While the majority of National Hunt yards across the country are enjoying a break for the ‘off season’ (is there really such thing?) things in Welshpool continue to be rather busy as we take care of the racehorses who have returned home for a well deserved holiday as well as keeping a close eye on the resident mares and foals, it’s very much like a pony playschool at the moment and school is most definitely not ‘out for summer!’
It’s always a great joy to welcome back our equine family to home soil to make the most of the sun (when it decides to show its face!) while relaxing and chewing the fat (or grass!) around Leighton Estate, indeed Mister Fisher has already got quite a belly on him so we might have to book him in for a few Weight Watcher sessions before returning to Seven Barrows later in the summer!
Potterman arrived home a couple of weeks ago from Alan King’s stable in Marlborough along with Egbert, who was unlucky not to win at Market Rasen on his second start earlier this month, but is one we’re particularly excited about.
Speaking of excitement, we are delighted to announce that Vienna Court has been scanned in foal to Yorton Stud sire Pethers Moon meaning her days on the racetrack have come to an end but we are blessed that she retires in one piece, is happy, healthy and looking marvellous.
It’s always a difficult decision to retire any racehorse, especially one as talented as her, but breeding is a very important part of the business and she will no doubt make the most wonderful broodmare.
‘Harriet’ as she was more affectionately named by her rider and groom Craig Gilbey, finishes her life on the track at the very top of her game and while it was extremely unfortunate to see her fall on her final run at Haydock she gave us some tremendous days, not least winning twice at Cheltenham in extremely competitive and valuable Handicaps.
She ends her racing career having won or been placed in 14 of her 22 starts and amassed over £108,000 in prize money.
She was the most wonderful mare to carry the silks of James and Jean Potter Ltd and if you would have told us this time last year that she go on to win not once, but twice at Cheltenham we’d have sent you packing so we are extremely proud of her achievements and have loved every minute of it.
Our thanks must, of course, go to Nigel Twiston-Davies for training her so well and sourcing the right races at the right time. Indeed he was surprisingly very bullish before her first victory of the term at Cheltenham in December at a time when we weren’t quite so confident, but Nige was sure she’d go close and his faith was justified when she romped home by 11 lengths!
If you’d seen the video we posted on @JandJPotterLtd you couldn’t help but notice the affection in which she was held by Craig Gilbey and we are so glad he was there to enjoy the celebrations with us in the winners enclosure on both occasions at Prestbury Park. Thank you, Craig for doing such a wonderful job and turning her out so beautifully every time. I suppose we should also give credit to super strong Sam Twiston-Davies who was pretty good in the saddle too, wouldn’t you agree 😉
Vienna Court’s bloodline will still be seen on the racecourse for many years to come and we are all very excited to see how Spring Meadow progresses over hurdles next season. He’s a handsome son of Fame And Glory out of Gales Present (the dam of Vienna Court) who won his bumper in style at Doncaster and looks a smart addition to the Potter Group string. Gales Present is still at home with us and has a four year old son of Pour Moi, who has already done lots of pre training with Sam Thomas, and a two year old filly by Pethers Moon is also coming along nicely.
The decision to send her to Pethers Moon wasn’t difficult because he’s already enjoying such a successful time of things with his offspring; indeed he sired Mon Cher Ami to score in France on Sunday, so he’s clearly a stallion going places and produces the most strong and well balanced foals with great conformation. The likes of Realta Royale, Lunar Discovery and the highly promising Hereford winner Deere Mark are others to have flown the Pethers Moon flag to victory.
We are also pleased to announce that Docte Dina has been scanned in foal to Blue Bresil who is a sire attracting plenty of attention not least because one of his sons is Constitution Hill!
On the racing front things are steady away but we all enjoyed an great evening at Aintree last week when Exelerator Express carried top weight to score in the valuable three mile Handicap Chase. Neil Mulholland’s charge has now worked himself up to a rating of 147 which won’t make things any easier but he loves top of the ground, and has now proven he stays, so hopefully there are still many races to be won with him. The Kerry National at Listowel in September has been mooted as a possible long term target.
We have a nice, as yet, unnamed three-year-old colt by Blue Bresil ex Hora (dam of Royal Ascot winner Coeur De Lion) who has been showing plenty at Alan King’s and he could make his debut on the flat very soon.