Last year we had a successful season with our three charges, Wild Bill Hikock, Young Stephen and Shes Some Deal, notching up 8 wins between them as well as countless other placings at tracks in Scotland, England and Wales.
For the 2016 season, only one of the trio returns to resurrect his campaign: Young Stephen, aka Stevie. Shes Some Deal, aka Star, has been retired from racing for the final time and plans for her future are currently undecided. It was hoped that she would go to the stallion however with the uncertainty surrounding Corbiewood's future, the closure of York and both Smarty's and my increasing work commitments, for now she is quite happily doing what she does best: being a horse. We already have a small band of 'lifers', horses that don't race, aren't bred from nor are ridden, and do nothing other than churn up our fields, eat us out of house and home and terrorise dog-walkers and joggers as they pass the field, so adding Star to the band isn't going to do us much harm. Wild Bill is also in the field, for no reason other than the fact that 'The Gaffer' only has time to train one horse, and thinks Bill (like Eternal Flame off of the 2014 season) will win races whenever he races, whereas the horse he's actually training this year needs to prove himself as he's somewhat of an unknown quantity. He doesn't seem to mind feeding horses that he knows can (and will) win races in the future, but he's not happy to hang on to an unproven horse indefinitely.
And on that note, I should probably introduce you to The Gaffer's horse for the season, Cassius Clay, a five year old son of Hasty Hall out of Mattys Romance, making him a half-brother to Eternal Flame. He is by far and away the biggest horse The Gaffer has ever trained, standing at 16.1hh currently (I do need to confirm this with my 'new' antique measuring stick I got for Christmas off the parents, although of everyone in our camp I'm the only one capable of measuring a horse's height accurately just by eye. The Gaffer and Smarty left to their own devices would have you believe that every horse we own is either 15hh or 15.1hh, which is why all of the rugs pre-Sarah times are 5'6''). He raced lightly at 2 but was struck down with a virus just as the stakes race programme was gearing up so missed that, then came out as a 3 year old but was all height and no strength so was turned away to finish maturing. I think we're all hoping that he's finished growing now! The Gaffer has had to finally invest in rugs bigger than 5'6''....
Alongside Stevie and Cassius, we have my baby and the horse I refer to as Star #2 (or occasionally Big Ears #2), Crosshill Ace. The first product of Smarty's and my breeding programme, the foal brought into the UK in utero inside Vain In Spain (aka Rita) in December 2013. Born on St Patrick's Day 2014, my mother wanted to call her 'Irish Gold', but in keeping with her sire Cams Card Shark's name, we opted for Crosshill Ace. We started breaking her in in November last year but were halted by the bad weather and work commitments, so made the decision to send her to Mark Kennedy (husband of SHRC super-secretary and one of my drinking partners, Karen) over at Corbiewood to finish the breaking in process and get her going ready to begin fast work when she returned to us.
She is entered for the Vincent Delaney Memorial (and prep races), BHRC Futurity, SHRC Futurity, Breeders Crown All American Fillies, Junior Welsh Dragoness and possibly the Aberystwyth 2YOs. I hope that she makes it there.
Here are some photos of her from our last visit:
|Crosshill Ace (Cams Card Shark-Vain In Spain-Artsplace)|
We're planning to go over on Sunday to see her again, followed by a visit to the livery yard where Missile is now residing to see how he's getting on as well. Hopefully I can bring a positive update after seeing them both!
Over and out,