£1,000,000 Prize Money Mark

It’s been a week to remember in the yard. Our success at Aintree took us past the £1 million mark for the first time with 68 winners to date. Thank you to all the owners, staff and horses who made it possible.

BIG FELLA THANKS was heroic in the Fox Hunters at Aintree on Thursday. He proved age was just a number and put in a fantastic round of jumping under Noel George to finish a close third. He’s jumped over 175 Grand National course fences during his career so we were delighted to see him say goodbye to his favourite course with such a marvellous performance. He has come out of the race unbelievably well, there is a possibility he could head back to Cheltenham for the Hunter Chase Meeting in May before a well deserved retirement here at Down Farm, continuing his role as Toms hack.

BUN DORAN (IRE) ran well to finish third in the competitive 2m Red Rum Handicap Chase. He looked to appreciate the drop back down to 2m and travelled strongly for a long way. He’s only six so we are sure to see improvement next season after a good summer at grass.

MAX WARD (IRE) also ran a great race in defeat to finish fourth in the Grade 1 Manifesto Novices Chase. He relished the good ground and stayed with his classy rivals for a long way before weakening after the last. He ends the season on a mark of 147 and is sure to have a big race in him.  He will now enjoy a summer at home with his owners Heather Haddock and Neal Griffith.

THE WORLD’S END (IRE) provided the yard with our fifth Grade 1 winner in the Doom Bar Sefton Novices Hurdle at Aintree on Friday. He was always travelling smoothly for Adrian and found plenty for pressure on the run in to see off his strong rivals. It was a very tough performance after taking such a heavy fall at the Cheltenham Festival and we were delighted he was able to provide the McNeill Family with some compensation. He has all the credentials to make a top class chaser but we still feel there is plenty of improvement left in him over hurdles. He has been roughed off to enjoy a summer on the Slad Valley and looks a very exciting prospect for the World Hurdle next season. As you can see from the photos Aintree never fails to produce a fun atmosphere for the owners and the celebrations continued in the famous Cavern Club that evening.

We are immensely proud of SAINT ARE (FR) who finished an admirable third on his fourth attempt at the Grand National. Davy Russell gave him a master class ride, he bravely took the short route at Bechers Brook and saved a lot of ground on the inside during the race. He struggled to quicken with the field on the last circuit but his stamina was never in doubt. He wisely kept a little in reserve and flew home after the last to grab third place and pocket £105,000 for his owner David Fox. We see no reason why he shouldn’t have another go at the race next year.

DOUBLE SHUFFLE (IRE) was the youngest horse in the 40 runner field but jumped like an old pro. He tracked the leaders for a long way but was caught out by the stamina sapping trip two from home. He ends the campaign on a mark of 152 which puts him out of most handicaps and into graded company next season.

Most importantly we were very pleased to see all of the horses and riders return home safely.  Not long after the Grand National Tom had to divert his attention to Chepstow where Noel George rode his first double aboard former Irish pointers FORGOT TO ASK (IRE) and TRUCKERS LODGE (IRE).  We were very fortunate that the bumper divided as both horses came home in splendid isolation. TRUCKERS LODGE (IRE) is the first horse owned by Gordon and Su Hall so it’s fantastic that they could enjoy such a great start to racehorse ownership (pictured left). It’s our third successive win in this bumper after THE WORLD’S END (IRE) won this race in similar style last year. Both horses look very exciting prospects and will now enjoy a summer at grass before they embark on a novice hurdle campaign next season.

Newsletter Edition 172

Please click on the link below to read our Down Farm newsletter, previewing our Aintree runners.

Newsletter Editon 172

Weekend Runners

It’s been a very quiet week in the yard but we have six runners to look forward to this weekend.

RABUNDA (IRE) has been declared at Stratford tomorrow in division 1 of the 2m novices hurdle. He’s had lots of niggling issues since his good run in a bumper behind Yanworth. He’s now looking fantastic but I’m sure we will see the best of him when he’s stepped up in distance over fences. BOMBER COMMAND runs in division 2 of the same race. He will find things easier when switched to handicap company.

SOME BUCKLE (IRE) steps up in trip in the 3:20 Handicap Chase over 2m6f. He’s only 1 pound above his last winning mark and will appreciate the return to better ground. All of the Stratford runners will be ridden by Adrian Heskin.

NO DUFFER & FORGOTTEN GOLD (IRE) both head to Ascot on Sunday for the 4:15 Veterans Handicap Chase over 3m (0-150).

NO DUFFER ran a fantastic race last time out, finishing second in a similar contest on ground that was much softer than ideal. Adrian rides.

FORGOTTEN GOLD (IRE) was the easy winner of this race last season off ten pounds lower. He was last seen finishing 10th in the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival. Both him and Noel appeared to enjoy themselves that day, he jumped perfectly throughout and stayed with the leading bunch for a long way. Noel will ride him again on Sunday to help take some weight off his back. Both horses will be suited by the good ground.

OLOFI (FR) has been declared in the 2m5f Hunter Chase. He’s had a good run since switching to pointing/hunter chasing. His target is the 2m Hunter Chase at Cheltenham on Friday 5th May.

 

Grand National

DOUBLE SHUFFLE (IRE) and SAINT ARE (FR) are on target for the Grand National. They are both looking fantastic and are working well. Adrian Heskin will be riding Double Shuffle and Davy Russell has been booked to ride Saint Are. We are very much hoping the good weather continues for the pair of them and the rain stays away.

Arnie pictured earlier today in the field.

 

Double Shuffle pictured on the gallops with work rider Sherri-Anne Derrick.

 

 

MOSS ON THE MILL

MOSS ON THE MILL (IRE) provided the yard with our 62nd winner of the season at Wincanton earlier today in the 3m1f Handicap Chase, taking our total prize money earned to £825,000. He thrives at this time of year and should continue to improve on his favoured good ground.

Weekend Runners

We have four runners declared this weekend.

BOYHOOD (IRE) heads to Bangor tomorrow for the 4:35 Handicap Hurdle over 2m7f (0-135). He had three starts over hurdles to earn a mark of 124 before a short break through the worst of the winter. Niall Madden rides.

CALL ME VIC (IRE) has been declared at Newbury tomorrow in the 1:50 Handicap Chase over 3m2f (0-140). O MAONLAI (IRE) returns to Newbury for the 2:25 Handicap Chase over 2m4f (0-150). He’s been running well in competitive graded events including the C&D Greatwood Gold Cup last time out where he looked to have every chance before a bad blunder at the cross fence. The good to soft ground is ideal for both runners. Adrian rides.

MOSS ON THE MILL (IRE) is our only runner at Wincanton on Sunday in the 2:45 Handicap Chase over 3m1f (0-130). He’s proven he has the ability and is in great form at home but he is quite a tricky horse to win with. Adrian rides.

 

Weekend Results

MAX WARD (IRE) provided his connections Heather Haddock & Neal Griffith with some compensation in the Silver Bowl Handicap Chase at Kempton on Saturday. £25,000 was on offer to the winner of the consolation race so we were surprised to see a small field of seven runners declared. He looked to relish the return to good ground and jumped well throughout to secure an easy win. He should remain competitive off his new mark of 142 whilst the ground conditions are in his favour.

WUFF (IRE) secured his first win over fences at Ffos Las on Sunday in the 3m Handicap Chase. The soft ground provided a gruelling contest but he dug deep to stay on well and win by a length for owner Roger Brookhouse.

 

Cheltenham

We are pleased to report that all of the Cheltenham runners returned home safely. We came agonisingly close to the week being topped off with a winner!

SINGLEFARMPAYMENT lost out by the shortest of margins on the opening day of the Festival in the 3m1f Ultima Handicap Chase. Adrian took the perfect route, his jumping was superb and he looked the likely winner turning for home. Everything went to plan and the only disappointment was the photo finish not going our way. He’s put in some fantastic efforts since joining the yard at the start of the season and is sure to be rewarded with a big handicap in time. As expected the race has taken quite a bit out of him and he is a highly strung character so he will now enjoy a well deserved holiday at home with his owners Heather Haddock & Neal Griffith.

BUN DORAN (IRE) ran a good race to finish sixth in the Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase. They went a good gallop from the off but despite his inexperience he managed to stay with the leaders and looked set to challenge before a bad mistake two from home. He’s only six so has plenty of big days ahead of him, he has come out of the race well and will appreciate a drop back down to 2m for his next outing.

We were thrilled with SIR VALENTINO (FR) finishing third in the Grade 1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase. He continues to improve with every run and has now earned himself a handicap mark of 160. GOD’S OWN (IRE) was travelling strongly in the same race when taking off a stride too early at the top of the hill. He did well to recover from the blunder and get himself back into contention before banking the second last and losing any chance of catching the leaders. He is set for another busy Spring and will head to Aintree on Friday 7th April in a bid to make it back-to-back wins in the Grade 1 Melling Chase.

THE WORLD’S END (IRE) was making rapid headway in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle before taking a heavy fall two from home. Adrian is confident that he would have had a say in the finish. Most importantly he is none the worse and our physio Jackie Murphy is working hard to relieve him of any aches and pains caused by the fall. He could either head to Aintree for the Grade 1 Sefton Novices Hurdle or the popular Perth Festival where we are sure to be well represented.

 

THE WORLDS END (IRE)

THE WORLDS END (IRE) is our only runner tomorrow in the Grade 1 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle, Adrian rides. He’s won three times this season and had no problem stepping up to three mile in a Grade 2 Novices Hurdle at Haydock last time out. There was plenty to like about the way in which he won that race, his jumping was superb and he stayed on well to draw clear of his rivals. The stiff uphill finish at Cheltenham should suit and he’s versatile when it comes to the going.

Thursday Runners

ROCKLANDER (IRE) will run in the Pertemps Final Listed Handicap Hurdle on Thursday. He’s been a model of consistency all season, never finishing out of the first 2. He started the campaign on a mark of 113 and has since progressed 27 pounds to a mark of 140. He answered every call when stepped up to 3m for the first time at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day and was unlucky to lose out in a photo finish. He stays well and the good ground will hopefully allow him to make use of his speed too.

WHATS HAPPENING (IRE) and FORGOTTEN GOLD (IRE) will both be declared in the Kim Muir Amateur Riders Handicap Chase over 3m2f (0-145). Noel George will have his first ride at the festival aboard FORGOTTEN GOLD (IRE). He’s only had two starts this season and was last seen winning a valuable veterans race at Leicester back in November. He has a good record fresh and finished a very close second over C&D in April behind Perfect Candidate (Ire). WHAT’S HAPPENING (IRE) enjoyed back-to-back wins at Cheltenham in 2015. He then missed the second part of that season due to injury. He ran a fantastic race to finish second on his reappearance at Exeter in February. Irish Amateur Richie Harding is booked to ride. Both horses will appreciate the good ground.

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