
Tom Symonds and David Dennis struck up a successful partnership this season and Innisfree Lad was to win four out of his five races up to mid December. He was bought as a store in Deauville.
The big handicap chase at Cheltenham in November that has its name changed so many times over the years was won by Coole Cody. Now with Evan Williams, Coole Cody was bought for only £5,200 at Ascot Sales from Irish points and now has career earnings of over £140,000!
Envoi Allen made a winning debut over fences at Down Royal in October and wasted no time in adding another Grade 1 taking the Drinmore Novices Chase. He kept his unblemished record intact by winning the Grade 3 Killiney Chase for Gordon Elliott. He is now 11 from 11 under rules and now heads straight to the Cheltenham Festival.
A flurry of Black Type bumper winners was welcome in December. Knappers Hill took a Listed event at Ascot for Paul Nicholls and the mares, Nada To Prada (Michael Scudamore) and Rainyday Woman (Paul Nicholls) both won Listed bumpers and in doing so picking up some hefty GB bonuses in the process.
The year was capped by a very impressive performance from Bravemansgame who galloped away from his rivals in the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury. That made him favourite for The Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle.
David Pipe’s first Grade 1 for 5 years came in the form of Adagio. This German bred juvenile colt, we claimed out of a flat race in Clairefontaine for €25,500 has already won £60,000 over hurdles and is a Triumph Hurdle hopeful.