Christmas may still be well over a week away but everyone is well into the spirit of things as most people go into panic mode and buy everything on the shelves as the shops will be shut for a whole day! Team Feilden scrubbed themselves up for the yard Christmas party and a great time was had by all. Thank you to everyone who kindly donated to the meal - you can be assured that the team got their moneys worth!
The team deserve plenty of credit after a great year that will be fully recapped in our latest newsletter which is out next week.
The runners last week didn't fare too badly with Maazel springing a resurgence and looking an incredibly unlucky loser at Lingfield on Wednesday. He was held up at the rear of the field and was badly interfered with around the final turn. Shelley managed to gather up the gelding and rally another effort which saw them come up just a neck short at the winning line. It was a relief to see Maazel run better as he had been pretty disappointing recently. Hopefully he has turned a corner now and can make the most of his low rating. He is entered at Lingfield again on Wednesday and seems fresh enough after his race so fingers crossed he can go one better if getting a bit more luck this time for the N.E.T. Racing Club.
Thursday sees us with four entries at two different tracks and they will probably all take their chance.
Our sole representative at Chelmsford will be Spanish Mane who will be making her debut for us after being bought from Richard Fahey in October. She has been doing some nice work at home recently and certainly looks better than her current rating but she has to run out of the handicap on this occasion as there weren’t any other suitable races for her.
The other three entries are all at Southwell.
Candesta and Limerick Lord are in the same race at Southwell but it looks likely to divide so they won't race against each other. Limerick ran a lot better last time when third at the course and he seems to be coming back into form now so should put in another good run. Candesta won the race last year but hasn't shown any signs of winning again since then. He usually runs well at the track so I'm hoping that will see him improve a bit on his recent efforts.
The final entry is Oceanus. He won at Yarmouth earlier in the year but didn't get his preferred soft ground much during the turf season so couldn't get another win on the board. He has run well in two tries at Southwell so I don't think the surface will be a concern and hopefully he can get in the prize money.
Last week we said goodbye to Our Cilla who went to Tattersalls Ascot Sales and found a new home with Yorkshire jumps trainer Andy Crook who I'm sure she will do well for. We didn't leave empty handed though as we came home with a stunning two-year old colt who was part of Godolphin's draft of horses.
Called New Expo, he has looked green in three runs to date, all of which came within the space of three weeks. He is a big horse who looks just the type to make a better three-year old and his half brother won three races this year after some moderate runs in his two-year old season.
He is available for syndication and more info can be seen on our OWNERSHIP PAGE.
The last month has seemed to go on forever for our apprentice jockey Shelley Birkett but she finally managed to ride her 95th career winner this week and in the process 'rode out her claim'. Only a handful of apprentices manage this feat each year and I think she is about the 16th female rider to do it in the history of the sport here in the UK. Just over half of those winners have been for us so it was very fitting that she could hit the milestone aboard Wilson at Lingfield.
Obviously I was very proud of her for achieving this and it doesn't seem too long ago that she rode her first winner on Bavarica at Folkestone. I can remember it well - I led her up! At the start of the year Shelley jokingly said she would retire on the spot when losing her claim but now the ambition has shifted to riding 100 winners so she'll be around for a bit longer yet!
It was also great to get a win into Wilson having bought him in the summer from Luca Cumani. As a brother to Oceanus, we though he would stay a bit further but it turns out that he is best at seven furlongs and the drop back to that trip saw him at his best. He is owned by a great syndicate of owners and he can hopefully give them plenty more days in the winner's enclosure.
Hopefully Shelley can start life as a fully-fledged professional this week with some decent results as we have a few for her to ride.
Majestic Moon goes to Southwell on Tuesday and I hope he has a great chance. He has had a bit of a break recently with a winter campaign in mind and we know he likes the track after winning there last season. He will come on for the run but he is certainly fit enough to get involved.
Then on Wednesday it might turn out that we run Sea Shack and Maazel against each other at Lingfield. Sea Shack has a few entries that day but the selling handicap looks the best option for him. He joined us in September and has needed plenty of work to get fit as he is a burly horse. He will improve for the run and we should learn plenty about him from this. Maazel, on the other hand, has been with us for a while and is plenty fit enough. He has been disappointing recently but his rating has fallen as a result and his work at home has been the best he's ever done for us so hopefully his attitude won't get in the way and he can start producing some results on the racecourse.
Rounding off things will be Telekinetic at Chelmsford on Thursday evening. This will be her third run on the flat so she'll qualify for handicap races after this and they will probably see her to better effect.
We'll also be at Ascot sales on Monday as Our Cilla goes through the auction ring. She has had a frustrating year due to the lack of her favoured soft ground but I think she'll make a nice hurdler for anyone in the market for one. She is very sound and stays well so should do well in that sphere. She gave her owner Carol Bushnell a lot of fun last year with two wins on the board and I'm sure there is more to come from her too.