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Speed Company Enjoys Successful Scottish Raid


Speed Company has now travelled north of the border four times in his career, winning three starts and finishing fourth on another. His latest venture was to Ayr on Saturday where he took his course record to 2 from 3.

Having contested some hot handicaps this year this race represented a drop in grade for him and he made it pay. The lack of early pace was little against him (he’s at his best when they go quick up front and he gets cover) but Phil Makin did manage to get a bit of cover and didn’t sit too far back off the pace.

After travelling strongly in to the straight he quickened up approaching the final furlong, hitting the front before fending off a fast finishing rival. Speed Company’s win will probably ensure that he will now get a run in the John Smith’s Cup at York (where he will carry a five pound penalty) and it is likely that that will be our next stop with him.

Mr Wagyu Off The Mark


Horses like Mr Wagyu are a delight to train. He is so straightforward and simply wants to please. From early in the year until this point he has just improved bit by bit at home. This improvement has also been reflected on the racecourse with him improving for every start, breaking his maiden tag on his third attempt at Ripon on Thursday.

He was able to put his experience to good use showing good early speed to get across from a poor draw in stall one. Close up throughout, he led over a furlong out and battled well to win by 3/4 of a length in the end.

It will not be long until the nurseries begin and his next stop could well be a handicap or a similar novice event. His attitude allied with the ability that he has shown will continue to stand him in good stead.

Seaella Takes York Seller


After running a very promising race over an inadequate five furlongs on debut Seaella then may have appeared to disappoint on her second start. However, the filly that day got upset in the stalls and compromised her chance at the start. On the back of that race we decided to target the York seller and work back from there.

. It is the most valuable seller of the year and is worth more than most maidens with the winning prize being just short of £10,000.

The race itself went very smoothly. Seaella jumped out of the stalls very well and travelled strongly towards the head of affairs. She was challenged by rivals inside the last couple of furlongs but pulled out plenty to stay on again and win by a length and a half at the line.

We retained the filly for £15,500 at the subsequent auction and she now appeals as the type to do well in nurseries. There is a little bit of stamina in her pedigree and I’d be confident that as the season goes on she will stay seven furlongs.

St Dunstan Wins at Nottingham


St Dunstan’s career thus far has been a little chequered with a catalogue of minor issues causing him set backs over the last couple of years. As a result we haven’t been able to run him as often as we would have liked. On Thursday at Nottingham he made his sixth career start and hit the bullseye for the first time. He showed a game attitude to win division one of the 10 furlong handicap on the card, winning by a head under Jason Hart. This win opens up more avenues and the manor of victory certainly suggests that he might well get a little further as the season goes on.

Further Momentum Behind Safe Voyage


Safe Voyage confirmed himself an improving handicapper at Ayr on Monday evening when he took his career record to four wins from twelve starts; three of those coming this year. He has always been well regarded by our team but a set back as a two year old have meant that it is only now that he is able to confirm the early promise that he showed at home.
During the race itself Safe Voyage was held up off an even pace by Josh Quinn. As the race progressed up the straight it appeared as if luck mightn’t be on our side as horse and rider were boxed in behind a wall of horses. However, they switched to the outside approaching the last furlong. Once out in the clear Safe Voyage surged to hit the front inside the last half furlong before pulling away to win by a comfortable length and a half.
Going forward Safe Voyage holds an entry in a valuable race at Catterick on Saturday. Whether we take up that engagement or not will be decided later in the week. Either way though we will have to step up in grade and take on tougher opposition. Given the horses’ upward profile though he may well be up to handling it.

Reputation Strikes on Derby Day


Derby Day at Epsom is undoubtedly one of the most special of days in the racing calendar. Of course the Derby itself is the highest honour for any racecourse and as a result people travel from far and wide to be part of the spectacle. The supporting card is always a very strong one but it also provides top handicappers to enjoy a day in the sun. That day in the sun this weekend belonged to Reputation who took the last race on the card, a six furlong handicap.

Reputation is a horse who has always shown us a lot of ability. As a two year old he won a maiden at York and last year as a three year old he was luckless in several decent races before winning one at Leicester. He also finished 4th in the three year old handicap at Epsom on Oaks day last year. That run proved to us that he handled the track well. He might have won last year there had the ground not been soft. Soft ground is a huge hindrance to him. Thankfully the ground at Epsom on Saturday was drying all the time after they had had rain there on Friday.

The race itself went very smoothly with Reputation jumping quickly out of the stalls enabling him to track across from a very poor draw in stall 15. In no time Jason Hart had him positioned just behind the leaders on the far rail. Our horse appreciated the strong pace throughout the race and travelled like a dream. When push came to shove he took a little while to hit top stride but when he did he stayed on strongly to hit the front inside the last one hundred yards. It’s great to bag such a big prize with the horse well before the halfway point in the season. There will be many more big pots to aim at for the remainder of it with him.

Miss Tree Makes All at Redcar


Miss Tree showed the benefit of a lay off at Redcar on Monday when she bounced back to her very best in the one mile six furlong handicap. Positively ridden by Jason Hart she made every yard of the running, showing a gutsy attitude to win by a length and three quarters.

The little bit of rain that arrived at Redcar in the morning helped to take the sting out of the ground and that suited our mare ideally. She doesn’t need soft ground but she doesn’t handle very fast ground.

It was nice to train a winner for John Fairley, who we rent our Highfield yard from. He bred the filly and she means a great deal to him. It would be nice to take her tally for the year to two before too long.

Nuala Back Amongst the Winners


Nuala Tagula bounced back to form with a win at Hamilton on Friday night under Jack Garritty. For whatever reason she ran a poor race at Thirsk last time out but she quickly made amends here. After travelling well through the race she quickened up to lead inside the furlong. She probably idled a touch when hitting the front and in the end only won by a head. I do feel she was value for a little bit more though. Hopefully we can find a similar opportunity for her in the coming weeks.

El Astronaute Rockets Round the Roodee


El Astronaute did us proud winning at the Craven meeting a few week’s back on his seasonal reappearance. On Wednesday though at Chester he took his form to another level winning a class 2 five furlong handicap taking his tally for the season to two from two. He is a young sprinter firmly on the upgrade.

Displaying his usual early speed he blitzed out of the gates and made every yard of the running under Jason Hart to win by a neck. It’s quite scary just how fast he is. Jason was taking him back at most points through the race so as not to exert too much energy. He now looks set to feature in many of the major 5 furlong handicaps throughout the season with his next port of call likely to be the Dash at Epsom on Derby day; a track he has won at in the past.

It’s always nice to strike with a winner at a big meeting an El Astronaute did just that for us. Our horses continue in good form. Next week York’s Dante meeting takes centre stage. It would be great to hit the board there too. There are plenty waiting in the wings to run at the supporting meeting as well so I’d hope we may have further positive updates in the near future.

Sunday Sprint Double at Thirsk


We sent two runners to Thirsk on Sunday afternoon and both returned victorious in their respective races. Mr Strutter won the six furlong handicap for three year olds on the card under Josh Quinn whilst Zanetto won the six furlong handicap for older horses under Jason Hart. In doing so both were registering their first wins for the yard.

Mr Strutter’s profile had been a little patchy in recent times but I had a feeling he wasn’t as well suited to racing on the all weather as he was on the turf. His form in handicaps on grass last season was OK but he hadn’t matched it in recent starts. Here though, back on quick ground, he showed great enthusiasm from the off and made every yard of the running to score by a neck. The handicapper shouldn’t be too hard on him after this win and I’d have thought he will remain competitve in similar handicaps.

Zanetto looked set for a good season last year when finishing fourth on debut at York. In truth though he struggled to build on that. I was never happy with his demeanour as the year went on and feel with hindsight he was never quite right. This time around though he has returned in good order (and off a lower handicap mark) and took advantage of that to win very snugly in the end. He could still be fairly treated providing the handicapper doesn’t overreact and it would be nice to see him resume his progress from here on in.

Ancient Astronaut Back in Business


Ancient Astronaut capped what has been an excellent week for the yard when winning at Thirsk on Saturday. He would have been an unlucky loser had he been beaten as he was hampered twice in the early part of the race yet overcame it to win by 3/4 of a length at the line. In truth he did not need to better the pick of his form to win this as he had become fairly treated on some of his old form.

I would hope that the horse might progress from this (we have always held him in decent regard). As sprinters go he is only a young horse and it wouldn’t surprise me if he enjoyed a better season as a four year old than he did last year as three year old.

His win was our eleventh flat winner of the season. Our horses seem in good form and i’m happy that there are plenty waiting in the wings to run and win. Here’s hoping Ancient Astronaut can add to the tally down the line.


El Astronaute Up and Running at the Craven Meeting


24 hours on from Project Bluebook’s success in Ireland El Astronaute registered an important win on home turf at Newmarket. This win, his first since a gelding operation over the weekend signalled that he could be up to contesting some of the better 5 furlong handicaps this year.

After displaying his usual blistering speed from the starting stalls El Astronaute led the field a merry dance before being headed by his rivals approaching the furlong pole. What was lovely to see after this was the tenacity he showed to battle back and get up on the line under Jason Hart.

As I say all of the major sprint handicaps will be on his agenda now. I feel he has improved enough to feature in them this time around. There is huge money on offer in these races and it would be brilliant to land on one of them with him.

Project Bluebook Breaks New Ground in Ireland


A sterling first season over timber was capped by Project Bluebook on Easter Monday when he took the Grade 2 juvenile hurdle on the Irish Grand National card. Here we saw a new side to the horse whose jumping wasn’t as slick as it can be and he had to show tremendous heart to come out on top in a tight finish under Barry Geraghty. I might add that the man on his back wasn’t too shabby either!

Project Bluebook had travelled over to Ireland the day before the race and settled in to his new surroundings very quickly. The early part of his race went to plan too, but a mistake at the third hurdle seemed to knock him out of a rhythm. He struggled to regain that rhythm throughout the remainder of the race. Turning in for home our horse was off the bridle but still very much in contention when things got tight between himself and the other two horses that fought it out. Our horse was very brave in squeezing through a small gap approaching the last hurdle. However, after jumping the last he still had a length and a half to find. Project Bluebook dug deep though and showed great tenacity to get up and win close home.

This victory was a landmark one for our yard. Project’s win was our first winner in Ireland. Whilst down the years we haven’t had a huge number of runners there it was nice to break the maiden tag in my homeland. It was also our first winner for J P McManus who kindly left the horse with us after purchasing him in February. Myself and my team were left feeling very proud coming out of the Easter weekend. And why not?

Acadian Angel Flies Home on Second Start


There was plenty of promise to be gleaned from Acadian Angel’s first start at Newcastle just under a month ago and she built on it to win at the second time of asking at Pontefract on Tuesday. On that first occasion she missed the break but stayed on to good effect to finish second behind a well touted winner. At Pontefract, however, she jumped on terms and despite being trapped wide for much of the race on what is a turning track she had enough in reserve to dig deep and get on top inside the final hundred yards.

She is a filly that we have always liked but last year as a two year old she was immature and backward. The time that we gave her has paid off though as she is now starting to fill her large frame and strengthen. I would hope that she can go on and improve further this year. Whilst imminently her future may lie in handicaps I would love to try and get some black type with her as it would make this daughter of Dark Angel very valuable indeed when she eventually retires to the breeding shed.

Breeze Up Season Underway at Tattersalls Ascot


The breeze ups have been a great sourse for success for us down the years having purchased the likes of The Wow Signal, Red Duke and New Planet as well as a significant number of winners from them. Our preparation for them this year has been more rigorous than ever with Sean visiting 12 leading breeze up farms in Ireland and England last week. This allowed us to obtain consignors opinions on their horses before they head to their respective sales. With him having viewed well over 200 horses prior to the sales starting we feel we are firmly on the front foot.

Tattersalls Ascot breeze up sale has been good to us in the past; it was the sale that The Wow Signal graduated from, and we came away from yesterday’s sale with two new recruits. First up was lot 15, a Worthadd colt from Mocklershill stables. We had seen this horse at his home in Ireland and knew the reputation that Willie Browne held him in going in to the sale. He produced a pleasing breeze, galloping strongly to and through the finishing post. After suggesting to Al Shaqab racing that he might be an ideal horse for them we were very pleased when they agreed and he was purchased for £130,000 through agents Peter and Ross Doyle.

Lot 30 was a colt by Lawman who I had heard good reports on last month from Ireland and he certainly didn’t let his viewers down when galloping very impressively up Ascot racecourse on Tuesday afternoon. He breezed in a very quick time and his rider struggled to pull him up as he passed the winning post and galloped down the back straight. This horse has a pedigree to suggest he could make a good two year old (his mother was a listed winner at two and his brother a Group 3 winner at two) and I cannot wait to get him home, learn more about him and prepare him now for the races. He was purchased for £50,000 by Sean and Richard Knight.

The bandwagon rolls on to Goffs UK at Doncaster next week where we hope we can make more promising additions to our team. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch to register your interest.

Cosmic Tigress registers third career win


Whilst the horses have performed well over the last week or so many of them had hit the crossbar and filled the places. This was highlighted on Wednesday when we sent three to Newcastle and all three finished second. Runs like that have happened before and will happen again but it is still frustrating when it does. On the same said day Project Bluebook ran a marvellous race to finish fourth in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham. His perfomance suggests that a big handicap should be his for the taking over the next year or so.

Cosmic Tigress’ win at Wolverhampton was gained by the narrowest margin of a nose. In truth she was beaten just before the line and just after the line but she put her head down when it mattered, showing a cracking attitude when coming under pressure. This was her third career win having already won once over hurdles and once on the level prior to this success. Her win was the eighth of the flat season for the yard.

2017 tally hits double figures in record time


Spirit Of Zebedee took his record for the year to two wins and a second place from just three starts at Lingfield on Thursday afternoon. In doing so he took the yard’s record for the year to 10 – 7 flat winners and 3 jump winners.

The decision to give Spirit Of Zebedee a little break pre-Christmas has paid dividends as he returned a fresh horse and one that is thriving at the minute. Whilst Lingfield is a long way to travel we felt the journey was worth it as on paper he appeared to have a favourite’s chance.

Jason Hart adopted a prominent position on the horse in the early part of the race, sitting just behind the leader. Whilst he came off the bridle before the majority of others in the race I loved the way he knuckled down and responded to pressure to rally and win by a neck. I have run the horse three times in quite quick succession so may just give him a small chance now, freshen him up again before trying to bag another win.

Indian Pursuit Plays Part in Early Season Effort


A promising reapperance which just saw Indian Pursuit get caught in the shadows of the post was improved upon at Newcastle on Tuesday evening as he produced a gutsy display to come out on top in a photo finish this time. We all felt that he had slipped to handicap mark that was very workable and that all we required was normal luck. That came our way as Indian Pursuit enjoyed a lovely tow in to the race, settling just behind the leaders before being produced by jockey Jason Hart inside the last furlong.

The narrow margin of victory (a head officially) should ensure that we remain competitively treated when we next go racing with Indian Pursuit. Therefore, I’d hope we can win again with him in the not too distant future. His win was his owner Malcolm Walker’s second in the past week. Congratulations to him and his family.

Back With a Bang - Worlds His Oyster


It was great to see Worlds His Oyster post a career best performance at Newcastle on Tuesday when he took the feature race on the card. Whilst he has enjoyed a decent career to date, winning as a two and three year old, I hope that now might be the time he really takes his career forward. We have always held him in good regard and arguably he has not enjoyed the best of luck to date. Decent ground is key to the horse and on occasions last year the ground just proved too easy for him.

That was never going to be an excuse on this occasion as he works well on our Polytrack surface at home and he proved well suited to the Tapeta that now lies on Gosforth Park. He was able to get a little bit of cover behind the leaders in the early part of the race and when switched by Jason Hart with just under three furlongs to go he showed and impressive turn of foot to win by two and a quarter lengths. He looks worthy of stepping up in class again and I might aim him at the Lincoln trial that will be run at Wolverhampton in March.

Spirit Of Zebedee Strike Makes Seven


Spirit Of Zebedee’s win at Newcastle on Saturday night was our seventh winner of the calendar year. The small team assembled for the early part of the year have performed admirably and I hope they are providing strong foundations for when the rest of the yard re-enter the fray in a couple of months.

Spirit Of Zebedee himself enjoyed a good 2016, notching a couple of wins to his belt. A good reappearance run at Newcastle a few weeks back when he finished second put him spot on for this effort and he won by a hard fought 3/4 of a length. He is a horse who just does enough when winning his races and I hope that will ensure he remains fairly enough treated to win and be competitive in more races as the year goes on. Our congratulations go out to Malcolm Walker and his family.

Earlier in the day Project Bluebook ran an admirable race in defeat in the Triumph Hurdle trial in Scotland. I was satisfied with his run and without making excuses hope we can have him even better in the Spring. I am still confident there is a big day in him this season.

Onwards and Upwards for Safe Voyage


The decision to take up the option of running Safe Voyage again at Newcastle on Friday night paid dividends as he backed up his recent victory with another. Being able to run off exactly the same mark as the one he had won off the week before made him appear very hard to beat on paper. That translated to the track as he made every yard of the running to win by a length and a half under Jason Hart.

The initial plan wasn’t necessarily to make the running but the lack of early pace saw him left in front and Jason used his head to dictate the race. I feel he’s probably better when he has a quick early pace to run off but at least here he showed his versatility in that respect.

Life will get tougher now for Safe Voyage as he will have to race off his revised mark of 81. However, as I’ve said on here in the past he is a horse that we have always had a good opinion of. It would be nice of he were to prove himself up to running in and winning good handicaps as the year progresses. For now though we will attempt to strike further while the iron is hot.

Safe Voyage Back in the Groove


I’ve always held Safe Voyage in good regard since his two year old days, however, it’s fair to say thus far he hasn’t been the luckiest of horses. That could be set to change though after he ran out an emphatic winner at Newcastle on Saturday night under stable apprentice Josh Quinn.

A strong early pace allowed him to settle in mid-division and whilst he hit a flat spot mid-race he powered home in the latter stages to win by a couple of lengths. As this was an apprentice race he will be able to run again before he is reassessed by the handicapper without a penalty. He holds and entry back at Newcastle next Friday evening and that is an option we might explore if the horse pleases us at home between now and then.

Safe Voyage’s win was our fifth winner since the new year and also his owner Ross Harmon’s fourth. I’m encouraged by our start to the year and am confident we can keep the ball rolling as our team at home is as promising as we’ve ever had.

Project Bluebook's Forward Momentum Continues


Rapid improver Project Bluebook continued on the upward curve at Musselburgh on Friday when taking the feature race on the card, a 0-135 handicap in good style. We were pitching him in to the deep end slightly as this was only his third start over obstacles and he was taking on plenty of battle hardened types who have been around the block. However, he came through with flying colours to run out a two and a half length winner.

It’s great to see Project Bluebook improve at the rate that he has since switching to hurdles. Whilst I was encouraged by his first run at Catterick I did hope for improvement and thankfully that has come about. He has now won his owner Ross Harmon nearly £20,000 since the turn of the year and I would hope that there are bigger prizes to be landed with him going forward.

I have been lucky to have trained some very good juvenile hurdlers in recent years and Project Bluebook looks like following suit. It seems at this time of the year that any impressive jumping winner is immediately given quotes for Cheltenham by bookmakers. Whilst he looks well up to competing in that arena both myself and Ross will not be drawn in to anything at this stage. There is an abundance of options for a horse like him in the spring, not only at Cheltenham but also at the likes of Aintree, Ayr, Fairyhouse and Punchestown. Wherever he does end up though it is hugely exciting for us all.

Master Of Irony now two from three over hurdles


January may be the bleakest of all months but I’ve been encouraged by the way our team has started the year. Our runners at this time of year are a little more select with us having a handful of jumpers operating alongside the all weather team but horses under both codes are performing right up to their best.

Master Of Irony’s victory at Market Rasen was our third of the year and his second win from only three starts. I have been delighted with how he has taken to jumping so far. He is a very athletic horse whose jumping has improved with each start; as you would expect or certainly hope.

The lack of pace in Wednesday’s race meant that Brian Hughes chose to sit right on the heels of the leaders throughout before setting Master Of Irony to task between the second last and last hurdle. He jumped each of them with aplomb and hit the front coming to the last flight before showing a good turn of foot to win by just under three lengths. I believe there is more to come from the horse over hurdles and hope he might land a nice handicap in the spring. He is also lightly raced on the flat and we will definitely explore that avenue too when the turf season gets underway in a couple of months.

The flat team are up and running


‘Good things comes those who wait’ – so the saying goes. Whilst it’s never a hardship waiting a couple of minutes for a smooth pint of the black stuff being poured waiting a couple of years for a horse to get his head in front is a little more frustrating. That is what Ross Harmon and myself have had to do though with Tred Softly who broke his maiden tag at Wolverhampton on Monday. In fairness to the horse he is a stoutly bred type who was only beginning to find his feet last year when a little setback meant he needed time on the sidelines.

After showing promise to finish third on his first couple of outings back he improved at Wolverhampton to get his own show on the road. He would have been an unlucky loser as after getting a good early position he got stuck behind a bit of deadwood in the middle part of the race which allowed the second and third placed horses to get first run on him. However, when he got daylight in the straight he surged home strongly to get up in the shadows of the post.

I would hope that he can go on from this initial win and win more races this year. His pedigree would suggest that he should go on improving. Whilst he is in such good heart I will continue to drive on with him on the all weather but I do feel he will win his fair share of races back on the turf too.

Project wins at Musselburgh


Project Bluebook’s win in the valuable juvenile hurdle at Musselburgh was a cracking way to start the year for the horse, our team and his owner Ross Harmon. This was his second start over hurdles having finished second at Catterick on his debut, offering plenty to work on. He confirmed the promise of that debut here to defeat his Catterick conqueror Nietzche by 15 lengths this time around.
We landed this race three years ago with Rutherglen and it was nice to bring home the near £13,000 prize again. There aren’t that many opportunities for juveniles in the North worth that much so we were keen to target it after his debut effort.
2016 was a good year for Project Bluebook with him winning three times on the level. I’m hopeful that 2017 might prove to be even better for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to land another decent prize in the Spring and feel that he might not be done improving on the flat just yet. We may not have as many jumpers this season as we have had in recent seasons but in this horse we might just have one with the ability to compete on a big stage.

Master Of Irony Makes Winning Stable Debut


Recent Tattersalls horses in training purchase Master Of Irony made his debut for the team at Catterick on Tuesday (December 13th) and ran out an impressive winner under Brian Hughes. His two main market rivals had the benefit of experience over obstacles and they tried to put our horse to the sword. However, despite giving them a little bit of rope down the back straight he was able to reel them in up the straight to win well by three lengths in the end.
I would hope that there might be a nice handicap in Master Of Irony in the Spring but until then we will try and fill him with experience as tougher tasks surely await. He is still a lightly raced horse on the level with only 11 runs under his belt and at some stage I would look forward to running him back on the flat.
He has already given his new group of owners an immediate return and looks well worth the 46,000 guineas that he cost. On the same card Project Bluebook shaped very well on his hurdling debut to finish getting second to a rival with the benefit of two runs to his name. It shouldn’t be too long before he sheds his maiden tag as well.



We may be quiet with regards to runners on the racecourse at the moment but we are nicely busy at home. The majority of our yearlings are broken in and are cantering steadily on the gallops. The more forward types that will be ready to run in the early part of next season will remain in full training from here on in whilst there are some who will need more time. They will get an easy time of things in the New Year to allow them to mature.

Our existing flat horses who in the main performed so admirably this season are enjoying a winter break. Some are just back in training with a view to having them ready for all weather racing in the New Year. The remainder of them will come back in to training in January at some point depending on how early in the year we feel we will need them to hit the track.

There aren’t as many jumpers in the yard as we have had in recent years. This is not something I had actively pushed for but more just that the demand among owners in the yard is predominantly for flat horses. That said we have some novices who are nearly ready to hit the track. I am particularly looking forward to sending Project Bluebook juvenile hurdling whilst recent purchase Master Of Irony is schooling well and will be seen in a novice hurdle before too long.

Speed Company Back in Business


After winning at Newmarket at the start of the year I had hoped that Speed Company might progress in to making a very smart handicapper and possibly even progress in to a listed performer. His form slightly tapered off in the summer but we gave him short break and since then he has returned in great nick. Friday’s victory at Doncaster suggests that he may actually be better than ever.

Reunited with Ryan Moore who had got such a great tune out of him in the spring Speed Company settled in the rear of the field through the race, getting plenty of cover from his rivals. Stalking his rivals all the way up the home straight he was produced inside the final furlong and showed a blistering turn of foot to power home and win by a length and a half.

I feel that there might be more to come from the horse as a four year old and would love to think that one day he could turn up in a John Smiths Cup at York. His rating is lofty enough for him to compete on a global stage and given the form that he seems in at the moment we may consider campaigning him overseas through the winter. Something like the Qatar Derby could be right up his street.

The Future's Bright for Irish Optimism


I have written before that last year during his two year old season we had held Irish Optimism in pretty high regard. It may have taken longer than I had thought it would but we are now starting to see him do just what I always thought he could. On Thursday evening at Chelmsford he took his career tally to three wins from nine starts. He has only failed to make the frame on one of his other starts.
After he won his maiden over six furlongs earlier in the year I thought that he might make in to a nice sprinter. However, in recent months he has looked like he has been crying out for further and since stepping up to one mile his form figures read 211. At Chelmsford he travelled well before hitting a slight flat spot. He did though come back on the bridle pretty quickly. He found himself stuck in a bit of a pocket turning in but his jockey Jason Hart took the brave route up the inside and when a gap came he quickened through it well to put the race to bed quite swiftly. At the line he was a length and a half up over his rivals but was value for a good bit more.
Irish Optimism is set for a date at the sales next week in Newmarket. Being a progressive three year old who will have a rating somewhere in the mid-80s when he sells I would expect him to prove popular. If we sell him then I’m sure he will do well wherever he may end up in the world. If he wasn’t to make what his owner Ross Harmon deems a fair price I will consider putting him away and teeing him up for the Spring Mile at Doncaster next year. He should make in to a really smart handicapper at four.

Catterick Treble Caps a Fine Weekend


Saturday proved to be a memorable day for the yard as we sent out three winners at Catterick. What was satisfying is that all three were different types of horses for different owners and they were ridden by different jockeys. This season we have not used a ‘stable jockey’ so to speak but instead have used five or six different ones who each come in and help ride work on a morning. I am very satisfied with how it has worked out and I think the results speak for themself.

Our first winner was Man Of Verve in the two year old six furlong maiden. He was purchased by Jeremy Glover at the Goresbridge breeze up sales earlier this year and has shown gradual improvement since joining us. He showed good speed from the gate to get across from a wide draw under Jason Hart and despite being headed inside the last two furlongs he showed a gutsy attitude to fight back and get on top late on. This attitude should stand him in good stead in the future. I used to ride a little bit for Jeremy as a jockey and got great satisfaction out of training him a winner here.

Trendsetter has been an admirably consistent sort for us over the past couple of seasons and he took his seasonal tally to two when winning the claimer under Jack Garritty. As he so often does he travelled very strongly in to the race before staying on powerfully to win by four lengths. He was claimed from us after the race but leaves us having won three races for his owners under our care. He was a lovely horse to have around the yard and will be missed.

The hat-trick was brought up by Miss Tree when she won the final race on the card, an apprentice handicap ridden by our own apprentice Josh Quinn. Josh has been with us for a couple of months and this was his first winner since his move up North. Miss Tree herself is owned by John Fairley who is our landlord at Highfield and I was delighted that he made it to Catterick to see her win.

Miss Tree’s victory was significant as it brought up our 50th flat winner of the season. This is the first time we have achieved the feat and a big well done has to be said to my whole team who have helped to make it happen. Our horses have stayed healthy throughout the season and with the strength in depth we now have on the flat I had hoped we might get near that number this year. There are still a few horses left to run between now and the year end so I would hope that we are not finished there.

Trading Point on Point at Haydock


Trading Point shaped with huge promise on debut at the Ayr Western meeting when finishing second in what looked a pretty hot renewal. His subsequent homework suggested to us that he had improved since that run and we were quietly confident that he might shed his maiden tag at Haydock on Friday. That said the race appeared to be quite deep with a whole host of well bred newcomers taking their place in the lineup. However, he showed a professional attitude to make all of the running and win a shade cosily under Phil Makin.

He is a horse that I have adored since purchasing him at the breeze up sales in May. In truth though he was on my radar well before then as William Slattery who prepared him for the sale had been telling me through the Spring that he had a Siyouni colt that he had a big opinion of. He has been proven right and if anything there looks like there could be even more to come from this scopey, late maturing horse. He is going to make in to a lovely three year old for his owner Sheikh Abdullah Al Malek Al Sabah. Sheikh is a new owner to the yard this season and I am delighted that both of his two year olds in training with us are now maiden winners

Moonlight Brings Up Seasonal Best Score


Moonlightnavigator’s win at Ayr on Thursday afternoon saw us reach our best ever total in a flat season, bringing our score so far to 46 winners. I am very lucky to have had a good string of horses that have remained healthy for the most part of the season. The string have held their form well throughout the year and it is good that even at this late stage in the year there are still horses with wins in them.

Moonlightnavigator himself has enjoyed a really good season winning twice and hitting the frame on five other occasions. The only times that he has run below form this year are when the ground has been riding fast. He is just not the same horse on quick ground. He has also proven this year that he is pretty versatile regarding his favoured trip. He seems equally effective over seven furlongs or a mile.

Dougie Costello has built up a good rapport with the horse this year and he got him in to a lovely position just behind the leaders who were striding on at a good pace. Upon turning in to the straight he was momentarily caught flat footed before digging in and responding well to pressure to hit the front inside the final furlong.  It is undecided as to whether he has one more run this year or we finish him. Either way he’s been a good horse to have this year and I’d hope there might be more to come in 2017.

Nuala Tagula Sheds Maiden Tag on Debut for Yard


I was very pleased to receive Nuala Tagula in to the yard about a month ago as I felt that she is just the type that can make hay at this time of year. She is (or was) a lightly raced three year old sprint maiden with fresh legs. At this time of year when horses have been on the go for a long time fresh legs are so important.

After studying her Irish form I felt that she was more than up to winning a sprint maiden with the hope of progressing in to handicaps. The first part of that is now done as she won at Newcastle on Friday night. We decided to claim off her as she was in effect a handicapper back against maidens and that looked a good move when Adam McNamara steered her to next success. In truth though she always looked like she would get up to win once pulled out in to the open.

As I said I think she could now hold her own back in handicaps and win one or two for the team. Her ability to handle an artificial surface is a big bonus at this time of year when the turf season does begin to wind down a little.

El Beau Bounces Back to Form


Consistency and a never-say-die attitude saw El Beau rise up the handicap last season. As a result he started this season as high as he’d want to be in the ratings and just found life a little tough in the first half of it. However, his mark has fallen in recent times as a result of some lesser efforts and he was able to capitalise on it at Hamilton on Tuesday afternoon.

There might have only been four runners but El Beau’s supremacy at the finish was apparent for all to see as he cruised home to enjoy a two length win, unextended in the hands of Tom Eaves.

He holds an entry at York this coming Sunday in a race he won last year and if he is well between now and then may take it up. It was great to see a real favourite in the yard come back to something like his best and I would hope that we can add further handicaps to his CV before the turf season is out.

Bank Holiday Bonanza with Epsom Treble


Monday turned out to be one of our best days of the year with us sending three runners to Epsom and the three of them landing the spoils. I had fancied our horses to run well across the country and would have been disappointed not to have come away from one meeting without a winner but I had never thought we would be lucky enough to win three races at such a competitive venue.
The first leg of the trouble was won by Ancient Astronaut, a horse who I have always held in good regard but one who essentially had been disappointing earlier on this season. His latest start at Chester from a wide draw wasn’t too bad though and I had kept him for this race since then as it was a qualifier for the grass-roots sprint final later in the year. He was a little keen early on but Silvestre De Sousa kept enough up his sleeve for the final furlong. In the end he won going away and should now start to build on the promise he had shown as a two year old.

Silvestre De Sousa was in the saddle for Ross Harmon again half an hour later when steering El Astronaute to victory in the five furlong 0-100 handicap. He had run really well last time at the Ebor meeting to finish fourth from a poor draw and proved his wellbeing here. After jumping smartly from the gates he raced towards the head of affairs. Sent on a couple of furlongs out he looked as if he might go and win quite comfortably before veering left, hanging from the stands rail right over to the far rail. In doing so he forfeited plenty of ground but still had enough in the tank to win by half a length. He may make a quick reappearance at Haydock or Thirsk on Saturday.

The Pro-Claimers had won the Amateur Derby with Beacon Lady and their frontman, Mick Stone, had asked me to keep Hubertas for the race a little while ago. As he had run well around the track at the Derby meeting in June this seemed a good idea. We decided to book leading Irish amateur jockey Jamie Codd to take the ride and aren’t I glad we did?! He showed plenty of nous and class to coax Hubertas in to the race before powering through a gap to win by 3/4 of a length. Jamie won the 2009 Kim Muir chase for me aboard Character Building and it was great he could land another prestigious race here.

A huge thank you goes out to my staff at home for the part they have played in making this happen and of course I’d like to extend my congratulations to the owners of the three horses involved in the treble.

The Stalking Moon Rises at Redcar


Since purchasing The Stalking Moon in May at the breeze up sales I have always held a soft spot for her. I bought her on spec at Goresbridge and it actually took me a little while to sell her. However, her owner David Ward is fully deserving of a decent one and in this filly I hope that is exactly what he has.

She has shown up really well in three competitive novice and maiden events but had hit the crossbar on a couple of occasions as well as showing promise at Glorious Goodwood in a maiden that’s worked out very well.

We pitched her in to calmer waters at Redcar on Saturday evening and she was able to take full advantage of it winning well by over two lengths under Tom Eaves. She travelled powerfully and always looked like winning when push came to shove.

I think The Stalking Moon is a filly who could land a decent nursery this season and that will likely be her next port of call. Her win took us to 39 for the current turf season.

London Grammar Hits the Right Note at Thirsk


London Grammar’s consistency was rewarded at Thirsk on Friday when she won the maiden claimer on the card to put a string of seconds to bed and claim her first win. The step up to a mile proved well within her grasp as she stayed on powerfully under P J McDonald to win by just over a length.

She was the best in at the weights and took full advantage of that. She is also proving to be remarkably versatile, showing decent form at plating level from six furlongs up to a mile.

There was no claim for her after the race which means happily we have brought her home to fight another day for us. I am sure that she will win again this year either in plating company or back in handicaps. She has a mark in the low 60s that she would be able to operate from.

Cosmic Tigress Pounces for Prize at Musselburgh


The Cosmic Cases have been incredibly patient with their homebred mare Cosmic Tigress and that patience paid dividends as she won at Musselburgh on Wednesday, breaking her maiden tag in the process. Funnily enough Musselburgh was also the track at which she broke her maiden over hurdles too.

I had fancied her to run well at Hamilton last time out but the ground proved to be far too quick for her and she seemed to struggle on the contours of the course. The form book would strongly suggest that she is well suited to flat, level tracks.

Cosmic Tigress had held several entries in recent days and thankfully we chose the right race in which to send her for as there were initially six declarations but this was reduced to four on the morning of the race owing to two non runners. This was her first crack at two miles on the flat and she stayed it well. That said I would not mind dropping back in trip a little bit either. I would hope from her lowly rating that she could have more wins in her in the near future. It would be nice for her owners if those wins were North of the border but we’ll head anywhere in search of a winner!


Reputation Gets the Rub of the Green


It’s fair to say that Reputation hasn’t been the luckiest horse in the yard so far this season. A horror show at Pontefract two starts back was followed by a very creditable run at Goodwood last time out when again not much went right for him.

At Leicester on Tuesday night though he was able to show his ability with an authoritative win in the sprint handicap on the card. His slight tardiness out of the stalls worked in his favour as from stall one Silvestre De Sousa was able to drop him and get plenty of cover. He travelled strongly through the race and approaching the furlong pole when the gaps came he was able to power through them and win going away at the line.

Reputation is clearly thriving at present. Whilst the long term aim would be a crack at the Ayr Bronze or Silver Cup with him I doubt I will wait that long before sending him to the track again.


Trendsetter on the Trail


A mid-summer break saw Trendsetter return to the track in rude health, winning at Carlisle on Wednesday afternoon. He’s always been a horse possessing a decent engine but needs to key criteria to produce his best. The first of them is a decent pace to run off and the second is to be produced as late as possible. Whilst the pace wasn’t as strong as he’d appreciate (he took quite a pull through the race) his jockey Jack Garritty was at pains to wait to hit the front on him despite him cruising all over his rivals.

This win came off a career high mark and things will get even tougher for him next time. However, he ran very well up in a race at Ayr’s Western meeting last time out and that may well be his next port of call. Hopefully the team can squeeze another win out of him this season.


Two Year Olds at the Double at Colwick and Catterick


This past week has been one of the quieter ones in recent times with us only having a total of five runners across it. That didn’t mean that standards on the racecourse and performances dropped as we enjoyed two winners and two seconds from those five runners.

Friday (12/08/16) was a most satisfactory day as both of our winners that featured in an across the card double were two year olds that were shedding their maiden tags. First up came Halawain at Nottingham. He has been a work in progress since joining us from the breeze up sales earlier in the year. Whilst he has always shown plenty of raw ability he hasn’t really know how to race up until now. That all changed here though as he showed the benefit of a couple of runs to make all off the running under Martin Harley. Martin felt we could upgrade Halawain’s performance a touch too as there was quite a strong headwind blowing down the track. We will go handicapping with him now and he could be the sort to win a decent nursery before the season is out. I do think he will go on progressing.

The evening meeting at Catterick was our next destination and Trick Of The Lyte took the feature race on the card, landing the six furlong nursery. Similarly to Halawain he has improved and is thriving with racing. He had shaped well recently at Chester on his latest start when finishing fourth despite being drawn widest of all. He was given a brave ride by Cam Hardie who went right up the inner throughout on him and produced him inside the final furlong to win by 3/4 length. He may have been value for a little further though and strikes as the type to win again before too long.

Mistiroc on Top in Shergar Cup


Recent Chester winner struck again on an even bigger stage on Saturday as he came out on top in the Shergar Cup Challenge at Ascot. The Shergar Cup is an event in which you need plenty of luck before the race has even begun as riders are drawn from a hat for their intended mounts. I was delighted to secure the services of Martin Harley for our horse who is one of the country’s best riders and who has also tasted top level success at Ascot.

Mistiroc was sent to the front after a furlong as the pace in the race appeared pretty slack and there he remained throughout. Turning he was travelling as well as anything else in the race but the worry was that he might be a sitting target for something lurking in behind. However, Harley asked him to extend off the bend and he did just that, knuckling down well to win by a length and a quarter.

It is only now that Mistiroc is producing on the track what he shows at home. There are a couple of reasons for that though. Firstly, he seems much happier going forward in the early part of a race and if not making the running then certainly being in the van. Secondly, the application of a visor has worked a treat. I don’t feel that Mistiroc is ungenuine – you only have to look at how he knuckled down at the weekend to see that – but that he wasn’t fully concentrating through his races. He is sure to rise again in the weights and whilst it will be tough to land another big pot, given the form he’s in at the moment, you wouldn’t rule it out entirely.

Worlds His Oyster Hits Top Stride at Haydock


The signs had been there in recent weeks that Worlds His Oyster might be about to hit top form following a couple of good runs at Chester. On Friday afternoon at Haydock he pieced everything together and came out on top in a mile handicap on the card.

I have long felt that he is probably a better horse on quicker ground and think he probably just got a bit stuck in the ground on his last two starts prior to this one. However, with the ground riding good to firm he hopped off it and seemed to travel and then pick up in the latter part of his race with ease.

He strikes me as a progressive three year old with more still to come. His mark will slide back in to the low eighties but I would not be surprised were he able to prove up to winning again in the coming weeks providing conditions are right from him.

Three Up for Bluebook in Catterick Win


Project Bluebook took his tally to three for the season and confirmed himself a young stayer still on the up with a snug victory at Catterick on Tuesday (02/08/16). We have pitched him in to some quite deep three year old races in recent months that have worked out very well. Here he found himself in calmer waters and took full advantage of it.

He was able to travel strongly off a decent gallop through the early part of the race and his rider Jason Hart had him in a lovely position turning for home, where it was quite apparent he was going to be hard to beat. Inside the final furlong a fellow three year old came to challenge him but when getting to his hindquarters Project Bluebook found more.

This was Project Bluebook’s first crack at older horses and over the trip of one mile six furlongs he was receiving 13lbs weight for age. I believe that this weight allowance is simply too much for older horses to concede at this time of year so intend to try and take full advantage of it again with him next time out.

There are further wins in him on the flat this season and if his owner Ross Harmon chooses to jump him I think he could make a smart juvenile hurdler. He is the closest thing to Countrywide Flame that I have had in recent seasons and I don’t doubt he could be a horse capable of showing up in a Triumph Hurdle in seven months time

Navigator Lights Up Ladies Night


Moonlightnavigator gained a deserved first success of the season at Carlisle on Monday evening (01/08/16) under an excellent ride from Josephine Gordon. In the process he put an end to a frustrating run of seconds at Ayr in recent weeks.

Although we had planned to try and get to the front the speed early was frenetic and so we had to settle for second. After travelling smoothly he hit a flat spot at halfway before staying on powerfully to get up inside the last half furlong.

He was winning off six pounds lower than his highest winning mark which gives me confidence that there are more wins in him this season. As I have raced him quite aggressively though in recent weeks I may give him an easier time and prepare for the autumn with him in the knowledge that he appreciates a bit of juice in the ground.

Rough Ride but Safe Voyage Comes out on Top


We have had to be very patient with Safe Voyage after he met with a setback following his first run as a two year old last season. I had thought at the time that he was one of our better types based on the homework that he had been producing. Thankfully he is owned by the right person in Ross Harmon who gave me all the time I needed with the horse, never losing faith in him (or me!).

A couple of decent efforts in maidens this year signalled that he could be the type to do well in handicaps this season and that proved to be the case as he ran out a ready winner at Thirsk on Friday (29/07/16). His passage through the race was not trouble free and he was quite badly hampered at halfway but still had enough ability to overcome it and run out a ready winner.

As it was an apprentice race we now have the option to run him in a similar race without a penalty (he is in at Brighton on Friday). Whether I do run him or not depends on how he comes out of this victory. I may decide to take my time with him as he is a horse we have waited for and one that I feel has a bright future.

George Gets it Right at Gosforth Park


George Reme is a horse we have liked since the day we purchased him at Doncaster just under twelve months ago after filling our eyes up at the sales ring. His debut run at Doncaster was full of promise but signalled to us that he was ready for seven furlongs at this stage of his career. At Newcastle on Saturday (23/07/16) the step up to that trip proved to be right up his street as he won in the hands of Jack Garritty.

The pacemakers went an honest clip from the get-go and George came under pressure at around the halfway point. It was from there on in that he really impressed me though as he responded greatly to his riders urgings to stay on strongly and get up in the dying strides to win by a nose.

I’m pretty confident that he is a horse who will stay a mile this year and could improve further for a step up to that trip. We will likely try our hand in nurseries now with him and I would hope that he could be competitive in a decent one before the season is out. His owners Rob and Elaine Houlton have plenty to look forward to with him both this season and looking further in to the future too.

The Merry Go Round Keeps Spinning with Zebedee


A frustrating day at Catterick on Wednesday (20/07/16) which saw our first three runners finish second ended on a high note as Spirit Of Zebedee followed up Saturday’s win with another in the hands of P J McDonald. Saturday’s success came in a 0-70 whereas this race was a 0-60, thus representing a drop in grade and this handsome grey capitalized on it to win by 3/4 of a length.

He is a horse who only just does enough and tends to keep a little bit up his sleeve. Therefore, I would hope that we can strike again soon whilst the iron is hot with him. It may have taken a little longer than I’d have hoped but I am pleased to see that he is starting to fulfil his potential.

The Lynch Man Leaves it Late at Ayr


The fitting of a first time visor twinned with a return to a mile worked the trick for The Lynch Man as he took the finale at Ayr on Monday under Cam Hardie. I had been a little frustrated that he hadn’t progressed as I’d hoped he might this season but a lot of credit has to go to his owner Bob McMillan who suggested that we fit him with some headgear in a bid to sharpen him up. The headgear worked as he travelled sweetly but also found plenty for pressure – not something he’d always done this year.

I was delighted to train a winner for Bob who has been a supporter of the yard for a good number of years now. He gets huge pleasure out of watching his horses run and I hope this upturn in form from The Lynch Man might mean he can go and win again before too long. He shouldn’t go up in the weights too much and could be competitive in a similar race next time out.

Three up for the Team on a Super Saturday


I’ve been very pleased with how well the horses have been holding their form over the past month or so. We have been consistently send out winners and those that haven’t been winning have been running well, promising wins in the short term.

On Saturday (16/07/16) we may have only had four runners but three of them hit the target on what was a great day for the yard. Our first runner was Bellaney Knight in a novices hurdle at Cartmel. He had finished second recently on his debut for us and I was delighted to see him go one better here under Brian Hughes. I took a great deal of pleasure from this win as I also trained his dam Bellaney Jewel who won the Borders National for us about a decade ago. This is her first foal and he looks to have inherited a good deal of her ability and staying power.

Ripon racecourse is only an hour away from us and is one of the most picturesque in the locality; people just love going racing to Yorkshire’s garden racecourse. As I was at Cartmel it was Kelly who was tasked with saddling our two runners at this venue. First up was The Nazca Lines in the two year old maiden. This was his 6th career start and he put his experience to good use to make all in the hands of Jason Hart. In the process he picked up a 10,000 bonus as he is entered in the plus 10 scheme. We will go back in to handicaps with him now and I would hope he can pick up another race before too long. He is hardy and consistent.

Spirit Of Zebedee took the lucky last at the course under a strong ride from P J McDonald. I had felt that he was really coming to himself of late and a decent third on soft ground at Ayr recently confirmed that. He was suited by the better ground here and stuck to his task strongly after traveling well for most of the race. I would hope that he can go on a roll here and bag a few more before the season is out. He may make a quick reappearance at Catterick this coming Wednesday if all is well with him.

As I said at the the top of this piece the string are in good nick and seem to be in rude health. This is the time of year to try and make hay in more ways than one and we plan on pushing as hard as we can over the coming weeks to add as many to the tally as we can.

Wotabreeze Takes Tally to Two for the Year


A step up in trip proved right up the street of Wotabreeze on Wednesday (13/07/16) at Catterick as he posted his second win of the season in the mile and a half handicap on the card. Since winning at Hamilton earlier in the season he has proven to be remarkably consistent in handicap company.

This race had been in the back of my mind as it was a qualifier for a final that Catterick run later in the season on Ayr Gold Cup day – a race we have won in the past with Poetic Verse. That will now be an end of season target for him.

In the meantime I will campaign him regularly as he seems to be thriving on his racing. A spell juvenile hurdling has not been ruled out either but we may keep him on the level until we feel we have gone as far as we can with regards to his handicap mark. 

Misti-rocs Around the Roodee


It has taken a little while for us to learn about Mistiroc since he joined us at the start of the year. Whilst he had shaped well in three starts this season on each occasion we gleaned a little more knowledge about him. Thankfully we were able to piece all that together on Friday night at Chester. His form has come over trips varying from 9 furlongs to 1 mile and 4 furlongs but I feel that his optimum trip is probably a mile and a half – there is plenty of stamina in his pedigree. I have also felt that he has idled at times in his races and so decided to fit him with a visor. We worked him in a visor earlier in the week and he seemed very comfortable with it on. At Chester in the first time visor over a mile and a half Mistiroc travelled very strongly on the front end of the speed under Ben Curtis who judged the fractions to perfection. Turning in he joined the leader and then knuckled down to win by half a length. It was nice to win for the first time with the horse for his owners Drew and Ailsa Russell and I hope we can enjoy more wins together with him. His rating is likely to rise in to the nineties again and he is probably entitled to have a crack at a better race again next time out. If his improvement in the visor continues he might just win a good handicap before the season is out. We have also schooled him up over hurdles at home and he will make a nice novice hurdler at some stage this year.

Another up for Arthur


Arthurs Secret has been a grand servant to the yard, winning both on the flat and over hurdles in the last five years. On Saturday (02/07) he took his career tally to five when winning the staying handicap at Nottingham under Pat Cosgrave.

As is his want he really grinded his rivals into submission from towards the top of the home straight, really relishing under foot conditions. This win came off 65 and the form book shows us that he struggles above marks of 70 but I do hope we can try and nab another race before the season is out. If the ground remains on the slow side in the coming weeks that will, of course, help his cause.

Al Shahaniya Regains the Winning Thread


Al Shahaniya took her career tally to three wins from five starts when winning at Carlisle on Monday afternoon. Although she may have appeared to run below par on her seasonal reappearance at the same track three weeks earlier it is probable that she needed that run. Certainly any cobwebs that might have been there that day were well and truly blown away this time around.

She travelled well under apprentice Adam McNamara before powering home to win by a length and a quarter. Whilst she won over seven furlongs on this occasion the way she stayed on to and through the line would suggest that a mile will be within her compass at some point this season.

Whilst handicaps will remain on the agenda in the near future I would dearly love to have a crack at a listed race with her at some point as her owners Al Shaqab racing will most likely breed from the filly at some stage down the line.

Drop in Grade Does Trick for The Kid


It’s fair to say that we’ve had to be patient with Wotabreeze since purchasing him as a yearling. Gary Oxtoby who heads the New Century racing partnership has had that in spades though and we were thrilled to see it pay off when his chestnut gelding stayed on strongly at Hamilton on Wednesday to take the nine furlong handicap on the card.

He has always been a slow burner at home but that is not to say we didn’t feel he had an engine. He comes from a late maturing family and is a horse we knew would do better as a three year old. Last time out at Beverley he showed plenty of promise over 7.5 furlongs to finish second and he improved for the step up to nine furlongs here.

Given a cool ride by his young apprentice rider Adam McNamara he was held up off a fast pace. It looked like he might be placed coming down the hill but once he met with the rising ground in the last couple of furlongs he stayed on powerfully. He may even stay a bit further in time. Either way I’m sure that he has plenty more wins in him and hope it won’t be long before he can strike again.

Wotabreeze Powers Home at Hamilton


It’s fair to say that we’ve had to be patient with Wotabreeze since purchasing him as a yearling. Gary Oxtoby who heads the New Century racing partnership has had that in spades though and we were thrilled to see it pay off when his chestnut gelding stayed on strongly at Hamilton on Wednesday to take the nine furlong handicap on the card.

He has always been a slow burner at home but that is not to say we didn’t feel he had an engine. He comes from a late maturing family and is a horse we knew would do better as a three year old. Last time out at Beverley he showed plenty of promise over 7.5 furlongs to finish second and he improved for the step up to nine furlongs here.

Given a cool ride by his young apprentice rider Adam McNamara he was held up off a fast pace. It looked like he might be placed coming down the hill but once he met with the rising ground in the last couple of furlongs he stayed on powerfully. He may even stay a bit further in time. Either way I’m sure that he has plenty more wins in him and hope it won’t be long before he can strike again.

Chevalier Du Lac Scores at Wetherby


Whilst he had run well on several occasions last season The Kid has found it hard to get his head in front over the last couple of years. Along with his owner David Ward we decided to drop him in grade in the hope he would win and that it may do his (and our!) confidence the world of good.

At Catterick on Friday he showed that he will remain competitive in selling and claiming company for a good while to come. Given a cool, patient ride by Dougie Costello he was produced between horses to lead inside the last furlong and hold on for a cosy half length win.

I was delighted for Mr and Mrs Ward who have shown great patience with The Kid. They have a couple of nice two year olds in training who I am looking forward to getting out in the coming weeks and months. Hopefully this winner is the first of a few this year.

Ikerrin Road Zooms in on Guineas Day


I had been itching  to drop Ikerrin Road in trip to six furlongs for quite some time as if anything he has simply been looking faster and faster at home. Finally I got the chance on Saturday at Newmarket in an ultra hot 81-100 handicap.

As is his style he burst from the gates and just about made all under Shane Foley to power home by a length and a half, never really looking in any danger of getting caught. This race was won last year by subsequent Group 1 winner Twilight Son with another top notch sprinter Magical Memory further down the field. Therefore the race is proven as one of the hottest three year old sprint handicaps of the early season. To win so emphatically was a huge thrill for us all.

I’ve not made any secret as to the regard I hold the horse in and feel he will have no problem winning pattern races in time. All of the valuable three year old sprints will now be under consideration for him.

On another note he became our fourth winner of the week. It’s great that the horses are showing such good form on the track and reflects the time and attention that my team at home have been showing over the past few months. I’m very appreciative of everyone’s efforts and hope we can keep the ball rolling right the way through the season now.

Evanescent Doubles 2016 Tally


Following a recent win at Catterick Evanescent won again at Redcar on Thursday (April 28th) under Phil Makin to take his score to two from two in 2016, continuing the good run of form for the yard in the process.

The drop back to six furlongs from seven nearly found him out but he stuck to his task strongly inside the final hundred yards to get up and win by a neck.

He was subsequently claimed for £10,000 and whilst I feel that is a very fair price for him it is still a shame to lose him as he’s been with us for a good few years now and had given us some good days. He was an old pro and was great for leading two year olds. I wouldn’t mind finding another like him before too long.

Drop in Trip Proves a Smart Move


Smart Mover’s first run of the season came recently over a mile at Redcar. After travelling powerfully for a long way she emptied quite quickly showing us in the process that the trip of one mile simply stretched her stamina. At Pontefract on Wednesday (April 27th) we dropped her in trip to six furlongs and it paid dividends.

Despite only winning by a head it’s fair to say that she was value for a little bit further as she had to be dropped in from the widest draw of all and ridden for luck. The gaps appeared late on and she really appreciated the stiff finish as she got up in the dying strides under Adam McNamara.

She might not have grown at all over the winter months but she proved again that she has plenty of heart – that is as important as anything.

Optimism in Irish proves founded at Ayr


It was around this time last year that I thought Irish Optimism was one of our smarter two year olds after he had done a few eye catching pieces of work at home. However, unfortunately just before he was ready to run he met with a setback. We could have had him right in time to run him on the all weather over the winter but I had always thought he was more comfortable on grass.

He made his debut for us at Redcar a fortnight ago where a lack of experience proved to be his undoing. He missed the break, ran green and the penny dropped a little too late before he stayed on strongly to be beaten by a head. At Ayr on Monday (April 25th) he proved to be a different horse altogether jumping smartly from the stalls, racing professionally and really knuckling down to win by a length at the line, going away. He handled the drop from 7 furlongs to 6 furlongs nicely too. It is at 7 furlongs though and possibly 1 mile which he will prove to be best though we feel. His class just told on this occasion over his rivals.

We will have to wait until next Tuesday before he is given his opening handicap mark and after that we can plan away again with him. He is a horse that excites me though and one who I hope can win plenty more as the season unfolds. Our horses have started the turf season in great form. His win was our 9th overall this season and leaves us operating at a 20% strike rate. Since the turf started though he is our 6th winner. In that time we have been operating at a 29% strike rate.

Hidden Justice wins on Town Moor


If someone had told me three years ago after he had won at Pontefract that it would take so long for Hidden Justice to win again on the level I would not have believed them. During that period he has been very consistent on the flat but often found himself playing the bridesmaid. That spell was to end though on Friday (April 22nd) at Doncaster where he took the staying handicap in great fashion under Phil Makin.

He travelled very sweetly early on, something he’d not been doing when last seen over hurdles and that gave me hope that he might be competitive at the finish. Over the last couple of years he has not been the soundest horse so it was good to see him moving so comfortably. It is now apparent that he is much happier racing on the flat than he is over obstacles and that is the way we will go with him for the rest of his racing days.

Sales Update


Not only is this time of year busy as the grass season is now in full swing but we’ve also been attending breeze up sales in recent weeks. Whilst I attend most of the sales Sean and Richard Knight are at them all and do all the footwork for me making my job easier on arrival.

They started at Ascot where Tattersalls Ireland hosted their sale on April 6th. From here we came home with a lovely colt by Dragon Pulse (lot 35) from Willie Browne’s Mocklershill consignment. After failing to sell in the ring we purchased him privately for 24,000 Guineas.

The following week Newmarket hosted their Craven sale which coincided with racing at the course. We purchased a horse from Horse Park Stud by Showcasing (lot 56) here. His consignors Roger Marley and John Cullinan believe him to be a nice horse for whom the sale came too soon. We will ease off him now as we view him as a second half of the season type. That was our only purchase of the sale but we were delighted to be sent lot 93, a colt by Congrats who breezed in a very good time from Sheikh Abdullah Al-Malek Al-Sabah. It is his first horse with us and I hope we are lucky with the colt.

Last week we were in attendance at the Goffs UK sale at Doncaster and came away with two very sharp types by leading two year sire Kodiac. Lot 8 was our first purchase and again he was purchased privately outside the ring for £16,000 from Tally Ho stud, a prolific source of winners. I couldn’t believe the price we were able to buy him for and for me he represented one of the best value horses of the entire sale. We then had to wait for one of the last lots in to the ring to strike again. Lot 160 hailed from Mocklershill stables and was highly recommended to me by Willie Browne. We have had plenty of luck buying from him in the past and he is a man I trust implicitly. This colt produced a nice breeze but I believe there was more left in the tank with him. He cost £30,000.  Both horses Breezes can been seen in the footage below.

There are three remaining breeze up sales at Tattersalls (29th April), Arqana (14th May) and Gorsebridge (20th May). We will be attending all three in the search for more winners.

Project Bluebook Progressing


Successful in maiden company last time out Project Bluebook made his first start in handicap company a winning one too when scoring at Beverley on Wednesday. A couple of morning defections meant in the end there were only four runners and there was always the chance things might get a little tactical. For that reason we decided to ride him handily and make use of his stamina. He was set about his task with three furlongs to go and stayed on strongly up the hill to win by a length in the end under Jason Hart.

He is a young three year old who is improving all the time and who may have even more progress in him over further trips. However, we are likely to keep him to a mile and a half for the time being. I wouldn’t be surprised if he won something nice before the season is out. His owner Ross Harmon has had a good start to 2016 and this was his first turf winner of the season. I hope it is the first of many!


Speed Company Starts 2016 with a Bang


Speed Company started his season on grass where he left off in 2015 by winning at Newmarket on Tuesday to take his tally to three from four. This was by far the toughest challenge he’d faced in a race which has a history of producing smart horses but he overcame it in really good fashion to win by 3/4 of a length under Ryan Moore. That doesn’t really tell the full story though as he pulled hard early on, was last throughout and had to switch wide before surging home and being eased close home. He did tremendously well to win in the circumstances.

We have always felt he is a pretty smart performer and this result rubber stamps our belief in him. He strikes me as a horse who might have a big handicap in him before being able to make his mark in pattern company.

I was particularly pleased for Speed Company’s new owner Wilson Woo who purchased the horse over the winter and very kindly left him with me. He has a very nice gelding to go to war with for the season. Of course it was great to have a winner at a meeting as prestigious as the Craven meeting too. The yard have started the 2016 turf season in good form. I hope we can keep the momentum up.

Speed Company


Evanescent gets his head in front


Hubertas ran a fine race on his seasonal debut at Catterick yesterday, but he obviously ran into a better handicapped horse. We feel he will in doubt pay his way this season.

Evanescent should great tenacity after been headed to get back up and win in the shadow of the post. We were delighted with him. These are great races for horses who are not that well handicapped and are getting on a bit.

EVANESCENT and Philip Makin Win The Racing UK In Glorious HD Claiming Stakes for Trainer John Quinn CATTERICK RACECOURSE 06-04-2016 Pic: Louise Pollard/

EVANESCENT and Philip Makin Win The
Racing UK In Glorious HD Claiming Stakes for Trainer John Quinn
Pic: Louise Pollard/



WOW / Wowcha


We were very pleased with Ancient Astronaut’s run at Pontefract yesterday, he just found the ground to testing for him.

Wowcha won her maiden in very good style yesterday and is a filly we are very much looking forward to this year. Its is great for her owner as she is half sister to Group 1 Morny & Coventry winner The Wow Signal.


Ikerrin Continues on the Road


Ikerrin Road confirmed himself an improving three year old with his second win of 2016 at Wolverhampton on Sunday. Having appeared to over race a little last time out we decided to drop him in a bit and that paid dividends as he pounced late under champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa to land the day’s feature race in the process.

It is likely we will freshen him up now and keep him for the turf season. There aren’t many ideal opportunities for him in April but there is plenty in May so we will pencil him in for a date sometime early that month. I’m still more than hopeful we can land an even bigger pot with him back on grass.




Want a Winner? Want it Now? Buy a Breezer!


The sales season never really ends these days with auctions taking place all year round. However, if there is one type of sale that really gets our juices flowing it is the breeze up sales – and they’re just around the corner!

A breeze up sale enables us to see horses gallop over 2 or 3 furlongs, assessing them based on the speed they show, the way they move and the attitude they look to have towards their work. All lots that do a ‘breeze’ then go under the hammer at public auction. These horses are in effect ready to run and can be on a racecourse within weeks and months of purchasing them.

Our best recent purchases at this type of sale include Royal Ascot winner The Wow Signal (G1 Prix Morny, G2 Coventry), Red Duke (G2 Superlative), New Planet (Listed Roses stks) along with several smart handicappers. Can you afford to miss out on your chance to get in on the action?

Dates for breeze up sales are as follows:

Tattersalls Ireland Ascot – 6 April

Tattersalls Craven – 11-13 April

Goffs UK – 19-20 April

Tattersalls Guineas – 28-29 April

Arqana 13-14 May

Goresbridge 19-20 May

Jobs Available at John Quinn Racing


We are looking to recruit for our team as we approach the 2016 turf season. There are positions available for riders/grooms as well as a position as an amateur jockey for the right candidate.

Applicants must ride well and be capable of general yard duties. Opportunities to go racing are available for those who wish to do so. Candidates can progress to a senior position in time.

Rides are available on the flat and possibly over jumps for the right candidate for our amateur jockey position. Prior experience is preferable but we would be happy to coach and teach anybody wanting to start out who shows willingness and work ethic.

We have on site, single accommodation and off site accommodation can be arranged. Good wages and immediate start available.

CVs to be sent to and or call 01944768370

Bluebook Breaks Maiden


It was a case of third time lucky for Project Bluebook as he broke his maiden at Wolverhampton yesterday afternoon (02/03/16) in the median auction maiden. After shaping well on debut at the same track he appeared a little unlucky last time out at Lingfield when not enjoying the best of runs through the race.

However, the step up in trip along with him being able to adopt a better early position on this occasion really played to his strengths. We will now look to go handicapping with him and the likelihood is that we will keep him for the turf season now. I feel he might act better on grass and I am certain that he will be better suited to a faster run race which you would hope to get in handicap company.

Cosmic Tigress  gave a fine performance, all be it she missed the brake slightly and didn’t get the clearest of run through the race. She finished off very well and looks like a winner waiting to happen.

Ikerrin is on the Road


If someone had told me in the summer of last year that Ikerrin Road would still be a maiden entering 2016 I would have been shocked. I’ve always felt he could be one of the nicer young horses we have in the yard and my opinion of him certainly hasn’t dimmed over the winter.

Therefore, it was great to see him break his maiden at Wolverhampton on Friday night. He was bounced out and given a good, positive ride from Dougie Costello and just about made all of the running. The talk beforehand was that it could be an above average maiden for the track with a few fancied newcomers and I think that the form will stack up in time.

We will now look to step Ikerrin Road in to handicap company and I would hope that at some point this season he might win a big handicap for us. He’s a young horse with a bright future.

Debut Win for Lady Beaufort


Having bought Lady Beaufort back in May 2014 we have had to wait for her to be ready to grace a racecourse…but the wait was certainly worth it as she won on debut at Kelso on Thursday afternoon (18/02/16). Under champion jockey elect Richard Johnson she travelled sweetly and like a true professional for much of the race before drawing away in the last from another well fancied runner. The first two put plenty of distance between themselves and the rest of the field.

In his post race debrief it was interesting and pleasing that Richard Johnson said she felt like a mare that would have no problem in winning another bumper under a penalty before making in to a nice staying hurdler next season. I am pretty optimistic that she could be a mare to make her mark in graded company next season.

IMG_5202 (002) Lady Beaufort


Six weeks until Musselburgh...


With six weeks to go until the turf season starts at Musselburgh our team at home are starting to increase their workload (both man and horse!). The last couple of weeks have been spent plotting early season races and deciding which of the string may have suitable opportunities to capitalize on early in the season. There’s not much point in having an animal raring to go if the races aren’t there for them.

Last year we won the Royal Mile handicap at Musselburgh with Moonlightnavigator and there are a couple of horses at home that are firmly in my mind for another crack at that race. In fact, a lot of the horses that I will have ready for the early part of the season will be three year old’s. A good number of them are either unraced or very lightly raced and so I would hope they can repay our faith and patience in them this time around.

The two year old’s are doing more brisk canters than was the case in January. It is around this time that we try and decide which ones appear to be early, forward types and which ones just need a bit more time to mature both mentally and physically. We will adjust their training routines accordingly.

New Year,new horses,new website


I hope you enjoy browsing through our new website and all it has to offer. Our ‘Horses in Training’ section lists the horses currently stabled in our yards whilst the link below their names enable you to see all of their form via a link to the Racing Post website.

The ‘Latest News’ section will as before keep you updated with our most recent winners,sales purchases and events taking place in the yard. Those of you wanting to get involved in ownership should visit the ‘Horses for Sale’ section where our newest purchases will be advertised. I should take this opportunity to highlight a two year old filly by Requinto who is showing up nicely on the gallops and has recently been syndicated to our in house Highfield Racing syndicate. Shares are still available.

Our aim is to make this new site informative, easy to use and enable you to enjoy an insight in to the yard. Now all we have to do is send out enough winners in order to do just that. Myself and my team at both Bellwood Cottage and Highfield Stables will be doing our best to ensure that is the case as the turf season looms around the corner.

All the best, John

Quinto's get's his head in front for Quinn


All though we have not had many runner so far this month, we are delighted to have had two winners from three runners.

Quinto jumped very well and dug deep for a well deserved win at Catterick. The Kid ran really well at Wolverhampton on his first all weather run and Thisonetime looks a smart horse in the making after winning really well at Warwick on Saturday.

A lot of our horses have come back into training after their winter break, exciting time ahead.

Happy New Year


With 2015 coming to an end, we are very much looking forward to 2016.

Unfortunately this year we lost three stable stars, Cockney Sparrow, Levitate and The Wow Signal which was a huge body blow for us, but we are very optimistic for 2016 as we have some nice young horses around the place.

We would like to thank everyone who has supported us this year and would like to wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Weekly News


There’s not much happening on the racing front, but delighted to report Kashmir Peak is basically fine, a bit sore and bruised after his crashing fall when going well at Doncaster last Friday.

We will have some runners flat and jumping over the Christmas period, and will be bringing back into training at lot of horse’s over the New Year. We have quite a few yearlings cantering at the moment they look like a nice bunch.

Sale of young horses are going particularly well, we sold a nice Sir Prancealot colt this week, plus a good sort of horse by Famous Name. We will be putting a picture of a very nice Requinto filly up on the website, details of the sale will be advertised later this week.

Scoppio Del Carro Duly Obliges


Scoppio Del Carro won at Ludlow yesterday under a great ride from Dean Pratt for his very enthusiastic owner Ross Harmon. Sadly he was claimed but that’s the nature of the race. Dean lost his 7lb claim which is great for him. We are now on the search for our next winner.

At the moment a lot of our horses are now resting  for the winter. We have a lot of very nice horses for next year to look forward to.

Meister is Grand


We were thrilled with Grand Meister’s win on Tuesday, showing a liking for the all weather track and staying the 1m6f  well. This opens up a lot of opportunities over the winter for him. He will also make a nice horse for the turf racing in summer.