It says something about the strength of your team if an animal with six wins can still be called the forgotten horse, but county-based businessman Rob Rexton used that phrase to describe Thunder Sheik this week.
No wonder Rexton is happy... his Nigel Twiston-Davies trained runners captured their share of headlines over jumps last season with the exciting grey Flying Angel verymuch to the fore.
Yet as the National Hunt season takes a relative back seat, the racing world basking (for once) in the aftermath of Royal Ascot, Rexton and his trainer might still be aboutto deliver a summer shot to savour, along with a healthy bowl of strawberries and cream and a jug of Pimm’s.
Rexton’s personal maxim is ‘Always Do The Right Thing’, an ideal he applies to business and personal life and judging by his success as a racehorse trainer the bounce back of goodwill has an even broader impact.
For Thunder Sheik, a winner at Haydock and Newbury in March and April, is entered in the 2m bet365 Handicap Hurdle at Uttoxeter on Sunday, having been off the track since pulling up at Cheltenham in April.
Jockey Ryan Hatch, sponsored by Rexton’s Agetur UK company, which performs the same role for the Twiston-Davies yard, is booked for the £12,000 prize on the Staffordshire track’s seven race card which has as its highlight the John Smith’s Summer Cup, a Listed Chase.
The Australian businessman said: “It seems a strange thing to call Thunder Sheik a forgotten horse when he won three for us last season (Ryan riding him on each occasion). He also won for us when we were with Fergal O’Brien. He needs good ground and we were also considering a £20,000 race at Cartmel.”
Rexton is relishing the prospect of seeing Flying Angel in action again and said: “He will now go over fences as he jumps so well. He is probably the best horse in the yard. He won the Imperial Cup and was unlucky not to win the Martin Pipe race at the Festival as they took out a hurdle.”
Rexton’s Twiston-Davies team is made up by Bally Beaufort and Arthur McBride with the owner adding: “We will probably give Arthur MrBride one last try while Bally Beaufort is currently out in the field but will come back again.”
Also running on the Uttoxeter card will be the former Lucy Wadham-trained 11 year-old Brunton Blue, making his first appearance for the Northamptonshire yard of Caroline Bailey.
Brunton Blue has been off the course for three years since being beaten a short head at Towcester by Kim Bailey’s Ruby Crown and it will be interesting to see how the change of scenery affects him.
TOWCESTER regulars will be much saddened by the news that course favourite Jolly Boys Outing has been put down at the age of 13.
Rosemary Gasson’s stalwart, ridden for most of his 31 runs at Towcester by Ben Poste, was always a character and got loose from his handlers in the field at home before jumping the metal gates, turning a somersault and breaking his back.
Jolly Boys Outing won three of his 42 career starts, all of those victories coming at Towcester. Mrs Gasson said: “He thought he was quick but he really wasn’t. The stiff hill at Towcester played right to his strengths.”
CRICKET may not have an obvious crossover into the world of racing, although I have been known to stake the odd £1 each-way wager on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Bishan Bedi as I turn all misty-eyed with childhood memories of the County Ground and an array of brightly coloured turbans...
However, in a week I noticed Allan Lamb’s face leaping from the birthday column in Racing Post as a former owner with Simon Christian, it seems I will attend an annual cricket match where jump jockeys feature.
The occasion is a ‘social’ contest at Eversholt, near Woburn on Friday night, organised by Tyringham handler Stuart Edmunds for the yard’s happy band of owners with proceeds to the Injured Jockeys Fund.
“It’s a bit of a laugh really,” said Edmunds. “Brendan Powell (jnr) told us he could play the game last year which didn’t turn out to be the case but we hope he comes along again, with Joshua Moore and Ciaran Gethings and possibly Paddy Brennan.”
Edmunds is about three weeks away from having his first two year-old runner as he is currently training a pair of juvenile fillies, sired by Mayson and Captain Gerrard.
“They will both improve for their first run,” he remarked.