A first win for The Chestnuts !

The Chestnut Tree Syndicate had their first winner yesterday as their filly Bella Veneta won the Restricted Novice Stakes at Bath.

Bella Veneta is by Belardo out of the Galileo mare World Class and her second dam is the dam of Epsom Derby winner Motivator. Rae purchased Bella for the syndicate from the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2020 (Book 3) and as a two year old she ran twice at the back end of last year on the all weather. However, the road to her first race was a bumpy one as early on she took a keen dislike to the starting stalls so much so that she was sent away to Adam Kirby's Vicarage Farm for a month of remedial schooling. Adam and his team did a great job with her regaining her confidence and this work has been cemented at home by Dan and Jock. 

Rae gave her a months break in late December/early January where she spent time in the field relaxing and growing, and grow she did ! When we brought her back in she had grown two and a half inches, she was always a tall elegant filly but now with her extra height she resembles a catwalk model !

So a race was found for her over a mile at Bath for her first run on the turf. The ground yesterday was good to soft and the ever reliable Callum Shepherd was booked for the ride. Dan was at the start to load her and luckily after a push from the stalls handlers she went in and stood impeccably while some of her rivals misbehaved, a big sigh of relief all round ! She jumped from stall 9 and due to a fairly pedestrian pace she travelled strongly on the outside to the head of the field to race in second place. Just over two furlongs out they quickened up and a furlong from home she drew away to win by a convincing three lengths beating the Marco Botti trained Aguaplano into second.

The only downside was that none of the Chestnut Tree members were there in person to see the win but we are sure there will be plenty in attendance when Bella makes her next appearance on a racecourse !

Well done Derek !

We were delighted to see Eklil shed his maiden tag at Windsor yesterday providing us with our first turf winner of the new campaign.

This Invincible Spirit three year old out of the Dubawi mare Raaqy is owned by our longstanding owner Derek Willis. Derek purchased him from last years Autumn Horses in Training sale at Tattersalls where he was part of a Shadwell consignment. Formerly trained by Owen Burrows he had only had two runs when Derek bought him and it is safe to say that he didn't exactly light up the racetrack on his first two starts ! After a two month break Rae gave him four runs on the all weather over the winter where he progressively showed improvement. In early February this year he was gelded and this win at Windsor was his first race since the operation.

Callum Shepherd was booked for this mile handicap on good to soft ground and gave him a great ride. Breaking a tad slowly from stall 3 he raced in the middle of the field before challenging two and a half furlongs out and battled gamely to beat the Ed Dunlop trained Girl In the Picture by a neck, with the pair drawing just over four lengths clear of the third.

We would like to congratulate Derek on this well deserved win and say thank you to Callum Shepherd for the ride. A big well done also to Shahzad Ahmad who looks after Eklil at home.

New season underway with a win !

Our 2022 season started on the right note with yet another win from Aramis Grey. 

The Gutaifan mare, now a five year old, is showing no signs of losing her zest for racing. From twenty-three lifetime starts her remarkable record boasts six wins, eight second's and three third placings. For this latest start she headed back to Wolverhampton for the 6f Betway Handicap (Class 4). With her last win coming at the end of September off a rating of 77 she had struggled to get her head in front since. Currently on a mark of 80 Rae booked the apprentice George Rooke who took 3lb off and it made the difference.

Racing in her customary position towards the rear of the field she travelled strongly throughout the race. Coming round the bend two furlongs from home she made her move on the outside and finished powerfully to win by a head. Congratulations to The Musketeers Syndicate who were delighted with another win. It was a shame Alan and Judy Davies (who live locally) couldn't be there as they were on holiday but Gwynneth and Roger Jennings were able to attend and must have been over the moon !

Thank you to George Rooke for a great ride and a big well done to Jess O'Rourke who looks after Aramis Grey at home.

A wintry Owners Morning

Despite the best efforts of Storm Eunice over the last couple of days we were able to go ahead with our first Owners Morning of the year on Saturday.

We had a super turnout of owners with the majority able to get here. Without out usual caterers Newmarket Secret Kitchen, we had an able substitute in Stellar Catering so a big thank you to them for providing the delicious fare on offer. It was a very cold morning with the wind taking no prisoners out on the Heath but our plucky owners were undeterred and headed out to watch their horses exercising. Hot drinks were gratefully received after each lot as everybody came back in to thaw out ! It was especially nice to see some younger faces accompanying our guests. Rita's grandaughter Alex and Peter Sakal's daughter Betty, two horse mad young ladies who enjoyed seeing the horses up close and feeding Hugo carrots (much to Hugo's delight !).

One of the best things about these events is that our sole owners get to meet our syndicate owners and swap stories and experiences. It was brilliant to see Derek Willis, Paul Smith and Lesley and Chris Mills in attendance. Val Beeson was welcomed into The 'Can't Say No' Syndicate as she snapped up the one remaining share left in the two year old by Tamayuz out of Baliyka. We wish the very best of luck to Val and the other members with their filly. The members of The Chestnut Tree Syndicate were pleased to see their three year old fillies Mizzen You and Bella Veneta. They were amazed to see how much Bella had grown over the winter and are excited for the season ahead with these two. The Unusual Suspects were delighted with the progress their three 2 yr old fillies had made as this was the first time they had seen them out on the gallops. After watching their breaking in process via video on Whatsapp it was rewarding for them to see them in the flesh and how far they have come.

For those who couldn't attend we hope that the videos and photographs of the morning make up for it in some way and hope you can join us next time. We will let all of you know the date of our next event sooner rather than later so that you will have something to look forward to in the Spring. We would like to give a special mention to our hardworking staff and to thank them for their efforts on the day.

Finally, the very best of luck to all of you with your horses in 2022.


What a night for Rae and Rachel !

Congratulations to Rae and Rachel as their flying grey Fauvette gained her first win of 2022 at Chelmsford last night.

This was a marked step up in grade for the five year old Dark Angel filly and this Class 2 Fillies' Conditions Stakes was a competitive affair with a couple of highly rated opponents. The favourite was Highland Princess, winner of last years Buckingham Palace Stakes at the Royal meeting. This was Fauvette's first win over seven furlongs as the majority of her runs have been over six but the extra furlong was no issue for her. Callum Shepherd was booked for the ride and it was the first time he had ridden her. Drawn one of the six runners Fauvette tracked the favourite on the inside. Coming around the bend at the two furlong marker she was shaken up and began to challenge Highland Princess. She finished strongly and won by a neck from the William Haggas trained Arousing, with the favourite beaten into third place.

This race was a fast track qualifier for the All Weather Championships Finals Day at Newcastle so Rae and Rachel had better brush up on their Geordie accents !