New Jumps season: preparations and prospects for Emma Lavelle Racing
October the first...the start of the Jumps season is well in sight...and preparations have been underway for several months at the Marlborough area's training yards.
At the Bonita Racing Stables in Ogbourne Maizey, Emma Lavelle Racing's preparations have included the installation of a new sand ring. It is just over a furlong in length, filled with soft Bristol Channel sand and is in use most mornings.
Emma Lavelle tells marlboroughequestrian.news: "It's a great way of getting core fitness without galloping them. It's made them easier to train. It sobered them up quite quickly when they came in from their summer out at grass. With this sand ring we can get more work out of them."
Among other changes for the new season is the arrival of Karrie Fanshawe: "We've taken on a new Assistant Trainer to help Barrie [Fenton - her husband] and I - and to support the 68 horses we have in at the moment."
Conditional jockey Patrick Cowley is at the yard for another season. He's had 228 rides and 29 winners to date.
Again this season, they will not have a fixed stable jockey. Emma Lavelle explains: "It's the way racing's gone - not every owner likes every jockey - and probably the same goes for others too! We have a core team of people we like - who know the horses and all of them ride out for us regularly."
That team includes: Adam Wedge, Leighton Aspell, Nick Scholfield, Aidan Coleman and Gavin Sheehan.
At Uttoxeter under Leighton Aspell, he took a handicap chase by two lengths from a field of thirteen.Everyone at the yard was bucked at the win last month by nine-year-old gelding Javert - back racing after an 869 day lay-off.
After successes over hurdles, Javert had won on his debut over jumps at Chepstow in November 2015. But until 23 September 2018, Javert - by Kayf Tara out of Royalrova - had not been seen on the track since May 2016 when he won a handicap chase at Haydock by a comfortable four-and-a-half lengths under Daryl Jacob. His owners described it as "The best race of his career - winning in emphatic style."
Back in training in the autumn of 2016 he picked up a tendon injury keeping him off for a year. Back again in training for the 2017 season, the ground was not to his liking and it was decided he should miss the season.
In the Racing Post, Matt Boyle summed up Javert's Uttoxeter victory: "This rates as a superb piece of training by Emma Lavelle, and it is to be hoped that she can keep the winner sound, as he looks like a promising type."
Emma Lavelle: "I was really pleased - it was a great result for everyone. His owners, Axom, have been so patient. So long as he stays sound, he's good for the future - he's exciting."
The Devizes based Axom Racehorse Syndicates have had many successful horses trained by Emma Lavelle - including the Graded winners Bouggler and Shotgun Paddy. She also trained Ouzbeck to win the Listed Summer National at Uttoxeter in 2010.
As with many Jump trainers, Emma Lavelle is hoping for more rain - many of her winter horses prefer softer ground. Owners should perhaps perform some regular 'rain dances' - if they can guarantee the rain comes at the right time!