Nick Alexander is a leading racehorse trainer in Scotland based his stables at Kinneston in Scotlandwell near Kinross, Perthshire. Owning all or part of a racehorse is an exciting and rewarding adventure. I train racehorses, used to be mainly slow ones but things looking up!
Warm now, heavy showers about but at least it feels like summer. Much busier here again on the yard with about 30 horses back in, mostly on the walker but will start riding a lot more next week. A thoroughly enjoyable and fruitful trip to Deauville as we were delighted to be able to buy Wakool; a smart looking and beautifully bred 3yo son of Motivator, placed in all three of his flat races he looks a lovely prospect for juvenile hurdles and will race for existing owners in the yard.
Wakool arrives at Kinneston 44 hours after the hammer was brought down in Deauville
Also delighted with another 3yo that arrived from France this week, Maryline Tritt is out of a winning mare and by a good sire in Kap Rock, her breeder has kindly sent her all the way from Limoges for her racing career.
Maryline Tritt was broken in the spring; a smart filly from a good family she should be precocious and is available to lease for her career – please contact me if this is of interest
Back up to Perth on Sunday with two runners on ground that should be perfect soft side of good. Always Tipsy won nicely making all over course and distance three weeks ago and he runs in the 3.15, he’s up 6lb for that win which feels fair enough to me so hopefully he can go well in what is a tight handicap, 12 run and Lucy rides.
Our Team horse Dance of Fire then runs in the 5.35, he’s run well on his last two outings and seems to finally be turning the corner over hurdles, he’s had a nice break with this race in mind and whilst he’s a good bit heavier than he was in the spring I’d like to think he will run well especially as he will be assisted by Crawford’s 10lb claim – fingers crossed, 10 run.
Dull still, waiting for the sun to come out, we are promised a little bit of summer this week but it seems to be hiding. 196 bales of haylage baled and wrapped on Sunday night ahead of the rain, a good end to an excellent weekend the highlight of which was Always Tipsy’s determined triumph at Perth on Saturday for Alan Wight and Judy Cockburn.
Always Tipsy, Lucy & Kelly
A special win in many ways, a big crowd and he received a wonderful reception – they seem to love it when Lucy wins locally and a canny switch of tactics saw her make all and maximise the impact of the welter weight carried by Gordon Elliot’s hot favourite who therefore couldn’t get past us despite the urging of champion jockey Richard Johnston. No runners this week, a possible at Perth or on the flat at Ayr next week then hope to be busy at the mid July Perth meeting on Sunday 14th – all very sporadic but at least our occasional runners have been running well. Busy here with several infrastructure projects (I can’t help myself!), horses coming back in and of course Sales to attend. Bypassing this week’s Derby Sale as we have our quota of 3yo’s and want to focus here this week but heading to France on Monday for the Arqana summer sale at Deauville – a really good mix of horses being sold at a wonderful place, strongly recommended! One horse to pick up there and two other 3yo’s heading over from France this week travelling through the night to avoid the extreme heat. They will go straight to Brian Harding in Cumbria to be broken; our 3yo’s from the Land Rover sale have been broken here and are ridden away, they will now have a month in the field. Indulging myself with plenty of photos of Always Tipsy on Saturday, many thanks to Dennis Penny and Grossick Photography, special times.
Fine weather now, warmed up at last and you never know, we might actually get some hay made. Busy time of year; loads of projects on the go at the yard, horses coming and going, sales to attend, and this weekend fitting in Royal Ascot, Royal Highland Show and Perth races. Love it all and one runner declared for the latter on Saturday, Always Tipsy in the 4.10, Lucy rides. He’s been nudged up the weights for finishing 2nd over course and distance last time out which is a bit annoying but he seems in good form and will hopefully give a good account again.
The winner that day has won twice since, including by 10l at Uttoxeter yesterday at odds on carrying a 14lb penalty – a remarkable improvement. At Aintree on Friday Final Reminder ran a solid race to finish 3rd, ahead of market expectations and it remains to be seen if she can improve beyond her current career high mark, she should as and when we can get some momentum into her appearances on the track rather than having months between them!
Final Reminder after her race at Aintree last Friday
On the acquisition front I am delighted to report that we have managed to acquire Elvis Mail’s 3yo half brother privately in France. The dam, Queenly Mail, consistently produces good horses and he is by an exceptional sire in the Derby and Arc winning Sinndar who aside from producing top class flat horses has also sired many high class jumpers. Ginger Mail as he is named is still in France but will arrive in the UK within the next 10 days and will be for sale at an extremely attractive price (to remain in the yard of course!)
Ginger Mail – he’s done nothing yet but is from a good farm in France known for selling many high class performers over there and in the UK and Ireland.
Cold and wet, hmm; one runner at Aintree tomorrow evening so long as they don’t get too much more rain – Final Reminder in the 8.35, Lucy rides and 10 run. She won this race last year off 4lb lower and the form worked out well, this year’s renewal looks competitive and the ground will be softer but she’s in great heart and should run a big race.
A good run from Always Tipsy at Perth, 2nd, another winner but for the Irish, think that’s five so far at Perth this season – Biblical was a non runner and is now having a break, wonderful days racing and a very special winner of the race run in memory of Sam. Quietest day of the year today in terms of numbers of horses in after a few more turned out; four in training, two recovering from injuries and one youngster in with a sore eye. That’s going to change in next half hour with the arrival of three lovely young horses bought at an exceptional Land Rover sale on Tuesday in Ireland, so pleased to be able to buy some high class prospects that following on from last year’s Derby Sale purchases should do well for us over the coming years – I feel excited and privileged to take charge of such quality horses and am extremely grateful to our owners for giving us the chance, let’s hope we are lucky.
Travail d’Orfevre – 3yo gelding by Martaline ex five time winning flat mare whose first four foals have all won, bought for existing owners in the yard
Prince Mamix, 3yo son of Al Namix, first foal of the three time winning mare Lady Pascaline whose dam won 12 races and was placed 17 times. Bought for an existing owner in the yard.
Un-named 3yo by Milan out of Rose Tanner, a Roselier mare and the mother of Cheltenham Festival winner Ted Veale who is spending the final stage of his racing career at Kinneston. Ted is as tough and talented a horse as I have known so I couldn’t resist buying this brother by one of my favourite sires; bought in an empty ring at 9pm at night he looks very good value and is for sale to stay in the yard- don’t hesitate to contact me if he is of interest, 07831 488210.
Cool and damp but we seem to have missed the worst of the rain, not much of a summer so far. Perth tomorrow, Gold Cup day and I’m delighted they have seen fit to rename the race after its founder and it is now the Sam Morshead Perth Gold Cup – it will be a bit emotional but I know he would be thrilled with the competitive field it has attracted along with a strong supporting card.
An excellent day’s racing in prospect and we have two declared runners, both late on in the card – Always Tipsy in the 5pm and Biblical in the 5.30pm, Lucy rides them both on ground that will be on the soft side of good. Always Tipsy ran well over course and distance in April and I think will appreciate the switch back to hurdles on some softer ground so should hopefully be involved, Biblical’s stable debut was a bit of a disaster as he was far too keen resulting in his saddle slipping – we’ve changed a couple of things tomorrow and hopefully we will see him in a better light, this is a decent bumper for the time of year and he certainly doesn’t want the ground to be too soft.
I’ve been away for a few days looking at some lovely horses in France, more of that later…
Miserable drizzly weather, has been for a few days and forecast poor, can’t help feeling it’s related to the rather expensive irrigator I bought for the school last week! Soft ground at last but not much use at this time of year and I will be hoping it dries out a bit at Musselburgh for their excellent Ladies Day card tomorrow; we have one runner – Ballynanty in the 5.30, 11 run and Lucy rides in this “Silk Series” race for professional and amateur lady riders.
He likes Musselburgh, wants the ground to dry back to good and is very well handicapped on his best flat form – that was some time ago but he found his form over hurdles through the winter and he could run well. Cartmel on Monday was agonising, Final Reminder had been aimed at this race for some time having won it last year and with a small field it looked like she had an excellent chance, rain arrived though and walking the track 90 minutes before the race I felt it had become very patchy and inconsistent with some very soft ground and other areas that were still just about good to firm- nobody’s fault but I felt there was too much chance of her injuring herself so we withdrew and came home – a long way home!
Final Reminder – all set to go!
Sales season continues and I am delighted that our Goffs purchase Broadway Joe has been sold to existing owners in the yard, we had a few near misses at Cheltenham yesterday but no joy, off to France on Monday to visit three yards to look at young horses… Slightly dull that 7 of the 13 runners in the Derby tomorrow hail from Ballydoyle and the entire field is related to Galileo, I’m a huge admirer but not quite sure where this is leading us?
Cold today for the time of year and rain on it’s way. A wonderful winner at Kelso yesterday, Racing Pulse winning the valuable feature Hunter Chase of the Northern Area – aptly named the Corinthian Spirit Final under his 54yo owner/rider Jamie – a tremendous result in a competitive race and in doing so Jamie joined a famous role of honour of men who have ridden winners over fences in their fifties, there’s not many!
Racing Pulse (left) moves to the front on the run-in, our other runner Always Tipsy isn’t very far behind in fifth.
It was a fitting reward for all the hours he puts in helping here riding out and working on his fitness, let alone the sheer determination required to shed 9lb in the last week to be able to take the ride – hats off, and let’s not forget the horse who was winning under rules for the first time since early 2016 and has been through a few hands since – it was a curious quirk of fate that led to him ending up at Kinneston a couple of months ago and it is pleasing to see him come back to his old self. Always Tipsy ran well to be fifth on ground that wasn’t soft enough for him. Earlier on the card Ted Veale put up a valiant effort giving weight and years all round in the 2m handicap hurdle though ultimately faded on the run in, Fly Rory Fly seemed to lose his confidence a bit after slipping on landing mid race and didn’t jump well after that, a tame effort but probably a run too many whatever. On to Cartmel today where we have one runner in the 5.40, Final Reminder with Lucy on board, 5 run. She won this race in good style last year but is 13lb higher in the weights now and this looks a tight little handicap, I’m also concerned that with rain forecast and plenty of runners earlier in the card the ground will be very chopped up by then, last year we had the benefit of being relatively early on the card on the Saturday of this three day meeting so conditions could be very different.
Final Reminder at Cartmel a year ago
She’s been trained for today though, is in good fettle and I was pleased with her comeback run at Ayr last month.
Cool today and rain on its way this afternoon. Hopefully a decent splosh of it will land on Kelso racecourse where we have five runners declared for tomorrow, Ladies Day so bound to be busy! We have Ted Veale in the feature hurdle at 3.05, top weight but he is a class act and some rain would definitely help, 6 run and Kit rides, a repeat of his course and distance run in March would see him go very close but he was a little flat when he ran last at Perth in late April.
Then Fly Rory Fly in the 4.05, 4 run and Lucy rides, he ran very well at Perth to be 2nd last time out and won round Kelso in March; form of those races has worked out well so if he turns up in same fettle he should be involved however he’s had a busy enough spring and has been in training for a long time now, either way a well deserved break after tomorrow – a little rain but not too much for him please.
Fly Rory Fly
At 4.40 we have three runners declared for the Corinthian Spirit Hunter Chase final – an excellent prize to bring the Northern Area point-to-point season to a close and I’m delighted that this new initiative has been well supported and attracted the biggest field of the day.
Racing Pulse (Jamie) has won his last two starts in Open point-to-points in good style and was a very useful performer in his younger days so hopefully goes there with a good chance, Always Tipsy (Kit) was the top point-to-pointer in the North two seasons ago and won round Kelso over fences this time last year so could run very well especially if there is plenty of rain.
Killer Crow has a bit to find on recent runnings with Racing Pulse and the likely favourite Mr Mercurial, I’d expect him to improve from his Perth run 10 days ago so he might not be far away.
A long week at the sales and a few comings and goings from Kinneston as is the way at this time of year and it felt like the end of an era as we bade farewell to Jet Master this morning, he’s been the most marvellous horse to train.
Jet Master – this picture of me leading him in with our four children after winning the Cyril Alexander Memorial sits on my desk and is very special
He was bought by Harry Turcan for £18,000 at Doncaster Sales on 25th May 2011 (8 years ago today) having shown reasonable form in 4 Irish bumpers; he went on to earn £88k in prize money in 57 races in the UK winning 9 of them and being placed in a further 23; he gave us some exceptional days most notably when being our first winner of the Cyril Alexander Memorial Chase and collecting the most valuable prize of his career on his 13th birthday at Musselburgh earlier this year. He also won the same race at Perth on his seasonal debut for three consecutive seasons, like most good horses he gave everything all the time, at home on the gallops and on the racecourse, he did take a few very heavy falls most latterly when running right to his best at Newcastle in March until falling at the last. He wasn’t himself after that and it transpired that he had broken a rib, he’s 100% now but he gave us all a fright that day so Harry and his co-owner Simon Dunning wisely decided to call it a day, he has a lovely home lined up in Midlothian and I’m delighted Harry accompanied him to his new digs with Kelly who has looked after him for the last four years.
Harry with Jet and Kelly this morning
Looking forward we were delighted to buy Benny’s Secret’s half brother by Milan at Goffs this week and also very pleased the the Maclennans secured the full brother to Ebony Jewel who will have a season pointing with Aiden Fitzgerald in Ireland before coming to Kinneston.
Broadway Joe, the 5yo Milan brother to Benny’s Secret, very pleased that this EU35k store is coming to Kinneston having been 2nd in a point-to-point in Ireland.
The Bissetts bought the decent handicap hurdler Ryedale Racer and having lost my Clovis du Berlais foal in utero a month ago I am pleased to have bought a yearling filly by the sire out of a Getaway mare that I know well, she arrived this morning.
Hello! Clovis du Berlais yearling arrived at Kinneston this morning
On the selling side this week it was a bit of a disaster as there was nobody left at the sales by 8.30pm on Thursday – the time our two went through; Ryan Mahon bought Moores Novelty for small money, I’d guess he will go to Dan Skelton where he will be worth following as he should win class 5 handicaps over 2m 4f to 2m 6f this summer and the good looking Left Back failed to fetch his modest reserve, he is for sale privately now and will make a really good fun point-to-pointer or team chaser. I will cheer myself up by indulging in some photographs of Jet Master from the archive, so many special days….. thank you
One runner at Hexham’s evening meeting tomorrow, Andhaar in the 8.50, 7 run and Blair Campbell rides.
Andhaar at Perth last month, we were perfectly happy with his comeback run that day after a break.
This race has been the plan for a while as he won it in fine style last year; he seems in good order and the track should suit, he’s back down to the same handicap mark (up 7lb for winning then takes 8 well beaten runs and 12 months to come back to where you were, such is the way the system works!). There are a couple of in form rivals that will be tough to beat and Blair no longer claims the 5lb he did a year ago but hopefully he will run well.
Cooler today and some welcome soft rain after a lovely week. No runners this weekend, our next at Hexham on Tuesday night then Kelso on Sunday; before that I am thoroughly looking forward to what looks like being an excellent Spring Sale at Goffs this week, 250 store horses on Tuesday then about 600 point-to-pointers and horses in training on Wednesday and Thursday.
Etoile d’Ecosse – gorgeous big 5yo daughter of Martaline from a top class French family, bought privately out of a field in Normandy
We have a few horses to try to buy and would be very open to buying more should you feel like joining us and having a horse at Kinneston – with 14 horses moving on we have boxes to fill! You can see the full catalogue here and do contact me on 07831 488210 if you would like assistance with catalogues, travel or accommodation – aside from the fantastic array of horses on offer it is always an extremely entertaining social occasion.
Lake View Lad, multiple black type winner of 8 races & over £130k – bought for £70k at Cheltenham May sale
This represents the start of a concerted effort to buy new talent for the yard over the next six weeks, this sale will be followed by the Cheltenham May Sale on the 30th, a trip to view horses privately in France in first week of June, the Goffs Land Rover stores sale in Kildare on 11th & 12th June, the Tattersalls Derby Sale 26th & 27th June and the delightful Summer Sale at Deauville on the 2nd & 3rd of July.
Elvis Mail, black type winning novice hurdler – bought for EU25k at Deauville Summer Sale
Among others I am looking forward to seeing brothers to our star novice hurdler Elvis Mail, our five time winner Benny’s Secret and our impressive bumper winner Ebony Jewel, it’s a tough life! I have taken the liberty of sharing how we have sourced horses over the past few years to demonstrate that despite the fancy sums bandied about it is very possible to buy really good horses for sensible money.
Off the Hook, black type winning hurdler 4th in £50k Newbury handicap bought for EU5k at Tattersalls August NH Sale (yes, that’s EU5k!)
We do our research diligently and are fortunate to work with the very best advisors and as a result I honestly believe we achieve value for our clients – always need luck of course at every stage of the process.
Manetti at grass this week – multiple Irish point-to-point winner, placed over hurdles and a lovely novice chaser to look forward to, bought for £32k at Goffs Spring Sale last year.
An ultimately disappointing evening at Perth on Wednesday, running winter horses at the end of a long season on fast ground tends to produce that though both Moores Novelty and Killer Crow ran with credit to finish 4th, the former jumped superbly on his first start over fences and will be much more competitive over further, he heads to Goffs Sales on Thursday and I would be very happy to have him back here to train as a fun summer jumper – he won’t cost too much.
Final Reminder at Cartmel last summer – three time winning hurdler bought for £52k at Cheltenham May Sale
Killer Crow may head to Kelso next week as this was an improved effort and we had been easy on him after a couple of disappointing efforts and I would expect him to sharpen up for it. Another Mattie ran well for a long way but couldn’t quicken up on ground that didn’t suit him, likewise poor old Buffalo Ballet who will now be retired – a horse of much greater ability than he was ever able to show thanks to one wrong move from the trainer as a young horse, regrets….
Charm Offensive earlier this week, a lovely unraced 4yo filly bought privately from her breeder in France.
Just Brooke also travelled well until they turned for home when lack of match practice cut in, she takes her races hard which makes it impossible to put together the necessary sequence of runs for her to show her best, she has gone home to the Bissetts and may appear between the flags next winter.