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17
APR

Billy Parish's MOBSTA & Silvestre de Sousa en route to victory at Windsor yesterday afternoon

A WINDSOR DOUBLE FOR MOBSTA & MARIETTA ROBUSTI

A double on Windsor's opening fixture of 2018 as Billy Parish's MOBSTA returned to winning ways and Mick's own MARIETTA ROBUSTI were both brought home by Champion Jockey Silvestre de Sousa yesterday afternoon.

MARIETTA ROBUSTI was first up as the daughter of Equiano took her second event of 2018 in a hectic period that saw her only make her racecourse debut back in January. A winner at the fourth time of asking five weeks ago, she doubled up in handicap company by taking the Class 6 five furlong contest for three year olds only in very testing conditions.

It was a ramshackle spectacle with all six runners spread across the course but she won convincingly and was clearly aided by the withdrawal of G Eye Joe after an incident in the stalls and, with a target of the early leader Give Em A Clump to aim for at half way, SDS asked her to assert her authority and she powered home to prevail by a convincing five length to Mick's obvious delight.

"She's clearly very tough because that was her seventh start of the year and her debut on turf which was on the heavy side of horrible but she saw it out well.

"We just couldn't get her going as a two year old because she was constantly being stopped with niggle after niggle but she always showed ability and hasn't disappointed this time around.

"I don't know what the handicapper will make of her because it was a real mess of a race in such dreadful ground but I'm sure she'll go up from her current mark of 65 and we'll just have to see what we've got to work with when that happens.

"We've got her in at Bath and Nottingham this weekend for just that reason and we'll see how she is in a couple of days before committing to those options."

MOBSTA took the feature race, the Class 3 Windsor Sprint Series Handicap to vanquish the torrid memory of his last outing at Doncaster. He was brutally unlucky that afternoon as Silvestre found himself very short of room in the closing stages to the extent that he clipped heels and was almost brought down. Amazingly he still stayed on strongly to finish fourth but things went far better yesterday as he delivered a withering run in the closing stages to come home ahead of Glory Of Paris by a slender but convincing neck.

Mick was pleased to put the memory of Doncaster to bed.

"This lad hasn't had the best time of things for a good while now. He's a Group winner who has tumbled down the handicap since that win back in 2016 so you'd say that he had every right to win in 0-90 company.

"Silvestre was bitterly disappointed at Doncaster, as we all were, but we've put that right now and I feel that he's a horse with a real hunger once again. On his day, with the ground in his favour, he's a relentless grinder over this kind of trip and when things fall right he's a real threat.

"We've had to wait for him but, fingers crossed, he's turned a corner." 

Posted By: Wilsley News
04
APR

Theresa Burns's JUNGLE INTHEBUNGLE (Blue Cap) and Charlie Bishop winning at Lingfield yesterday

JUNGLE INTHEBUNGLE MAKES A WINNING START AT LINGFIELD

Perhaps an indication that a first season sire might be a little bit special at Lingfield yesterday as Theresa Burns's JUNGLE INTHEBUNGLE landed the novice median auction under Charlie Bishop.

A son of Bungle Inthejungle, JUNGLE INTHEBUNGLE is out of Princess Banu and both sire and dam were trained by Mick at West Ilsley. Clearly the pair have passed on plenty of their speed and precocity to JUNGLE INTHEBUNGLE who travelled very well throughout yesterday's contest and despite the inevitable greenness, he managed to stick his head out close home to hold off the concerted efforts of Lady Prancealot and prevail by a short head.

That means that we currently boast a 100% record with our two year olds and although it's very early in the season, Mick couldn't be happier.

"IZZER has already indicated that we might have a good bunch of juveniles and this lad is in a similar vein. He's strong, athletic and mentally bombproof and was very much ready for a trip out of the yard.

"A few years ago I'd have said the same about his sire but things didn't go to plan for him on debut but he more than made up for it from then on in.

"He was a remarkable racehorse with the sort of exuberance that you'd hate to stifle and once he got going he was the quickest thing I've seen. A monster of a two year old and a great mentality - that's what JUNGLE INTHE BUNGLE has too.

"Princess Banu was similar in that you didn't complicate matters with her and it'll be interesting to see what happens to this lad as the season goes on. His dad won the Cornwallis and the Molecomb and you'd like to think his son could do something similar.

"That is obviously all pie in the sky until the season settles down and a pattern starts to emerge in terms of form but I'm delighted for Theresa, Maurice, Madeline and the whole team who bred him at Rathasker Stud.

"We've a few Bungles this year and it's very exciting for all concerned."

Posted By: Wilsley News
31
MAR

David Hudd, Chris Wright & Ann Black's IZZER - Successful again at Bath yesterday

IZZER MAKES IT TWO FROM TWO AND DAN'S DREAM JUSTIFIES PATIENCE

A good day yesterday as West Ilsley recorded a double at Bath with IZZER maintaining his 100% record in a career that only spans 6 days whilst DAN'S DREAM broke her maiden at the second time of asking with promise of plenty more to come.

DAN'S DREAM was one of the standout fillies amongst the two year olds of 2017 and although she showed up well on her sole start last season at Chepstow - a race that has worked out very well - she was constantly troubled by a series of niggling setbacks which led the Boss to down tools and wait for her to come right.

On yesterday's evidence, the daughter of Cityscape may well prove to be worth waiting for as she scooted home in the five furlong Class 4 novice stakes to win by almost five lengths under Franny Norton in very testing ground. Mick was relieved that she's proved what he always suspected.

"She's above average this one and last year was just a season of frustration. We had her in all the top juvenile races but we never had a straight run at her. She'd go wrong behind, we'd give her time off, then she'd wrap a joint and it became a recurring theme.

"That's how it goes though and although we missed out on seeing too much of her last year, I'd like to think she can build on this and be a Saturday horse that takes us places."

It was only last Saturday that David Hudd, Chris Wright and now Ann Black's IZZER landed the Brocklesby at Doncaster and Mick was keen to give him another go yesterday under a penalty, such was his recovery after his first ever racecourse appearance.

As we've said before, IZZER is an unflappable natural and after a few trots to loosen him up at the start of the week and some very light canters, he headed to Bath to see if he could make his experience count against eight unraced rivals.

That he did as Franny Norton completed a double by keeping things simple near the head of affairs before staying on strongly to prevail by a length ahead of John Betjamin, with the highly thought of Deep Intrigue a further length and a half back. Mick was delighted with the precociously willing IZZER, although he's at a loss to know where to head next.

"There's not many options now - he'd have to shoulder a double penalty and there aren't many conditions races for him but I suippose he deserves a bit of a break, not that the last week has taken much out of him.

"He's a smasher and has taken very little tuition or guidance. I'll take all the praise if it comes but he just does what he does and loves the job. He's paid for himself inside six days so you can't be much happier with him.

"A real pleasure to train and great for David, Chris & Ann."

Posted By: Wilsley News
25
MAR

David Hudd & Chris Wright's IZZER storms to victory under Charlie Bishop yesterday afternoon

IZZER WINS THE BROCKLESBY ON THE OPENING DAY OF THE SEASON

The first day of the turf campaign and the very first two year old race of the season saw David Hudd & Christ Wright's IZZER take the Brocklesby Stakes in eyecatching fashion at Doncaster.

With Charlie Bishop up, IZZER jumped smartly and then got a tow into the race before being asked to extend two furlongs from home. For a short while it looked as though they may have gone too soon but he rallied again inside the distance to prevail by three parts of a length ahead of Broken Spear and Wasntexpectingthat.

A son of Clodovil, IZZER has always shown plenty at home on the gallops and although Mick has never targetted the Brocklesby with hell-bent fervour, he's delighted to have taken what has always been a major event as the juvenile curtain raiser.

"That was great and to be honest, we just thought we'd throw him in because he's been the most straightforward of our babies from day one. He's handled everything we've asked of him and although it was soft ground, he's kept coming back for more and has always gone on the ground at home during what has been a very sodden winter.

"He just kept showing us something and that's why we were there. You never know what is amongst the others in the Brocklesby for obvious reasons but it's certainly a boost to our confidence because he's got a few around him that have shown us a bit as well, but at this stage of the season, he was the standout.

"I was at Cheltenham with David and Chris and mentioned I had one and they were keen to get on board. I'd already named him IZZER because it was always a joke I shared with Peter Osgood about footballers; 'He Izzer good player, he Wazzer good player and that bloke Neverwazza good player!' That was how we'd rate them.

"Like I say, I've not forced this lad to do anything and he's just a natural. Some two year olds can be all fired up for this one event and fade quickly but we always like ours to improve from their first runs whether they win, lose or draw and hopefully that will be the case with IZZER.

"I'm chuffed though and we can now look forward with our other juveniles with real optimism."

Posted By: Wilsley News
18
MAR

Peter Taplin & Sue Bunney's KOEMAN returns with a beaming Charlie Bishop after victory on Friday afternoon

KOEMAN POWERS HOME AT LINGFIELD

A very pleasing victory for Peter Taplin & Sue Bunney's KOEMAN who showed the benefits of a very pleasing return at Kempton last month to follow up with victory in the Class 3, mile and a half handicap for four year olds and up at Lingfield on Friday afternoon.

The four year old son of Dutch Art showed plenty towards the end of 2017 to suggest that he'd truly come into his own this time around and he took this event in commanding fashion, overcoming a bump inside the distance to score by half a length over Island Brave, Amazing Red & Fearsome who finished in close order in behind.

This was KOEMAN's fourth career victory and the previous three all came in the second half of last season, seeing him rise in the weights from a rating of 71 to Friday's mark of 85. That obviously looks set to rise again and Mick is very much looking forward to the season proper with a very promising type.

"He's been a slow burner this lad and it's easy to see why because he's very rangey and always had the scope to improve with time and a step up in trip. He's certainly done that and he sees the mile and a half trip out really well.

"He was caught for a bit of toe as they quickened for home but Charlie (Bishop) didn't panic and although he recieved a bump in the closing stages, he'd already got into gear and saw it out nicely.

"Pete and Sue might have a lot of fun this season. They've been very patient but he's always shown promise and he might well get further and turn into a staying type.

"We all want to go to the big venues and Goodwood is a real favourite of Pete's so we'll see what we can do."

Posted By: Wilsley News
14
MAR

Tim Radford, Brian Hughes, MISTER WHITAKER & his Lass Lenka return in triumph yesterday afternoon

MISTER WHITAKER IGNITES SCENES OF SHEER JOY AT CHELTENHAM

There's 'thrilling' and there's 'THRILLING' and yesterday on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival, the Radford Family's MISTER WHITAKER took the closer, winning the two and a half mile Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase (Listed) by a mere whisker.

It was enthralling, exciting, nail-bitingly dramatic and utterly brilliant as Brian Hughes danced with perfection to deliver a foot perfect ride on a very promising young horse to win by a head on the line to deny Rather Be.

These days seldom come along and seldom are they so exhillarating in their execution but yesterday was as close to perfect as you could get for all connections - having watched the replay countless times, it's difficult to see there being a ride this week that might rival the one given to MISTER WHITAKER.

I think everyone is still on cloud nine and will be for quite some time.

Brian and Mister Whitaker

For the Radford family, this was the culmination of almost twenty years of plotting, planning and praying for a winner at the Festival and the scenes in the winner's enclosure reflected that. They certainly don't have a vast fleet of horses in training but they are usually well selected and represent value. They've had plenty of winners along the way and a few near misses but for Mick, it was a great day that will be difficult to top. Not that he's not already looking to do so.

"That was a real thrill and the way he did it was quite something. We learnt from his victory on trials day that he can idle in front so we told Brian not to hit the front too soon - he certainly did that! A brilliant ride from a tremendous jockey.

"It's been a real team effort; from Hen buying him from the Costellos, to Tim having patience because we had a few irritating setbacks early on but this year MISTER WHITAKER has just flourished.

"We had to hold our nerve, he only just crept in and was bottom of the handicap but you can't help but look forward with him and you'd hope this isn't the last time he's successful at the festival.

"He's a real athlete, not overly big but he's got a touch of class about him. The ground was very hard work but he'll be better on a sounder surface. He'll probably get three miles and with his jumping you'd hope that he's better than a handicapper - I can't wait to see what he becomes - next year, if he goes on and stays sound, we could very well shake them up again.

"We've only got four jumpers so this makes it extra special and seeing Tim and the whole Radford team celebrate like they did meant everything to me. They lost a wife and a mother in Camilla, who loved her jumping, and she was in everyones' thoughts today. It was quite emotional to be honest. 

TIM & MICK REVIVE THE 'WINDMILL'

"Boy though, was there some celebration! Even the 'Windmill' came out!

It was a truly great day."

Posted By: Wilsley News
27
FEB

Lord Ilsley Racing's SAYESSE & Callum Shepherd return to the winner's enclosure at Lingfield yesterday

SAYESSE RETURNS TO WINNING WAYS WITH LINGFIELD SUCCESS

After a fruitless three year-old campaign that involved bemusement and plenty of head scratching, SAYESSE finally returned to the winner's enclosure after taking the Class 5 seven furlong handicap at Lingfield yesterday afternoon.

2017 was a season that initially started full of promise for SAYESSE who ran with great credit in decent company off of a mark of 86. From mid-summer onwards though the wheels fell off in quite remarkable fashion with very few of us able to put a finger on the issue.

In short, he just stopped being competitive and was unable to lay up in the early stages of his races. It was only after his final start at Bath in late July that a hamstring issue came to light and it was decided to give the son of Sayif an extended break. Nothing glaringly obvious seemed to be wrong but it's probably fair to say that both physically and mentally all was not well and we were left with the task of building him back up in the hope that his two year old sparkle returned.

And it just might have.

SAYESSE won four races as a juvenile and it's been a long road back to form but, having started back at the end of January, he's gradually began to show his old sparkle as a combination of a return to race fitness and a tumble down the ratings led him to line up in a 0-70 for the first time under Callum Shepherd yesterday.

He did it very nicely as well as he was always in touch with the pacesetter Mansfield and made his challenge as they straightened for home, going on to win like the class horse in the race and prevail by a convincing length. It was a great sight for all of his owners in Lord Ilsley Racing and a great relief to Mick who had set out a plan to prove that SAYESSE has plenty going for him as the turf season beckons.

"That was great to see but he had to win that. He ran very well last Friday finishing third in a 0-80 race at Wolverhampton when this race popped up out of nowhere in the fixtures. He came out of the Wolves run very well and it just looked like the perfect race for him and so it proved.

"He's a real tough cookie who gave everyone a lot of joy in 2016 and I honestly can't say what happened last year. He's probably such a tough bugger that he was carrying a niggle that just wasn't obvious and that in turn affected his confidence. Whatever it was, we were determined to turn things around and you wouldn't find a more willing accomplice.

"Yesterday should really boost his confidence. Callum gave him a smashing ride and he certainly gave him every chance to enjoy the experience. We'll probably give him a little break now to get ready for the turf season.

"SAYESSE took the Lord Ilsley mob to plenty of proper venues at two and we can only hope that he's well handicapped and on the up again after last year's nosedive. If he is, we'll be in for a bit of fun in 2018."

Posted By: Wilsley News
18
FEB

BUILDMEUPBUTTERCUP LETS NOBODY DOWN IN THRILLING ASCOT VICTORY

A thrilling victory for John Turner's BUILDMEUPBUTTERCUP saw the four year old daughter of Sixties Icon record her second career win in only three starts when taking the Class 4 two mile mares' bumper at Ascot yesterday afternoon.

A winner on debut at Warwick back in November, BUILDMEUPBUTTERCUP finished second next up at Lingfield, bumping in to the well regarded more experienced Crara Be. Yesterday however, BUILDMEUPBUTTERCUP was the one with experience and she travelled superbly throughout in very testing conditions.

With Brian Hughes up, there was very little panic and BUILDMEUPBUTTERCUP was the last off the bridle and the finish saw her in a protracted duel with Rosy World, the pair pulling a long way clear in the closing stages, with Brian and his willing filly prevailing by a head to the delight of the Boss who is looking forward to the weeks ahead.

"Obviously we'd love to have a go at the bumper at the Cheltenham Festival but I think it's time to be a wee bit realistic and focus on Aintree further down the line."

There's a mares only race that is the logical option so I imagine that will be our target. BUILDMEUPBUTTERCUP is a very genuine and willing filly who showed she can handle any gound - most of Sixties Icon's progeny are very adaptable in terms of the ground but she's got a very economical action and I think she'll be much better on a sounder surface.

"That's usually what you get at Aintree in April and she's shown us she has the professionalism and the attitude to put up a good show, so Liverpool seems like the right target to aim for." 

Posted By: Wilsley News
28
JAN

The Radford Family's MISTER WHITAKER - A winner at Cheltenham yesterday afternoon

A SATURDAY DOUBLE AS BOTH CODES ARE CONQUERED

The headline is a bit over the top but I liked the ring to it and a winner for the Radfords at Cheltenham is worth singing from the rooftops and I suspect Tim was doing just that.

It was MISTER WHITAKER who prevailed at Prestbury Park as the six year old son of Court Cave took the two mile five furlong Class 2 Novices Handicap Chase under Adrian Heskin.

MISTER WHITAKER has shown plenty this season to suggest that he's a horse to take us places and after victory at Carlisle in November, he followed up with a solid second behind Hell's Kitchen at Kempton on Boxing Day. He was possibly the victim of a tactically astute front runner that day but yesterday in heavy ground he showed that he's an emerging force to be taken seriously in the coming months.

A return to Cheltenhman looks very much on the cards as the Close Brothers Handicap looks ideal for him and Mick is very much relishing the prospect.

"There aren't too many issues in terms of where we hope to run in March! Tim sponsors the Gold Cup and it's obviously all about the festival with plenty in our favour. He'll go up to a rating that will put us in the race and he's proved that he's got a great heart and will handle any ground. 

"Drier conditions in the spring will very much suit him and I couldn't be happier with the horse. He took a bit of time to get in a groove but this season he's been faultless in his attitude and his work at home.

"He was unlucky at Kempton and did nothing wrong there and yesterday he cruised into the race despite an error or two but it's great to know that he can act round Cheltenham.

"To win any race at the Festival would be a dream, particularly for Tim and his family and we can look forward to March with a real sense of optimism."

Yesterday evening, Box 41's HELVETIAN underlined what an exciting prospect he's shaping up to be by taking the Class 4 six furlong handicap under both top weight and Charlie Bishop in convincing style.

The three year old Swiss Spirit colt was a late bloomer in his two year old campaign but has been kept busy enough since his maiden win in August and has certainly thrived over the winter.

He's surely better than his current mark of 88 and Mick is keen to see how good he can be in the coming months before the turf season beckons.

"We'll have to give him and easy time sooner rather than later but for know I'm chuffed that we have a horse who thrives on racing. We've not really asked him too much at home, just kept him ticking over and the rest he's done himself.

"He's suited by a strongly run six furlongs as we saw last night but he's got the scope to get further."

Posted By: Wilsley News
11
JAN

Mick's homebred PATTIE and Charlie Bishop romp home at Lingfield yesterday afternoon

PATTIE RUNS OUT CONVINCING WINNER IN LINGFIELD FEATURE

Another West Ilsley filly and another filly by Sixties Icon took Wednesday's feature at Lingfield as PATTIE ran out a convincing winner of the Class 3 32Red/EBF Fillies' Handicap over seven furlongs under Charlie Bishop.

A full sister to the smart Harrison, PATTIE has taken some time to get to grips with in terms of her best trip but yesterday reaffirmed the fact that a strong pace over seven furlongs to a mile suits her down to the ground. Having won on her last start over a mile in 2017, yesterday's reappearance saw her pick off her three rivals and surge home strongly.

Off of a mark of 80, PATTIE was off of bottom weight with Make Music (90), Soul Silver (88) and Yeah Baby Yeah (82) in opposition and once the two highest rated set a very genuine pace up front, Charlie and PATTIE took their time in the early stages.

Coming down the hill though they closed the gap and entering the home straight there was some concern as they were hemmed in on the rail before a gap opened a furlong from home and PATTIE powered to the front to prevail by a convincing length leaving Mick both delighted with the ten grand prize money and the prospects for his home bred's 2018 campaign.

"That was great to see and there's plenty to look forward with her. We messed up a bit last year believing that she'd be best over middle distances but once we realised that she's best used over a shorter trip, it became clear that she's a very straigh forward individual.

"A genuine test isn't always assured with only four runners but it panned out perfectly, Charlie didn't panic and she's done it very nicely.

"Sixties Icon gets all types but she's a bit like him in that she's tough, sound and will only get better from here.

"We'll have to face the handicapper's assessment now because they were no mugs we were up against but I say 'Bring it on'.

"I'm looking forward to seeing how far she can go this year." 

Posted By: Wilsley News