We have no runners heading to California for the Breeders’ Cup so this will be my final Unibet blog until the spring, but I hope you’ve enjoyed following the yard over the past six months and managed to back plenty of winners!
The Trainers’ title is still quite close, with about £300,000 between John & Thady Gosden and Aidan O’Brien, and there’s no doubt British Champions Day on Saturday is going to be crucial for both camps, although the weather is going to play a big part in proceedings.
Unfortunately, we have nothing heading to Ascot but we’ve still enjoyed a marvellous season, finishing seventh in the championship and amassing over two and a half million pounds in prize money, and it’s all thanks to the tremendous team around me, from everyone who works in the yard, to our owners, jockeys and of course the horses!
Chindit has been retired and will start his new career as a stallion in India at his owner’s Poonawalla Stud and I’m sure he will be much sought after. He won nine of his 24 races, including eight at Group/Listed level, and we look forward to seeing his offspring in years to come.
Lusail heads to France to join the roster at Haras de Bouquetot and retires having won 25% of his races, which included G2 success in the Gimcrack and July Stakes.
Happy Romance, who earnt her owners over £730,000 in a career that saw her strike in the valuable Weatherbys Super Sprint, has also departed and begins a new life as a broodmare at Chasemore Farm. She really was (and still is) the most wonderful mare to be around and we all look forward to following her as she settles into her new role as a mum.
There have been plenty of highs and lows, as you’d expect, during the season and here a few notable moments:
Top three highlights of 2023
Obviously Rosallion would have to be among the list after capping his season in great style at Longchamp, but Shouldvebeenaring has been a superstar and is so consistent. He ran 12 times from January 31st and managed to win twice and be placed on six occasions, notably finished second in the G1 Sprint Cup at Haydock and third in the G1 Foret. He always out runs his odds, and I couldn’t leave him out.
Witch Hunter was another highlight when winning at Royal Ascot, and then scoring in the Hungerford Stakes. When he started out as a two-year-old we really thought he was something special, but for some reason I managed to get him beaten on his debut at Newbury, and while it took four attempts to get off the mark, he hasn’t looked back since and has developed into a very smart horse. It was a great day when he won the Buckingham Palace, because finding winners at Royal Ascot is getting more and more difficult, and I was delighted for the whole team at home, and his owner William Stobart.
There is absolutely no doubt about this one – Rosallion getting beaten in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster. I was disappointed, yes, but ‘completely gutted’ would be a better assessment!
Probably when Witch Hunter won at Royal Ascot. Obviously, we always have them primed for that meeting, but you can never be confident in Handicaps with 29 runners, and when they’re 50/1 shots, so I must admit it was a surprise that he won, but a very pleasant one!
We are very lucky to have a great team of jockeys, with Sean Levey and Pat Dobbs heading up the squad, and they both rarely ride a bad race, but I’m afraid the plaudits for this one has to go to Jamie Spencer for his ride aboard Witch Hunter. He sat pretty much stone cold last and then came with his customary late run to get up on the line. Definitely Spencer at his best!
There are lots to choose from but Happy Romance and Chindit will be sorely missed and it’s hard not to like them because they always tried so hard. Can I have one more? I can’t leave out Heredia who is extremely consistent and has the heart of a lion. She’ll be aimed at the Duke Of Cambridge and something like the Falmouth in 2024.
Horse looking forward to most next year?
The very obvious one is Rosallion because he really could be anything. He’ll be trained for the 2000 Guineas and will likely start off in the Greenham at Newbury. Serene Seraph is another very, very good filly and she could be Classic material, too. We didn’t overrace her last season and I’m hopeful she could end up top notch.