Tweed is not my chosen fabric but now that the jumps season is gathering pace, I’m starting to miss all the winter paraphernalia associated with National Hunt racing, most of all the lack of spectators. I fail to see how the creators of this hardiest of woollen garments can make a living, as it literally lasts a lifetime; in my case three lifetimes as I inherited a very serviceable, unassuming herringbone jacket from my late father, and he I believe had plucked it from the wardrobe of another departed sole (with permission). I only wear mine on rare occasions, maybe a village quiz or an Extinction Rebellion rally.
Nevertheless, imagine my glee when behind the locked gates of Uttoxeter, I spied an immaculately dressed gentleman festooned from head to toe in tweed. I rattled elbows, as is the custom nowadays, with Pip Harney who was there to watch his Sam Allwood trained mare Altumanina run in the maiden hurdle.
More to the point, Harney is a proud member of the Sam Allwood Racing Club who enjoyed great success last winter when SHENEEDEDTHERUN won four times on the bounce before finishing fourth in the Midlands Grand National. It was a great start to All-wood’s first season with a full National Hunt licence, and he’s now doubled his string to 20 horses. SHENEEDEDTHERUN was bought out of Ben Pauling’s yard for what’s turned out a bargain £6500 – her total earnings last winter were around five times her purchase price. “She was rated 103 when I bought her, and I hoped she could win a couple of races,” reflects Allwood. She’ll now race off 128 with the longterm plan being the Eider Chase at Newcastle in February. The often gruelling four-miler should hold no fears for the 10 year-old mare and she’s due to reappear in mid-November at Uttoxeter.
This is the time of year when lists of Horses to Follow are compiled, indeed Paul Ferguson did just that in last month’s Racing Ahead, so to avoid conflict, confusion and disappointment I’ll spare you mine – apart from one, or possibly two!
BOURBON BEAUTY is a 5-year-old mare trained by Alex Hales and runs in the colours of the Old Stoic Racing Club – and guess what, I am a proud member of that club. Its mastermind is Henry Kimbell who has collated some of the finest brains who ever attended Stowe School in Buckinghamshire and coerced them into racehorse ownership – a pastime that I swore I would never indulge.
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