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  • Writer's pictureRob Martin

22/23 SEASON REVIEW & 23/24 PREVIEW

Updated: Aug 18, 2023

We were delighted with our horses performances last season, our win and place prize money amounted to £184,060. Our winners and placed horses to runners strike rate was 51.5%, which completed a successful season with 8 winners, even more rewarding considering we are a relatively small yard.


Season highlights included Cyclop rolling back the years, now aged 12, returning from over a year off and winning 3 of his 10 races for owners DD Racing & Professor L P Hardwick. He might be a little horse but he certainly has a massive heart. Cyclop’s first win was up at Musselburgh under a prominent ride from Theo Gillard, winning comfortably by 8 lengths. He completed his hatrick with the next 2 wins, again in Veteran Handicap Chases, both at Newbury and throughout the season bringing his prize money earnings to over £145,000 and still going strong!


Cyclop on the way into the winners enclosure at Newbury under Conditional Jockey Ned Fox


Cyclop’s half-brother, Innisfree Lad, had another good season which included fine efforts finishing second in a competitive Carlisle chase, an easy win at Hereford in February, and a second at Wetherby, bringing his prize money won to date to £96,000.


Innisfree Lad on the way to an all the way win at Hereford, in February, under Jockey Theo Gillard looking round at his brother Fergus!


Broken Quest gave us our first win of the 22/23 season at Market Rasen under Jack Andrews. His run at Cheltenham in November was arguably a career best when jumping the last in front before being denied by a length into second place to Magic Dancer. Again, at the age of 12, he was running to the best level he’s ever been in, with career earnings of over £82,000, he’s always been a pleasure to have in the yard.

Broken Quest after his fine second at Cheltenham with Jockey Stan Sheppard, Geoff Fairfoul leading up, Tim and Ashleigh Wright


Indy Five ran an absolute stormer at Aintree in May last year, leading all the way in a highly competitive staying chase, on the Mildmay course, before just being denied on the line by Exelerator Express by a head, at the age of 12, which was a fine effort! His fourth at Cheltenham in November was also a great effort, only beaten 5 lengths to give The Dobbin Club a day to remember. Indy has now been retired and we wish him a happy well-deserved retirement after a fine career; this staying chaser gave The Dobbin Club some great days out having won 5 races and gained £62,867 in prize money. The Dobbin Club have recently replaced Indy Five with an unraced son of Mount Nelson and appropriately named Nelson’s Five who is an exciting prospect and has big shoes to fill after Indy! We wish them the best of luck with him this season.

Indy Five after his final start at Sandown in The Veterans Chase Final with some of The Dobbin Club members (left to right) David Doolittle, Pete Mulligan and Mark Burgess.


Merry Mistress ran some good races being placed in six of her eight starts including some good runs over fences. Merry was covered by Jack Hobbs earlier in the spring and she is enjoying her retirement in the breeding paddocks after winning four races and earning £34,330 in prize money during her racing career. We wish her owner Graham Saville the best of luck with Merry Mistress’s breeding and look forward to seeing her progeny in years to come. Graham also has an unraced filly by Jack Hobbs and recently named her Simply Belle, who he purchased last summer as an unbroken two year old. She will be aimed at juvenile bumpers in the autumn and we look forward to having her in training this season.


It was a sad day to lose stable stalwart Flying Verse in May at Fakenham after a fine career at the age of 11. A ten time winner from 65 runs, he broke the £100,000 prize money marker at Perth, in April, when finishing second. Earlier in the season, his Musselburgh win in the 4 mile Prince Philip Perpetual Handicap Chase was a career highlight giving his owner Dr Chris Barnett a memorable day in Scotland. Versey was a remarkable horse who might not have been big in stature for a staying chaser but he made up for it with toughness and he will be greatly missed.


Flying Verse jumping the last fence before winning the 4 mile Prince Philip Perpetual Handicap Chase at Musselburgh under Champion Jockey Brian Hughes.


Whilst we have not had many runners during the summer, Lighthouse Mill has been flying the flag for us. His 7 length win at Stratford, under Gavin Sheehen, was a great for result for Anthony Hitchings and Tracy Fulcher of Legacy Racing, who are having great time with Lighthouse, who then went so close in a valuable handicap hurdle at Market Rasen in July, only beaten a short head after being in front all the way until the line.


Lighthouse Mill flies the last hurdle at Stratford under Jockey Gavin Sheehan on his way to an easy victory for Legacy Racing.

Lighthouse Mill in the winners enclosure at Stratford, in June, after his 7 length win with his owners Tracey Fulcher, Anthony Hitchings and Geoff Fairfoull


Both Libor Lad and Harthill have been learning their trade last season. We hope they can build on some promising runs and be competitive off their handicaps for their owners Gary Hartland and Emma Stewart, who both deserve some results after being patient with young horses. The David Dennis Racing Club members have winning Irish Point to Point mare Sparkling Bird to look forward to this winter who is now back in training and after disappointingly not making the racecourse last season.


New recruits have arrived in the yard since the Spring which has been exciting, some of which have run extremely well. First of these was Hobie who won a Maiden Hurdle at Worcester, in May, for Dr Tom Davies, Steve Merry and Tim Wright. This was a decent performance after learning to settle better in his races. He has returned into training after a short break and we hope he can build on this performance to go onto better things in the future.


Hobie in the winners’ enclosure at Worcester after his Maiden Hurdle win in May with Dr Tom Davies and Geoff Fairfoull.


Another exciting prospect is Brave Starlight, who had his first run for the yard in the John Corbett Champion Novice Hunter Chase at the Hunter Chase evening at Stratford in early June, after arriving in the yard only a month previously. He got his new owners, The Kingpins, very excited, jumping the last in front before being outrun into second by top hunter chase mare Sin Nomine. We look forward to seeing him back in action this autumn after a short break.


We have also recruited some exciting prospects from the sales during the summer. Merry Melody, a two time Irish Point to Point winner, who will be aimed at Mares’ Hurdles and Chases and we welcome new owner, James Dunsby, to the yard and wish him the best of luck in the future with Merry Melody, who is a relative of Merry Mistress.


Ballynaheer, a four year old English Point to Point graduate, who showed plenty of promise when fishing second, at Edgcote, in a Maiden point to point in April. We wish another new owner Mr David Purvis the best of luck with his recruit who was purchased at Doncaster Sales in the Spring HIT sale.


Another four year old to keep an eye out for is Gasmani who showed a great deal of promise when finishing 4th in a point to point bumper at Sandley, in April. This half-brother to Cyclop and Innsifree Lad has matured considerably over the summer and we look forward to seeing how he develops this season.


It is also great to have Just Four Fame back in training this autumn after missing last season. He showed plenty of promise in 2022 finishing second in two English Maiden Point to Points before finishing 3rd in the Goffs UK Point to Point Bumper at Aintree. We wish his owner Tony Killoran good luck with his 6yo son of Fame and Glory.


The store sales have been well attended and as competitive as ever this Spring/Summer. We have managed to purchase three unraced National Hunt bred horses, all of which have now been broken in and are in light training. Two are geldings, by Cokoriko and the other by Getaway, and a filly by Jack Hobbs. All are very likeable types with decent pedigrees which are exciting prospects for the future.



Congratulations to a former mare trained by us, Aubis Park, who has produced a smart looking filly foal by Planteur at Chapel Stud, Worcestershire, in March, for her owner Professor Lorna Hardwick. We look forward to seeing her develop over the next couple of years and Aubis is again in foal to Walzertaktz, which is good news for all concerned.


DD Racing would like to thank all our owners for their continued support throughout last season, and, of course, our fantastic team whom work so hard and not forgetting all the jockeys that rode for us last season, bringing the best out of our horses.


We wish our owners and jockeys the best of luck for the season ahead and hope to see many more of our horses and connections in the winners’ enclosure.


Below is an extract from the Racing Post in March which was great to get recognition for after such a successful week for the yard.


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