Weekly News and Updates
Last week we only had one runner Toolatetodelegate at Nottingham and although she finished unplaced we now know she won’t go on soft ground. To her credit she stuck on past beaten horses on ground she hated and there will be other days for her away from ‘soft’ going hopefully on Friday (16th) in the 5f handicap at Wolverhampton where she is entered.
This week we are looking forward to seeing a few of our club horses’ running on the all weather, jumps and even point to point, a first for Inspire! (See below for details)
Our most important announcement of the week though is that we have finally after much thought and deliberation decided on a new trainer for our Swiss Spirit x Annie Kenney filly. ‘Nora’ has made the move to the North Yorkshire yard of Ann Duffield and we are very excited to welcome on board a new and lady trainer to our team and help continue with our success for the club.
We catch up with Ann on her thoughts for our filly and being part of the club as she shares her history and knowledge with us.
Ann Duffield - History, present day and her hopes for the club’s filly
Nestled away in Constable Burton, North Yorkshire is Sun Hill Farm home of trainer Ann Duffield and her husband and famous ex jockey George.
Sun Hill is just 3 miles away from the racing town of Middleham and the site includes an all weather gallop built into a hill as well as 50 acres of land divided into fields and post and railed paddocks to provide ample turnout and down time for the horses.
The couple have made significant changes and improvements to the farm since taking it over in 1999. In February this year a half a million pounds Equine Rehabilitation Business was set up which features a cold, salt water treadmill, a vibrating Vitafloor, a solarium, all weather gallop, fibre sand round canter and a six horse walker.
The rehabilitation business can be run separately from the racehorse training yard and facilities and is part of a 1.5million investment into the property which has also seen the development of a small number of luxury lodges in which Ann and her husband have ventured into the tourism industry as a way to assist funding their racehorse training business.
Ann, originally from Liverpool has always had an interest in horses from a young age, from owning ponies when she was a child she went on to buying and selling horses mainly hunters and eventers in the late 80’s before concentrating on horse racing a few years later and taking out a trainer’s licence in 1993.
Previously married to the late Alan Swinbank (died 17th May 2017) who trained winners on the flat and jumps, Ann then known as Swinbank trained under her own name at Hurgill Lodge, Richmond, North Yorkshire for just over 2 years after splitting from Alan. She trained her first solo winner in 1996 when Pharmistice scored at Kelso on 2nd December.
George Duffield who was still riding for his boss Sir Mark Prescott for whom he rode 830 winners over 30 years would often ride out for Ann at her stables in his spare time.
They subsequently married and he became assistant trainer to wife Ann and retired as a jockey in 2005. Amazingly at 71 George still rides out and is not willing to give up the riding although “he doesn’t get on the yearlings and youngsters until they are broken and into work now,” said Ann.
Since that time and with George’s vast knowledge of the flat they have concentrated most of their efforts on the level but Ann who has 30 horses in at the moment and has enjoyed previous success in National Hunt said “Ideally I would like 40 and I would love to have some jumpers.”
From 1992 to 2018 (present day) Ann has trained 371 winners on the flat and 1,267 places from 4,332 runners, earning more than £2 million in prize money (source Racing Post). Over jumps the statistics are not as high due to less runners but she has still managed to win races in 17 out of the 25 seasons she has raced jumpers.
Her main success has been with 2 year olds particularly fillies in which so far in her career she has guided both Melody of Love and Dark Reckoning to Group 3 success and she has also won listed events with Lady Rangali, Zenella and with the colt Willie the Whipper. So far her 2 year olds have won just short of £1 million in prize money with a combined success of 594 winners and placed horses (to 4th place) out of 1,544 runners (Racing Post).
Ann also has a particular soft spot for the progeny of Swiss Spirit which is partly what attracted her to taking on the club’s runner as she already has a couple of his progeny in training saying, “they just seem nice horses, develop well and have a nice temperament.”
‘Nora’ arrived at the yard on Thursday evening after making the long trip and move from Brian Barr’s yard and is said to have settled in well and eaten up.
“We lunged her on Friday to assess and she seemed a bit tired after her long trip. She will have an easy week to settle in and have the usual routine stuff done such as teeth check, worming etc. We will give her the week off to settle in more and then take it steady,” said Ann.
Although the filly being out of Swiss Spirit is sprinter bred Ann isn’t sure where she will end up in the end saying, “the early 2 year old races are mainly 5 furlongs so she may start there but I believe she will tell me what her best trip will be as she matures and develops over time.”
Ann explained that the usual training regime with the horses is to use the water treadmill in January, canter from February and faster work come March.
She is a great believer in youngsters telling you what they want to do and explained they should enjoy their work and that if they start to hang a bit (lull to one side) when training then it’s time to ease off a bit. She said it is important not to rush them especially when young.
Ann was extremely happy to become involved with Inspire saying, “I’m very pleased to be working with the club as I want to encourage racing clubs.
I really like how Leigh supports the smaller trainers because I feel while the bigger trainers are getting larger the smaller trainers are getting even smaller and of course with smaller trainers you get more of their time.
It’s nice to be training for an owner who appreciates what you do.”
I am sure as a club we will welcome Ann where it is hoped both she and George will use their skills and years of knowledge to do what is best for ‘Nora’ and develop her into a very nice and hopefully winning 2 year old next season.
Rocket Ronnie is the first runner of the week for the club and runs tomorrow (Monday) in the 4pm two-mile conditional jockeys handicap hurdle at Kempton for Adrian Wintle where the good ground is expected to suit.
Hard to Forget has two entries this week for Henry Oliver at either Hereford on Tuesday in a two-mile EBF qualifier hurdle or at Bangor the next day in a 2m ½ furlong maiden hurdle. He well and will run where the ground has more cut as it was too fast for him on his debut at Uttoxeter.
Brian Barr’s yard looks to have a few runners next week including Toolatetodelegate (see above) and Haats Off who is working well and is entered for a 6f nursery at Southwell on Thursday where the trainer will assess the opposition before running.
Clondaw Whisper will be the club’s first ptp runner at Buckfastleigh next Sunday although Daisy has warned that he will not go if it’s very bad ground as he would prefer it ‘better’. So fingers crossed for a dry week.
Archie has had his staples removed after his minor head injury and it’s all healed nicely. He also had a visit from the back man to straighten him as he was a bit tight and sore in his back. He will have his first piece of work next week before looking for a race for him.
Call sign Charlie looks very smart after her clip and will probably have an entry made towards the end of next week giving her time to fit in another schooling session on the grass.
Robin de Broome is still on the easy list to give his joints time to recover from the runs he had on quick ground.
‘Ginger’ Style Vendome x Little Shambles filly is still going nicely and ticking along.
Updates on Machiato, Prairie Light and foal next Sunday.