Heroes of the Winter

Five Horses That Caught The Eye Over The Winter

With All Weather Champions day coming to an end, I would like to look back at five shining stars of the season. Some great horses have missed this list and I’m sure we’ll see them all again in the coming turf season but for now here they are..

Spare Parts (Phil McEntee)
🐎15 /🥇7 -🥈2 -🥉2 /

The first horse on the list has been the success story of the winter. Picked up for a lowly fee for the Phil McEntee stable, he has notched up a remarkable seven wins and nearly £30,000 in prize money.

His first success came by three lengths in a class six at Wolverhampton on the third of January, he then went on for wins at Kempton, Chelmsford and Lingfield to make it four in a row inside two weeks. He then went on to score at Wolverhampton again at 9/1 before notching another two Kempton wins at 6/1 and 12/1. Nicola Currie partnered him to six of his seven wins.

A run on All Weather champions day marked the end of his season, he ran in a race that he was never expected to win and he had every chance going into the final furlong, ultimately finishing ninth of eleven. In the end Spare parts was tied for the most wins on the All Weather and gained half of the £10,000 prize. A truly remarkable horse for connections and a brilliant example of training from Phil McEntee. I have a feeling this isn’t the last we’ll see of this loveable little horse.

Spare Parts being shown off before the race.

Captain Lars (Archie Watson)
🐎18 /🥇7 -🥈2 -🥉2 /

An old timer, reaching nine year old no one would’ve expected the success this veteran would have on the flat this year. His first win of the year was gained at Chelmsford as a 10/1 outsider. He went on to score another time at this track throughout the winter. Southwell was undoubtedly his favoured destination, gaining three of his seven wins there. He followed them up with wins at Wolverhampton and Lingfield to complete a remarkable seven and join spare parts at the top of the leaderboard for wins.

Derek Shaw and Archie Watson both deserve the utmost credit for what was again another feat of tremendous training. He started the season with Derek Shaw, winning three before transferring to the Archie Watson stable to complete another four wins.

His season ended today at Newcastle, undoubtedly he was outclassed but there was nothing wrong with the display he put in. Being bang there before being worn down in the final 100 yards to eventually finish down the field. Not the end connections would’ve wanted but it is somewhat a perfect and fitting ending to see him and Spare Parts who have both had remarkable seasons, share the £10,000 prize for the winning most horse.

Captain Lars at Southwell (@Archie_Watson)

King Kevin (Ed Dunlop)
🐎11 /🥇5 -🥈4 -🥉1 /

This Ed Dunlop trained runner had a quiet turf season before transforming into quite an impressive horse over the winter. A model of absolute consistency, winning five times in eleven runs and only finishing outside the top three once in that period. He is now high on the list of many peoples trackers and he is one of the best of his style, sitting of the pace and striking late on.

The run began on the 16th of November, after being raced on turf for his two year old season, he instantly clicked with the All Weather surface and notched up four wins in five starts between the 16th of November and the 3rd of January. He notched up another win in March and had been running consistently well without winning aswell. Four wins at Wolves shows he has a preference for that track but it was Chelmsford where he got it all started.

I expect to see this horse on the turf in the upcoming season and he is very much one I will be looking out for. Another wonderful success story over the winter for a brilliant trainer.

King Kevin galloping home! (JH Photography)

Mambo Dancer (Mark Johnston)
🐎9 /🥇3 -🥈2 -🥉2 /

This horse came away from a bitterly dissapointing turf season. There wasn’t much hope going into the turn of the year when Mambo Dancer lined up in a class five handicap at Newcastle on the 11th of January. However he blew the field apart and had just begun what would be a remarkable turnaround for a horse that seemed so devoid of promise.

The step up to two miles suited him perfectly and that was the key to success. Three victories, one at Newcastle, one at Wolves and one at Chelmsford. All in the space of four runs.. while he hasn’t won since, he has been running well with form figures of 2346.

A shining light in what was an uncharacteristically quiet winter for Mark Johnston. He will more than likely be seen again on the turf this season and he is one to keep an eye on.

Mambo Dancer storming home.

Something Lucky (Michael Appleby)
🐎14 /🥇5 -🥈7 -🥉1 /

Having won as a two year old at Chantilly and being formerly useful. There was perhaps some concerns that she was going off the boil a little at the age of six. Michael Appleby took him on from his previous trainer and instantly made an impact with a debut second at Southwell. I don’t think at that point anyone would have expected him to go and be runner up a further seven times and go onto win five contests at Wolves, Southwell and Lingfield.

A wonderful little runner that is a showcase of Michael Applebys brilliance and just how amazing it is when a horse that is down in a slump gets a second wind and becomes loved across the nation, as is so often the case with these little runners on the All Weather.

Having won as recently as Thursday night. I expect he’ll be given a break and aimed at some upcoming all weather fixtures as it seems to be his preference, however he has form on the turf and it would be no surprise to see him out there.

Something Lucky at Southwell.

Honourable Mentions!

There were countless other brilliant horses who became a fixture of the winter all weather season. It would be a shame to leave them out here.

Pulsating (Archie Watson)
🐎16 /🥇4 -🥈4 -🥉3 /

A figure of consistency for many and frustration for others. Pulsating is a horse that has been extremely dependable if not quite tricky to win with this winter. I’ll never forget his second in February by half a length to let us down for a £340 acca..

Clear Skies (Aiden O’Brien)
🐎10 /🥇5 -🥈1 -🥉1 /

It’s relatively rare that Ballydoyle has a runner at Dundalk throughout the winter months, Clear Skies obviously had potential that they seen. A brilliant performer in Ireland after hitting form, it’s a shame the season had to end with a heavy defeat in the Winter Derby.

Corinthia Knight (Archie Watson)
🐎5 /🥇4 -🥈0 -🥉1 /

The winter which included a listed success at Chantilly ended on the ultimate high when winning on Champions day. A model of absolute greatness for a small yard that is up and coming, much more to come from this young brilliant horse.


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