By Samantha (@sam_angelina22)
Lambourn came to life on Good Friday when thousands of people flocked to the Berkshire village to see the equine superstars stabled there. Twenty three yards, including Nicky Henderson’s Seven Barrows yard, were open for the public to come and see the horses at home and I was lucky enough to visit two stables.
Lambourn is about two and a half hours from where I live in the Midlands and we arrived at about half past nine at Charlie Hills’ yard. Hills only trains flat horses and has a nice team of horses to go to war with this year, containing 2000 Guineas hope Phoenix Of Spain and one of the fastest horses on the planet Bataash.
After going round that yard, we went to the picturesque Warren Greatrex yard. I loved the way it was set up and the horses (well most of them) were extremely friendly! Greatrex has experienced the thrills of the top level victories with La Bague Au Roi.
The yards closed at one o’clock and the action didn’t stop there! Visitors then came to a field in the centre of the town to see the exciting events in the main area. There was a motorbike stunt show, Retraining Of Racehorses demonstration and Riding For The Disabled demonstration explained to us with some erm … questionable… commentary.
Greats of the sport tried their hand at a different type of racing- camel racing! A P McCoy, Jamie Osborne, Noel Fehily and Nico De Boinville contested the final and A P McCoy replicated his 2010 Grand National heroics and won well. The public also got to see those jockeys school some horses over schooling fences up close which was great.
One of the highlights was the parade of equine superstars and they were out in force. Paraded were everyone’s favourite Sprinter Sacre; Gold Cup winners Bob’s Worth and Coneygree; Stormy Antarctic who won a big race abroad recently; Warren Greatrex La Bague Au Roi; recently retired Toast Of New York; dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D’Air; Triumph Hurdle winner Pentland Hills and Cheltenham Festival winner Hunt Ball.
There was also a very enjoyable show jumping competition between some of the stars of the game. AP McCoy, John Francome, Sarah Bradstock and Jamie Osborne were partnered by a young person in their team. It was a bit chaotic but in the end AP McCoy’s team won to the objection of everyone else.
Overall, it was a fantastic day and I urge any raging fan to go to one of these open days, whether it be Lambourn, Middleham or Newmarket, because it is the most perfect day for all of the family!
Here are some of my favourite pictures from the Lambourn Open Day…
Charlie Hills’ Yard
5yo bay gelding (Dark Angel x Anna Law)
Owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum
One of the fastest horses on the planet, this horse is good and he knows it. This Dark Angel gelding has won multiple group races and won the Abbeye at Chantilly in 2017.
PHOENIX OF SPAIN
3yo grey colt (Lope De Vega x Lucky Clio)
Owned by Tony Wechsler and Ann Plummer
Phoenix Of Spain is the yard’s 2000 Guineas hope. The Lope De Vega colt won the Acomb Stakes on his third start and then wasn’t beaten far by Too Darn Hot and again by Magna Grecia in a race that has worked out very well. He is an exciting horse!
3yo bay filly (Ifraaj x Festivale)
Owned by Abdulla AL Khalifa
This filly made her debut last October at at Newmarket. She was a 40/1 shot but ran an absolute blinder to be beaten just a half length in third. She later ran at Chelmsford and finished third once again beaten three quarters of a length. She is entered in the 1:55 at Redcar on 22/4/19 so it will be interesting to see if she will get off the mark.
4yo grey gelding (Zebedee x Beautiful Dancer)
Owned by Dr Johnny Hon
This four year old is such a sweetie and has won three of his nine starts. He was out of his depth looking for a three timer on Easter Saturday in Class Two company but still looks to have a big future at the lower level handicaps.
3yo Brown gelding (Bated Breath x Brilliant Sunshine)
Owned by Kangyu Int Racing (HK) Ltd &F Ma
This Bated Breath gelding is yet to make his debut. He is out of an unraced mare, who is a half sister to a listed winner. He’s her second foal. The brother is zero from five. Glorious Sunshine was a really friendly horse and I hope he can be successful when racing.
3yo bay filly (Kingman x Exceptionelle)
Owned by D J Deer
This Kingman filly was third on debut beaten only two lengths and them ran in the same race at Newmarket as Fragrant Dawn but she cane ninth. She was only beaten a neck on seasonal debut and, interestingly, has an entry in the Irish 1000 Guineas so mu
Warren Greatrex’s Yard
7yo bay gelding (Brian Boru x Belsalsa)
Owned by the McNeill Family and Protec Networks LTD.
If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know of my love of this gorgeous horse. I’ve followed him ever since of his nose defeat in a grade one hurdle and this year he was one of my ‘20 To Watch’ Horses. The reason why I was so excited to go to Lambourn was to meet this guy and he was such a sweetie! He gives awesome cuddles and is now one of my top favorite horses! One if the stable staff told me how they struggled to keep him sound, which is why his form can be a bit in and out, but, on his day, he’s a star!
LA BAGUE AU ROI
8yo bay mare (Doctor Dino x Alliance Royale)
Owned by Mrs Julien Turner and Andrew Merriam
This mare has been one of the stars of the season. She won her first four chase starts, including two grade ones, and then bypassed Cheltenham as she doesn’t like it there, which is a shame as she could be a Ryanair horse next year. She was second to Kalashnikov at Aintree and the future looks bright.
7yo bay gelding (Shantou x Village Queen)
Owned by The McNeill Family
This handsome horse won on debut in 2017 and then was second, pulled up and second again in the early part of the 2017/18 season. He then had a bit of a break before landing the Weatherbys sponsored NH flat race at the Aintree Grand National Meeting. We haven’t seen seen him since his seventeen length novice hurdle win at Perth in August.
9yo Bay Gelding (Golan x Polly’s Dream)
Owned by Alan & Andrew Turner
This horse is a brilliant staying chaser. He had a wind op last February and next time out won the Kim Muir at the Cheltenham Festival. He was sixth in the Becher Chase on his only start this year. In his career so far, he has won over £100,900 in prize money.
9yo Bay Mare (King’s Theatre x Specifiedrisk)
Owned by Robert Waley-Cohen
This mare is so consistent and ran quite well to be eighth in the grade three handicap Chase at Aintree. She won last time out at Exeter, finally getting off the mark in chases.
7yo bay gelding (Mahler x Cooladurragh)
Owned by Bolingbroke, Bunch, Howard & Sutton
It took this horse a while to win and finally did so in March 2018. He went chasing this season and has won his last two starts in good style. He’s a handicapper to watch out for next season.
TOAST OF NEW YORK