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John & Zoe Webster's VEEJAY & Rob Hornby return to the winner's enclosure - Photo courtesy of Graham Clark (@GrahamClark85)


A successful debut for John & Zoe Webster's VEEJAY yesterday as the juvenile son of Approve took six furlong Class 3 Auction stakes the in the hands of Rob Hornby.

A breeze up purchase in the spring, VEEJAY has always shown a bit of dash but as the betting suggested, most of us were convinced that he'd need a first outing both physically and mentally. He certainly has the right attitude but looks like a very leggy individual at present so it was a real surprise when he obliged at 25/1 whilst our other runner, a previous Thirsk winner ANOTHER DAY OF SUN failed to fire.

VEEJAY won convincingly as well, coming with an eye-catching run on the outside in the final furlong to win going away by almost a length ahead of Onefootinparadise. Mick was delighted with the win, although a little bemused. That's two year olds for you though and there's plenty to look forward to.

"I'm obviously delighted for John & Zoe who have had some smart horses with us over the years - Archers Road and Samitar being the standouts. They might have a smart one here too because although it wasn't expected, you have to say that VEEJAY did that very well.

"We've taken our time with him since he arrived because he has grown and is a very scopey horse so we'll step him up to seven now.

"ANOTHER DAY OF SUN was disappointing but I'll forgive him on that ground which was perhaps a little bit too soft for him - I'm sure he'll bounce back because he's got a lot of ability himself.

"They're going well at present and it's just a matter of keeping things going. The two year olds always sort themselves out in the end."

Posted By: Wilsley News

Mohammed Al-Qatami & Khalid Al-Mudhafs's MAKSAB & SDS returns to the winner's enclosure after victory this evening - Photo courtesy of @nikidoog on Twitter


Been a bit lazy since Royal Ascot. Not sure why.

Anyhow, we've had a good few days as Mick's own PATTIE, Jon & Julia Aisbitt's CHICAGO STAR and Mohammed Al-Qatami & Khalid Al-Mudhaf's MAKSAB all recorded their first career victories.

First up we'll focus on Mick's homebred filly PATTIE who took the one mile, Class 4, three year old fillies' handicap under Silvestre de Sousa on Sunday at Pontefract. She's a handy filly is PATTIE - a full sister to Harrison, a smart performer in his own right but PATTIE has been hard to win with. Indeed, her career record before Sunday reads 4-3-2-2-3-2-6. A consistent sort who Mick feels has been prevented from winning through human intervention.

"That's a relief to me because we were getting it wrong and, like so many occasions, simplicity is best. Harrison is a serious horse over middle distances and I just thought that this was a similar filly who demanded a similar trip.

"Sure, she was running well over a mile and a quarter but when Silvestre rode her at Newbury last time out he didn't mess about in his assessment - 'She wants a true run mile', he said and she got that on Sunday.

"Sometimes you can think too much I guess and Silvestre put us right so all credit to him. He's unstoppable at the minute and just gets the job done. I'm grateful he did that with Pattie who will improve as the season progressess."

Yesterday it was CHICAGO STAR'S turn to enter the winner's enclosure as she took the Class 6, three year old handicap at Chepstow under John Egan.

The daughter of Exceed and Excel hasn't been the most straightforward but she's certainly been keen to get on with the job, it was just a case of everything falling in her favour and they certainly did over the seven furlongs as she tracked the leaders before taking it up two furlongs from home, scoring comfortably enough to suggest to her trainer that she'll be winning again in the near future.

"This is a decent filly but she's always provided a challenge. For the lion's share of her two year old seasion she thought she was a three furlong horse and those races are tricky to find in the calendar.

"This year though she's been a different proposition and she's becoming more professional by the day. This was a lowly contest but it feels like just the start because, as I say, she's becoming just another member of the string these days and is no concern at all. 

"She too will keep getting better and she did it well enough."

This evening at Leicester, MAKSAB, a big, burly and ultra relaxed two year old colt took the Leicester novice race on his second career start in eyecatching fashion to confirm what we've always thought - this is a real slow burner who will certainly fulfil his potential as he develops into a racehorse.

The great thing is, MAKSAB is mentally so laid back it's difficult to predict how good he might be. He made a very pleasing debut at Newmarket just over two weeks ago and was the sort of newcomer who we all expected to go well without having the sharpness to really threaten on debut.

He's just a lovely, laid back and uncomplicated character. Luckily though, he's also a proper athlete and Mick can't wait to see what is to come.

"That went as I expected if I can say that without acting smug. We've all liked him since he arrived because he's a horse who's ready to go to work for you but he's not in a hurry in himself. Just a great attitude and although he benefitted from Rhoneigr veering across the track in the closing stages tonight, he beat a decent yardstick in Falmouth Light and all he could do was his own job.

"He might be quite smart and I'd like to think that Mohammed & Khalid have another exciting prospect on their hands."

Posted By: Wilsley News

Sue Bunney's JERSEY BREEZE - A winner for the second time this week


This joke might be tiresome but please bear with us. This is a week of attrition and it's difficult to come up with too much original material as the onslaught continues.

We had a double at Bath tonight.

Sue Bunney's JERSEY BREEZE followed up her Tuesday success at Brighton to take the Class 5 extended five furlong event under both a six pound penalty and West Ilsley apprentice Keith Quinn to reaffirm our belief that the wheels are now back in motion on with a filly who we've always thought a lot of.

She was prominent throughout tonight's contest and won very nicely with Mick's thoughts yet again with one of his dearest friends in Sue, with a thought for JERSEY BREEZE's jockey Keith Quinn who recorded his first victory for West Ilsley since joining us in the winter.

"I'm again chuffed for Sue who has put a lot in for little reward in the last 12 months. She's a great person and a good friend and it's been something of a nightmare waiting for things to come good for her for quite some time now.

"JERSEY BREEZE looks to have turned the corner and fitting headgear has certainly helped because, as I said after the Brighton win, this is a filly who is only now finding her feet again.

"I'm also very pleased for Keith. He's found opportunities hard to come by but that's part and parcel of the game and I hope this has dangled a carrot in front of him. He's suffered disappointments and this game can provide plenty of them but he deserved that tonight."

The last race on the card saw LIGHTOLLER finally get his head in front at the sixteenth time of asking over the same trip as JERSEY BREEZE in the Class six three year old heat.

Despite only facing three rivals the son of Harbour Watch did it well enough, sticking his neck out to win close home by a head under Graham Lee. Mick watched on amused - LIGHTOLLER is the type of horse that he loves winning with for his character alone.

LIGHTOLLER (Green Cap) - A Winner in the last at Bath

"Mark my words, this lad will only get better! I'm a delighted owner because these types can run well and often frustrate but you can't give up on them.

"He might be fitted with blinkers and he might be a bit daft but I reckon he's just a big baby. He loves life and even though he's sometimes less than easy to get on with he challenges you because he's far better than the statistics suggest.

"He makes me laugh and I love training horses like him. He'll win again as well."

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Eddie & Carmel Aldridge's SILCA MISTRESS - A winner at Thirsk yesterday


Ok, so it took place in the form of an across the card double but winners are winners and SILCA MISTRESS and JERSEY BREEZE were first past the post at Thirsk and Brighton respectively.

Eddie & Carmel Aldridge's homebred SILCA MISTRESS took the juvenile fillies'  novice in the north over six furlongs and under Graham Lee. The daughter of Dutch Art comes from a very familiar family - Mick trained her dam Strictly Silca, her granddam Silca Chiave, her great granddam Silca Cisa, and her great, great granddam Princess Silca Key.

That's not entirely required in the case of SILCA MISTRESS because from day one she's been sound, willing and eager to please. A pleasing Goodwood debut was followed up by a fifth placed Doncaster effort on soft ground and that experience was put to good use yesterday as she prevailed going away to record a length and three quarter success in taking style.

Mick was more than happy and expects further improvement as the season wears on.

"She's so straight forward and although she certainly wasn't our most precocious two year old we got to a stage with her when she was ready to race. She wasn't ready to win first time up but if they'll benefit from it we're happy to let them get on with it.

"She certainly does that and she'll keep improving. We'll see where we go from here, probably in nursery company."

Two years ago,Sue Bunney's JERSEY BREEZE lined up in the Albany at Royal Ascot and it's fair to say that things haven't got exactly to plan since then. She suffered injury which accounts for her absence for the entire 2016 season and she's taken her time find her feet since returning to action this year.

Indeed, last night's success at Brighton in Class five company over six furlongs was her fifth start of the season but there's a feeling that there's something there after Gavin Lerena secured at three parts of a length victory ahead of Pushkin Museum. Mick was delighted with the performance that saw her headed having led throughout before finishing strongly to regain the lead in the closing stages.

"I'm chuffed and relieved for Sue more than anything because she hasn't had the best of luck lately and this filly was a shining light at two before things went wrong in her two year old season.

"She showed real spirit to battle back last night and that shows us that she's still got the humger. She needed a few runs to get back in the groove and now she's got the rest of the season to show us how good she can be because there's plenty of ability about her."

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The MILTON ROAD end at The Dell - A name to make everyone nostalgic


Contrasting career paths but an across the card double on Sunday as the Boss's own MILTON ROAD took the five furlong seller at Goodwood whilst the Tadhd Geary owned BEST OF MY LOVE took the the three year old maiden fillies' stakes at Nottingham on gutsy fashion.

MILTON ROAD has been on the road for quite some time in his short career as a racehorse and he's far better than a seller, a point which his owner is quick to point out every time he's challenged on his very early yet busy career.

To be fair, MILTON ROAD only picks grass at home in between his races and yesterday, the two year old''s seventh start saw him gain a deserved first victory after being unlucky early on, finishing second, second and third after his debut at Windsor back in April.

He's rugged, sound and very likeable is MILTON ROAD, a bit like his namesake, the old home end at The Dell where the Saints used to attack in the second half (on a going day) way back when. Silvestre De Sousa did the steering and brought him home to prevail by a length and a quarter ahead of Quick Steps Lad with Tie Em Up Tel a head in arrears.

Mick loves a seller, for the sport of it alone and he's also a fan of MILTON ROAD.

"He's tough game and sound and will get better. He's no star but all he wants to do is please, so I'm happy to let him do so. He'll get far further in time but I've had this race in mind for a while after he was unlucky in defeat in maidens earlier on in the year."

BEST OF MY LOVE is a different proposition and even though yesterday's win under Rob Hornby was a shock to punters as she took the mile maiden at Nottingham, she's certainly a filly who will progress with racing. 

Stone bonking last on her career debut at the end of May, she improved to finish fourth at Thirsk next time up and she battled home in rain softened ground yesterday afternoon.

She'll get better because, as Mick explains, having had a few issues as a two year old before she arrived from Ireland in the New Year, she's been on a steep learning curve.

"This is a nice filly and a bit of a favourite. She had a few issues at two but that's nobody's fault, these things often happen with young horses and we were delighted with her early on. She then knocked her joint but had the fortitude to see that through and yesterday's performance sums her up.

"She battled and battled and must be as tough as they come because although she was 50/1 she was unaware of it. Rob gave her a super ride and deserved it because he's been riding out for us for some time now and I feel like he's not had the chances he deserves."

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George Materna's evergreen SGT RECKLESS - a winner at Doncaster on Saturday


A good few days with two winners among the two year olds as SHORT CALL and ANOTHER DAY OF SUN opened their accounts on the racecourse whilst a West Ilsley inmate who is no stranger to success recorded his first flat victory on turf.

George Materna's SGT RECKLESS returned to us from Simon Hodgson six weeks ago and previously he's won three bumpers, as well as races over hurdles, fences, an all weather flat race and at Doncaster on Saturday his first on turf.

He's a remarkable horse who took Saturday's Class 4 mile and a half with consummate ease, helped by David Egan's seven pound claim. The SGT is ten years old now and Mick was delighted that he retains all of his enthusiasm for thr game.

"He'll be going up five pounds for that but that's fair enough because on his day he's a very talented horse. We've done very little with him since he came back from Simon who sadly chose to retire recently. That was a real shame for him but we're delighted to have the horse back. I'd be happy to come back to a mile and a quarter - he's in on Saturday at Newmarket."

Amongst the juveniles Jaber Abdullah's SHORT CALL made a pleasing start to her career, winning on debut in a three runner field at Goodwood on Friday.

It's always hard to say what she beat, accounting for the previously twice placed Auntie Pam and the other debutant Looks a Million. SHORT CALL tracked the pair of them throughout under Charlie Bishop, improving to lead just before the furlong marker and winning by nearly three lengths in etye-catching fashion.

"Mick is weighing up his options.

"This is a nice filly who just needed a bit of time. Like a few of our two year olds we've had to wait for them to come to us and whilst it's been frustrating, I'm not too worried because we seem to have a nice bunch still coming through. Put it this way.

"I don't know what I'm going to do with her at the moment. She won nicely but can we talk about Ascot after only beating two rivals? I'm not sure right now."

Yesterday at Thirsk, it was the turn of Richard Green's ANOTHER DAY OF SUN who stepped up on his debut at Goodwood ten days ago to take Division 1 of the six furlong novice stakes under Silvestre De Sousa.

Although he finished eighth of ten at Goodwood, that heat looks to be one of the hottest of the season so far and ANOTHER DAY OF SUN looks to have improved an awful lot in the meantime.

SDS had his mount in touch throughout before leading just inside the final two furlongs. He was ridden out to record a length and a quarter success in workmanlike fashion ahead of Mr Wagyu and Emerald Rocket but that was of no surprise to Mick.

"This is a funny lad because he's bone idle! He's very laid back and has been since he arrived from the breeze ups - which is rare for one of them. He's a smasher though and I wouldn't want him any other way.

"He's improving all the time and there will be for quite some time. A bit like SHORT CALL can we send him to Ascot? I wouldn't know anything in terms of how much he can improve but what I do know is that mentally he'll find it a doddle. He doesn't have a care in the world."

Posted By: Wilsley News