2016 Draws To A Close

It is good to be able to discuss a recent winner in our final update of 2016. It was a nice surprise to see Manangatang (named by his Australian owners OTI Racing after a small town in North-West Victoria) make a winning debut in a mile maiden at Lingfield last Tuesday week, although it was not a total shock as he had shown ability on the gallops. We thought he might have been a bit green in the race, and he probably was in the first half of the race when finding himself in last position, but he came through with a sweeping run and did well to get up on the line. Manangatang was probably a bit lucky in that they appeared to go quick up front and he got a charmed run up the inside in the straight. He is clearly a useful colt and an opening handicap mark of 76 looks fair. Manangatang also gave a second career win to our apprentice jockey Gabriele Malune, whose first success had come under similar circumstances on Banksea went to post at long odds on his two year old debut at Yarmouth in September 2015. Gabriele has picked up outside rides since Manangatang’s victory and he will be staying around for the all-weather over the winter, hopefully gaining more experience, which will stand him in good stead next year. He is getting better all the time and is a very dedicated young man so hopefully the future is bright for him.

Unfortunately, things did not work out for The Duke of Devonshire’s Bess of Hardwick in the Listed 32Red Wild Flower Stakes at Kempton last Wednesday and she finished only sixth. Having raced keenly posted out wide it was always likely that she would have little left for the finish and so it proved. She has now been retired as has Mr Michael and Mrs Michelle Morris’ Listed placed Tiptree and it will be great to think we shall be seeing their foals and yearlings in the future. Both are good looking fillies with attractive pedigrees and Tiptree will reportedly be covered by Dark Angel in 2017.

The winner of Bess Of Hardwick’s race, Crimean Tatar, is out of a close relative of Mizzou. Mr Jon and Sarah Kelly’s colt provided us with some of our highs and lows during this season, although the low points were through no fault of his own, as he was forced to retire after sustaining an injury when being prepared for the Doncaster Cup in September. Mizzou became the sixth horse to win two renewals of the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes and he ran the race of his life on what proved his only subsequent start when second in the Group 1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, finishing ahead of the likes of the subsequent Doncaster Cup/Long Distance Cup winner Sheikhzayedroad and Prix du Cadran winner Mille Et Mille. Mizzou is a beautiful looking son of the all-conquering Galileo and we are very hopeful he will prove to be just as successful in his new career as a stallion at the Old Road Stud in Ireland, where he will stand alongside leading jumps sire Cloudings and St Leger winner Arctic Cosmos.

We are currently on 38 domestic winners for the year and, even though we have had winners in December for at least the last five seasons, we only have a few of the less experienced horses left to run now. It is always disappointing not to match the previous year’s tally (50 in 2015), and it is our lowest return since 2006, but it was always going to be a tall order after we lost the horses owned by Sheikh Mohammed Obaid last year which included most our three year olds and older horses. Predictably, we have been down on the number of runners, while the inclement weather early in the year did not help either with most of the fillies taking a while to come to hand, so all things considered we are reasonably satisfied with how things turned out. We were certainly happy that we managed to maintain our consistency and still won Group races courtesy of Mizzou and Normandie Stud Ltd’s Loving Things (Group 3 Prix de Flore at Saint-Cloud), while Loving Things also won in Listed company (Pontefract Castle Stakes), as did the aforementioned Bess of Hardwick (River Eden Fillies’ Stakes at Lingfield) and Rosental (Prix Dahlia at Saint-Cloud) when owned by Mr Peter Stokes & Mr Scott Krase. Training Mr Stuart Stuckey’s Pacharana to win four races on the bounce was also something to be proud of, while the successes of the likes of the Al Shaqab Racing owned El Vip and Aljezeera and Fittocks Stud’s Total Star give us plenty of hope for the future.

Another pleasing factor this year was how our two year olds fared, with nine of the 17 individuals that ran winning a race. This will hopefully mean we are back to where we should be in the three year old department for 2017. Perhaps they are not quite the same quality as we have had in years gone by, but there should still be stars amongst them. Red Label, Gorgeous Noora and God Given can be put in that promising bracket with Aljezeera and Total Star, though things often change a lot over the winter and we have often found diamonds in the rough so the next few months will be fascinating.

The intake of yearlings this year is down from our usual tally, which is a shame, but we always knew this year and the next few would be about steadying the ship and we feel we have completed the first phase without too much rocking! You are never sure who is going to send you yearlings and how many so it can be difficult to plan ahead at this time of year, but that is the nature of the beast and most trainers are in the same boat. We must play the waiting game, although we have already received some good news as Newsells Park Stud is to send us a yearling filly by Nathaniel out of Puce. We happen to know the family very well as we bred, owned and trained Puce, owned and trained her dam Souk and trained Puce’s dual Listed winning son Lion Sands. Puce was sold by Fittocks Stud to John Warren (on behalf of Newsells Park) in 2006 and we are very much looking forward to training her daughter, who will be our first for Newsells Park Stud and we are delighted to have such a respected owner as part of the team at Bedford House. Many of our yearlings, including those owned by Fittocks, get broken and pre-trained at Ed Peate’s Penny Farm in Newmarket, which we have been using with great success for the last 20 years.

While the yearlings are busy learning new skills over the winter things here at Bedford House are naturally quieter. We usually watch the big jump races and are intrigued to see how the likes of Cue Card, Douvan and the returning Don Cossack fare. We will be going to Australia to help our son Matt at the Magic Millions and Karaka (New Zealand) Sales and hopefully squeezing some holiday time in-between. Then we come home with our batteries recharged and we will be determined to have a good year in 2017 to put us back in the headlines.

Finally, may we take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and interest in Bedford House Stables and wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. See you next spring!