After some frustrating near misses with our last few runners for Potter Group Racing and James and Jean Potter Ltd, it was absolutely fantastic to see Mario De Pail get the job done in style at Wetherby on Saturday on his first start over 2m3f and we loved the way he battled so bravely to the line to deny Miah Grace by half a length. Despite a very minor error at the penultimate flight, James Bowen’s mount showed great guts and tenacity to win going away and it’s pretty clear the son of Blue Bresil will be even better when stepped up further in trip. The Handicapper put him up 5lbs to a new mark of 138 so we’re forced to step him up in class but there are still plenty of options including at the likes of Kempton who stage a 0-140 Handicap over 2m5f on Boxing Day, while Doncaster, Cheltenham and Newbury also host suitable races next month which means Sam Thomas will have a tricky job trying to pick the best one! Speaking of Mr Thomas, his team are flying at present and of his last 11 runners he’s had six winners and the other five were placed which has yielded a 55% strike rate so I’d have no concerns whatsoever having a bet on the yard cat the way things are going. After a double on Saturday, the excellent form continued into Sunday when Good Risk At All won the Listed Bumper at Cheltenham and he looks a very exciting horse for Walters Plant Hire. It’s often quite hard for ex jockeys to turn their hand successfully to training but Sam is making a great fist of things and is clearly a man to follow! On the same day up at Wetherby Sir Valentine had his second start over fences in what looked a very ‘winnable’ contest, however an unfortunate mistake at the first down the back straight put paid to any chance of winning but Kielan Woods allowed him to get back into a gradual rhythm and coax him home to finish second. The good news is the horse is as sound as a pound and winning a chase should be a formality.
Yorton Stud played host to the rescheduled Goffs UK Point to Point sale last Thursday and while numbers were understandably restricted, there was a still a tremendous amount of interest and cash (or Visa cards!) changing hands. Top lot was unsurprisingly Jonbon a four year old son of Walk In The Park out of Star Face and the full brother to Douvan was eventually knocked down to JP McManus for a record breaking £570,000 – the most expensive Point to Pointer to be sold at a public auction. Only time will tell whether that’s money we’ll spent - he’ll probably need to win a couple of Gold Cups, King Georges and a Grand National to just about break even! But in what was the worst kept ‘secret’ in racing last week, Nicky Henderson has been entrusted with plotting a path to Prestbury Park so we wait with great anticipation for this potential star to make his debut for new connections.
We will also be looking forward to seeing how Milans Edge gets on for her new owners James and Jean Potter Ltd who purchased this adorable 5yo mare at the same sale for a snip at £40,000. She won her sole Point to Point in Ireland and is from a very strong female line that includes the high class Marello, who won her first nine races on the bounce for Mary Reveley in the mid 90s, and when I called in to visit her in the stable once all the fuss of the auction had died down we had a little chat and she assures me she’ll be trying her very best on the track, so watch this space!
In fact, the sale was such a success that the good men at Goffs have announced that another Point to Point sale will take place at Yorton Farm on Thursday December 17th, so if you’re searching for a last minute Christmas gift for your partner, you know where to come!
A Star Is Born
On the subject of potential equine stars, it was great to see some of the youngsters at James and Jean Potter’s Yorton Farm Stud who all looked absolutely magnificent. Bloodstock extraordinaire David Minton was on hand to gaze his experienced eye over the foals, yearlings and two and three year olds and during an interview with him afterwards, which you can see on our Potter Group YouTube page, it’s pretty clear he liked what he saw. It’s always very exciting looking at such well bred horses because they really could be anything and there was a half brother to Angels Breath who really caught my eye along with a yearling daughter of Pethers Moon ex Kayf Grace and a beautiful filly foal by Sea The Moon out of the excellent broodmare Hora who is the dam of Thomas Campbell, Lisp, and Royal Ascot winner Coeur De Lion. Hora also has a yearling by Blue Bresil who was a particular favourite of ‘Minty’s’ and it will be interesting to see what the future holds for these handsomely-bred whipper snappers.
A Genuine Hoax
As the sale was taking place on Thursday we managed to nip out to watch The Hoax make his seasonal debut for Dan Skelton in the Maiden Hurdle at Taunton and we couldn’t have wished for a better return to action. Despite racing quite keenly up front under Harry Skelton the son of Lily Potter put up a fine performance to finish second after getting severely hampered (by the eventual winner) approaching the final flight so his effort was even more meritorious. It’s doubtful he’d have won because the winner was travelling well in behind, but the way our gelding regained momentum and stuck his neck out bodes really well for the future and he looks a winner waiting to happen.
Potter Group & Walters Plant Hire have Docte Dina declared in the Mares Maiden Hurdle at Wincanton on Thursday and hopefully she can go very well under Nico De Boinville for Nicky Henderson.
Our Power has been entered in a Handicap Hurdle at Haydock on Saturday and if he runs, he’d have a great chance off the back of his excellent run at Cheltenham on his seasonal return.
Alan King is continuing to train Potterman for the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury on 28th November but has stressed that he won’t run if the ground is soft or heavy, in which case he’ll be given a holiday and be prepared for a crack at the Scottish Grand National in the spring.