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Norman Court Stud's ICONIC CODE returns to the winner's enclosure at Pontefract on Monday afternoon - Photo courtesy of @JonathanDoidge (Twitter)


A pleasing win at Pontefract on Monday afternoon as Norman Court Stud's ICONIC CODE took the mile nursery under John Egan on her handicap debut.

Having shown glimpses of ability in her three previous starts, Mick was primed to let her run in selling company a month ago only for a minor setback which meant that the daughter of Sixties Icon was returning after a forty day break. That seems to have done her the world of good though as in very testing conditions she ground out a convincing first career win.

John Egan was in no hurry through the early phases and as the race developed as they straightened for home ICONIC CODE was already making her move. She clearly had  plenty of running in her as those at the head of the fray one by one fell away and inside the distance she accounted for Milan Reef and Normandy Blue in commanding fashion with the other nine in the field all at sea and far adrift.

This was a pleasing victory for the Boss who considers ICONIC CODE to be a real slow burner with plenty more to come.

"This was something I always saw coming although admittedly not at 16/1. I'm talking about her progression in that she was never a ready made two year old but she kept showing us bits and pieces at home that said that she wanted to get on with the job.

"If she was weak and not doing well in herself I'd have thrown her out until next year but the mini break she gave herself last month was a blessing in disguise really.

"The thrived for just a fortnight on the easy list and that was there for all to see on Monday. She's a good looking filly whose family I know all about and a typical Sixties Icon type.

"Again he's mirrored the mare he's covered and as a result we have a filly who will probably get a mile and a quarter next year, possibly further but she has an attitude that says there are plenty of races in her in 2018."

Posted By: Wilsley News

Jon & Julia Aisbitt's OCTOBER STORM - A winner at York on Saturday


An apt result on Saturday as October Storm showed that he retains all of his enthusiasm for the job as Autumn truly takes hold by taking the Class 3 Coral Stayers Handicap at York under John Egan in thrilling fashion.

The four year old gelded son of Shirrocco doubled his tally for the year having taken a similar event at Goodwood off a mark of 72, a pound less that his rating on Saturday over an extended two miles.

Jon & Julia Aisbitt's charge is hardy and likable but needs the handicapper onside - a point proven having spent the middle of the season in the high seventies. Having dropped down in the ratings though he proved how he likes a scrap, emerging from the rear to take it up a furlong from home and hold out for a short head victory upsides Arrowtown to the delight of his happy trainer.

"It's not always easy with these staying handicappers and you need to switch this lad off early. He's very similar to Jon & Julia's ELIDOR but he just lack his class which makes it even more of a challenge. But these stayers make the job very satisfying when things fall right. Unfortunately in this sort of division though, you have to bide your time.

"He'll keep trying and will keep winning though because he's got plenty of spirit and is as sound as a pound."

Elsewhere, two juveniles broke their maidens, one at a big price on debut, whilst the other justified favouritism to take the Kempton Park Nursery on Friday evening.

Ann Black's DARK BLUE broke her maiden tag at the seventh attempt in the Class 6 seven furlong event under a very cool ride from Raul Da Silva. She cost a few quid as a yearling but she'll have done her page no harm in taking a competitive contest in fine style, holding off Puramente by a head with the Boss hoping that there's a wee bit more to come from a filly who has a great attitude to the game.

"She's won off a mark of 59 so we haven't got a Please Sing which did Ann so proud a few years back but we've got to make the best of her and there are signs that she can go on from this.

"Raul almost nursed her over the line and he wasn't particularly hard on her even though winning by a head doesn't seem that cosy.

"I'm her trainer though so I've got to look at the positives. She didn't have a hard race and Raul certainly didn't throw the kitchen sink at her so I'm hoping she's a bit better that the bare form. She's got a bit of a pedigree and whilst she'll not be making the front pages I'm hopeful that we can better her race record because she's a fine specimen with a sensible head on her."

We've had a winner for Jaber which is always nice! Mr Abdullah's FAYROUZ ROSE won at the first time of asking at Nottingham last week under Charlie Bishop on debut. Her odds of 25/1 giving you a clue that her victory in the Class 4 Oh So Sharp Maiden Fillies' Stakes was something of a surprise, but the sort of upset that didn't cause shockwaves.

She just a backward, immature individual who was getting valuable experience in a career that has always suggested she'd benefit for a winter behind her. 

Charlie didn't rush her and was more than happy when the daughter of first season sire Epaulette made headway three furlong from home. She then kept finding and finding and relished the extended mile trip to run on strobly to account for the vastly more experienced favourite La Diva by half a length with Mick hoping that his patience might pay off.

"That was a terrific first run and something that we consider a bonus. She's just taken time and I thought Charlie gave her a great introduction. She didn't cost a fortune but we often take a gamble on first season sires and she's something to look forward to next year.

"She's out of a Daylami mare so she'll obviously need a trip but we'll take our time with her and look forward to next season now. I don't know how good she is and I thought she'd need the run so there could be an engine there. Time will tell but these sort of fillies make the winters more bearable thinking of what's to come.

Posted By: Wilsley News

All smiles for Insignia's Tina Dawson as DIAMOND DOUGAL takes the plaudits on Friday at Haydock


A very pleasing performance in a valuable juvenile contest from Insignia Racing's DIAMOND DOUGAL who recorded his second victory of September with success at Haydock on Friday afternoon.

As was written on his first career victory at Brighton at the start of the month, DIAMOND DOUGAL's debut season was rather stunted after his first racecourse outing on firm ground at Bath but since returning to fitness in August he's been kept very busy and has gone from strength to strength.

He's been placed three times alongside his two wins in that time and under David Egan on Friday he bolted up to take the Class 2, five furlong event in resounding fashion off of a mark of 70 in very testing conditions.

The £9,000 winners pot just rewards for a very competitive individual whose trainer has the utmost respect for.

"As I said before you've got to admire this lad's appetite. He was horribly jarred up on the firm ground at Bath in April but to come back like he has and to keep showing his hunger like he has, it's all credit to him.

"Insignia are having plenty of fun and although he'll go up for that performance having gone well clear of the rest and he's now shown that he'll handle heavy ground.

"That might mean that we remain ahead of the handicapper although it's difficult to assess what that might have taken out of such a young horse but he seems to have come out of it full of himself so we'll see what's next.

"He's in on Wednesday, obviously with a penalty, but I'll have to see how he is tomorrow and assess whether that's an option worth taking." 

Posted By: Wilsley News