AS 2017 begins to become a distant memory, Happy New Year to all owners, trainers, jockeys and everyone who works in racing.
Harper Lodge Farm had a few near misses during the last week of 2017 but still finished with 38 wins, the second highest since Dean took out a licence in 2002 but prize money was a record £903,291, 47% up on the previous highest figure of £614,766, set in 2016. This was a record season for the fifth year in succession.
Highlights were many but Librisa Breeze’s Group One victory in the Champions Sprint at Ascot surely tops the bill. This exciting son of Mount Nelson loves the Berkshire track, having won two big 7f handicaps in 2016 as well as finishing runner-up in the Royal Hunt Cup but the Tony Bloom-owned grey’s biggest payday came in a sprint, as he showed his characteristic turn of foot to mow down the likes of Tasleet, Caravaggio, Harry Angel and The Tin Man.
Lancelot Du Lac’s win in 2017 under the evergreen Frankie Dettori in the Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood was another eye-catcher, leaving many scratching their heads how such a good horse ridden by the three-times champion jockey could go off at 25/1!
Owner Michael Yarrow, who joint owns “Lance” with his wife Heather, enjoyed further success with Stake Acclaim and Eirene. The former won the Shergar Cup Dash at Ascot under Jamie Spencer while his exciting 2yo filly won the St Hughs’ Stakes at Newbury, a fillies’ Listed contest also over five furlongs. Both horses finished the season rated 105 and 100 respectively.
The 2017 season saw the stable use 35 different jockeys and while Robert Winston enjoyed 21 victories aboard Harper Lodge horses, stable apprentice Jack Duern had a very productive season for the yard, being successful on seven occasions.