Another winning weekend
The big wins continue to come for Highflyer purchases as both Footpad and Bristol De Mai gained Grade 1 honours on Saturday 7 February. Both horses are now being aimed at Grade 1 events at the Cheltenham Festival for owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede. On Sunday 8 February three other purchases booked their places at Cheltenham with Tommy Silver and Gitane Du Berlais winning Listed races and O O Seven taking a valuable staying novices’ hurdle at Musselburgh.
January finished on a real Highpoint for Highflyer with 7 Graded/Listed winners over the last 2 weekends of the month. Top performances were registered at Grade 2 level by Smad Place (who beat another Highflyer buy Many Clouds into 2nd), Yanworth (now a 3-1 fav for the Neptune Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival) and Barters Hill (a Tessa Greatrex purchase who remains the unbeaten winner of all 7 of his career starts) The Juvenile hurdle division is once again proving a strong one for the Company and Anthony Bromley's buys filled the 1-2-3-4 in the Gr2 Finesse Hurdle at Cheltenham on Trials day with Protek Des Flos leading the way from Clan Des Obeaux. The year older Buveur D’Air who is in the same ownership as that pair of 4yo's (Potensis Bloodstock) maintained his high position in the Supreme Novices Hurdle with a smooth victory at Huntingdon and Bristol De Mai now holds the second favourite's spot for the JLT novices chase at the Festival after routing a decent field in the Gr2 Altcar Novices chase at Haydock.
New Year delights
2016 has started well for the Highflyer buying team with big-race Saturday wins coming courtesy of Mountainous (Welsh Grand National) and the two Listed race scorers Polly Peachum and Triolo D’Alene. Plenty of Cheltenham prospects have been showing class in their trials, most notably L’Ami Surge (with two victories this month), Sceau Royal, Bouvreuil and Le Prezien (one of six consecutive winners for the owners, Million In Mind Partnership).
Excellent end to the year
December 29 was a Red Letter Day for the Highflyer buying team as they were responsible for a treble at Newbury (inc. Gr.1 Challow Hurdle winner Barters Hill) and also a treble at Doncaster (inc. Listed mares’ chase winner Ma Filleule). This capped a great festive period for their clients with Gr.2 victories for the likes of Sprinter Sacre and Yanworth as well as a plethora of smart juvenile hurdle winners during December including Who Dares Wins (Gr.2), Sceau Royal, Gibralfaro, Clan Des Obeaux and Fixe Le Kap to name just a few. Along with impressive older novices like Bristol de Mai over fences and Altior over hurdles, 2016 promises to be another big year for Highflyer.
SMAD PLACE, purchased by Anthony Bromley as a 3yo from France for his owners Peter and Trish Andrews, ran out a hugely impressive winner of the Hennessy Gold Cup at the weekend. He is now one of the favourites for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March and his next outing is likely to be the Cotswold Chase on Trials Day at Cheltenham, towards the end of January. It capped a great Hennessy Festival for Highflyer with 6 winning purchases during the meeting. In particular, keep an eye out for BUVEUR D’AIR, ALOOMOMO and FLY DU CHARMIL who all look to have big races within their sights this season.
Sprinter Sacre sizzles
The Champion Chaser of 2013, SPRINTER SACRE, bounced back to winning ways in no uncertain terms at the Paddy Power Open meeting at Cheltenham when sauntering to a 14l success in the Gr.2 Scloer Chase on Nov 15. Bought by David Minton for the Mould family, this was his 15th career victory and brought his earnings up to £820,000. Other Minton-purchased winners on the same card were Alitor (Grade 2 win) and Ballyandy (Listed win), who cost £16,000 as a foal.
Vibrato Valtat makes impressive return
Highflyer buys had a lucrative weekend and this trend has continued into the early part of the week too. On Saturday the team were responsible for 6 winners, most notably Ptit Zig and Tessie Greatrex’s purchase Kilcooley, both winning Grade 2 events for connections. On Sunday, Saphir Du Rheu took a Listed chase in bloodless fashion, whilst on Monday at Kempton, Smad Place did likewise – both horses are now bound for the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury. On Tuesday (November 3), Vibrato Valtat made an impressive return to action by winning the Haldon Gold Cup (Gr.2) by 4 lengths, to add to the rising tally of Highflyer-bought Graded/Listed winners this season.
On October 10, Highflyer purchase Grumeti added the prestigious BetFred Cesarewitch at Newmarket to his impressive tally of big-race wins for the McNeill family, which includes the Grade 1 Aintree 4-y-o hurdle and the Grade 2 Dovecote Hurdle at Kempton. He has won career earnings of over £320,000. Over the same weekend, jump racing stepped up a gear and Highflyer buys were once more to the fore with a treble at Chepstow (through Cocktails At Dawn, Drop Out Joe and Altior) and a Grade 3 Chase winner at Auteuil in Kobrouk who goes for the Grade 1 French Champion 4yo Chase next in early November.
Highflyer buys have been having another successful year ‘on the level’. High-profile handicap successes have been supplied by the likes of the 100-rated trio of Carry On Deryck and John Reel and Chatez, who won the Doncaster Spring Mile as well as Big Thunder and hat-trick scorer Who Dares Wins. The 2yos have been flying the flag too for the agency with dual winner Essenaitch, Peak Hill, Jim Dandy, Inn The Bull and Scarlet Dragon all looking to be progressive performers who will continue to improve into 2016. The great Highflyer stalwart Kingsgate Native still continues to add to his tally despite his rising years and won another 5f Listed event in 2015, taking his career earnings to over £840,000 – not bad for a 20,000 gns yearling purchase.