Friday 16 August 2013

Mid Summer Update

The season is hurtling on and we at Alan McCabe Racing are keeping ourselves nice and busy.

We don't seem to be having quite so many runners at the moment, but that is mainly because we have cut down on numbers in order to concentrate more on  a better quality of horse. We have acquired some nice horses from the sales recently for a new owner and will be looking forward to seeing them on track in the not-too-distant future. Our established inmates are all doing well and many have enjoyed a brief mid-season break to keep them fresh and happy - it can be a long trek from March until November and many also will run a winter campaign, so keeping them in top form requires a little holiday now and then. At least there has been a bit more in the way of sunshine than last year's complete wash out of a summer.

Our mares and foals have thrived this year with a bit of sun on their backs. Loose Caboose and Well Of Echoes both look fantastic and are currently in foal to Stimulation and Saif, two stallions stood by our friends the Hodges at Llety Stud in Wales. Well Of Echoes' foal at foot ('Mandy') is by Stimulation and she is an absolute cracker. She's big and powerful with a lovely floating action and bears quite a resemblance to her grandpa, Choisir. She's also extremely cheeky, nosy and friendly and will boldly greet any visitor to the paddock. Loose Caboose's son 'Pete' is by Bertolini and is a bit more of a mummy's boy. Loose Caboose is a very loving and nurturing mother and her offspring have a tendency to hang onto her apron strings a little, but Pete is starting to get a bit braver and can often be seen challenging Mandy in a jokey game of Top Dog. I love having them close to home and have watched them develop daily, which is very satisfying.

Also close to home is Follow The Flag who is retired....for now. Flag is part of the furniture here, like old man Cornus and they will both have a home for life. However, I do not believe that Flag's retirement is permanent and fully expect him to return to training, probably over the winter when he can have a few spins on the all-weather instead of eating hay in a chilly field. One thing is certain - he will never ever do anything he doesn't want to, so rest assured if you do see him on a racecourse this winter, it will be entirely his own choice!

Friday 12 April 2013

Spring has Sprung

We have enjoyed a good, solid start to the current season with winners both on the turf and the all-weather. The weather has not been kind to anyone though and the snow that blighted us a few weeks ago melted to cause all sorts of problems with going conditions at the few tracks that have hosted racing on turf. Hence we have not had runners in vast numbers yet, but I'm sure that will change as the season wears on.
Azrael became our first turf winner of the 2013 season when winning with style at Yarmouth under the excellent Ryan Moore. Azrael was breaking a two-year duck with the victory - he carried high hopes with him after some nice wins against favoured opposition as a two-year-old, but had minor, niggling problems as a three-year-old which interrupted him somewhat. Last year he was slow to come to hand, but began to show glimmers of his old form so it was very satisfying to see him return to winning ways. He should continue now on his upward trajectory and we look forward to some nice days out with him later in the year.
Our first two-year-old runner, Royal Warrior, also made a winning debut at Southwell on April 3rd and was quickly joined to complete a double by Darakti, another horse enjoying his first taste of victory. Darakti, as his name would suggest, is by Rakti and has great scope about him. He has thrived over the winter and, like most of the sire's progeny, will be better with age. He always needed a trip and opportunities for such are very limited for two-year-olds, so the fact he got to a racecourse at all last year was quite an achievement. It provided valuable education for him and, now the time has come for him to race over longer distances, he is ready to increase his potential. Bougaloo, who also ran on April 3rd, finishing 2nd, is a very similar horse who should be seen to much better effect this year. He has been a problem child in the past, but extensive schooling with the Maestro Gary Witheford seems to have ironed out his peculiarities and I would fully expect to see him winning races before too much longer.
It was disappointing that Loma Mor blotted her copybook and had to be withdrawn at Wolverhampton on April 6th as her attitude towards her new career has been exemplary at home. She is definitely one of our nicer, more precocious babies and Silvestre de Sousa reported that she had given him a great feel to post and he'd got quite keen on her chances. However when loaded into the stalls, she entered a little too quickly, banging her nose on the front. She reversed away from the gate to feel the back gates locked against her and simply panicked. She has been a model pupil at home, frequently loaded into the stalls before and since her run without any drama whatsoever, so we must hope this to be an isolated incident. She is none the worse for her exertions (it was quite alarming watching her on the television screen) and will be back on track before long. She's a very laid-back filly who practically eats her own body weight daily, so I wouldn't be surprised if she has forgotten the whole thing already
This weekend holds just two entries for our horses, Masterful Act, who has won three races already in 2013 by a cumulative margin of 38 lengths and risen 22lbs in the handicap will contest the Queen's Prize at Kempton while Spark of Genius who did not appreciate the camber of the track last time at Lingfield (where she was 2nd) will run at Doncaster. It is her first run for us on turf, but we don't have any worries about her handling the surface and hope she runs a big race.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Readying the troops for Turf 2013

After what has been an odd winter, we have suddenly found ourselves upon the threshold of the 2013 turf season.
The all-weather season has been nothing if not interrupted over the winter, but 2013 began well for us when we enjoyed our first ever treble at Wolverhampton on January 7th with Aubrietia, Spark of Genius and Little Dolly doing their bit for girl power (or strident feminism, as it's known in our house). We've had a reasonable amount of winners since and have been especially pleased with Aubrietia's rise through the handicap. She's been a revelation, winning 5 of her 6 starts this year, only being denied  in the 6th by the smallest of margins (2nd in a very tight photo finish). Her most recent start saw her winning by a decent 1 1/2 lengths, despite giving weight all round and she's certainly a filly on the upgrade. She has an entry in the Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster on Saturday 23rd March (Lincoln Day) and another for the Prix Cor De Chasse at Fontainebleau on Good Friday. There is a small domestic dispute in the McCabe household as to which she should go for, but that will be settled by her very knowledgeable owners. Masterful Act has also impressed us since joining the yard from the jumping ranks in December. He underwent a small wind operation after our eagle-eyed vet spotted him displacing his soft palate as she removed an endoscope from his throat and his first start for us was a decent 3rd place over 1m4f at Southwell. He was finishing especially well, so was subsequently stepped up to 1m6f on the same surface next time and duly won by 9 lengths. As the handicapper sought to raise him 11lbs for the victory, the decision was taken to run him within the week under a 6lbs penalty, before his new rating took effect. He won this race by an easy 13 lengths and has been raised a further 11lbs, bringing his new flat rating up to 87. This precludes him from participating in a 0-85 at Southwell we had earmarked as his next outing and an entry has been made in the Doncaster Shield on Friday as an alternative, but he looks an exciting staying prospect for his owner John Hughes' Universal Recycling Company.
The two year olds are developing nicely and we look to have some real quality among them. A couple may be out early and these include our Sleeping Indian homebred Spirit O Goodchild and a sharp Auction House filly owned by Heather Chellingworth named Loma Mor. Neither will be lining up for the Brocklesby though as it's probably a little too soon for our way of training, although I would say they won't be too far off a run. It's also been nice to welcome some new owners into the yard as well as some returning friends with their untried two-year-olds and I think we could be in for quite an exciting season - expect parties!
Heading across the road to Southwell races now to watch the enigma that is Follow The Flag. He could win if he wants to (as with every race we've ever run him in) but, as always, it's a very big 'if'. He's an old bugger, but I can't imagine the yard without him - lovely old War Horse. At least he know where the stables are and usually runs his fastest sections down the straight towards them. Bless him.

Thursday 6 September 2012

In which we finally enter the 21st Century

As the first installment of 'Stable News', this item is long overdue.

We have been enjoying a busy and very lively season which has taken us around Europe and claimed some nice prizes along the way. This week, however, has been one of those odd weeks, where a mid season lull offers little in the way of opportunities for our horses. Sometimes these quiet days are most welcome - we have had the chance to get little jobs done on the horseboxes and sort out some housekeeping around the yard and barns. We must grasp the limited opportunities we have while we can - with sales season already underway and the frantic end-of-season push fast approaching, our lads and girls (not to mention the horses and horseboxes!) will be flying in all directions. Some horses may literally take to the air as we prepare for another venture to the Breeders' Cup, held this year in Santa Anita, California. Caspar Netscher may go again and will probably be nominated for a couple of races and we will look and see which would be most suitable. Winged Icarus may also be found a race stateside, after his Frankel-esque victory at Southwell last week. His 12-length victory, smashing the 20-year track record without coming off the bridle left us astounded but delighted. We had hoped that he would win as we had galloped him on the surface and knew he went well on it, but the manner of his victory could never have been anticipated. He had disappointed us in the past and his six-figure price tag was beginning to look expensive but, with the application of a visor and a synthetic surface our American-bred Speightstown colt positively bloomed. It was a huge relief to all concerned to finally see what he had earlier promised.
As for this week's runners, they have been a bit sparse, as I have mentioned. Our next runners will be on Saturday, when we have four runners at four meetings. The logistics have now been sorted and Swerve will head for Ascot in a bid to atone for her sulky display at York when she wasn't allowed to dominate, the game and consistent Showboating will have a good chance under Ioannis Poullis at Thirsk, Blue Jack will be having his first run for us under Hayley Turner at Haydock and Sehnsucht, who has been working well, will take his chance to show what he can do at Wolverhampton. If all run true races, all should give good accounts of themselves.
Now I'm off to do a bit of housekeeping of my own - those walls won't paint themselves and I've only got two days to do it...

Toodle pip!