OUR Flat horses continue to run well – Precision Five was only just chinned on the line at Brighton recently – and, while Oceane and Grumeti will not leave Barbury tomorrow with quite the same form claims, fingers crossed that they will return with a slice of what is excellent prize money. Alan said:”Oceane ran a super first race for us when belying odds of 33-1 to finish a close third in the Bibury Cup at Salisbury last month, and, though he is now 4lb higher, he should again be competitive in what is a £50,000 handicap. “Grumeti goes up to York for the two-mile handicap. He has been dropped to a mark of 86, and the last time he was that low he won a big handicap at Ascot three years ago.
BATTERIES fully charged after his family holiday, Alan returned in time to enjoy “a smashing four days at Royal Ascot made even better by two winners on the all-weather.”
Alan, who headed off today for the Tattersalls Derby NH Sale in Ireland, said: “Precision Five gained her just reward when winning at Lingfield last Saturday. She seems to love the all-weather, and, having been pipped in a couple of close finishes, she got back on track on turf with what was a convincing success.
“And 48 hours earlier Mystery Code gave the Barbury Lions their first winner as owners when breaking her maiden at Chelmsford.
“The mile and a quarter would have been sharp enough there, but Fergus (Sweeney) felt that once he got into top gear in the straight he was always going to get there.
“It was the perfect start for the Barbury Lions, a 20-strong syndicate who also have a couple of two-year-olds, Jim Dandy and Master Blue Eyes.”
The Barbury Castle Stud have a two-year-old making his debut in the opener at Salisbury tomorrow, Cosmeapolitan, a Mawatheeq gelding, while Max McNeill’s French-recruit Oceane, who won a 9f maiden at Marseille-Borely last autumn, should relish the mile and a half when he has his first run for us in the Bibury Cup.
ALAN will shortly embark on his traditional family holiday – he always makes sure he’s back for Royal Ascot – and as he reflects on the jumping season which is now but a distant memory he can congratulate the team on another terrific winter’s work.
Remarkably, we finished the season with 75 winners, the same as the previous winter, and our prize money haul of £1,140,598 is up by 28 grand, echoing the consistency of the Barbury squad.
That never-to-be-forgotten Cheltenham success with Uxizandre, a marvellous farewell Festival triumph for AP McCoy in the JP McManus colours, was obviously the highlight, but now most of the jumpers are out at grass enjoying their summer break.
However, we still have a couple of runners at Southwell today and also two on the Flat at Chelmsford, where the new polytrack surface has been met with mixed reviews.
Both ours, trying the surface for the first time there, run in the finale, and Alan said:”Hughesie rides Mystery Drama, and they were only beaten a neck together the last time they teamed up at Salisbury in August.
“Mystery Drama is now 2lb lower, while Our Phylli Vera (Pat Dobbs), who was disappointing over hurdles last winter, has the ability if things drop right for her, and she, too, has dropped a couple of pounds since she last ran on the Flat last September at Newbury, where she finished third under Megan Nicholls.
“Howwrongcanyoube, runner-up at Market Rasen, makes his first appearance in a handicap at Southwell, while Daydreamer, who has run respectably on the Flat, will appreciate this dryer ground than the soft which he encountered on his jumping debut at Kempton.”