With 2021 fast coming to an end and with only a couple more horses to possibly run, it's been interesting to look back on what has really been my second year of full time training racehorses. With only a handful of horses in 2020, most of whom were unraced two and three year olds, we managed to have one winner from 37 starts and 14 horses in training. Not the ideal start that we had hoped for. So this year we set about changing a few things, and with some of the horses now more mature and a really good team of people, we started 2021 with a lot of enthusiasm and hope.
Things kicked off early with two wins at the beginning of January which gave a boost of confidence to everyone at Badgerstown. One of the winners, Liberated Lad was subsequently sold and has gone on to win a couple more races to date. The other, My Footsteps who was consistently placed as well, has had a change of direction and is now show jumping for his very patient owner Bernice Cuthbert.
Our stand out 3yr old colt Tasman Bay, owned by Sir Peter Vela, who had had one educational run at two, started his season in the best possible style with an emphatic win at Newcastle on the 26th March. He then ran five more times through the season, all bar one in Group or listed company and racing against some of the best three year olds of this year and never finishing out of the first three. The highlight undoubtably was his second placing behind Alenquer in the GR2 King Edward VII at Royal Ascot, our first horse to race at this historic meeting. He stays in training for 2022 and has done very well in his break and we hope that he can pick up a very good race next year.
My very first winner in the UK, Petit Bay, made a winning reappearance over over 11f at Kempton in April, only to discover she had an injury that would prevent her from racing the rest of the year so her owner, Mr Bobby Allen, decided to put her in foal to Time Test and she is currently on our farm and due to foal in March next year.
The day after Tasman Bay won, Soyounique put his nose in front having previously shown considerable promise but letting himself down through over racing. He then followed that up with another win and was then sold at auction and will continue his racing career.
Another of our winners to be sold was the promising galloper L’Operateur, who was owned by leading NZ stud master and owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay of Cambridge Stud.
Promising 3yr old filly Seixas has won two of her four starts in the colours of OTI racing and will race again next year.
Our recent winners, Wow William and Mercian Hymn have given a lot of satisfaction for different reasons. Wow William was bred and is part owned by dear friend The Dowager Duchess of Bedford who I also trained for in NZ. My wife Carolyn also shares in the ownership with long time friend Debbie Sidebottom. He is by the sprinting sire The Wow Signal, but now appears to want to stay and won over 12f. We look forward to running him again next year. Mercian Hymn has a wonderful pedigree but has proved to be a tricky horse to fathom, but it now looks that we are getting the hang of him and he won very nicely over 12f. He is still quite immature, he will run once more this year and then have a break and hopefully come back better next year.
Another winner was our only two year old runner this year, Red Phantom who won on debut. He was originally a £800 yearling purchase by Jan-Michael Hicks who we subsequently purchased from him as an untried 2yr old. After his win he was purchased to race in Australia.
Although I have never been one to pay much attention to statistics, I was pleased to see on the Racing Post that our Winners to runners ratio was among the top 10% of trainers in this country at 16% and our Winners to starters ratio of 63% was the highest of any trainer in the UK, so an extremely pleasing result for the year and a tribute to the hard work and dedication of our whole team.
This year we have bought three well bred fillies and three colts at the Tattersalls sales series who have all been broken in and turned away till next year. We will be looking to syndicate them so if anyone is interested then please get in touch as we would very much welcome new owners into our team operation. We will post more details of these very soon.