Thursday, 19 December 2013

Stable Staff Triumph

The Christmas quiz contest between the Stable Staff and the Owners was won this year by the Stable Staff 43.5 points to 42.  The Owners will cite their depleted numbers on the day as the reason for their demise, but would greater numbers have helped or added to their confusion in the "bizarre racing facts" true or false round where both teams managed a meagre 2 out of 10?

The evening concluded with the ever popular paper horses handicap races where again honours were just about even.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Valliant Valence.

Valence Racing had a good day at Plumpton today with both their horses finishing in the frame.  First Itoldyou finished third in a 3 mile 2 furlong chase, then Clonusker showed his first sign of real form by finishing second in a 2 mile handicap hurdle.
Itoldyou being unsaddled after finishing 3rd.
Ridden by Andrew Thornton, Itoldyou was held up at the rear for the first couple of circuits and then was moved up to challenge the front runners down the final hill.  A mistake at the 4th last didn't help his cause but he managed to stay on up the hill for third.
In the final race of the day Clonusker, ridden by Gerard Tumelty, made all the running and had broken most of his rivals by the time they entered the home straight.  One horse loomed alongside him here and he had to settle for second, but a very pleasing result nevertheless.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Champagne Breakfast

It was a champagne breakfast this morning to celebrate Itoldyou's Plumpton victory.  Accompanying the champers were smoked salmon, baked cheese nibbles, pate, poppy seed crackers with special cheese delicacies and chocolate and caramel shortcakes!  Even so the regulars still managed to consume nearly fifty large sausages between them!
Then it was time to watch Linda supervise a session on the track for Itoldyou and others.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Itoldyou triumphs.

Itoldyou won his first race under rules today in a 3 mile 2 furlong handicap chase at Plumpton. 
Ridden by Andrew Thornton, he was allowed to travel at the rear of the 4 horse field for the first two circuits so that he didn't know that he was having a race.  He took closer order going into the railway bend for the final time, then took his chance when a gap opened up on the inside rail entering the home straight.  He hit the front two fences from home and never looked in trouble from there on.  A good jump at the last sealed it for him and all the backers who had made him the 7/4 favourite for the race.


Sunday, 1 December 2013

So who reads the blog?

So while we are all avidly reading "The Racing Post" Linda has discovered that they are reciprocating by reading this blog page.  Linda was surprised when they rang her for more information about one of the horses, to expand on what they had read here.  Hopefully we will be able to provide further positive stories for their pages in future. 

Saturday, 16 November 2013

She's Humble retires, while Fleeting Indian gets going.

Today, over breakfast, the owners of She's Humble (pictured above) agreed that it was time to retire her and let her go to the paddocks to produce future stars.  She has been a great servant to the yard winning 5 times and being in the frame in over a third of her 68 races.  She earned over £26 000 in prize money. 
Later at Lingfield, Fleeting Indian made the frame for the first time when coming third in a 6 furlong maiden ridden by Daniel Cremin. He travelled behind the leaders and was 4th entering the home straight, where he did enough to gain one place in the final furlong.  He now has just over £300 in prize money.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Public washed away.

It was Public Open Day at the stables today.  Linda and the team worked hard to get everything ready to make it an interesting experience for the visitors.  Then just as the first people began to arrive and look at the horses the heavens opened and heavy rain began to fall.  Tables with racing artefacts on had to be hastily moved to the tack room and it was sodden riders who worked the horses on the track.  Not surprisingly numbers were down this year, but those who braved the elements felt it was a worthwhile visit.

Saturday, 2 November 2013


No, the storm on Monday wasn't that bad.  Linda has purchased Celestial Ray, previously with Sir Mark Prescott, at the sales for her owners K. Johnson & K. Jessup.  The hope is that he will run on the ice at St. Moritz in the spring.  He would follow in the footsteps of Cupid's Glory who finished 2nd in the big race there, in 2008, for the same combination of owners and trainer.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Public Open Day

Open Day 2013
Saturday 9th November  10.00 a.m. to 12.30 p.m.
Discover more about the world of horseracing at our annual open day.  Watch the horses on the gallops, meet the horses, the trainer and the staff to find out more about the racing lifestyle.
At Southfield Stables South Lane, Sutton Valence.  ME17 3AZ
Free admission.  No dogs.  Children under supervision only.
We look forward to seeing you.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Trip Rewarded

Kingscombe's long trip to Wolverhampton rewarded each way backers when he finished 3rd, under top weight, in a 1 mile handicap.  Available at 20/1 he was backed down to 12/1 before the off.  Under Seb Saunders he ran wide, out of the kickback, in 4th or 5th position for the majority of the race and he stayed on into 3rd place up the straight but was no match for the easy winner or the prominently ridden second being beaten 3 and a half lengths and 5 lengths.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Successful Open Day

It was Owners' Open Day at the stable today.  A good crowd turned out to see the horses, chat about experiences and partake of the excellent refreshments provided.  The horses were beautifully turned out and looked very well, thanks to the hard work of all the staff who mixed grooming and turn out with being waiters and waitresses, making sure no plate was empty or glass half full.  A presentation was made to the winners of the 2012/13 Three To Follow Competition and the 2013/14 competition was started. All in all a thoroughly enjoyable time.

A time for chat and a look round the yard.
Settling down to watch the horses parade.

Kingscombe parades.
Rowe Park makes a quick appearance before going to Wolverhampton to race.
Red Anchor parades.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Calm Before The Storm

The last few weeks have been fairly quiet but now the action begins again.  Staff are working hard to get the horses and stables ready for the Owners Open Day on Saturday (28th September) and the National Hunt horses are progressing nicely with their names appearing on the list of dates for possible entries, on the fridge door!  Indeed this afternoon Spirit Of Xaar makes a reappearance in a novice hurdle at Plumpton.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Peter Bows Out With Great Sum Raised

Peter Oppenheimer, aged 63, had his final competitive ride in today's Newmarket Town Plate.  With a large band of supporters present, and riding Knock Boy he finished out of the frame, but their efforts raised a fantastic sum, in excess of £3200, for Macmillan Cancer Support.  Peter trained really hard for this final effort and fully deserves to have raised so much for a deserving cause. Although he says that it is definitely his last attempt to finish in the first three, the bug might just get to him again next spring and you never know!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

That's More Like It

Ladies Day at Fontwell (15/8/2013) seemed an appropriate occasion for She's Humble to show a big improvement in form.  Although a power cut meant no Tote, no chilled champagne, no hot coffee, no lift to the viewing box and no closed circuit television, Humble lifted the spirits with a display hinting at those of old.    Tackling a distance longer than she had ever tried before, she was jumped off by Conor Shoemark towards the back of midfield.  She was keen to race more prominently but was steadied in 5th for the first circuit.  She came close to being brought down by the favourite at the 6th fence but jumped well herself to keep in contention.  She moved up into 3rd place round the final bend and was still in that place over the last.  She could find no more and was overtaken a couple of yards from the line to finish 4th, but earned a little prize money for her owners.
Shane leads Humble in after finishing 4th.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Back And Backing

Shannon has returned from her scholarship period in South Africa and is back into the swing of things at Southfield.  She has been getting Rosemary's filly used to having someone on her back and progressed to sitting astride her at a walk.

 Sadly for us it seems likely that Shannon will soon return to South Africa, where she has been offered several jobs, though we are proud to have helped her on her career path.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Final Crack At The Plate.

Peter Oppenheimer is, at the age of 63, having one last attempt to finish in the first three in the Newmarket Town Plate on Saturday 24th August.  A long time owner here at Southfield, Peter will be riding Knock Boy in the race.  He is raising money for MacMillan Cancer Support, and you can read the full story and donate at .

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

From Dawn till Dusk.

Racing at Southwell.  Up at dawn to load the lorry with She's Humble and an unraced 3 year old.  An early start to try to avoid the traffic and heat. Paul driving, Karen and Dick as grooms and Richard Young (Owner) aboard.
Arrived at Southwell after driving for 4 hours through heavy rain. 
Karen gave the 3 year old a racecourse gallop while the others looked at the chase course to assess Humble's chances.
The sun came out but the ground had changed from our intended "Good To Firm" to "Soft", not so good for Humble.  Still she looked great.
An error on the final circuit, added to the soft ground, finished her chance of a top three finish and she came 5th.  After an hour to let her recover it was back to the lorry for the trip home.
Arrived back at Southfield as the sun was setting.  A long day.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Movers And Shakers

Another jolly breakfast with fresh cherries from Dick's orchard to supplement the rolls, ham, pate, croissants, pain au chocolat, chocolate muffins and chocolate coated flapjacks.  Then a glass of champagne to celebrate Linda's mother's successful move to the stable annex.  Could this very French start to the day be a hint of racing destinations to come.

 Outside, She's Humble demonstrated her wellbeing in anticipation of a trip to the races this coming week.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Breakfast Briefing

The regulars had an interesting time today that illustrated the diverse features of stable life. First was the opportunity to watch Running Bull school over jumps.  After the disappointment of last Saturday's outing on the all weather at Lingfield he will be tried over hurdles at Stratford next week.
Then over a breakfast of sausages, bacon, scrambled egg, toast, chocolate brownies and lemon slices, Linda described her trip to France during the week.  She had met up with Nick and Sue Davies to discuss their horses, then visited Deauville Racetrack to view the sales and learn more about French racing with the intention of sending runners there in the future.
After that Rosemary's unbroken 2-y-o filly was brought out into the sunshine for inspection while plans for her future career were mulled over.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Who's A Pretty Boy?

Karen won £25 at Lingfield today when Running Bull was adjudged the "Best Turned Out" in the 8 o'clock race.  Karen is pictured below receiving her prize.

That was as good as it got, as Running Bull failed to follow through with his challenge in the race and was well beaten.

Friday, 28 June 2013

She's Here.

Exciting times as Rosemary's recently purchased filly arrives safely at Southfield after travelling from Ireland.

Rumour has it that Rosemary will be bringing champagne for those attending this week's Saturday breakfast.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Ever Consistent.

Once again Strategic Action finished in the money when claiming 3rd place in a handicap at Kempton.  Ridden by Robert Havlin he broke well and travelled behind the leaders in 4th/5th.  Two furlongs out he made his challenge but was slightly hampered at the furlong mark.  He ran on to claim the third prize in a tight battle with the 4th, a couple of lengths behind the winner

Monday, 17 June 2013

Short Break, Long Term Optimism.

At the weekend Linda and Paul took Rosemary, one of their owners, to Ireland for a little holiday and to look at some horses for sale.  Rosemary fell in love with, and purchased, an un-named two year old filly. 

 Despite some inclement weather, they also managed a boat trip and visit to a heritage centre, as well as some fine wining and dining in local restaurants.  The filly has passed the vet and should arrive at the stables soon.

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Hill work.

After breakfast this morning it was over to the hill gallop for some exercise.  Both horses and spectators made their way to the top at varying speeds.  as can be seen in the video, the hill gives a great work out for the horses and will very soon be a good supply of hay.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

At Last Some Sunshine!

The sun is out at last and the horses are enjoying their turnout after exercise.
The horses out of training have moved elsewhere to holiday pastures, while the mares and foals are also enjoying new grazing.  At breakfast today, plans were laid for next week, next month and next year!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

A Pleasing Evening's Action.

Linda sent two horses to this evening's Lingfield Park meeting and what a thrilling time their owners had.  First Strategic Action came an agonisingly close second in a 7 and a half furlong handicap.  The heavy rain that fell to within an hour of racing made Linda hesitant about running on the turf course and from a poor draw away from the better ground.  Robert Havlin elected to move across gradually rather than try to zoom out and cut over to the stands rail.  He then travelled in midfield to half way before making progress to lead 100 yards from the line.  He looked all over the winner but was caught by the fast finishing favourite to be beaten by the shortest margin, a nose.

In the next race Running Bull finished in the frame for the first time.  Over a mile and a half, much further than his previous runs, he was steadied by Robert Havlin at the rear of the 6 runner field after pulling hard for the first couple of furlongs.  From there he travelled easily until starting an effort 3 furlongs out.  He was pulled wide for a clear run coming round the bend into the straight and although he couldn't reach the two leaders, he showed determination to see off his other rivals and finish third.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Promising career move.

Spirit Of Xaar had a promising outing over hurdles at Huntingdon today.  He raced prominently, only fading in the finishing straight to finish a pleasing 4th and earning a couple of hundred pounds towards his keep.  It would be no surprise to see him make a successful career over hurdles.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Rock and Roll.

Shannon is having a rocking good time in South Africa.  The training regime is certainly different; many strings on one site, treadmills, faster work, grooms to warm up horses for work riders and much more.  You can read a full account on Shannon's blog.
Meanwhile some of the horses at Southfield have been able to relax after work by having a roll on the track now that it is dry and dusty.  They obviously enjoy it and it is very happy horses that walk back to their boxes.



Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Perseverance and patience.

Clonusker won his first bit of prize money today when finishing 4th in a handicap hurdle at Fontwell.  Having shown little in races so far it was a reward for Linda's perseverance, patience and faith in his ability.  Hopefully it will be onward and upward for him from here.

Saturday, 11 May 2013


The Saturday breakfast regulars enjoyed another champagne morning to celebrate Kingscombe's midweek win, even though none of them is his owner!  A pity owner Peter Oppenheimer couldn't be there to share it.  Also rapidly devoured were some scones with lashings of clotted cream courtesy of Red Anchor owner Sally Stanier's recent visit to Devon.
Work with the horses was not compromised, as can be seen below where She's Humble canters on the track.