News update

The week has seen some good runs from the likes of Border Abby (2nd at Ffos Las under a good ride from apprentice Noel Garbutt), new recruit Cool Water Oasis, Albany Rose and Rose of Sarratt.  Lastroseofsummer's attempt to follow up her most recent success was thwarted today by rain at Redcar.  She doesn't relish soft ground and 10 stone is a lot where conditions are not ideal.

Just a few horses worked yesterday morning up the peat moss.  Alice Rose led the breeze up recruit Princess of Orange, a Dutch Art filly and Flynn's Boy followed them up.  Then the three year old First Class led the two year old Cape Cross filly Poisson d'Or, who has started to blossom recently.  Quite a few of the two year olds have been on the verge of making their racecourse debuts but something minor has gone wrong at the last minute.  It is frustrating but that is the name of the game with racehorses unfortunately.

Very few entries this coming week so far, but Border Abby, Cool Water Oasis and the ground dependent Mirza (wants it soft) will be entered up.  All being well Princess of Orange will be the next two year old to run.

William's Town Plate Challenge

Recent visitors to the yard may have seen a newcomer, Jockey Club Estates’ Managing Director William Gittus, getting a bird’s (or rather lad’s) eye view of the heath aboard our very own 18 year old Montecristo.  William’s aim is to ride in the Newmarket Town Plate on 27 August for charity which, considering he has had to lose over 2 stone and learn to ride to do it, is a serious ask.  Here is an extract of a letter from William explaining what he is setting out to do.  I am sure that there are some frustrated jockeys out there who can empathise with William, and if you would like to help William by giving via his charity giving page I am sure he would appreciate it (no we are not bringing Monte out of retirement, he has found his own horse!).

The Newmarket Town Plate is a race for amateur riders started by Charles II via an Act of Parliament in 1665. It is run over 3 miles 6 furlongs (i.e. nearly 4 miles) and is the longest flat race in the UK by over a mile.

Last year, along with two colleagues from Jockey Club Estates, I walked Hadrian's Wall (84 miles in 3 days) for which people very generously helped us raise over £10,000 for our two chosen charities, Help for Heroes and to support the work of Racing Welfare's Chaplain to Racing, Graham Locking.

My charity challenge for 2011, the year in which I will hit 45, is something of a "mid-life crisis but can't afford the Porsche" event. It is to enter the Newmarket Town Plate.

To achieve this I have so far lost over 2 stone in weight and learned to ride.

On 1 January I weighed 13 st 6 lbs. I now weigh 11 st 5 lbs. With the help and extreme patience of a variety of different people I have learned to ride (in a manner of speaking), and well enough to achieve a pretty good speed on the Summer Gallop last Saturday morning [see picture below]:


As I hope you will appreciate, while this has all been thrilling, it has been and will continue to be hard work right up until and during the race. I hope this effort will encourage people to help me reach my target of raising £20,000 for these two very worthwhile charities.

Already, a number of people have very kindly sponsored me to lose the weight, which has been a marvellous incentive, but people can also help by:

making a donation - either by cheque made out to ‘Jockey Club Estates Town Plate Challenge’, or online by going to


please come and watch the race which takes place at 1.00 pm on Saturday 27 August on Newmarket ’s July Course. The Town Plate is followed by a 6 race card and then a Peter André concert! If you are able to do this, and any support will be a huge assistance in helping me get across the finish line, please book tickets in advance by telephoning 0844 579 3010 or book online at

When booking by phone or online, please quote Code WAG2011, via which Newmarket Racecourse is very generously donating 50% of all adult ticket sales for the Premier Enclosure under this code to the Challenge.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you in anticipation of any support you can give.

Kind regards.


William Gittus

William Gittus MRICS

Managing Director

Jockey Club Estates Limited


Another rose blooms

This time it was Lastroseofsummer, Eamonn’s staying/hurdling filly who ran a great race under Martin Lane at Warwick.  She was always prominent and looked like she was going to win easily from the blinkered favourite, Mokalif, but she ended up with a fight on her hands winning in the end by just a short head.  You cannot fault her for genuineness and trying and what a nice mare she is to have anything to do with.  This is Eamonn’s fifth winner this year to add to Lastroseofsummer’s hurdles success and Albany Rose’s three wins last week.  Let’s hope the roses can continue to bloom.

....and again at Windsor

Albany Rose scored yet another amazing victory at Windsor this afternoon in scorching weather. To be honest it was probably the least eventful of her victories as although she got a bit behind early on and three furlongs out found herself behind a wall of horses, she absolutely shot clear by six lengths when Ted Durcan pulled his whip through to his right hand and the outcome was never in doubt. What a tough and genuine filly to have. Well done once again to everyone concerned.

....and again at Warwick

Excellent news – last night’s impromptu stay at Bath was rewarded by another fine win from Albany Rose at Warwick this afternoon.  Ted Durcan was reunited with last night’s winner and cruised to an easier success if anything.  Albany Rose is certainly fit and well and a filly in form can carry on until the handicapper halts her progress. 

Because of that, she may try to make it three in a week at Windsor on Sunday.  Running horses back so quickly is not something that Rae likes to make a habit of, but if the animal is game, has ability and has not had a hard race, it is something you have to consider owing to the handicapping system in this country.

Again well done to all concerned.  The yard’s first two year old runner, Manduro filly Alice Rose, also ran very promisingly to finish second at Leicester this evening.