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Stable Talk with racehorse trainer Sophie Leech

By The Citizen  |  Posted: March 28, 2014

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Three runners for the stable last week saw a variety of results with the return of Olympian Boy at Newbury the most pleasing.

He has been beset with minor problems over the winter but reappearing after a 100-day absence he ran well to finish fourth, having got tired in the last furlong when looking sure to come third.

Richie McLernon was excellent on him and he did not have a hard race so will probably run in a couple of weeks and is very much one to look forward to in the next couple of months.

Sadly, Sleepy broke down after pulling up in the novices hurdle at the Berkshire track.

His injuries would not prevent him from making a return to the track but he is eight years old now and his career has been blighted by injury problems, both with Nicky Henderson and with us.

We will look after him until his injuries heal and then hopefully find a nice home for him.

He is an absolute and utter gentleman and will make some lucky person a wonderful riding horse.

Le Grand Chene ran a sound race at Newbury to finish seventh, beaten by only 13 lengths, in a very competitive race.

He probably found the company a little too taxing but nevertheless showed he in good form with himself and that his turn is not too far way.

New recruits Lovcen and Coinage continues to please us in everything they do. They are two exciting additions to the stable and are sure to be worth following in the next couple of months.

Likewise the rest of the spring team are in full work and we currently have 20 cantering as we build towards the end of the season and the almost immediate commencement of the next one.

At the risk of sounding like a breaking record, very shortly we will be having numerous runners!

For the first time this year there is a blank three days after the Bet 365 Gold Cup at Sandown on April 26 which looks as though it will suit no one.

After the horrendous wet winter we have had with countless meetings being abandoned and having to exercise great caution with training programmes during that time, it is the last thing we need.

It is not purely a selfish viewpoint either as the gap of three days is too short to benefit anyone meaningfully and comes at a time when runners should be plentiful as many winter horses are still on the go and the summer ones are just ready to run.

Unfortunately as an industry we just cannot get the timings of breaks during the jumping season right and this is a constant headache for pretty well everyone.

The last thing we personally would want is a return to the old system whereby there was no jumping during either June or July.

However, surely a one-off break of three to four weeks during this time is sensible and would give our jockeys a much-needed proper break. It would also allow stable staff to take time off at a time suitable for their families.

On a more positive note, we had a Cheltenham Racing Club morning on Sunday when we were joined by around 25 members.

We had a great morning as they watched their horses on the gallop and had a tour round the yard meeting some of the new inmates as well as some old friends.

They come from all walks of life but the thing they all share is a great passion for jump racing.

It is an affordable way for people to have a tangible interest in the sport and we are very proud to continue to be supported by this well-known club.

They will be represented in the coming months by Seaside Shuffle and Keltic Crisis, both winners for the club, and Kapricorne who finished third last time out.

We look forward to seeing many of them in the winners enclosure soon.

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