The curtain came down on the turf flat season last week-end at Doncaster. This last meeting always seems a bit of an after-thought following, as it does, the Breeders Cup and the Melbourne Cup where the stable, sadly, had no luck.
Vintage Folly, the final runner for Kremlin Cottage for the season, very nearly provided the perfect ending, going down by just ¾ length in the Listed Gillies Fillies Stakes. This filly has had an excellent season for her owner Robert Hill-Smith who is Pol Roger’s distributor in Australia – most appropriate with the stable sponsored by Champagne Pol Roger.
The results for the year to date are:
70 winners at a strike rate of 15% – this is one short of the 2016 total.
64 seconds – 49 third – 57 fourths – these are all ahead of last year.
Total earnings passing the million pound mark for the third consecutive year.
After a relatively slow start to the year with the horses a little behind early on, the season soon clicked into gear and the winners flowed through the summer. Star of the show in many ways was Home of the Brave with two wins and four places and earnings of £137,641, showing his usual aggressive running style and determination to win along the way.
There was a Classic winner for the stable in Unforgetable Filly (yes she is spelt like that!) who won the German 1000 Guineas at Dusseldorf in June.
Two horses each won three races Gulliver and Cool Team. Given how difficult it is to win even one race, to win three is quite an achievement.
It struck this writer that the year started with many horses being relatively harshly handicapped as a result of the excellent year they had in 2016. However Hugo managed to produce a host of winners though the second half of the season, with many horses managing to win two races. Given space restrictions it has been impossible to mention more than a few of the winners and placed horses but we congratulate all their owners on a great season.
Then of course there are the two year olds. Amongst a host of promising horses with maybe one or two runs under their belts I gave myself the difficult task of picking just one. The choice has fallen on The Revenant who made a huge impression when winning on his debut at Haydock. Even though he was beaten on his second start, there are plenty of potential reasons. Firstly the eccentric nature of Epsom added to the heavy ground, neither of which he appeared to relish, and in any case he was beaten by a good horse in Dee Ex Bee who had impressed many observers on his debut at Goodwood. I have certainly not given up on this Derby entry who has a superb pedigree being by super-sire Dubawi out of Hazel Lavery who was an excellent race-mare, winning at Group 3 level and placed at Group 2.
There are undoubtedly many more lovely young horses for next year, some of which will not have made it to the race-course this season. In any case we look forward to our second year with Hugo and his team with great excitement.