With a typically quiet January in full flow I thought it would be a good time to try and do a Question and Answer type blog this week.
I tweeted on Sunday morning regarding my intentions and, with the exception one of my best mates Stan Sheppard, I received some fairly sensible questions. Shout out to Stan though for quoting a bit of Hot Fuzz at me, something that never ceases to make me laugh.
Before I head straight to the Q&A, I would feel bad if I did not mention Romain De Senam who got back to winning ways at Taunton on Wednesday enjoying the good ground, Secret Investor who ran a big race in defeat to Ok Corral at Warwick and Black Corton who I felt was right back to his tenacious best when finishing second to the equally tough Top Notch at Kempton.
Without further a do then let’s address some questions and start with this from Ashley Bird;
I am looking to get into racing, I can’t ride, have no experience, (bad start I know!). I run my own syndicate, love horses and listen to every trainer/jockey I see on course or on TV. I’ve run my own business and worked my balls off so do you have any advice on how to get a job in racing?
Well Ashley, that all rather depends on what type of job it is you are looking for in racing. There are so many great jobs in the industry that do not require expertise with horses and websites like ‘careers in racing’ would be a big help to you. If it was working in a yard that floated your boat and you wanted a week’s works experience getting a feel for what life in a yard is like then just shout up and I am sure we could help you out.
Number two is from Shaun Taylor who asks;
Hi Harry can I ask will Frodon be running on Trials day at Cheltenham? If yes will it be in the Grade 3 chase over 2m5f and would Black Corton also be considered for the Ryanair Chase?
Shaun, Frodon will be running on Trials day and I am 90% sure he will be lining up in the Cotswold Chase. He absolutely loves Cheltenham, but with a rating of 169 the handicap option would be tough. Three miles one furlong is a bit of an unknown, but he a tough classy horse who is worth a shot at it. As for Black Corton, on Saturday’s evidence I would not have thought so – he looked pretty flat out over two-and-a-half miles around Kempton and, for all that he ran a brilliant race, I would imagine he will step back up in trip once again.
Next up is a question from Felix who asks;
1. Will Danny Kirwan run in the Supreme or Ballymore?
2. How far does he win said race by?
First of all I absolutely love your optimism Felix! On his last run at Ascot I would imagine Danny Kirwan will step up in trip come the spring to two-and-a-half miles. That run was a really solid effort and he is a horse with a lot of ability, as for how far he wins by I think we should probably focus on getting his head in front before Cheltenham before worrying about funny stuff like that! In all seriousness I do believe that Danny is a really smart horse, but you will not see anywhere near how good he can be until he jumps larger obstacles. Paul is not training him hard this year and knowing how much more there is to come from him is very exciting indeed.
Dean has asked;
Any reason why you think Dynamite Dollars isn’t favourite for the Arkle? Is he an intended runner?
I have no idea at all really Dean, I guess there are horses which might boast better hurdles form in the field, but you cannot knock what he has done over fences. He is a quite brilliant jumper which should hopefully stand him in very good stead come March. At this moment in time he is very much an intended runner although I am sure he will be entered in the JLT as well. He has not been favourite for his last two races and they did not work out too badly so hopefully he can keep being the successful underdog. He is a lovely horse to have in the yard though whatever happens at Cheltenham.
Next up Lee Miller has asked;
Roughly when will Miranda be making her debut?
For those of you who haven’t heard of Miranda she is a good looking four-year-old filly by the hugely exciting Coolmore sire Camelot. A dual winner on the level in France, Miranda has taken to her jumping really nicely and is one of a number of juveniles not far away from running. We like what we have seen so far and so long as her schooling continues to please she will not be far away from making her debut.
Rob Day has asked;
The rise in popularity of low costs syndicates (such as the @ownersgroupuk which I’m involved with) has made ownership (and the benefits it brings at meetings) accessible to those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it. Do you think this is a good thing?
Anything that gets more people involved in racing is a great thing. Ownership can be such an expensive thing to do by yourself but through syndicates like Owners Group I have met so many massive fans of racing who now have a way of being involved in the game at an affordable price. I, like many, work in the industry because we love the sport and meeting like minded people is always fun. I am lucky enough to know some of the guys from Owners Group in particular Ryan Bliss who is an absolute legend and always looks after the members brilliantly at the races, giving everyone a great day out. Go well Ryan.
Jordan has asked;
Which horse appeals as the Fred Winter horse this year?
Not certain as yet Jordan, but Friend Or Foe is a possible as he won nicely at Taunton on debut for us and could be progressive. We also like Dogon who has not yet run for us but could end up as that type of horse. Both are lovely horses for the future
John Rush has asked;
Have you any exciting prospects in your young crop of up and coming horses?
To be honest John I think we have some really quite smart bumper horses this year, types like Flic Ou Voyou, Mcfabulous, Enrilo and plenty more. Two that I really like are Ask for Glory who won nicely at Chepstow, he could be smart when he goes jumping and one who has not run for us yet called Grey Getaway, he looks a nice type for bumpers in the spring.
George Beekman asks;
Is Dan Mcgrue ok? Not seen him out this season.
He’s absolutely fine George and will be out in a couple of weeks or so.
Paul Milner asks;
I’m sure there’s a few dark horses in the yard, which is the one we haven’t seen yet that you’re most looking forward to seeing run?
There are plenty that have not run for us yet and lots of nice horses in and around the place, but one who could run next Sunday is a horse called Saint De Reve. He ran in the spring but was not ready for it mentally so has had loads of time to grow and I am looking forward to seeing him once again. He will probably end up a nice middle distance chasing horse in the future. Another horse you won’t of heard of yet is Pic D’Orhy, he will come out in the spring and we are looking forward to him.
The course specialist has asked;
Hi Harry, with Cheltenham and Aintree and the other big Festivals in mind, what would you do differently in training preparation, to get a horse to peak for these meetings; ie how does a horse arrive at its best for those meetings?
I suppose this is the million dollar question really and something that only Paul could really answer, from what I have seen, learnt and experienced it is really about timing. Training is not an exact science and Paul always tries to keep things very simple with his horses and that does not change all that much going into big races. Paul has always told me that you have to work a horse hard to get him fit and work him hard to keep him fit, one thing however that he rarely does is gallop them hard, they will generally do one piece of work a week and one half speed. Paul’s great strength is being able to give horses lots of work without stressing them out or pushing them too far. Paul, like most top trainers, will always have half an eye on the spring for the good horses and will bring them along steadily throughout the season fitness wise to be at their best in the spring. As I say, it’s not an exact science, very often it will come down to Paul’s experience and him trusting his gut to do the right thing with a certain horse.
Final one from Adrian Brown
who is actually an owner of ours so I won’t answer who is our best horse for the Triumph because you know full well who that is!! I will answer this one though;
What is the one thing that you admire most about Paul (from a training perspective)?
Without any doubt his longevity. Paul has been at the top of his game for a very long time now and you only have to take a glance at his stats to see he is an absolute master of his craft. Year after year he consistently runs his horses to a high level, regularly achieving more than some horses probably ever should. Paul is as focussed now as he has ever been an determined to not only continue what he has created but to better it. At this stage in his career that is remarkable.
That’s all I have time for today, but thank you to everyone who messaged in with a question. Until next week however, go well.