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John & Zoe Webster's VEEJAY - Now 2-2 after victory yesterday


A good few days for the yard as YA JAMEEL, INGLEBY MACKENZIE, MILTON ROAD and VEEJAY all returned truimphant over the past few days.

Probably the most notable was John & Zoe Webster's VEEJAY who followed up his debut success at Salisbury with victory at Haydock under both a three pound penalty and Rob Hornby last night.

Stepped up to seven furlong, the two year old son of Approve backed up his growing reputation as something of a dark horse by running out a half length winner against newcomer Al Barg with a previous winner Wasim a further head behind in a protracted tussle in the closing stages.

VEEJAY is a real pleasure to deal with and, as Mick saif after his debut, he's got bags of scope and a great attitude which leads you to wonder what's to come.

"He's a real smasher and he's crept up on us really because you couldn't say he dazzles at home. Not that he works badly either but it's clear that there's plenty to come from him because although there wasn't much separating them yesterday he gives the impression that he won comfortably enough once he hit the front.

"Seven is his trip for now but who knows what he'll get in time. Without tempting fate, he's a horse who I'm fairly laid back about because he's got the sort of attitude that will ensure that he'll fulfil his potential. Let's hope it's at a very high level."

There's was an across the card double on Thursday evening as first YA JAMEEL teamed up with Charlie Bishop to take the mile and a half handicap at Epsom, whilst Silvestre de Sousa was at his best to record a first career victory on board INGLEBY MACKENZIE at Doncaster.

On Friday MILTON ROAD recorded his third career win of his juvenile campaign and Mick's spirits were understandably high - the common denominator between the three winners being that they all carried the trainer's silks to victory.

"Obviously I'm chuffed although I'd honestly prefer other people to own them! They are all little project of mine so to speak but I own far too many!

"YA JAMEEL won off of a rating of 69 and will go up obviously because he bolted up by nearly four lengths under Charlie who is having a great time at the minute. The horse is only just starting to get to grips with what the game is all about and he will improve - it's just a question of when the handicapper finds his measure.

"INGLEBY MACKENZIE is a Sixties Icon homebred of mine who we named after the one and only Colin Ingleby Mackenzie who was a great friend of mine. Colin would have been thrilled to see the horse win and hat's off to Silvestre. He was at his very best and gave the horse an incredible ride.


"The horse has steadily improved for stepping him up in trip and, like YA JAMEEL, I'm hoping to see a bit more from him as the season goes on. He'll handle any ground and will be even better next year."

"MILTON ROAD has been a revelation and is also a horse who is improving all the time despite having had a busy time in his debut season.

George Downing brief's the press after Milton Road's Nottingham success

"He's won a nursery off of 69 now and George Downing gave him a terrific ride. Although I've aimed him at sellers before today I always knew he'd get better as the season progressed - he was only a June foal so he's a better two year old than he was as a yearling on the track!

"A fun horse who doesn't do anything at home. He just responds to racing."

Posted By: Wilsley News

Insignia Racing's AQUADABRA in the winner's enclosure at Bath this afternoon


You get two year olds like this now and then - those who unluckily bump into class acts.

That happened to Insignia Racing's AQUADABRA early on in the season but she finally won on her seventh start today in a brief but admirable career that has seen her do nothing but impress in defeat. Her worst run saw her finish fourth of ten at Carlisle whilst she's finished third on four occasions, was second the last time out at Bath and thankfully returned to the old track to finally get her head in front on her nursery debut under Andrea Atzeni.

She faced some very smart types as we went in search of a win that might put us on the path to Royal Ascot but when you bump in to the likes of Main Desire when fancied on previous form, you're left with a filly who has a high level of form but no real luck in terms of the random opposition juveniles can face early on in the year. Mick was in reflective mood.

"What a **** up I've made of that!

"We've always liked her and she's a smasher. Very tough, just like her mum who we trained but we got caught in a trap early on and every race I entered her in seemed to present us with a decent type or two who would leave us all disappointed.

Scotty & Roz collect the prize

"She really deserved that today. it was only a Class 5 nursery and I'm not saying she's a superstar but they can't hammer her for winning off of a mark of 68 and we're in the Super Sprint on Saturday.

"If we line up the dream goes on and you never know with two year olds."

Posted By: Wilsley News

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


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

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


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

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


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. 


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

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."

Posted By: Wilsley News

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."

Posted By: Wilsley News

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."

Posted By: Wilsley News