We rounded off the South Midlands area campaign with a double at Kingston Blount on Sunday with Harbour Court and Start Royal winning the Open races between them. Our tally of winners for the season now stands at 29, our best ever, and I’d like to make it 30 before the end of the national season in a few weeks.
I’m delighted with our efforts throughout the season. We’ve got a good stable of horses and have been spoilt with top horses such as Quinz, Consigliere and Sharp Suit at our disposal. I’m also very pleased with our strike rate, which is over one in three.
Harbour Court was dropping back into a point after his Cheltenham victory last time. Although he won comfortably in the end, he was made to work hard for his victory. We came here for an easier race instead of going for another Hunter Chase after Cheltenham, but it didn’t work out that way. James had to really squeeze him coming down the hill for the second time. Still, he got the job done. It’s taken me all season to get this horse back to where we want him and next year, we want to be back on the big stage with the Foxhunter back on the agenda.
Start Royal was disappointing at Fontwell recently due to the deluge they had just before racing but he was back to his best here and is now unbeaten in five races at Kingston Blount. I don’t think he’s deteriorated at all and he may not be finished for the season yet, with a possible trip to Bratton Down in Devon on the agenda.
Sadly Broken Eagle was turned over in the Intermediate. He made most of the running and jumped well but was not allowed to dominate in his usual manner. Banksandditches went on to win comfortably on his first run Clare Hobson but tonight, just two days later, he has bolted up at Huntingdon in a Hunter Chase so the form doesn’t look too bad. Eagle is another who could travel to Bratton Down before the end of the season.
Joe’s second on Eagle was enough to secure him the award for the leading rider in the South Midlands area, which gave us another reason to celebrate following another trainer’s title for the yard!