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Gold at Catterick for Silver in Disguise

PHOTO-2021-02-05-14-07-32A winner of an Irish point in 2019, Silver In Disguise had placed in a novice hurdle at Ffos Las in November, but switching to the larger obstacles looked to be the making of him at Catterick yesterday, as he drew right away to score by 21 lengths under Charlie Price.

The seven-year-old has always looked a nice horse in the making at home, but he has needed time to find his feet and is very much a work in progress.  Charlie had to squeeze him along a little in the back straight, but he closed quickly on the leaders rounding the home turn and the pair had matters in control some way out.

I’m sure he will come on plenty for the experience and there should be more to come as he steps up in trip, so I am looking forward to seeing how he develops in the months ahead.  Congratulations to his owners John Durston and Nigel Harris!


Improving Bells scores again

A winner at Market Rasen on Boxing Day just over a year ago, Bells Of Peterboro had run a race full of promise on his belated return to action at Huntingdon in December and duly built on that when scoring at Fakenham yesterday in the hands of Alan Johns.

The six year old travelled nicely on the quarters of the leader (and eventual third) Frisco Bay throughout, with Alan waiting until the home turn to make his move and take the son of Carlotamix to the front.  Bells Of Peterboro found plenty for pressure from there and kept on resolutely to hold off the late challenge of the eventual runner-up.

He is very much going the right way and with the handicapper unlikely to be overly harsh on him for that success, I am very hopeful that he can go in again next time.  Congratulations to his owners, Steve Grys and Mick O’Boyle!

It has obviously been a very tough season for us as we have had an issue in the yard that has taken some time to resolve.  However, we will start to run more of the horses in the coming fortnight and hopefully they will be returning to form as a group in the very near future.


A Cheltenham winner!

PHOTO-2020-12-11-13-39-53It has been a tough autumn for the yard, but last week we felt we got to the bottom of what was causing the horses to run below-par and, though it will take some longer than others to bounce back to their best, it was a huge tonic for us all to see Madera Mist bounding up the Cheltenham hill yesterday, providing owners Paul and Louise Bowtell with a richly-deserved success, as they have been brilliant supporters of ours for many years.  I was also delighted for Alan Johns, who has been such a big part of our whole setup, both on the racecourse and on the gallops at home, and for whom it was a first Cheltenham winner.

PHOTO-2020-12-11-13-38-33A point winner in her native Ireland in March 2019, Madera Mist had several pieces of form last season that gave her a chance, but hadn’t quite been seeing out her races and I am sure that the wind op she had after her comeback run at Bangor played a crucial role in yesterday’s career-best effort.  Settled in midfield and jumping well throughout, she led on the home turn, was left clear at the second-last and galloped on resolutely up the hill, to shouts of encouragement from her owner!

She’ll have a few quiet days now and we’ll enjoy the win before making a plan for where she goes next.  She is very much at the right end of the handicap and I am hopeful that there is a good deal of improvement to come.

Having taken an age to record our first winner at Prestbury Park, with Master Dancer, we got to the second one much quicker…hopefully that bodes well for our next runners at the track in 2021!


Win number five for Tight Call!

PHOTO-2020-12-12-12-26-34A winner on his reappearance at Southwell in August, Tight Call bounced back from a below-par display on his latest outing with an impressive success at Ludlow yesterday in the hands of Connor Brace, in doing so recording the fifth victory of his career!

Racing enthusiastically throughout, he went to the front at the sixth flight and looked to have matters in control some way from home, keeping on strongly up the home straight to score by five lengths for owners Eric Newnham and Jonathan Shinton.

The handicapper will now have his say, but a six year old with just 14 career starts under his belt so far, he remains open to further improvement and hopefully he can get his head in front again this winter – he certainly looks the type that can win a nice handicap in due course.


Spectator defies absence to win at Chepstow

SpectatorSpectator had been off since finishing runner-up at Perth in July 2019, but he defied the long absence to record his best effort over hurdles at the age of nine, winning over three miles at Chepstow yesterday under Charlie Price.

He travelled really well through the race, which has always been his way, but was in front at the second-last and faced a prolonged duel up the long straight with the eventual runner-up, just getting the better of things close home.

It was great to see him come back with a win and I’m delighted for his owners Dave and Jodie Pearn.  There is another race for him at the same course in early December, but we’ll see how he comes out of this before making any plans.


Debut success for Hawa Bladi!

Hawa Bladi photo paid forPurchased for just 7,000gns at the Newmarket February Sale in 2019, Hawa Bladi is nevertheless an exceptionally well-bred individual and the son of Sea The Stars rewarded his owners’ patience with a smart debut success at Lingfield Park yesterday under Alan Johns.

Settled in midfield, he travelled noticeably well through the contest and though he looked a little green when coming under pressure in the home straight, he showed a fine attitude to pick up the leaders in the final half-furlong and passed the post with his ears pricked.

A Derby entry as a youngster, all three of his male siblings have gained black-type on the flat, and that is certainly an avenue we could look to further down the line.  However, he is just a four year old and we will stick to bumpers for the time being, possibly returning to Lingfield Park for another All-Weather bumper on Tuesday 10th November.  Congratulations to all the members involved in Pimlico Racing.


A winning start to the autumn

PHOTO-2020-09-22-13-02-55After a summer that has been focused on preparations at the yard rather than action on the racecourse, we were delighted to have a winner on the first day of autumn, with Let The Heirs Walk (pictured) supplementing his Sedgefield success on his first start for us back in February with a ready win at Warwick yesterday under Richard Johnson.

Dicky kept it simple, sending the six year old into the lead from the off and he travelled very comfortably through the race, before seeing off the challenge of the eventual runner-up before the last.   He will face tougher opposition in future, but I feel there is plenty more to come from him and he has the ability to make up into a useful handicapper down the line.  Congratulations to his owner Olly Harris!

There was plenty of promise to be gleaned from Looksnowtlikebrian‘s reappearance effort, a couple of customary mistakes, including a notable one at the last just as he was mounting a challenge, probably making the difference.  He could head to Carlisle in three weeks’ time for a race he won in 2018 and finished fourth in last term and there is a nice race to be won off his mark.




Busy two days at Warwick as autumn begins

Autumn 1It’s such an exciting time of the year, with the autumn campaign just getting underway and the finishing touches being put to our team at home, so we’re looking forward to a very busy few months ahead.

We’ve got six runners out at Warwick across the next two days and I’m sure the meeting will be garnering plenty of publicity, as it will be just the second time since March that racing will take place in front of a crowd.  While I’m sure everyone agrees the most important thing is that we keep the show on the road, it is a very positive step to see members of the public back on the racecourse and hopefully all will go well, those attending will enjoy the day and we can look to start bringing back crowds gradually over the coming weeks.

Steve Clarke’s Judex Lefou runs in the opening novice hurdle for us on Monday and I am hopeful that a good break can see him return to form, while Timely Gift belatedly looks to make it three wins in a row, following two soft-ground successes last backend. His best form has come on soft ground and he is up in the weights, but is ready for his seasonal reappearance and hopefully he can make a bold bid for a great bunch of owners.

We have another four runners on Tuesday’s card at Warwick.

Let The Heirs Walk joined the yard from Brendan Duke in Ireland midway through last season and was a good winner on stable debut at Sedgefield in February. He has to give weight away all round, but he has done well over the summer and we’re hoping he can defy the penalty for owner Olly Harris.

Oceans Racing’s Laugharne was consistent last year and deserves to get his head in front again in the coming weeks, while Looksnowtlikebrian runs in the feature handicap chase for Steve and Reg Botham.  He goes well fresh and we’re looking forward to getting him started for the season.

We also have Cool Tara making her debut in the mares’ bumper for owner Wayne Jones. She’s a sister to two winners and while it looks a deep race for her debut, we’re keen to start her off on good ground.

DickyAlan Johns’ recovery is going well and he is hoping to return in time for Chepstow’s meeting in mid-October, but it’s great to have Richard Johnson riding for us over the next few days. Dicky rode our first winner of the season, Tight Call at Southwell, a few weeks ago and has been into the yard on a couple of occasions recently; he is pictured here with three of his biggest fans, Ed, Henry and Mason.



Lauberhorn rockets home at Chelmsford!

A winneEaqWQWEXgAA6r0Sr on the All-Weather at Kempton Park last August, Lauberhorn Rocket didn’t get the clearest of runs on his reappearance earlier this month, but with that run under his belt, he took a step forward to score at Chelmsford yesterday evening for owner John Bolton.

Ridden for the first time by promising 5lbs apprentice George Rooke, he settled in midfield and in a race that turned in to a bit of a sprint, was outpaced briefly on the home turn before rallying up the straight, finishing best of all to hit the front inside the final furlong, eventually winning by 3/4L.

He is declared at Lingfield Park on Friday and would have a very good chance if going there, but the race may come a little too quick, in which case we’ll wait for something towards the end of the month/early July.  I think there is plenty more to come from him on the flat, while longer-term we’ll also give hurdling another go!

I was really happy with the comeback run of Barrier Reef earlier on the card, as he travelled nicely through the race and wasn’t beaten far.  Hopefully he can find a winning opportunity very soon.


On this day…

Nigel Kirby PhotographyDovils Date is part of the scenery at Pant Wilkin, having joined the yard in November 2012. Since then, he has won 12 times, for seven different jockeys, from exactly 50 starts for us.

Alan Johns and George Blackwell both won on him as 10lbs claimers, and most recently it was Charlie Price’s turn, claiming 8lbs in a conditional jockey’s contest at Uttoxeter on this day last year.   Having dropped to a very workable mark, Dovils won his first race over hurdles since 2016 (though he had won three on the flat the following year), hitting the front approaching the last and keeping on in customary game fashion to record a very popular win for his owners in the Itsfuninit syndicate, several of whom are local to the course.

He has always been a horse to follow when in form and went on to record the second hat-trick of his career, addition an impressive win at Southwell before another easy success at Stratford. He will be back on the flat this summer and it would be lovely to see him back in the winners’ enclosure.