HAPPY NEW YEAR to all owners, trainers and jockeys but Harper Lodge Farm wishes a particularly Happy New Year to the owners who have helped make 2019 a record year for the yard.
The stable achieved 42 wins for the calendar year, beating the previous high of 39, achieved jointly in 2013 and 2018. The horse who broke the 40-barrier was Bruyere at Yarmouth in October under Martin Dwyer for owners Heather and Michael Yarrow. There was a certain poignancy to the record as Martin rode 10 winners for the yard this year, more than any other jockey while Heather and Michael enjoyed 12 wins, more than any other owner in the yard.
In terms of winning most horses, that honour goes to Fantastic Flyer (pictured), who won five races from 10 starts for her owners, initially Mrs K M Young and then Mrs L A Ivory.
The older horses again did the yard proud with 33 wins coming from the 4yo and upwards brigade while the 3yos achieved eight wins. It was a quiet time for the 2yos with the sole winner coming courtesy of Solario Racing’s Dancinginthewoods. But what an interesting winner as he was successful on his debut at Newmarket at 50/1 and then finished fourth behind Pinatubo, rated 128 and hot favourite for next year’s 2000 Guineas!
Last year, the vast majority of the stable’s wins were on the all-weather (33 from 39) but 2019 saw a resurgence of turf successes with 17 of the 42 coming on the grass at a strike rate of 40% with Nottingham being the most fruitful with five wins from 24 runs at a 21% strike rate.
Congratulations to stable apprentices, Sophie Ralston, who rode seven winners for the yard and had her claim reduced from 7lbs to 5 and Luke Bacon, who had his first rides for the yard and had his first winner on Flashy Flyer at Lingfield on just his 10th ride. It took 11-times Champion Jockey, Pat Eddery over 70 rides before he had his first winner!
Happy New Year!