Plenty of winners to kick start the season !
It’s been a really busy time in terms of runners and lots going on back at Howe Hills as well !
The end of April finished on a good note with new recruit Pain Au Chocolat winning a 0-140 chase at Perth impressively for owners Mike and Eileen Newbould. He jumped very well on ground which was quicker than ideal for him and showed a very willing attitude. Although it’s very tempting to run him again, he’s had a busy season with Dan Skelton prior to arriving with us and we have decided to give him a summer holiday. I hope he can be competitive in decent two mile chases later this season on softer ground. With a mark of 139 over fences , he looks an exciting type for an Autumn / Winter campaign.
Photo : Brian Hughes and Pain Au Chocolat
Pain Au Chocolat was our final runner of the 2016/2017 NH season and we finished the season on 17 winners from 122 runners with an impressive 49% of these runners being placed. I am very proud of the whole team (both human and equine) and we are already working very hard to improve on these totals for the 2017/2018 season. Huge thanks to all of you who have supported the yard through the season and I’m really looking forward to working closely with you again this year.
Prairie Impulse loses her maiden tag in great style
We didn’t have to wait very long for our first winner of the new season as Prairie Impulse scored at Sedgefield on the 4th May. She was given a really confident ride by Colm McCormack for owners ICM Racing. ICM Racing enjoyed plenty of success last year with Halcyon Days winning six times over fences & it looks as though they have plenty to look forward to with Prairie as well. Colm has done a great job with this mare as she hasn’t been the easiest to settle in her races & they have struck up a great partnership.
Vodka Wells nearly made it a double on the day but just got collared near the line by a course specialist.
Photo : Prairie Impulse
Tomkevi keeps on improving
Just three days later we enjoyed another winner with Tomkevi taking the 3m 0-120 Handicap chase at Hexham for owners Rob & Joanna Oliver & Peter Howe. He was given a patient ride by Brian Hughes, jumped well and won by an impressive 13 lengths. That was his 7th win of his career and he now holds a career high mark of 127. At only 6 years old he looks as though he could develop in to a smart staying chaser for the future and he will now have a well earned break before returning to the track in the Autumn. Well done to Kate who has ridden / looked after Tom through the season.
Photo : Tomkevi
Lady Clitico provides a Birthday Winner and the fourth flat winner of the season !
We headed to Catterick on the 11th May with Lady Clitico confident of a good run after a fairly decent performance over 1m4f back at the same track a couple of weeks ago. Graham Lee was again booked for the ride and although they didn’t go much of a gallop LC stayed on well in the final 2 furlongs and ended up winning fairly impressively by 3 1/4 lengths. She has come out of the race well and we should be able to find another similar event for her before she goes back over hurdles.
Photo : Lady Clitico & Graham Lee
A much better performance on the same day by Final Countdown (Estio Pinnacle Racing) at Carlisle (2nd) . He looked the winner jumping the last but just got beaten by a very well handicapped horse. He is in the sales at Doncaster and will be a very fun horse for the summer for his new owners.
Another Saturday winner – Vodka Wells
Vodka Wells ran a cracker last time out at Sedgefield to finish second and went one better yesterday to win the 2 mile 0-120 handicap chase in great style for Owners Mike and Eileen Newbould. Jamie Hamilton gave him a great ride and his jumping has got better and better as his confidence has grown. He ended up winning by 16 lengths which may make things a little more difficult for him now. He is also in the Goffs DBS sale at the end of the month and will be a smart, sound horse for his new owners & should be competitive in the better 2 mile handicap chases through the summer.
PHOTO : Vodka Wells
Von Blucher was our first runner in a listed contest (Haydock 7f) and ran a very promising race to finish a close 5th. He showed a lovely attitude and just got a little tired in the final 100 yards after a long break from the track. He was bought with the bigger days in mind and will hold an entry in the Royal Hunt Cup at Ascot in June – a really exciting time for his owners John & Jess Dance, Mary Thackray and Vince Howe.
Photo : Von Blucher , Sarah Johnson & PJ McDonald
There’s lots happening at the yard , we have emptied the top barn of stables and they have been steam cleaned and fogged with disinfectant and are now ready for re- painting. It’s a big job , but vital to protect the bio – security of the stables for the season ahead.
Some horses are now enjoying their holidays in the field while we are looking to continue to improve the facilities at Howe Hills before they come back in during late June / July. There are some bloodstock sales coming up at Doncaster / in Ireland and in France and I’m actively looking for new and exciting prospects for jumping this season. We are starting to build a very strong team of horses and people & I’m confident that we will be able to meet our ambitious targets for this season.