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Keyflow Stage1v3

Can Avebury set another record and win a fourth Burghley title?

 

Barbury cross country 2015:  Nicholson and Avebury take the Keyflow jump in the arenaBarbury cross country 2015: Nicholson and Avebury take the Keyflow jump in the arenaAchieving what many thought nigh on impossible, Andrew Nicholson and the fifteen- year-old gelding Avebury won their fourth CIC3* title at the St James's Place Barbury International Horse Trials.  

No sooner had the horseboxes left the Marlborough Downs than thoughts turned to another possible four-in-a-row record.   Can the pair win the Land Rover Burghley CIC4* (3-6 September) again after winning in 2012, 2013 and 2014?

Finding that Avebury's height is 16.2 is as disconcerting as finding that Maria Sharapova is six feet two.  Leaving the tall tennis players to perfect her first serve, it can only be said that the less than tall Avebury is both remarkably tough and remarkably nimble.  

How unlike the 16.2 horse I rode as an early teenager - which dumped me on the far side of a very wee jump: "This will be your first jump - and he's only a pony really" - his owner had assured me.

Avebury missed this year's Badminton because of a minor chipped bone.  And he did not enjoy the Kentucky CIC4* in April 2014 - but then I don't much like air travel either.

Andrew Nicholson says Avebury has a special relationship with Barbury and with Burghley - and he should know.  Here's to another four times record!

 

 

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FULL THROTTLE?

FULL THROTTLEFULL THROTTLENaughty Full Trottle proves his worth

When Laura Thomas' father, Norman, brought his latest purchase at the DBS Newbury Sale into her training yard, she was not impressed: "Where did you get that from?"  He certainly had a good Irish name!

Laura, who trains at Hackpen Farm just below Barbury Castle, described the Irish-bred gelding as "Properly nutty!  He's naughty to ride, and is very green and a bit hairy, but he's getting better.  He might almost be my favourite soon."

Now a six-year old, he has got so much better that he won the Maiden Hunters' Chase at Fontwell on May 14.  Amateur jockey Johnny Bailey brought him home to win by one and three-quarter lengths.  Full Trottle would have been ridden by Katy Lyons but she chose to ride the horse that came fourth in the Fontwell race: the Irish-bred nine year-old Carnglave Cat.

Photo of Full Trottle winning at Fontwell by kind permission of Julie Drewett (racehorsephotos.co.uk)

 

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March-April 2015 - Gary Witheford's Brujo

Brujo was found by Gary Witheford when he travelled to Andalusia in Spain in April, 2002.  When Gary met him he was in a poor way, he was a big grey colt tied to a wall, with a serreta iron [a serrated band] on his nose and they said he was crazy and he was going to be shot for meat that evening.
 
When he finally arrived in Burbage the top of his tail was absolutely raw where he had sat down in the lorry and he didn’t understand what grass was.  Now he is a truly amazing horse, now 19 years old and in fine form, he has some very talented progeny on the competition circuit and is also the star of Gary Witheford’s demonstrations around the country.
 
He is, like his owner, a workaholic and relishes the chance to give Gary a run for his money – the next event will be at Lingfield Racecourse on 11th April so if you want to see them in action why not enjoy a day at the races too? Visit the event page on Gary’s Facebook page for further info.

 

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February 2015 - Denman

Denman - known affectionately as 'The Tank' - was back at Newbury Racecourse last week.  He was applauded in the Parade Ring and then he led out the entries for the race that carries his name: The Betfair Denman Steeple Chase.  As he galloped back from the start with a great turn of speed, he was applauded again.

He will be 15 years-old in April and is now being retrained by Charlotte Alexander as a hunter and a team-chaser - a member of her Lycetts: A Class Act team.

Officially retired in 2011, two years ago he suffered an infection of the bone that could have proved fatal.  He has recovered well.

Denman ran 24 races and won 14 of them, coming second in five and third in one - earning prize money of £1,141,347.  He won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, two Hennessy Gold Cups and the Lexus Chase - and was famous for his rivalry with Kauto Star.

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December 2014 – Southway Star

 

Up at Ridgeway Racing, Neil King's training yard near Barbury Castle, they are all very proud of nine year-old mare Southway Star.

And justifiably so: in November she chalked up four 'chase victories in 18 days.

Neil King bought Southway Star at October's Ascot sales for £2,300.  She had, after all, begun her racing career in 2008.   He is obviously very fond of this "this cracking little mare who jumps for fun."  

She is small - and, they say, calm and good natured.  She is now owned by The Ridgeway Racing For Fun syndicate - and won them over £15,000 with those four wins.

Then on December 1 at Plumpton she bid to make it five wins in a row.  But Southway Star felt the pressure and could only manage fourth place.

But from the look of this spry mare there is, as they say, “much more in the tank”.

 

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October 2014 - 'Mally'

Malapropism (now known as Mally) ran in 154 races between 2002 and 2009 – only one other British racehorses has ever run more in their career.  

He went to Greatwood in 2011 and within days fell sick.  

Diagnosed with peritonitis, he deteriorated fast.  In hospital he was found to have a ruptured abscess – among other things. He recovered and became quite mischievous.  Recently he was rehomed to Greatwood friends in Devon, but became so miserable he was brought back to Greatwood.

Mally now has a new and valued job as a lead horse for training youngsters and to test potential carers when their riding ability is assessed for rehoming.

Greatwood, at Clench Common just south of Marlborough, is the UK’s longest standing racehorse welfare charity and uniquely uses ex-racehorses to educate disadvantaged children and young adults with special educational needs.  It is one of Retaining of Racehorses’ recognised rehoming centres.

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