As you can imagine the morale in the yard has had a massive lift thanks to Smad Place and his heroics on Saturday, after what had been a testing couple of weeks. Throughout the Hennessy meeting the horses ran well and although Smad was our only winner of the meeting we were all very happy, on the whole, with the results from our other runners. Kir Royal was having her first ever start on a racecourse in what looked a competitive bumper on the Thursday eventually finishing 3rd beaten just over 8 lengths, a very good start to her career taking on the geldings in soft ground, she would have learnt a lot and will improve from this experience.
Ardamir was having his first run for the yard in the juvenile hurdle on the Friday of the meeting, having already had 3 runs in France, although he could only manage to finish 5th he ran an encouraging race, considering he was giving weight away to the whole field, travelling and jumping well, eventually tiring in the testing ground. He has come out of his race well and had a good blow after his run and he should certainly improve from this experience.
It was also great to get Midnight Prayer back out on the track after nearly a year since his last run, running over a trip a lot shorter than is ideal for him he ran a fantastic race finishing 4th jumping and travelling well out of the soft ground, he too will come on a lot from this run and his target will now be the Welsh National.
Along with Smad Place, Ned Stark took his chance in the Hennessy, finishing 8th. He ran well for a long way in the race travelling well off a strong gallop set by Smad Place. For a horse that is 7 years old he has only had 10 runs and he will no doubt learn a lot from this experience and it should stand him in good stead for the future.
Smad Place went into the Hennessy on the back of a pleasing prep run at Kempton and although were were confident of a good performance i don’t think any of us expected for him to win the race in the dominant style that he did. Always handy and eventually leading the field at a strong pace he seemed to thrive off the tactics Wayne had committed to and jumped his way round like a horse completely in love with the task in hand. He has come out of the race in great form and it is all systems go for the Gold Cup in March. Well done to everyone at Barbury and a big congratulations to Peter and Trish Andrews.