It was a truly memorable year for the yard with 33 winners and £330,000 in prize money (so far), a Champion Amateur in Pat and some progressive types for look forward to in 2018 and beyond. However, this can only happen thanks to an excellent team working hard in the yard and loyal support from all our owners enabling us to enjoy such success.
Duke of Bronte was our leading prize money earner, winning nearly £95,000 and landing a £100,000 Handicap at Ascot. Signs that he could be a potential star first appeared when he was a shock 100/1 winner of a Newbury maiden. As expected, been a half-brother to Taws, he was only going to improve as he was stepped up in trip and another success was gained at Newbury in mid-summer on fast ground. After a disappointing run at Sandown on soft ground, we were unsure what to expect on a similar surface at Ascot. Once again he surprised us by travelling well throughout the contest before he quickened clear to win a shade cosily. He followed that up with a cracking third in a £150,000 Handicap at Newmarket before producing a career best performance when runner-up in a conditions event back at Newbury. He still remains well handicapped off 93 and we hope he can be our next Sergeant Cecil, with the top handicaps and Group races on his horizon next season.
Duke of Bronte was not the only three year to progress rapidly this year with 13 winners emerging from that age group. The most prolific was Sir Plato who emulated Sir Roderic by landing five races, four of which were at Windsor (ironically two of those contests were also won by Sir Roderic). The unique figure of eight track suits him down to the ground and will be back again in 2018 to add to that total. Sweet Pursuit proved extremely tough and consistent, landing two wins at Lingfield and she was the fifth consecutive horse owned by The Always Hopeful Partnership to make their way into the winner’s enclosure. Hawridge Glory progressed nicely stepping up in trip and landed two Amateur races under Pat at Newbury and Salisbury, he should improve again from three to four. Glory of Paris was an impressive winner at Kempton in the spring but was hit hard by the handicapper but ran some solid races in defeat and is another that will improve at four.
Duke of Bronte’s older sister Taws also won three races when returned to the yard. She got off the mark over hurdles at Worcester before landing back to back successes in typically game fashion at Chepstow after finishing fourth in the marathon handicap at Glorious Goodwood. She has been retired to be a broodmare with her career highlight a gallant second in the Queen Alexandra at Royal Ascot and she has been a joy to train. Another to land a hat-trick was the ex-Godolphin trained Langlauf who showed a good attitude when landing a valuable handicap at Chelmsford. She hasn’t run so well recently but hopefully she can get back on track.
Another triple winner was two-year-old filly Daddies Girl who was a very sharp sort in the spring, landing a valuable conditions event at Salisbury. Although she lost her way in the summer, she bounced back on soft ground in the autumn, winning valuable nurseries at Salisbury and Nottingham before a career best effort to finish fourth in a Listed race at Newbury, so close to black type! However, it took her career earnings to over £36,000 despite costing just £5,000.
Stable favourite Master Carpenter had a frustrating season. He showed he retained all his enthusiasm and ability when routing the opposition at York’s Dante meeting. Unfortunately, he also got hit with a 10lb rise and wasn’t quite right in mid-summer which derailed his season. However, it was good to see him finish fourth at York in October and the big handicaps at his beloved Knavesmire will be his aim once again in 2018. Another old favourite is Cotton Club and in a busy season he won twice, on the AW at Chelmsford and on the turf at Salisbury and we wish his new connections good luck over hurdles.
Although he only won the once, Handytalk was unlucky not to add to that tally with some narrow defeats and he was back to the best form he showed as a two-year-old. Having progressed nicely through the ranks at three and four, Champagne Champ found the handicapper in charge but had a solid and consistent season with placed efforts in decent races, picking up nearly £14,000 in prize money. He is set to go novice hurdling and with his love of soft ground he is an exciting recruit to the jumping game.
Talking of the National Hunt game, Bubbles Arcade showed a good turn of foot to win a bumper at Newton Abbot in mid-summer. Sadly she picked up an injury when running on the flat as she looked sure to win races in that sphere. Go Amber Go was a tricky ride but she got off to a spectacular start with runaway wins at Kempton and Bath, taking her career total to four victories.
As well as the yard having a great season, it was also brilliant for Pat to be crowned Champion Gentlemen Amateur on the Turf and Concur got him off to a great start with wins at Redcar and Hamilton, certainly two tracks we rarely make the long trek to but it was definitely worth the effort! Two further wins on Hawridge Glory and a double at Beverley on outside rides sealed the title.
Airshow was a very consistent two year-old, hitting the frame throughout the year before landing a competitive nursery at Newbury in October. Another two-year-old winner was Livingstone Quest, won with ease on soft ground at Ffos Las and like Airshow should have a good three-year-old campaign. Last year’s juveniles improved plenty from two to three and we are hoping that horses like Master Grey, Spotlite, Crystal Casque and Achianna can follow in their footsteps next season.
Although the totals return to zero as we enter the new year, we have some nice two-year-olds to bolster our team of older horses and we look forward to what we hope is another successful season.