Happy Birthday to Kayf Grace 👆and all our other equine stars!
We begin 2021 not quite the way we started 2020 (or indeed expected) and we can only hope that this year will be a much better one for us all. Covid has taken its toll on everyone, but thankfully after a two month break, racing was able to resume in June and the BHA should be commended for their efforts in proving that we can cope safely and effectively under such difficult circumstances.
At times if felt like we took one step forward and then two steps back but hopefully the tide will turn once we approach the spring and racecourses can welcome everyone back again because on the few occasions we’ve attended as owners under the current restrictions it’s just not been the same without a crowd and not being able to spend time with friends as well as your jockeys and trainers, so fingers crossed we’ll meet again very soon. In the mean time we’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year and hope 2021 brings your health, wealth and happiness.
Reflecting on the last twelve months and there’s no doubt the brilliant Billingsley was the star of the show after carrying the colours of Potter Group and Walters Plant Hire to success on no less than three times on the trot, and the son of Millenary improved a massive 12lbs in the space of just three runs which culminated with a gutsy success at Newbury in February. He is the most handsome looking individual and Alastair Ralph and the team at Bind Farm have done a fantastic job turning him into the potential star he is. Unfortunately things didn’t quite go to plan at Doncaster last month when he fell at the fifth fence from home but the good news is that he got up and walked away so hopefully he’s suffered no ill effects and we look forward to seeing him back on track very soon.
Jack Sharp, a half brother to the marvellous Mister Fisher, put up an excellent debut display on the same day when finishing third in the Maiden Hurdle. He’s a son of Scorpion and can only get better in time. The fact he ran so well on his first ever run gives us great confidence going forward and he looks an exciting prospect.
Mario De Pail is another who’s been a great servant and has so far won three of his nine races. After a promising seasonal debut in the Potter Group Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las in October, the gallant grey posted a comfortable victory at Wetherby on his next start under a great ride by James Bowen. The ground was much too tacky at Wincanton last week yet he still plugged on well to finish fifth and we’ve got no concerns that he’ll resume winning ways. He’s a person with a very bright future and is sure to be very effective over fences in the future.
Speaking of the aforementioned Welsh Champion Hurdle, Potter Group were delighted to sponsor the whole card at Ffos Las and I don’t think we could have wished for a better renewal of the feature race of which the subsequent form has been well and truly franked! 12 runners went to post including the high class Ballyandy, Milkwood, Buzz and Sceau Royal with the eventual spoils going to Alan King’s runner who would go on to bag the Unibet Elite Hurdle, while Buzz bolted up on his next start at Ascot, our very own ‘Super Mario’ scoring at Wetherby and Milkwood a very unlucky third at Newbury after being severely hampered when looking the likely winner.
Other significant winners on the same day included If The Cap Fits (rated 152) who beat Fiddlerontheroof in the Canter Carpet High Performances Surfaces Novices’ Chase and Seelotmorebusiness romped home in the Potters Waste Management National Hunt Flat Race en route to another bumper success at Chepstow, so it’s fair to say the whole meeting produced plenty of top drawer winners and it was fantastic to be part of such a good day’s racing.
As well as the action on the track, there’s been plenty off it, notably at Yorton Farm Stud who, as well as hosting their annual September Sale, welcomed Goffs UK to Welshpool in November for the rescheduled Goffs UK Point to Point Sale which saw 46 lots sold for an average of £66,000 with Douvan’s full brother Jonbon getting knocked down to JP McManus for a record £570,000! But the record breaking wasn’t to stop there because just one month later at the December PTP Sale Tom Malone and Gordon Elliott forked out the same amount for Classic Getaway on the day that saw five (of the 24 horses purchased) sold for six figure sums and we wonder what destiny awaits them in 2021?
It’s been a typically busy Christmas period with top class jump racing from Ireland and England and it was great to see Frodon win the King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. One of four in the race for Paul Nicholls, and definitely the least fancied, Bryony Frost gave her mount a fine front running ride and the duo came home easily to score an emotional win and provide Nicholls with a record 12 victory in the mid season showpiece. Maybe the 2021 renewal could feature the likes of Mister Fisher who is owned privately by James and Jean Potter but looks an ideal Kempton/King George type. As we’ve all learnt, you never now what the future holds….
Silver Streak provided Wales with a big race win in the G1 Christmas Hurdle and in the process denied hot favourite Epatante the chance to follow up the previous year’s success in the same race. To be fair it was a surprise that she was beaten and I’ve no doubt Nicky Henderson will have her checked over with a fine tooth comb before she’s out again, but if any horse deserves to win a big one, it was most certainly Evan Williams’ dashing grey after so many luckless defeats. He may not have carried our colours, but it was a win for Wales, so we’ll take it!
The G1 Tolworth Hurdle is the centrepiece at Sandown tomorrow and Metier is a short priced favourite in a contest that has an illustrious roll of honour. Whether this year’s race is quite up to standard only time will tell but Harry Fry’s inmate is unbeaten in two starts for his shrewd handler so is the likely winner.
Right, I think all of the above has covered most things so we’ll sign off with a reminder to follow us on Twitter and Instagram where you’ll be kept up to date with all our runners throughout the year.
Happy 2021 everyone and we look forward to meeting again on the racetrack very soon!