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17
JUL

Sue Bunney & Peter Taplin's KOEMAN - A winner at Salisbury on Saturday night

KOEMAN COMES OF AGE AT SALISBURY AT LAST

A great relief on Saturday evening as a horse with no little talent finally got his head in front for his owners Sue Bunney & Peter Taplin by taking the Class 5 mile and a half handicap under John Egan.

KOEMAN had run ten times before Saturday and whilst he's been incredibly consistent, he has always been up against the handicapper since entering that sphere but as Mick explains, there has always been a dangling carrot where the three year old son of Dutch Art has been concerned.

"He won at last and I blame myself for him taking so long because I tried to get him going last year and he carried plenty of weight for a maiden who always tries but never had things his own way.

"We've got plenty of those about but he's such a good looker and always tries to please that you think the next day is the one. That happened on ten previous occasions prior to Saturday but I'm relieved more than pleased to have got his head in front.

"Sue & Pete are my best mates and I've been through the mill telling them to keep the faith - luckily for me they always do and I couldn't be happier for them to have a winner at Salisbury. That and Goodwood are their locals and we'll look to build from here."

Posted By: Wilsley News
12
JUL

Mick's KIRUNA PEAK & Charlie Bishop on their way to Windsor success on Monday evening

KIRUNA PEAK'S FRUSTRATING RUN ENDS WITH WINDOR WIN

It took a drop into claiming territory but Mick's own KIRUNA PEAK finally got back in to the winner's enclosure on Monday night after taking the mile and a quarter Class 5 claimer under Charlie Bishop on at Windsor.

It's been a while in coming - the three year old Arcano filly took a Newmarket maiden on only her second start last year and, if truth be told, she'd not fared well in her eight subsequent contests up until Monday.

That sometimes comes with the territory and a Newmarket maiden can often be overrated by the handicapper and, whilst KIRUNA PEAK's attitude cannot be faulted, she was saddled with an opening mark of 75 and has struggled ever since.

Therefore it's been a rebuilding exercise and Monday saw a very positive front running performance from a true galloping filly who more or less made all to record a length and three quarter victory under top weight. 

Mick was delighted and hopes that the rebuiding can continue.

"She's done that well and I just hope that she can come in again now. She found things very tough off of her opening handicap mark and having now come down to 61 from 75, I'm glad I own her!

"Racing can be demoralising for owners when they win at a top track in maiden company only to face a year of losing and I guess I got what I deserved by winning with a filly who was always going to feel her way into the game at three when middle distances came along.

"She's a really spirited character with plenty of heart and a sweet nature but losing can become a habit for young horses and that's what has happened to her.

"There's plenty to like about her though and I'm just hoping she can start going the right way again from here on in."

Posted By: Wilsley News
09
JUL

Mick's MILTON ROAD (Blue Jacket) - A winner at Leicester on Saturday

A SATURDAY DOUBLE AS MILTON ROAD SCORES AGAIN AND AMELIA DREAM FINALLY GETS IN FRONT

A good day at Leicester on Saturday as John Egan rode a double for the yard with 'Old Campaigner' MILTON ROAD recording his second career victory and three year old AMELIA DREAM getting her head in front at the ninth time of asking for owner-breeder Mervyn Stewkesbury.

But we'll start with Mick's own MILTON ROAD - an absolute topper of a horse who represents everything his owner loves about racing; Winning at whatever level, regardless of the opposition.

If truth be known, MILTON ROAD is far better than a selling plater but as the late John Forsyth would always say, 'The little fish taste sweeter' and in taking yesterday's seller in convincing fashion by almost two lengths, Mick was cock-ahoop that the juvenile son of Mazameer recorded his second win in a hectic yet pleasing ninth course outing.

This is a smashing colt. He was a late foal but all he does is turn up and try. I'll be honest, I thought he'd get a bit sore and need time to strengthen because he's not had many days off but he's tough as teak.

"The Bishop boys bred him out of an old mare I know by Piccolo called Blakeshall Girl so I have a real soft spot for MILTON ROAD.

"The mare has just been scanned in foal to Sixties Icon down at Norman Court so there's another one on the way and if her next one is as game as this lad, there will be sport to be had there as well. The Bastian family have Blakeshall Girl's half sister Blakeshall Rose who is responsible for Effie B and therefore Neola - our oustanding juvenile filly so it's a good family.

"That's where the fun lies as far as I'm concerned whether they are selling platers or not."

Another owner-breeder, Mervyn Stewkesbury has also had a good weekend as AMELIA DREAM took the mile and a half Class 5 handicap for three year olds later on in the card with Egan yet again at his best to record a win that has been a long time in coming.

AMELIA DREAM, named after the owner's granddaughter has been consistent, willing and game from day one, although she has needed time to mature. 

AMELIA DREAM

She's always been sound though and that in itself can lead to problems because when results are everything, backing off of a fit and happy horse when your eyes tell you differently can often be the hardest thing to do.

That's exactly the position Mick found himself in at the back end of last year.

"I've seen fillies like her and she kept improving last year without really threatening. That puts you on a bit of a sticky wicket because from Mervyn's point of view, I wanted her to win as a two year old but she has always been about this year.

"That's common sense but you are always on a knife-edge because horses can go wrong at any time and then all the effort turns to dust if you get a problem.

"There's no way she should have taken this long to finally get a win under her belt - especially off of a rating of 68 but that's a boost for Mervyn's mare and we have AMELIA DREAM's half sister in training. She's alright as well - so I guess from a breeding perspective, yesterday was a positive all round."

Posted By: Wilsley News
29
JUN

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

VEEJAY MAKES SUCCESSFUL RACECOURSE DEBUT AT SALISBURY

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
27
JUN

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

PATTIE, CHICAGO STAR & MAKSAB ALL BREAK THEIR MAIDEN TAGS

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
23
JUN

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

A DOUBLE ON DAY 4 OF ROYAL ASCOT

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."

Posted By: Wilsley News
21
JUN

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

A DOUBLE ON DAY 1 OF ROYAL ASCOT

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."

Posted By: Wilsley News
12
JUN

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

A SUNDAY DOUBLE FOR MILTON ROAD AND BESTY

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."

Posted By: Wilsley News
06
JUN

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

JUVENILES TO THE FORE BUT THE OLD BOY WON'T GO AWAY!

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
30
MAY

George Materna's Perfect in Pink looking very happy with herself after yesterday's success

PERFECT IN PINK BREAKS MAIDEN WITH IMPRESSIVE LEICESTER SUCCESS

A very pleasing performance from an improving filly at Leicester yesterday as George Materna's PERFECT IN PINK teamed up with Graham Lee to take the mile and a half Class 4 Maiden Fillies' Stakes in eyecatching fashion.

The three year old daughter of Raven's Pass was always going to be long term prospect and only had one outing at two but this year she's slowly come in to her own, starting out at Windsor at the end of April before showing considerable improvement next time out at Lingfield.

She took another stride forward yesterday by defeating promising types in Munstead Star and So Sleek, with Graham biding his time off of a brisk pace to deliver a concerted run throughout the last three furlongs. As Munstead Star and So Sleek did battle upsides throughout the home straight PERFECT IN PINK kept finding and finding, getting up inside the distance to win by a length and a quarter. It was a very promising showing and one that Mick enjoyed immensely as he's convinced that she could well be a filly going places.

"That was great and I've always had a suspicion that she's one to look out for, particularly as the season goes on. George paid a few quid for her and she was always a horse who would come in to her own as she stepped up in trip and it's great to see when they go the right way.

"Jimmy Quinn rode her at Windsor and although she was very green that day he was full of enthusiasm when he got off her and said she'll be winning races sooner rather than later. She then went and improved at Lingfield and now she's beaten an 80 rated filly in So Sleek so she could well give George a lot of fun in 2017.

"I think she'll improve again, she'll get further and will handle any ground so we're all looking forward to how her season pans out from here."

Posted By: Wilsley News