Richard Fahey: Season to savour
Richard Fahey reflects on a successful season for the Musley Bank team and looks ahead to his three Saturday runners.
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The year is drawing to a close and it's been a fantastic 2013 for Musley Bank. We've had six Group winners, six Listed winners and 15 Group placed. Prize money won is pushing towards the £2.500,000 mark - over £400,000 more than our previous best year. We're pleased with our tally of winners for the campaign, the number of individual winners we've had. No, it's been a good year.
Of the horses one of the biggest success stories has been Heaven's Guest. He's gone from being rated 77 to 104, winning nearly £200,000 along the way. He'd have to be right up there in the handicapper of the year category, especially for a three-year-old sprinter, as they can find it tough.
Peniaphobia winning the Super Sprint was a good day, Garswood in the Lennox and Free Handicap, Ladys First the Group Three at Sandown, Good Old Boy Lukey at Newmarket, Address Unknown's Chester Cup, Area Fifty One at Epsom - there have been plenty of highlights.
We had success at many of the big meetings down south, and have purposefully targeted those more this time. We wanted to have winners and be seen on the big stages.
In saying we've had a good year, I have to hope 2014 can be even better. I've still got very high hopes for Parbold who hasn't really shown on the track what we see at home. He's Group placed three times but is capable of better, he's a huge, scopey horse still full of potential.
Sandiva will help the winter months pass by and we have to be thinking of a Classic campaign with her. Dutch Courage is another to look forward to. We haven't seen the best of her yet and while she only won a nursery on her last start, I'd be very hopeful she can make an impact at a higher level.
The intake of yearlings are now settling in. We struggled a bit at the sales, it was so competitive, and you do feel like a small trainer at times - but we're pleased with what we have to go to war with. Cheveley Park, who had their first horses with us this year, have sent four lovely yearlings, three fillies and a colt, and I'm looking forward to watching them - and the rest of the team - develop over the winter and spring.
The key to our success though is undoubtedly team work. We have a fantastic group of people working up here, in all weather, keeping the place ticking over. I honestly mean it when I say the place looks after itself.
We've used Ryan Moore with some success this season mainly due to his association with Cheveley Park. Paul Hanagan continues to ride our horses when he can and Tony Hamilton, Lee Topliss. Barry McHugh and Paddy Mathers all ride work - and winners - for us. They are central figures to our success.
Sammy Bell has enjoyed a fine autumn - and will continue to ride winners next year too. She's very light and a very good rider. George Chaloner is another very good apprentice on our books - and a key member of our team - and Josh Quinn and Eireann Cagney are waiting in the wings and will ride plenty of winners when their opportunities come.
I have two assistants - Robin O'Ryan and Jess McClrenon - and I cannot praise either highly enough. Robin has been with me for years now and I don't know what I'd do without him. He is a fantastic asset to the yard and a very good judge when the sales come along. Jess was upgraded to assistant trainer this year and has taken the extra responsibility in her stride. She and Robin talk all the pressure from me when I'm away from the yard. I'm very fortunate to have a team like this in place.
I've only three runners on Saturday. Justonefortheroad has had a disappointing season and it's a shame Leicester was abandoned the other day. He was second favourite in a race there and looked to have a solid chance. He now runs in the Finjaan Standing At Gazeley Stud Handicap and would definitely have a chance if bouncing back to form on ground he'll love.
We run both Personal Touch and Chiswick Bey in the Finjaan Son Of Royal Applause Handicap. Personal Touch ran a blinder when second at Catterick the other day and I'd love to see him win here. He has an each-way chance, along with Chiswick Bey who choked last time so wears a tongue strap here.