The View From The Office

In the latest instalment of the View From The Office, it’s holiday time in Shelfield Green, and the team are celebrating the end of another great season…

This week I am writing from a very quiet office, as both Ella & Izzy having some well-deserved time off. Between us all we will be using the May & June as an opportunity to take some holiday, but that doesn’t mean it gets any less busy! There will be plenty to keep us occupied over the next few weeks, with the ‘winter’ horses going on their holidays either at their owners’ or being turned out at the yard, lots of sales coming up which will mean more coming and going as well as the annual Spring recruitment drive. 

There will also be, as last year, a number of horses staying in training for a Summer campaign, in particular our very own Rio Gold Racing Club which will be keeping us entertained! The RGRC was a masterstroke of Dan’s last year, and after enjoying a successful 2017 with 19 winners between April and October we are very much hoping for more of the same this Summer. The members are a hugely enthusiastic bunch, and it doesn’t matter what level the horses are running at as there is always a strong support contingent to cheer them on! 

Lodge Hill Sandcastle…!

Speaking of Summer and holidays, the front yard is currently looking suspiciously like Dan is considering building his very own inland beach…! Since last Thursday we have taken delivery of several articulated lorryloads of sand which ultimately are destined for a brand new round gallop. It certainly looks like being a great asset for next year, being 1000m round and covered in deep sand which will give the horses a great workout. For the time being however, we will be trying our best to resist the urge to build sandcastles… 

Moving on from sand to Sandown, it’s hard to believe we have now come to the end of the season with the usual festivities & champions being celebrated in Esher on Saturday. Our season in fact ended with our last runner – Sea Of Mystery – at Towcester on Friday. Reflecting on the past year, the team have again been superb from the get-go and again have surpassed the totals of previous years; this season saw the total prizemoney push through £5million, and 156 winners were sent out from the yard. In the end the weather scuppered a lot of plans during the early Spring, and Dan is always keen to keep pushing forward so no doubt there will be loftier targets set for the new season! 

James & Optimus Prime in Punchestown

Team Skelton sent it’s first runner over to the Punchestown Festival last week in the shape of Masterson Holdings’ Optimus Prime, who was due to run in the Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase. Ridden by Noel Fehily, he ran superbly to finish second to the unstoppable Footpad and the whole team were delighted to see him perform so well. Phil Haywood our Travelling Head Lad has been clocking up the miles over the last couple of weeks with trips to both Ayr & Punchestown, and he heads out to France on Thursday when Shelford contests the Listed Prix Du Cher in Compiegne; he’s certainly been earning his keep!

Tristan & Kashmir Peak celebrating a fourth victory for the horse this season

Finally I could not sign off without a mention of former Lodge Hill inmate Kashmir Peak, who this season has found a new lease of life in the point to point field. Now trained by Nick Pearce, he is being shared by a few of the girls & boys in the yard and has given both Nikki Stubbs and more recently Tristan Durrell days to remember this season! Nikki & Tris have both had their first rides and also ridden their first winners on ‘Kash’; his victory yesterday at Edgecote was his second within a week after also winning the previous Sunday at Guilsborough. It’s great to see Kash in such great heart, and equally brilliant for Nick, Rachel, Nikki and Tristan’s hard work to have been rewarded with such a successful season.

Until next week…


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