Tuesday 28 April 2015

Nutter therapy

The great thing about being a Newmarket trainer are the facilities. All you have to do is show up and use them, no maintenance required….. 
So, last week we took two different horses (for two different reasons) jumping in the lose school. One enjoyed it , the other one didn't. Sometimes you have to think outside the box and when it works it pays off. 
The filly in the picture has been quite the drama queen from day one. The jumping gave her something to think about and she actually enjoyed it. Horses, just like people are creatures of habit, so routine most of the time is paramount when training racehorses. Every so often, you get a "nutter" that throws you a curve ball and you have to think of ways to get them to engage in the "conversation" i.e. training. Then it's a good thing to try and experiment with something different. If you are lucky the hysteria turns into contentment :)

Monday 13 April 2015

Stephane's press release

New Arabian Racehorse Trainer in Newmarket

Newmarket trainer Stephane Lévêque is to become the UK's newest Arabian racehorse trainer, swapping thoroughbreds for purebred Arabians as an upsurge in the sport gathers pace.
With just a small number of Arabian trainers in the UK, Stephane will be only the second in Newmarket, offering owners the unrivalled benefits of 2,500 acres of prime racehorse training facilities with 17 miles of artificial gallops and 50 miles of turf.
The trainer, currently working with thoroughbred racehorses, is going back to his early beginnings in racing to set up as the town's newest Arabian trainer and tap into an international racing network.
His move comes as the sport is set for a major boost in the UK with more races, new races at some of the UK's top courses, better prize money and a higher profile.
Currently based at stables on Hamilton Road with Stephane’s wife, trainer and practising vet Ilka Gansera Lévêque, the couple's training partnership is planning a move to a luxurious new yard with scope to expand.
Stephane's first job was with Arabians when he came to the UK from his native France.  He then worked with Arabian horses in Dubai and UAE before moving to Newmarket as a work rider for the Godolphin thoroughbred operation.
"A recent visit to Abu Dhabi identified the need for more Arabian racing trainers in the UK and this is a really exciting move for me," he said. "I am looking forward to combining my years of experience with both Arabians and thoroughbreds for the best results.
"Arabian horses are a little different.  The purebred Arabian is an independent creature, an opinionated horse, and it needs a different approach.
"Arabian stallions like the Darley Arabian, Godolphin Arab and Byerley Turk were the basis for our modern thoroughbred, so an upsurge in Arabian racing in this country brings the story of the racehorse full circle."
The UK authority for the sport is the Arabian Racing Organisation and its Racing Manager Amanda Smith commented: “I am delighted to welcome Stephane to Arabian Racing in the UK.  He is perfectly situated in Newmarket, the home of British racing and I am sure he will be a successful addition to the trainer’s ranks.  I look forward to seeing his results on the track this summer”.
Goodwood is staging its first Group One Arabian race in August as part of the new Qatar Goodwood Festival, a £400,000 race as the first leg of the Qatar Arabian Trip Crown.  The second leg will be the Qatar Arabian World Cup at Longchamp as part of the Arc festival and the final leg will be the H.H. The Emir's Sword in Doha in February 2016 with a $1million prize awaiting any horse winning all three races.
In November, the opening meeting of the Abu Dhabi season includes the world's most expensive Arabian horse race, HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel Crown (The Nation Day Cup) with prize money of €1.2million.

The British season opens on May 2 with an Arabian race day at Wolverhampton, followed by summer fixtures and races at Taunton, Lingfield Park, Hereford, Newbury, Chepstow, Bath, Sandown Park, Windsor and Huntingdon.

Monday 6 April 2015


                                                                Welcome back!
I hope the "normal folks" among the readers had some peaceful couple of days. For us race-trackers it was business as usual. Except for maybe trying to squeeze in a church visit….  

The racing season is under full swing now and there is no time mosey about.
Before we hit the track for morning workout, each horse gets their legs stretched: in the above picture it looks like Stéphane is stretching himself as well. That can't hurt! There are a lot of other neck and limb stretches to help activate the horse's core, which we have found to really make a difference. It's things like this that make our job so interesting.
Horses are quick learners and they actually enjoy doing their exercises once they figured out what it's all about.