What a summer it has been! Record-breaking weather (appreciated for harvest, not so much for runners!), summer clean up whilst horses enjoy their holidays, the arrival of two novice jockeys and some summer runners also! The team at Woodway have been busy and are ready for the 2018/19 season which is fast approaching!
Oliver's Hill returned to training following his well-deserved winter break, this time with a competitive handicap mark due to his impressive victories. Following some testing runs early on in the summer, he proved his ability and brave attitude when scoring an 11 length victory under James King at Fontwell in August. He then backed this up when returning to Fontwell recently in hotter competition, and hitting the front just when it mattered to beat the Skelton trained favourite by 3 lengths. Oliver has proved his love for Fontwell, with 7 chase wins from 17 runs there over 5 years. He also provided Lawney with her 9th winner from 22 runners at the course, compiling a 40% strike rate. Impressive! Oliver is now for sale to stay in the yard to go pointing as owner Paul Caudwell would like him to stay where he is happiest and performs to his best. Get in contact if you are interested in the ownership options of Oliver's Hill!
Yeomanry Racing owned Sunset Skye came to the yard in spring and made her yard debut in September in a Novice Hurdle at Southwell, proving to have come on leaps and bounds with her first completion of a race. The owners and breeder were thrilled with her improvement and she is entered to run next week!
As well as producing runners, our other main focus over the summer months has been sourcing and pre-training some talented younger horses for both yards; with plenty of work in the menège, schooling over poles and small fixed fences and some mornings out hunting, they are already maturing and edging closer to stepping on the track. It is incredibly rewarding to see these youngsters transform both mentally and physically into competitive racehorses and we look forward to seeing them perform at the races!
In other news, Alan, Joe, combine operator Lawney & chief sandwich maker Gaby were very busy during harvest, with the combine harvesting over 800 acres in record time thanks to the dry conditions we encountered. The fields are now all drilled and rolled, ready for winter! We also had (a very brief) time to reflect on what was a record-breaking point-to-point season. Alan received a celebratory bottle of bubbles for winning the PPORA "Moment of the Month" when scoring his 300th point-to-point winner which was enjoyed once Joe & Izzie returned from their trip to South East Asia!
Never wanting to sit still for too long, Lawney has been busy with her new business Lawney Hill Events, which offers bespoke racing packages with a behind-the-scenes touch. She held an event at Ascot Racecourse which was enjoyed by all! In June, Joe & Izzie stepped away from horses and onto a plane to Thailand, where they spent 5 weeks snorkelling, trekking and monkeying around in South East Asia! Izzie has now started at Reading University where she is studying Business and Joe has taken on the position of Assistant Trainer at Woodway, having announced his retirement from race riding. Gaby has taken on a new career, working for exciting equine social marketplace 2TheBarn as Digital Media Executive in the pioneering stages. She has also enjoyed eventing and team chasing retired racehorse Hunter's Lodge.
With some of our stable stars reaching retirement we are happy to report that we have successfully found them fun, new homes to be looked after like the legends they are! This includes Consigliere who is loving life living with sheep, cattle & chickens and hunting twice a week, According To Trev who thoroughly enjoyed his first visit to the beach and Quinz who enjoys light hunting and Sunday morning hacks! We love receiving updates on how they are enjoying their lives after racing!
Below are some photos to round up this summer....stayed tuned for next weeks blog on Joe's retirement, the 2 new novice jockeys and hopefully some racing results!