Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Maccabees saves the day.

Maccabees finished 3rd in the closing race at Plumpton on Monday 15th December tempering earlier disappointments.
The day had begun with Priors door having his first race under rules.  He jumped well but eventually the testing conditions and his inexperience took their toll and he was sensibly pulled up two out.  Still a pleasing debut.
Then Itoldyou was sent off favourite in the extended 3 mile handicap chase.  However a fall at the 4th fence ended his race, though it was pleasing to see it did not dent his enthusiasm as he completed the remaining 2 and a half miles riderless and enjoying himself.
Itoldyou "This is fun"

Then it was Red Anchor's turn in the 2 and a half mile handicap chase.  He didn't seem quite himself and was losing touch with a circuit to go so Andrew Thornton pulled up down the back straight.
Red Anchor

So with three runners and no completions it was left to Maccabees to put some gloss on the day.  In the 2 mile handicap hurdle, and ridden by Thomas Cheesman, he tracked the leaders for the first circuit and a half.  He was asked for an effort three out but could not make ground on the two horses in front.  He did however keep going all the way to the line and was able to hold on to third place, making the journey home more pleasant.

All photographs courtesy of

Thursday, 27 November 2014

"Itoldyou he could cope!"

In a competitive race at Newbury today, Itoldyou started the 5/1 4th favourite of the five runners in the 3 mile 2 furlong amateur riders handicap chase.  It was a step up in class both in terms of opposition and fences so in many ways was a test of his abilities.  Jockey Danny Burton dropped Itoldyou in at the rear as the field set off on the soft ground.  He jumped well on the first circuit but he was hampered by an unseated rider at the first in the back straight on the second circuit.  It seemed to affect him as he made mistakes at the next two fences.  He stayed last of the four remaining runners until entering the home straight where he was given a reminder by the jockey.  He responded to this and took the lead over the big open ditch three from home.  He was a little untidy at the last two fences but still held the lead.  After the last the favourite got up and passed him but he kept going to hold onto second place, one and a quarter lengths behind the winner and a length and a half ahead of the third.   He earned over £1700 for his owners , Valence Racing Too, in this Class 3 race and gave them a great day out.


Saturday, 15 November 2014

Beating That Breakfast Bulge.

It has long been rumoured, but now the Saturday owners' breakfast group will have more room to indulge themselves as the connecting wall between the kitchen and mini lounge has been knocked through creating a much larger eating area.

Not only is there more room to move around, eat and chat, it means that the staff can now breakfast with the owners, adding to the information about their horses and expanding the general banter.  Of course it does mean that owners can monitor the calorie intake of the riders before they mount up!

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Ginger Puts Smiles On Faces.

Red Anchor (stable name Ginger) showed a return to form today when finishing 3rd in a handicap chase at Lingfield.  After his problems last season it was great to see him racing with enthusiasm and attacking his jumps again.  Ridden by Jamie Moore, he set off third of the field of four runners in the 2 and a half mile event.  He moved up into second going out on the final circuit and held this position until entering the home straight where he was challenged for the position.  His lack of a recent run began to tell, but he continued gamely to hold on to his third place, just 16 lengths behind the easy winner, and demonstrate that he is back to his old self, putting a smile on the faces of all his connections.
Ginger in 3rd passes the stands on the first circuit.
Ginger returns to the unsaddling enclosure.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Great To Be Back

Itoldyou had his first race after his summer break today and looked pleased to be back.  In a 2 mile 6 furlong handicap chase at Fontwell, ridden by Tom Cannon,  he was held up in the rear for the first circuit before moving up with a mile to go.  He chased the leader from the 5th last fence but he couldn't find enough to get upsides.  He began to stay on again after the final fence and held on to second place just under 2 lengths behind the winner.  A very satisfactory reappearance that made his connections very happy.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Back to the sands, back to winning ways.

Kingscombe returned to Southwell, his favourite course, and made it seven wins from eight starts at the Nottinghamshire track.  Drawn widest of the six runners in a class 4 handicap over 2 miles, he raced on the outside in the early part of the race under jockey Robert Havlin.  He tucked in to 4th position, tracking the leaders, going out on the final circuit.  He was asked to move up when nearing the far turn and made smooth progress on the outside of the favourite rounding the bend.  The two then had a battle royal up the straight with Kingscombe coming out on top at the line to win by a neck, with another 14 lengths back to the third placed horse.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Claude In The Money Again

Claude Greenwood earned more prize money today when he finished third in a 1 mile 2 furlong handicap on the all weather at Kempton.  In a field of fourteen he was ridden prominently by Charles Bishop from the off and was in a good position entering the home straight.  He made an effort to press the leaders at the 1 furlong pole but could not match their pace in the final 100 yards.  At odds of 20/1 this was another good effort from a horse that has been consistent in his grade this season.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Conquering The Hill

The number of Saturday breakfast owners visiting the hill increased in the beautiful weather.

 First the flat horses worked, then it was back to the yard for breakfast.

 Then it was a return to the hill for the National Hunt horses.

A thoroughly pleasant morning!

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Rain Great For Hill.

The arrival of the heavy rain this week has allowed the horses to use the hill gallop again.  It was good to see them working up the centre strip this morning in proper National Hunt weather.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Great start for Winter Menu.

No, Winter Menu is not a new horse in Linda's yard, it's just that the Saturday breakfast fare has switched from summer continental to traditional winter English.  And what a good breakfast it was.  After watching the first lot work on the track, those owners present made themselves comfortable in the kitchen with mugs of tea and coffee while sausages (pork & beef), scrambled eggs, bacon, baked beans and toast were served, but the star of the feast was Yorkshire Breakfast Pie (pictured below) baked by John's wife Linda.  This contained egg, tomatoes and sausage meat on a bed of onions encased in delicious pastry.

Those that had room were able to follow up with home made flapjacks and chocolate covered ginger shortbread, courtesy of another of the owners.  The chat was enthusiastic as plans were made and memories recounted.

After breakfast owners went back to the track to watch the second lot or to the boxes to view and pat their own horses. 
Saturday mornings look as if they will continue to be very popular in the coming months thanks to Linda's patience and hard work over a hot oven!

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Sometimes it's just social.

Two groups of Linda's owners enjoyed a pleasant evening's racing at Kempton Park.  Fine Tune and Mad About Harry were both running in maidens after some time off, and while they were doing their best expectations were not particularly high and it was an opportunity to savour the racing on offer without the nerves of anticipation.  The Owners & Trainers bar and terrace offered those attending excellent facilities both in viewing the parade ring and horse walk and complimentary food and drink.
First to run was Fine Tune for Rosemary Watson.
Fine Tune

 Although he finished well behind, Linda learnt a lot about him and better things are expected when he starts running in handicap company later on.
Next to run was Mad About Harry for Valence Racing and nine supporters had turned out to cheer him on.  Again Linda learnt more about him from watching the race and from the input of jockey Daniel Cremin, who was good enough to give feedback later to a disabled member of Valence Racing who could not get to the unsaddling area.
Linda talks to Daniel Cremin in the weighing room before the race.
Daniel and Linda give feedback to Penny after the race.

Everyone had a very enjoyable time and the efforts made to accommodate the owners by both the racecourse and the two jockeys were much appreciated.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Claude loves that sea air!

Claude Greenwood returned to Brighton today, the scene of his recent triumph.  He was ridden by Cam Hardie who had him prominent throughout the race.  There were several still in with a chance entering the final furlong and, while he couldn't quite overtake the leader, Claude took second place just three quarters of a length behind and a head in front of the third.  Each way backers would have been pleased with the odds of 8/1.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Little And Large.

Kingscombe travelled to Kempton today to race again after a short summer break.  His travelling companion accompanied him.  Spot the difference!  In the race Kingscombe finished 5th and with luck it will have sharpened him up for next time.  His companion is already looking forward to another day out.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Claude Shows The Way.

Claude Greenwood at last got the victory he deserved when winning a mile handicap at Brighton today.  Ridden by 3 pound claimer Charles Bishop, he got out from the stalls quickly and set the pace.  He moved across to the stand rails entering the finishing straight, still in the lead.  Though some of the field were struggling there were still a half dozen who looked a threat, but Claude bravely held them all off winning by a head at the line from the favourite at rewarding odds of 14/1.


Saturday, 23 August 2014

Open To The Public

The stable looked brilliant today, testimony to the hard work put in by Linda and her staff, as the doors were open to the public.  There was lots of information about the stables to be had in the main yard including a display of materials set out on the grass on tables.
During the morning members of the public were able to watch two lots working on the gallops, with strategically placed straw bales to rest on if needed.

Some of the younger visitors were able to get up close to one of the friendly horses. 
All in all it was a great morning and a thoroughly deserved success for Linda and her team.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Hard work pays off.

The sun shone on the Owners Open Day and the hard work by all the staff produced beautifully turned out horses and very satisfied owners.
Some people arrived in style!

Drinks and nibbles were served while owners strolled around the yard chatting and looking at the horses in their boxes.

Linda talked about each of the horses as they were paraded.

Then it was off to Lingfield with Fleeting Indian who completed an excellent day by claiming third place in the selling stakes at odds of 20/1.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Open Days

The staff have all been working hard preparing for the annual Open Days.  The Owners Open Day is on Saturday 16th August and the following week (23rd August) the yard is open to the public.  Details of the Public Open Day can be viewed on the special page on the website.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Claude gives Katie the prize.

Claude Greenwood won his third "Best Turned Out" award in two months, yesterday at Brighton.  Each time a different stable girl has put the work in to show him at his best and on this occasion it was Katie who went home £25 richer for her efforts.  It was especially memorable for her as it was her first ever "Best Turned Out".

Thursday, 24 July 2014

What does Ray have to do?

Celestial Ray finished runner up for the third successive time when competing in a 1 mile handicap on the all weather at Lingfield today.  Ridden this time by Kieren Fallon,
he wasn't the fastest to break and travelled in midfield on the rail for the first half of the race. He moved into the first four coming down the hill into the home turn at which point he hit the front.  A two horse battle ensued and they pulled away from the rest of the field, but Richard Hughes riding his rival just managed to get up and hold on, winning by a neck with 8 lengths back to third place.  On this form surely a race must go Celestial Ray's way soon unless the handicapper penalises him harshly for this non winning effort.

It was Wet Wet Wet but the going remained good to firm!

Valence Racing members had a cracking evening out yesterday when Mad About Harry ran at a sunny Sandown Park.  This was his first run for Linda and Valence Racing, after nearly a year off the course.  He was beautifully turned out for the opening apprentice race.  Valence Racing members had had a relaxed start to the evening in the Owners & Trainers enclosure, eating complimentary salt beef and crusty bread with pickles, drinking complimentary coffee and quaffing the odd glass of lemonade or something stronger!  Then it was off to the parade ring to see Mad About Harry arrive and meet Daniel Cremin (the jockey).

Harry was beautifully turned out on this glorious summer's evening.

He ran encouragingly for his first time after the long lay off, only tiring turning for home, then being sensibly eased after a large bump from another horse (stewards enquired) knocked him out of his stride.

The evening's entertainment continued with some exciting racing from jockeys such as Ryan Moore, Richard Hughes and Frankie Dettori.  After the last race there was a live concert by Wet Wet Wet making it a very memorable and pleasant evening. 
The owners received about £50 worth of benefits (admission, racecards, food etc.) so Valence Racing might well be dubbed VALUE RACING!

Monday, 30 June 2014

Two In The Frame At Windsor.

Linda sent two horses to Windsor today for the evening meeting and both finished in the frame.
First to race was Fleeting Indian in the 6 furlong selling stakes.  Outsider of the five runners and under Daniel Cremin he broke well and led the field until the last two furlongs where the two market leaders began to assert.  Fleeting Indian was no match for them but stayed on well to finish 3rd beaten 4 lengths.
In the final race of the evening, a mile handicap,  Celestial Ray ridden by Rab Havlin took up a place in mid division until he moved up to 3rd entering the home straight.  He could make no impression on the leader in the final furlong but was able to claim second place, 3 lengths clear of the rest.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Champagne flows again.

There was another champagne breakfast today celebrating a double, but this time it wasn't winners on the track that had earned the fizz!  Firstly everyone toasted Shane (stable lad) who had his 21st birthday.  He has been at the yard for several years and has developed from a total novice to one of Linda's key work riders, especially on the National Hunt horses.
Shane blows out the candles on his birthday buns.
Then there was a naming and blessing ceremony for Praise N Glory, performed by his joint-owners Dick Churcher (pictured with the champagne bucket of holy water) and the Reverend Fredrik Arvidsson (Father Fred) who administered the blessing.
Praise N Glory receives his blessing.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Royal Ascot Bound.

Linda had to leave breakfast early this morning as she was taking owners, Gillian and Carol, to the Royal Enclosure at Ascot.  Picnic things packed in the car, champagne chilled, they just had time to be photographed in their finery before setting out.  Hopefully one day there will be a runner from the yard to cheer on as well.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Getting Closer.

Celestial Ray, who has run some good races recently without making the frame, finished second in a mile handicap on the all weather at Lingfield this evening.  Ridden by Seb sanders, he broke well and was prominent throughout.  He lay third coming off the bend into the home straight and ran on to go second and leave the chasers behind.  Unfortunately the leader seemed to have a lot in hand and continued to pull clear, going on to an easy victory.  Celestial Ray would be unlucky not to win a race soon in his present form on his current handicap mark.

Earlier at the meeting Emmelia won her first "Best Turned Out" award, £50, with Claude Greenwood, the second time in a week that he has been judged the best.
"Best Turned Out" Claude Greenwood

Sunday, 8 June 2014

The Glories Of Goodwood

Linda had two horses declared on a wonderful summer's day at beautiful grade 1 track, Goodwood.  Rowe Park was due to run and give Valence Racing members a day out, but unfortunately he was not right and had to be declared a non-runner.  However as he had been declared the badges were available and several Valence Racing members enjoyed a super day, some for the first time at the races.  They were able to support Claude Greenwood, Linda's other runner.
Meeting a jockey for the first time.

There was an excellent start when Claude Greenwood was judged "Best Turned Out" winning £50 for Karen.
Karen receives the "Best Turned Out" award.

Then Claude Greenwood overcame a stumble at the start to claim a very creditable 4th place, considering the official ratings of the opposition, earning over £400 for his owner, Mr Dean.
Claude Greenwood is unsaddled after his 4th place finish.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Lucy's Derby Run

I'm Lucy completed the Derby course at Epsom ridden by John Reid.  She was working for Channel 4 who were producing a jockey's view of the Derby for their programme this Saturday.
The experience was also useful for her development as her career is in its infancy. If you want to watch the Channel 4 piece follow this link:-  

Saturday, 24 May 2014

No More Sleepless Nights.

Linda can finally sleep soundly at night again now that the last of the mares has had her foal.  All the foals are fit and well and are enjoying the freedom of the paddocks.
The newest arrival.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Birthday Breakfast

This morning (Saturday 10th May) breakfast was a little different.  As well as eighteen people, for which Linda catered very well, it was birthday time.  The celebration was shared by I'm Lucy, Rosemary's horse, and Katie, stable lass.  Rosemary provided the cake, three candles for three year old Lucy, and traditional songs were sung. 
Rosemary and Katie cut the cake.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Holiday Time.

It's not just humans who enjoy a rest in the sun.  Most of the National Hunt horses are now enjoying a rest out at grass in the sunshine.  Pictured below, Itoldyou and Clonusker get a carrot.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Mixing It With The Big Boys

Itoldyou showed that he could mix it with the big boys when competing in a (0-135) handicap chase at Kempton today (15/4/2014).  Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls, Kim Bailey, Philip Hobbs and Emma Lavelle all had runners.  With the ground drying quickly it was necessary for Itoldyou to keep closer to the pace and Andrew Thornton had him in the right place throughout to be competitive at the end.  He moved into 4th place rounding the bend for home and soon took third.  He stayed on over the final two fences to be beaten three quarters of a length and six lengths.  In this company it could well prove to be his best run to date.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Spring In Their Step.

The first of this year's crop of foals was born this week when Hopeshedoes gave birth to a filly by Watar.  Mother and daughter are both doing well.  Owners, Gillian and Martin, were at the stable on Saturday to see the foal for the first time.  Two other mares should be foaling in the next couple of weeks.
Below - Gillian gets to know the foal.