Many thanks to our guest authors - Perry and Vicky... long-term members and friends of Cleeve
Last year at the Cheltenham Preview Night at Warwick Racecourse I won a prize for a morning on the gallops and a stable tour of Warren Chase Stables in the beautiful Warwickshire countryside just outside Stratford-upon-Avon.
On a cold and sunny morning, we arrived at the stables at 9.00 am just in time to see 4th lot going out for exercise. Olly’s secretary, Therese, met us in the yard and kept us supplied with hot tea and warm bacon rolls until Olly was leading the string back into the yard.
We gathered around the exercise board where Olly allocated his riders to their mounts and walked out to the ½ mile round gallop laid with Wexford sand, a 5f carpet gallop, an all-weather schooling lane and some hurdles in the distance on the grass schooling gallop, altogether set on about 120 acres.
The first question I asked Olly was how his Cheltenham stars from last year’s festival had wintered? And what did he expect from Thomas Darby (2nd Supreme Novices Hurdle) in his run at Warwick that afternoon?
Noticeably “a little tense”, he replied that he was going novice chasing, had schooled well, jumped well and even though hopeful about a win, wasn’t too concerned if he didn’t come home first.
“Whatever he does today, he will improve vastly, so as long as he jumps well, puts in a good round and comes home safely, I will be happy.”
Watch the replay and decide for yourself, but after the race, Olly declared himself extremely happy with the run and expects a lot of improvement next time out.
(3rd Supreme Novices Hurdle) will stay hurdling and after his run at Kempton in October, where, but for making a blunder 3 out and being carried wide, “would have finished much closer” will be seen again after Christmas and will probably be aimed at graded races for the foreseeable future.
(4th Ballymore Novices' Hurdle) has already won his first beginners chase, staying on strongly in good style at Carlisle on the 24th August 2019. He will continue chasing and be aimed at the festival. Olly rates this horse very highly and is of the opinion that it is the best novice chaser in the yard and will more than pay his way.
Having watched 3 or 4 lots gallop and Saturday’s runners at Kelso school over hurdles on the grass gallop, we toured Olly’s yard which has over 125 horses spread over 6 barns, there were horses everywhere! Very interesting to see an unnamed 3-year-old being scoped to check for bleeding. After being told it wasn’t a burst vessel, just a slight nose bleed, the vet asked if we needed doing next!
Amongst all his horses, I asked Olly to pick out some to follow for the season, not the same old stable stars that he had trotted out for the Racing Post and Betfair stable tours, but something properly juicy for the Cleeve Members to pay for their trip to the Dubai World Cup and heal the Supreme Racing wounds! (He did offer to help out if we wanted to syndicate a horse with him! “I’ve got some lovely three-year-olds for next year and some beautiful bumper horses waiting to run”) Obviously! If you are asked for your best horses by everyone who visits, everyone should get the same answers, but I think we might have got a couple of darker ones and maybe some gold!
Best Novice Chaser - Brewin’upastormRated 148, upcoming entries at-:
|14:35 14/11/19||Taunton, 2m 2f 40y, C4|
|14:25 15/11/19||Cheltenham, 2m 4f 44y, C2|
|13:05 16/11/19||Wetherby, 1m 7f 36y, C4|
|13:50 17/11/19||Cheltenham, 1m 7f 199y, C1|
Best Novice Hurdler(s)
Nickolson No upcoming entries. Has had a slight setback and will not be seen until after Christmas.
Overthetop No upcoming entries, but won his bumper at Warwick very well, put in one dodgy jump 4 out at Carlisle in October but still won easily. Olly says “very exciting horse”
No upcoming entries. Olly was absolutely astounded that this horse was beaten in his bumper at Chepstow on the 29th October. Note that he thinks the horse that beat it, Plenty in The Tank, “must be a bloody good horse”.
No upcoming entries. Unraced and should win her share of bumper before going hurdling.
Best Dark Horse
No upcoming entries. This was, at the time an unraced horse entered for Lingfield on the 12th November 2019. We dodged a bullet here! This horse opened up at 5/2 on Monday evening, touched 10/11 and went off evens; finishing third staying on at one pace.
IK Brunel Rated 138, upcoming entries at-:
|15:35 15/11/19||138||Cheltenham, 2m 5f 0y, C1|
Won really well at Fontwell on the 23rd October 2019, so well that he is now entered at Cheltenham’s open meeting, probably not such a dark horse but Olly says “he’ll be stepped up in trip and is one to look forward to”.
Best H’capped Horse
The Wolf Rated 125, upcoming entries at-:
|14:55 13/11/19||125||Bangor-on-Dee, 2m 3f 123y, C2||5/4|
|15:30 16/11/19||125||Cheltenham, 2m 5f 0y, C2|
|14:25 23/11/19||125||Haydock, 3m 0f 58y, C1|
And I will give you three horses that I picked up on from chatting with Olly, I think he might be keeping these a bit “dark”, he didn’t say much about them, but I got a sense of excitement in his voice when he was talking about these horses and I will definitely be following them.
Grandad’s Cottage upcoming entries at-:
|15:35 16/11/19||-||Uttoxeter, 1m 7f 168y, C5|
If this doesn’t run, and listening to Olly, I don’t think it will; it will be aimed at the bumper on Saturday the 23rd November 2019 at Ladies Fashion Day in Huntingdon. This is a race that Olly won last year with JP’s Collooney and he is specifically targeting the race this year. If Grandad’s Cottage doesn’t run, take note of what he does choose to run.
Sangha River No upcoming entries.
Olly seemed really excited about this horse, it looked a picture out on the gallops and walking back to the barn. He said that he thinks really highly of him but that he takes time to come to himself and “will not take much racing, so when we run with him, we will be spot on and trying to win his race”.
Hunters Call No upcoming entries.
Last seen in Olly’s first year of training at Warren Chase, in Ascot, 23rd December 2017, winning a very hot handicap hurdle and trouncing Silver Streak and Verdana Blue into second and third places. These two ran to 3rd and 5th in last year’s Champion Hurdle and Olly is taking it very steady with a view to bringing him back for a spring campaign. Currently doing a one half a mile canter a day on the Wexford Sand. I personally am very excited to see him back, having paid for mine and Mrs Perry’s Christmas that year!
Honourable mentions… talked about with enthusiasm!
Finawn Bawn No upcoming entries.
Ran well in a Grade 2 novice hurdle at Warwick, will be stepped up to 3m or thereabouts, only got beaten by inexperience at Chepstow on 29th October 2019.
Fusionice No upcoming entries.
A really good looking horse that finished third in his debut point. Will start off in bumpers around November.
Fiesole No upcoming entries.
A bit unlucky not to win the Swinton hurdle where he “got stopped everywhere he went”. Needs good ground and will be aimed at a spring campaign.