David’s 2018 review

20 December 2018

“WITH 2018 almost finished it’s an appropriate time to reflect on the stable’s achievements during the year. The top line has to be that Teppal, Lightning Spear and Desert Encounter all won Group 1s. For a yard like ours to produce three winners in a season at the highest level is something that we can all feel very proud of.

Teppal’s victory in the ‘Pouliches’ (the French 1,000 Guineas) was very special as it was the stable’s first Classic success. She went to ParisLongchamp on the back of two novice wins but she was professional enough to step up into Group 1 company and she did it very well on the day. To some extent her win felt like we’d got a monkey off our back – the stable’s first ever Classic winner. The next objective has to be winning one in England – but of course you take any Classic, don’t you.

Lightning Spear’s success in the Sussex Stakes was also another great day. I know I’ve rather harped on about how he only ran twice for us outside top company and on both occasions was victorious in Group 2s. But he never had an easy time of in and it was fitting at Glorious Goodwood that he had his day in the limelight. He really showed everyone his full potential that afternoon.

If Teppal started the season well for us and Lightning Spear came to the fore in the middle of it, then Desert Encounter lit up the final third with his first victory in the Canadian International. He is a horse who came up through the handicap ranks, became very effective at Group 3 level and then, aged six, landed a Grade 1. It was fantastic to see him win at Woodbine, a course we always enjoy taking horses to.    

Winners-wise, the year has been below average. But I have no problem with that when it’s balanced against three individual top-level winners and overall prize money – home and abroad – of the best part of £2.5m worldwide. That’s exceptional for a yard such as ours.

The tally of winners is down for various reasons. One such reason that people probably wouldn’t realise is we’ve had a most extraordinary selling year in 2018 with horses departing through private sales to Australia, America, the Far and Middle East. Such sales are excellent business but do leave holes in your ammunition.

In 2019, while we may not have proven stable stars, I am already very excited about what lies ahead. Sure, it is going to be something of a rebuilding year but we’ve got some lovely horses to train. And, while we are likely to finish a little bit lower down the table as far as prize money goes, I think we’ll see a rise in our number of winners for a campaign.

Before I sign off I’d like to thank all the staff at Trillium Place and Revida Place for their efforts day in, day out through the past 12 monnths. It is a team game and it wouldn’t all come together on the big days without everyone’s input.

Last but not least, I’d like to remember two special horses who were old stalwarts for us – Majeed and Sheikhzayedroad. It was so sad for us all when Majeed collapsed and died at Ascot. As an eight-year-old he’d been with us for a long time and we were extremely fond of him. On a brighter note, while Sheikhzayedroad retired aged nine he did so as a sound horse after an outstanding career. He gave us some wonderful days all over the world – England, Europe, the Middle East and Canada. We will make sure that he enjoys a well-earned retirement at Trillium Place.

With best wishes for 2019...David.”