Following an uncharacteristic Saturday off of racing to celebrate a close friend's wedding (not Prince Harry on this occasion) we headed to two separate meetings with three runners in total on a very sunny Sunday 20th May. More locally we took two to new racecourse Edgcote whilst Joe and Izzie made the mammoth journey to Bratton Down
in Devon with one runner.
First to run was new to the yard and useful pointer Kashmir Peak, under owner rider Dan Cherriman (who says summer is a quiet time for a huntsman?!) in the novice riders and jumped off as favourite. Dan jumped out nicely and sat in 3rd, stalking the leaders of the five runner field for the first couple of circuits before making his move down the back straight and getting to the leader, well known Tempelpirate, at four out. Kashmir then held the lead to the last before unfortunately slightly blowing up and getting headed in the run in to gain 2nd place by under two lengths. A very promising run from the 9 year old, who since his last run three weeks prior had changed yards and perhaps was in need of some more work. Dan was very pleased with his ride so we will hopefully build on this run and look for one more before the end of the season.
The other runner was also owner ridden Brian's Well under Noah Brazg, who managed to fit in a quick spin between GCSE revision. Brian tried very hard in the eight runner Conditions race and looked like he was going to run a big race before slightly getting outpaced down the back straight. He stayed on to finish 4th and Noah gave him a great ride gaining more experience.
Yard favourite and utter enthusiast Consigliere was declared for the Devon and Cornwall Area feature race at Bratton Down over the testing distance of 4m1f. The 15 year old jumped off second favourite of the seven runner field under Izzie Marshall who was given the instructions to gain a comfortable position and take up the lead in the final mile. Izzie followed these tactics to perfection, gaining a safe lead heading out for the final circuit on a happy and exuberant Consigliere. His jumping was impeccable, flying the open ditch last time and gaining lengths with each fence. Heading to three out he had a 15 length lead and despite a closing advantage over the approaching hot favourite and 6 years his junior Miss Gotaway, under formerly national champion Will Biddick, the gelding galloped on gamely up the hill to take the victory by three lengths. This was a massive win from the veteran who has shown he has the heart of a lion and his love for racing cannot be diminished.
Connie returned home safe and sound after the 7 hour round trip and the decision was made that this was the perfect closing race for him to retire on. He has not only been a credit to his former owner Gaie Scouller, trainer and owner Alan and the jockeys who have ridden to him to success, but to the whole team at Woodway. In his 22 starts he has come out victorious on 13 occasions and has only ever finished out of the first 3 once (which was an 11th in the Cheltenham Foxhunters; a fantastic result at 12 years under a novice Joe). However, Connie is not just an excellent racehorse but also an absolute pet and a gent to ride. We all adore him despite still getting carted on the gallops rather frequently! The whole family have been lucky enough to enjoy days hunting on him, which is what he will now do in his retirement! We are incredibly sad that we will no longer see him between the flags, but the fact that he has run as well as ever at 15 makes us feel so incredibly proud and lucky. In the real world a Consigliere is a member of a mafia family who serves as an adviser to the leader; regarded as a close, trusted friend and confidant. This couldn't be more accurate. Connie brightens up everyone's day, always greeting you with a happy face and pricked ears (in the hope of some extra haylage!); all at Woodway can call him a friend. Thank you Connie for trying your heart out in every race you ran, making us all smile even on a bad day and for being a true gentleman. Here's to a long and happy retirement in the hunting field!