Abacus Review 2017

We have now completed our second year at Lower Linbrook Farm and what a year!

20170714_111350_resized

2017’s foals are a lovely bunch

Whenever you move it is of course an upheaval, but when you have nearly 20 horses of various ages to take with you, it can be a real challenge.  Not only that, but it is getting used to the new grazing; the soil conditions, growth rates, weed control and local weather.  Then there is getting the best suppliers to support the operation and building a new team of staff to make it happen.  They are the things you have to hope work out and then there are the things you can control like investing in fencing, new stables and equipment.  So at the end of 2017 we can safely say  we have settled in and that we are now all systems go for the future.

First though, a look back at 2017.  The year started well when Pancake Day once again delivered a win at his favourite track Southwell for new trainer David Griffiths.  Pancake has consistently delivered for his owners and this year was to be the same again.  He was our first winner as breeders and, when he was sold overseas in March he was to go on to be our first winner overseas too.  A real fighter, he will race until April 2018 and hopefully retire sound after about 60 runs in competition – almost 30% of which have earned prize money!  He has won at least once EVERY year he has raced.

Roll on Rory had a slow start to the season.  He must have been a real challenge for trainer Jason Ward and his owners as he went to his races fit and well, only to run into traffic or a few horses in better mood for racing.  His 2016 season resulted in a high mark of 93, but it was not until he dropped to a mark in the 80’s that he made an impression this season.  With a number of placings in some hot races, he finally shone with a very impressive win on the Rowley Mile at the back end of the turf season, beating some top horses and showing he was just playing in his previous races.  All look well for next season when he should be a black-type horse in all honesty.

Our two year olds all found some nice homes as yearlings and so far there have been a few runs from them.  No wins as yet but some very useful educational runs which will see them good for the coming season as 3 year olds.  We were also pleased to see the 2016

harry 17

Mazameer yearling now with Nikki Evans

crop go to some superb trainers and we will look forward to some very exciting appearances as 2 year olds in 2018.  There is a very exciting Mazameer colt with Nikki Evans and it will be interesting to see how the only colt from Albaasil’s first crop does for Richie Fiddes.  It is becoming a real challenge to keep up with all the horses nowadays, it is only six in total but will double next year – thank goodness for the BHA tracking service!

March was a really busy month for us as we had our foals born throughout the month.  Three colts (Mazameer, Telescope and Cityscape) and a filly (Fast Company).  We subsequently purchased another mare with a filly foal by Heeraat making it 5 foals.  All of them are doing well and growing like crazy.  The grazing here is great for growth and with an additional 20 acres recently acquired, we are able to offer turnout all year, although getting a rug on a stroppy weanling can be fun at times!

On a sad note we lost Los Organos this year.  She was not in foal and whilst she was not

lotty and 15 foal

Los Organos – a sad loss this year

an old horse, it became apparent that the recurrence of her back injury from racing would make life too uncomfortable for her.  She was a lovely mare and is sadly missed.

Happier times later this year as we completed the installation of our all-weather arena and gained planning permission for the horse walker (installing in January 18).  We also

IMG_20171202_105641

Elegant Joan – racing throughout winter & 2018

launched Abacus Bloodstock Racing Club in the autumn and have a number of members looking forward to the first run of Elegant Joan (Assertive x Fangfoss Girls) for the club at Wolverhampton on 27th December.  She ran twice on turf for the owner who leased her originally, but financial issues meant that she has come back to us.  She will eventually retire to stud with us, and so it is important we give her the very best chance of winning in the meantime.  To become a member of the club (just £80!) please visit our website.

More about the future in the new year, but all that remains for me to say is a big thank you to my wife Sarah, who works 7 days a week to make the place work.  Also to the staff, our professional support including Andy the farrier and Jenny the vet and to our suppliers who work with us to give the horses the best feed and care.

To the horses on the track, and those yet to run, we wish you and your connections success and a safe return.  To our clients and members of the Abacus Bloodstock Racing Club we say thank you for choosing us and may you all have a Merry Christmas and a successful, winning 2018.

 

Advertisements

Cheltenham or bust?

Those of you that follow my tweets (@stumat) will be aware that I have recently been

Capture

Top class racing but is Cheltenham the only real test of a horse?

twittering on about jump racing’s pre-occupation with all things Cheltenham.  There is no denying that the Cheltenham Festival, and indeed this weekend’s pre-Christmas meeting, offers a feast of some of the best National Hunt horses in training.  BUT not all – and to pretend this is the case would degrade the hard work of all the yards who have horses running elsewhere in the country, and all the horses who try their hardest to win.

In my comments, I have tried not to down play the importance of Cheltenham to the racing calendar – I am a fan of the place and the spectacle of racing there, but it seems

Capture2

My Tent Or Yours wins his first race at Cheltenham  – overcoming The New One

the yard stick used by the racing press and pundits is “but will the horse win at Cheltenham?”.  It was not until today that My Tent or Yours won at Cheltenham, despite having been at the top of the game for many years.  So does that mean he wasn’t a successful and highly rated horse until he succeeded today?  Does it mean that Red Rum was not arguably the best chaser over long distances because none of his wins came at Cheltenham?  Does it mean that the many prolific, hard working trainers yet to win on the Cheltenham stage are somehow “also rans”?

Capture3

Despite never winning at Cheltenham, Red Rum can hardly be seen as a second rate chaser

Importantly, if NH racing allows everything it does to be distilled down into two weeks of racing at one track in Gloucestershire, then the public will not be interested in the less exciting meetings throughout the rest of the year.  Last Saturday, Doncaster races included two Grade 2’s – and yet it was the under card on the day and had one news item

Capture4

Less known tracks offer racing as exciting and as good a test for a horse.

all  the preceding week included on the Racing Post app.  By contrast, as far back as last Thursday week, pundits were writing daily about the cold snap and the effect it may have on Cheltenham.  What about Ayr, Newcastle or Uttoxeter who did have meetings called off?  Attendances are low at many jump races, particularly mid-week and it does nothing to help when the impression is that the only way to see exciting racing is to go to Cheltenham – this is clearly not the case but is a perception being projected.   Go to Towcester or Wincanton and all you get is racing akin to non-league football?  Really?

Equally importantly is the perception which owners could mistakenly be given.  Many owners, despite being fans of racing, are increasingly coming from syndicates and, thankfully, newer avenues of introduction into racing.  But if they they are repeatedly told their success is measured in having a Cheltenham horse, then their passion for the game will soon be exhausted by a mid-week placing at Fontwell Park.

National Hunt racing is a great sport – heroic, tragic, exciting and enthralling.  Not just at Cheltenham but anywhere that well trained horses compete, supported by dedicated professionals and committed owners.  Don’t let them tell you it’s Cheltenham or nothing!