Emma Lavelle's young horses take centre stage as the jump season winds up the excitement
That would almost certainly be Dissavril - a striking five year-old grey mare who is very small but very together and strong - and a winner.You would be forgiven, as you passed a string of racehorses in Ogbourne Maizey on its way to the gallops, for thinking that a polo pony had come along for, as it were, the ride.
Dissavril came to Emma Lavelle Racing at the Bonita Racing Stables from France last September. She was bred in France and had raced there twice - once on an all weather track (she came fourth of twelve) and once on turf (she came second of nine.)
which, with Gavin Sheehan aboard, she won 'comfortably' - much to the delight of her jockey, the Bonita staff and her trainer: "She cantered away - she's always done it easily - and there she travelled really well. She's improving."Last month Emma Lavelle took her up to Market Rasen for a mares' Listed bumper,
She is now aimed for a mares' Listed bumper at Sandown in mid-march - in preparation for hurdling next season. No one quite knows where the name Dissavril came from - one hopes it's not the French version of 'April is the cruellest month'. But what's in a name!
She is owned by Paul Jacobs who also owns another mare in training with Emma Lavelle: dual bumper winner Woolstone One. Last Saturday, she stepped up a handy bunch of rungs with a win in the Listed oblg.com Mares' Hurdle at Warwick.
It was only her fifth start over hurdles and her first attempt to match Listed entries. She joined the leader at the second last and then 'soon found extra to forge clear' - winning by two-and-three-quarter lengths.
Woolstone One's victory was Emma Lavelle's twenty-third of the season. She says that number is about level with her stable's achievement last season, but they had a bit of slow start with the long dry spell in early autumn that meant the ground was too firm for most of her winter horses: "Now they're all fit and will be running well all the rest of season."
In fact, although January has often been a bit of difficult month for the yard, this year’s January results were, in Emma Lavelle’s word, ‘fantastic’.
He also owns the Flat sprinter Limato. Trained by Henry Candy, Limato has won twice at the highest level - the Group One Darley July Cup at Newmarket in July 2016 and three months later the Qatar Prix de la Foret at Chantilly. Having 'black-type' winners over jumps and on the Flat is something not many owners achieve.Woolstone One's Warwick success was Paul Jacobs' biggest jumps win.
Woolstone One is set to give Jacobs and Bonita more exciting runs. She is likely, the Racing Post reported, 'to be a major player in the in the big mares races at Newbury and Cheltenham in the spring'.
What really pleases Emma Lavelle about the season so far is that the young horses from last season are coming into their own and proving winners, and this season's young horses are already looking good.
Another of Emma Lavelle Racing's young horses is five year-old gelding by Flemensfirth named Fontsanta. At Fontwell last month he won his first bumper with Leighton Aspell aboard.
Emma Lavelle is very hopeful for him: "He's lovely. A smashing horse - big with a big engine. He's a lot of natural ability." He's heading for one more bumper this season.
A rising Bonita star is six year-old Flemcara. He won three handicap hurdle races on the trot partnered by Bonita's conditional jockey Patrick Cowley: at Worcester, Exeter and Chepstow.
Then earlier this month he ran in the Betfred Heroes Handicap Hurdle at Sandown - in a large field of 17 he came ninth. Emma Lavelle is not at downhearted about his continued success: "It was a difficult race. There was a lot of hurly-burly. He was only twelve lengths off the winner and ran on well when he got the opportunity. He's so tough."
He is one of five horses Emma Lavelle has entered for the Cheltenham Festival in March. But whether they run depends a lot on the state of the going: "I'll only run the ones I think ought to go there."
We did not mean to overlook Enniscoffey Oscar another possible Festival runner. He made headlines with successive wins at Doncaster: first winning a novices' hurdle on good to soft ground in December. And then, on soft going at the end of January, winning the Albert Bartlett River Don Novices' Hurdle by a shorthead from Dan Skelton's Shannon Bridge.
The 2017-2018 has more than two months to go...and weather permitting, there's lots more action to follow with Emma Lavelle Racing's horses.
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