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Syndicate Tales: Part Six

Blog 18th September 2020 Cheltenham

By Hannah Hawkins

Welcome to part six of our Syndicate Tales, including news and updates on our Syndicate horses, behind-the-scenes information, and any Membership news. 

Let me introduce myself, I am Hannah and as well as Business Development Executive for Exeter Racecourse, I look after all things for the Cheltenham and South West Syndicate. If you've dreamt of being a racehorse owner, here is your chance! Find out more here

I’m not going to mention it. Despite an increased infection rate and a revert to more restrictive measures, I’m not going to address the ‘C’ word (any more than this opening statement that is) since I’ve decided that it invades far too much of our lives as it is so this blog will from here on in be a safe haven from anything virus related. Enough said.

However, the only sort of ‘bug’ I am going to speak of is that of winning races. And I think I speak for all of our membership when I say, after Diamond River’s winning debut, we have all well and truly got ‘the bug’ and can’t wait to see him back in action. Which, incidentally, shouldn’t be too long as he has been entered in a couple of Novice Hurdle’s at Warwick next week- a 2 mile 5 furlong race on Monday 21st and a 2 mile race on Tuesday 22nd September. Nicky is currently favouring the latter of the two races as thinks Diamond River would be better to start over a shorter distance and step up as the season progresses. He has a ballot mark of 20 for this race which means, if the race was to split due to the number of horses declared being above the Safety Factor of 18, he would be the 5th horse into the next division (because there are 16 without any ballot mark that go in first and then the highest mark – which is 27 – goes in and from there you work backwards for the second division). All a bit confusing for a Friday morning but the long and the short of it is he has a very good chance of getting in should the race split – and with 44 entries and a Safety Factor of 18, it is highly likely it will.

Speaking of jumping, Docpickedme is due to have some practice in ‘leaving the ground’ at Harry’s schooling over a few hurdles. He has already won a point to point so we know he can jump a lot bigger than this but, as Harry tells me, it’s always good to remind them how it’s done – much like riding a bike by all accounts.

Finally, Hes No Trouble continues to improve in fitness at home and Kim’s aim is still for him to have a run towards the end of the month, providing we have a drop of rain before then. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying this ‘Indian Summer’ but happy to practice a rain dance or two if it will help see the return of HNT to the track!

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This brings me on to the topic of this week’s blog and since we are nearing the time of year where trainers open up their gates to welcome their Owners along to an exclusive chance to see their own horse as well as all others at their yards. Last year, we were treated to a fantastic Owners’ Day at Thornedale looking at all of Kim’s horses in training, catching up with fellow Syndicate members all finished off with a delicious lunch at the nearby Frogmill. This time I have the help of the trio known to me as ‘The Three B’s’: Bob, Barry and Brian, to recount this one. I’m sure they won’t mind me saying they are the three cheeriest of men who all joined the Syndicate together and have been coming to the events (and entertaining the rest of us all!) ever since.

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Our day started early as we can never predict the traffic from the Cambridge area down to Cheltenham.  Unusually, most likely because it was early on a Sunday and all other ‘normal’ people were enjoying a well-deserved lie in, there were no problems and we were even early enough to grab a coffee at the Frogmill, where we would return later for  lunch and our accommodation for the night.  Nobody from the three of us was willing to drive back that afternoon!

A very relaxed and open yard visit whereby we could wonder around all of the horses and meet other Owners who were there to see there equine pride and joy. Everyone made us very welcome and Kim was very keen for us to see a certain section of the yard with a ‘For Sale’ sign outside…almost tempted but somehow we managed to stay on the straight and narrow.

Lunch followed at the Frogmill - good food and an interesting mix of people on each table.  The speeches from Kim and Cornelius Lysaght were very informative and they were a brilliant double act – perfect foils for each other, although not one of the three of us could remember any of the hot tips they provided!!

We had a relaxing evening at the hotel and headed back home on the Monday after a hearty breakfast. 

A memorable visit and much appreciated by all three of us - looking forward to the next one!

To find out more about our Cheltenham and South West Syndicate, click here. Membership is available to buy online today, or call Hannah on 07790 356820 to enquire.


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