If I am honest, January blogs can be a little difficult as we are generally pretty quiet and, because there is not a huge amount going on, I am very keen not to bore you!
With that in mind I was chatting with a good mate yesterday and he suggested that as it was awards season in the film industry I tried to do my own awards-type blog, strictly for our yard ( obviously) and make it an annual blogging occasion, so that is what I am going to try.
However, before I do how could I not mention the incredible performance from Cyrname who absolutely destroyed his field at Ascot, jumping fantastically well in the process under Harry. We decided between us all that taking the hood off him was the right thing to do and, to be honest, at half way I was terrified we had made the wrong decision. Thankfully, he kept galloping extremely well though and gave his owners the de la Hey family another memorable day at their local course.
Elsewhere on the track this past week we were delighted to see a good effort from Vicente who showed that the spark was still there when finishing third at Taunton.
Captain Cattistock made a pleasing chasing debut at Chepstow when finishing third in a warm contest and will now hopefully make up into a decent young staying chaser while Storm Arisingran nicely to finish fifth in his Chepstow novice hurdle. He will now run over three miles where I hope he will have a nice future, ultimately as a chaser, but he is a big baby for now and will continue to learn his trade as he goes along this season.
Anyway, without further delay, here goes with my first edition of the January Golden Hooves and I’m going to start with Best Newcomer.
There can really only be one winner of this award and that is Quel Destin. At the start of October he had not run for us and here we are four months later and he is the winner of four races, two Grade Two’s and a Grade One.
Quel is not a massive horse but I think he is made of granite or something similar and is as tough as they come. He loves his work and his racing and I am looking forward to him this spring and beyond. If all racehorses tried as hard as Quel it would be an easy game.
The next award I will give is going to be for the Best Supporting Role.
This one goes to the absolute legend that is Frodon as I am not sure he ever gets the correct volume of credit for what he achieves. So far this term he was been spectacular winning the Old Roan Chase, finishing a gallant second in the BetVictor Gold Cup before winning the Caspian Caviar with a brilliant round of jumping to produce what for me was his finest career moment to date.
Like Quel, Frodon is a wonderfully honest horse who gives his absolute all every time he steps out onto the track and heads to Cheltenham on Saturday for the Cotswold Chase in excellent form.
The next award is going to be for the Leading Lady of the season so far which in all truth was the most straight forward of them all, with Posh Trish gaining the gong.
Only beaten once this season, she has been dominant in her other four races with her fast jumping and aggressive style of racing taking other mares out of their comfort zone during her races. For all that she is very tough I believe Trish is a high class mare and I know Paul has great belief in her. She heads to the spring an exciting horse and very much our leading lady.
The Leading Man of the season goes unsurprisingly to king Clan Des Obeaux who gave us all one of the most memorable days ever when recording Paul’s tenth King George win and, in the process, became a leading Gold Cup hope.
Clan has just turned seven and has always been held in the absolute highest regard by Paul who from day one adored him and he is now really starting to show us why. Of course, the Gold Cup is now the big dream, but whatever happens, that King George win will stay with us all for a very long time.
The next award is a little left field and is the Under the Radar Star of the season. This award is earned by Flic Ou Voyou, the winner of his only two starts this season, both at Wincanton.
Both of his wins came on big days when he may have been slightly over-looked, but this is a very exciting young horse indeed. By a sire Paul is a big fan of in Kapgarde (sire of Clan Des Obeaux and plenty of other winners of Paul’s), Flic Ou Voyou is a striking five-year-old gelding who has the size to jump fences one day and shape into a smart novice hurdler next season. For now though, we will focus on the Aintree bumper in April where hopefully he can show he is a smart horse for the future – whatever happens at Liverpool this is a horse you will hear plenty more of.
The final award of the blog is for the Best Performance and, while I could have chosen our leading man for his King George win and I could well get blamed for not giving it to Cyrname after his demolition on Saturday, I am going to hand this award to Dynamite Dollars for his Grade One Henry VIII win at Sandown.
While it was arguably a slightly weaker Grade One than some, this very much felt like a coming of age for Dyno who has gone on to win again since in Grade Two company. That day at Sandown he jumped brilliantly, put in a sharp circuit time and promised a great deal for the future. Paul has always thought of this guy as a real smart chaser and he is not disproving that. I would imagine Dynamite will have one more run before he heads to Cheltenham where this young chaser will hope to mix it right at the top level.
That rounds up my awards for this year, of course I could go on and give Lorcan the award for best hair and make-up due to the amount of time he spends in front of the mirror, but we wouldn’t want too many people knowing about that.
Until next week though I will leave it there and look forward to bringing you more racing chat and a bumper horse to look out for in the next blog.