Suzy Smith Racing - News 2019 - 2020
These are strange and challenging times for all at the moment due to the COVID-19 pandemic and for the last six weeks many difficult decisions have been made and rapid changes implemented to protect the interests of our owners and the safety of our team, whilst also protecting our business.
Jump racing now is on hold until July at the earliest and I am glad we made a quick call on roughing off and turning out all our horses for an early holiday in their summer fields. This helped ensure our owners costs could be reduced as much as possible and we furloughed three of our staff, for which the government job retention scheme currently runs until the end of June, which is a great help as we will be bringing horses back in for early July and there will be a phased return to work for our staff from that point.
There have been many and still are, ever evolving schemes and advice which are all new and take a bit of working out. Social distancing has been implemented and hygiene and disinfecting procedures have been ramped up in the yard. It will be a tough summer but we have lots to look forward to for next season and many positive and exciting new ideas for the coming season.
It was such a shame racing stopped when it had to as the ground was just on the turn and all the good ground horses were primed to run, many of which had been waiting all season with the bad weather.
We did manage to squeeze in a few runners before the lockdown. Counteract finished 6th in a very warm novice hurdle at Kempton under Richie Mclernon, he will just need one more run at the start of next season to get handicapped. Little Boy Boru, up 6lbs from his 2nd at Huntingdon, tried his best at Fontwell in very holding ground to finish 4th and has since only been dropped 1lb which is frustrating.
Invicta Lake was our last runner and ran a brilliant race under Brendan Powell to finish 3rd at Market Rasen. He travelled well throughout the race and was always well positioned by Brendan. Invicta is a very happy horse who loves his racing and will certainly be back in the autumn as he has unfinished business!
We are very grateful to both our wonderful loyal owners who have been very supportive through all the decision making processes and our fantastic staff during team meetings that we have had during this period and we can't wait to resume training in July, if not before.
Stay safe and well everyone.
We had a fantastic result with Animal our lovely four year old gelding by Arcadio, on 26th February at Market Rasen. He is a horse that we have held in high regard at home and he duly stormed home to win by 8 lengths in impressive fashion!! It was a newcomers' bumper for horses that had been unraced in both point to points and on the track and there were some big yards represented with some well fancied runners! He is indeed SOME ANIMAL!!!!
We bought him as a three year old unbroken store horse with the aim of producing him to win his bumper and sell on. He was accepted for the Cheltenham Festival Sale this Thursday, which is a select sale - but as usual we had our boot in two camps - torn between achieving the highest possible price for the horse and keeping him in the yard to train ourselves. We were very fortunate that James and Chris two of our existing owners, were of the same mind and bought the majority of the horse to ensure he could stay here and we could all enjoy his journey. We are very grateful for their continued support and hope that we have some great days out with him!
We do still have 20% in this exciting horse for sale. Please see our Horses for Sale page - he really is one for your note books.
This was closely followed by Little Boy Boru's gallant effort at Huntingdon to just be denied in a photo finish by a short head by a horse half his age! Gavin Sheehan gave him a great ride and it was just unlucky as in one more stride he would have got back up. Unfortunately he has now been penalised by the handicapper and put up six pounds which will make life a lot harder for him. He is entered for Fontwell this Sunday where conditions should suit.
Invicta Lake, another of the senior members of our team, put up an enthusiastic performance at Fontwell to finish fourth in quite a decent hurdle and once the ground improves a little bit, he is looking a likely winner. He loves his racing and is as keen to get on with things as ever!
In other news, Storm Patrol, a daughter of Material World, has had a cracking filly foal by Jack Hobbs. This is Storm Patrol's first foal and we are very pleased to say that she has been an absolutely fantastic mother. She is due to return to Jack Hobbs who is potentially a very exciting stallion, who reminds his trainer John Gosden, very much of Presenting. We will be syndicating the foal in the near future, so please keep an eye on our Horses for Sale page!
Finally, we had a very interesting staff visit to a lecture given by our veterinary practice the Sussex Equine Hospital, discussing foal management. The staff really value these lecture evenings as they give them a greater understanding of different aspects of the racing and breeding industry.
December started with a bang when Oscarsman won a maiden hurdle at Plumpton in fine style. He jumped beautifully throughout and really stuck his neck out when challenged on the run in, showing his will to win! He was given a great ride by Micheal Nolan who was particularly complimentary about his hurdling.
Little Boy Boru has been out three times since, being placed on two of those occasions, coming third at Southwell and fourth on his latest start at Lingfield a week ago. He has been unfortunate in that every time he has run the ground has been very holding and not to his liking. He is declared for Plumpton tomorrow where it surely has to be finally wet - if it's on at all!
Clondaw Bisto - our enigmatic character - has been putting the jockeys through their paces recently, finishing third at Plumpton and then winning the marathon chase at Fakenham on New Years Day! He was given a great ride by amateur Zac Baker who perservered long enough for Bisto to decide to take off and win! Bisto has an unusual running style of not wishing to rush until the final two furlongs when he suddenly fires up and sweeps round the outside!
The Plumpton Party's Debestyman was so unfortunate not to win the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton a few days ago. He was well positioned throughout and three lengths clear of the field coming to the final flight, when he appeared to get distracted and made a terrible blunder unseating poor Micheal Nolan. It has been devastating for everyone - but on a positive note, he has shown us what a great horse he is and hopefully we can put the score right elsewhere. Prior to this he had run two cracking races at Newbury and Cheltenham in very good company, on ground that was a little on the soft side for him.
We had great fun at our staff Christmas Party this year - after a delicious meal at the Pelham Arms we went on to a pub quiz at the Black Horse in Lewes. We're not sure exactly where we came, but we didn't disgrace ourselves - probably mid division!!
Finally, we are saying goodbye and thank you to Claudia who has ridden out for us for the last couple of seasons, we wish her the best of luck with her new ventures.
Since the middle of October our Jump horses have been back in action. The relentless rainfall has made for a difficult start to the season, but nevertheless the horses have been running really well, with lots of placed efforts. Notably, Vue Cavaliere who has been third on three consecutive runs at Huntingdon over the last six weeks. The track really suits her well and the fact that it is a good-draining course has ensured that she has been able to run on the ground she likes. As we thought, she has taken to chasing really well and it will only be a matter of time before she gets her head in front!
Oscarsman has had a couple of runs over hurdles and ran particularly well on his first attempt to finish a good fourth at Fontwell in a maiden hurdle. Next time out the ground was simply not to his liking and hopefully we will be able to find some better conditions for him soon as he only needs one more run to be handicapped.
Cracker Jak has run three times so far, but has been struggling with the softer conditions. His best effort came at Exeter where he came fourth in a very competitive hurdle and the ground was probably the best he's had this season. He's a very good moving horse and we simply will not run him on anything worse than good to soft again.
Rosy World started out with a very good third at Plumpton, where she was only beaten by a head and a neck, staying on strongly. The race was too slowly run for her, so didn't play to her strengths, but nevertheless it was a great effort. She then came a good third in a Pertemps Qualifier at Aintree where she ended up having to make most of the running and only weakened after the last. Recently she ran at Ascot where she ran a brave race, but we feel three miles at the moment is not suiting her and we will drop her back to 2m5/6f where she will more likely be able to make use of her high cruising speed and if necessary set the pace.
The Blue Bower ran a brilliant race at Kempton from another bad draw to finish second at 50-1. We've always felt that six furlongs in a nursery would be the key to her and she loves coming from off the pace in strongly run races. All she needs is a good draw and a bit of luck in running to go one better.
We are delighted to welcome April Kitchener to the team this season. April rides out for us a few times a week, she is a nice rider who has a very positive attitude who is always happy to help when needed. April has had a few rides on the flat as an apprentice and has come back to racing after having a period of free-lancing in other equine disciplines, she said she really missed the racehorses - we are very pleased she has joined the team here!
On a final note, Suzy has just joined the Diversity in Racing Steering Group at the BHA; the aim of which is to make sure racing is truly an inclusive sport and one in which everybody feels they can be themselves. We believe this is extremely important for the industry as a whole and is reflected in the values we hold dear here at Suzy Smith Racing.
We had a lovely trip to Cork to see all our broodmares and their beautiful foals last week, the weather was fantastic and all the horses looked very well in the sunshine. There are some very exciting individuals in this year's crop and we are very lucky to have such correct foals with fabulous pedigrees. All the mares we have out there have been in training with us, so there will be plenty of faces that you may recognise in the gallery where we have uploaded our favourite photos for you.
Our Owners' Morning on Sunday was great fun, we were lucky that the rain held off and we were able to parade the horses for everyone to see. Everyone commented that the horses looked magnificent and they are a credit to the staff who turned them out so beautifully. We believe that we have a fantastic line up of horses for the season ahead and are really looking forward to getting going with some potentially smart horses. Again, please take a look at the gallery for pictures of the horses parading.
To give Archie the chance to ride in two pony races, we made the decision to send him and Macey up to Wolverhampton on the same day, to compete over four furlongs in a novice pony race. They did extremely well to finish a clear third; he sent her off in front and she was right there until the last furlong when two very capable ponies came past her in the closing stages. They both really enjoyed themselves and we are very much looking forward to Lingfield where I think there will be quite a few of our staff and owners wanting to go and support them both!
Most of our jumps horses are back in from their summer holidays and are looking very well and are now mainly cantering. We believe we've got a very nice group of horses to look forward to this season. The first of our National Hunt horses are likely to run in October.
Our flat horses have been keeping us busy over the last couple of months! The Blue Bower has had two more places finishing a very good third at Windsor and most recently she was fourth at Salisbury. We have found that she would probably benefit being more patiently ridden. She will likely be out middle of September. Lightning Bug, now has her handicap mark. She had her first run in a nursery at Chelmsford over a mile. The race unfortunately was very slowly run and turned into a sprint, whereas she needs an even gallop. She will likely go to Chepstow in September, back on turf as this would be a stiffer test, bearing in mind she is bred to stay.
We have leased a pony 'Litton Spring Song', known as Macey at home, to give our budding jockey Archie (14 years old) the opportunity to ride in a pony race and basically train him up in order to ride the racehorses. Archie has been here most of his summer holidays working in the mornings. Last week he had his racing assessment at Lingfield Park and has one more Pony Club rally to go to before he will qualify for a raceday on October 29th at Lingfield Park. Archie is coming on in leaps and bounds and we very much hope that all of us will be able to get down to Lingfield to cheer him on, on the day!
We have just said goodbye to Bertie Symonds who has secured a novice rider position at Alan Hill's which is a very good Point to Point yard. He had a few rides in Point to Points for Diana Grissell last season being placed and rode out for us a couple of mornings a week whilst he was doing his A Levels at Southdown College in Lewes. We wish him the best of luck and will follow his career with interest.
And finally, we had a great evening at Racing Welfare's summer social and BBQ in Epsom, where staff from different racing yards all get together to socialise and have inter-yard rounders. Our staff teamed up with Jim Boyle's yard and finished in third place!
We had our last runner over jumps before the horses went away for their holidays, on 9th May, when Vue Cavaliere ran with great credit under Ben Godfrey to virtually make all at Worcester finishing third. She was much improved for the brush hurdles, which she has much more respect for than the traditional type and stuck on gamely at the finish. Her future lies very much over the larger fences.
Vue Cavaliere has joined the others on their holidays now and the first of the National Hunt horses will be back in early July to start their walking and trotting.
Both of our 2yo flat horses have had their first runs this month. The Blue Bower put in an eye-catching performance at Chelmsford to finish a close fourth, only beaten three and a half lengths from the winner. She got stuck behind a wall of traffic for the majority of the race and had to be switched wide to get a clear run and finished very strongly in the last couple of furlongs. She should be out again within the next couple of weeks.
Lightning Bug ran a couple of days later at Chelmsford. Unfortunately the conditions were extremely windy and many of the 2yos were playing up in paddock beforehand and this unsettled her a bit. She probably did a bit too much early on in the race and therefore didn't get home as well as she could have done. However, she has come out of her race well and will also be out again fairly soon.
Happily, all our broodmares have produced cracking foals this spring; Natural Spring had a Westerner filly, Aimigayle had a Court Cave colt, Material World had a September Storm filly and Jennifer Eccles has had a Court Cave filly. We are due to visit them in Ireland this summer and we'll do a dedicated update on them all after that when we'll be able to share lots of our lovely photos with you!
At last week's Goffs Landrover Sales in Ireland, we purchased a very handsome 3yo gelding by Arcadio. He is bred from the same lines as two exceptionally good black type mares of ours Aimigayle and Emmaslegend and we are particularly pleased with him. We are just starting the breaking in process with him and he is proving very amenable so far. He is for sale and also unnamed, so any prospective buyer will have the chance to name their own racehorse! Please get in touch with us for further information.