A local stable is looking forward to the new horse-racing season and with good reason.
The South Hazelrigg yard (near Chatton) is run by trainer Rose Dobbin and her assistant, her husband Tony, the former Grand National-winning jockey.
Since opening around nine years ago, they are approaching 100 winners and are looking forward to a good season in 2017/18, with some really exciting prospects based at the yard.
The first aim is to get past 16 for the season, a figure they have hit in each of the last three terms. After a lighter period over the summer, with only 17 runners since April (and one winner in Final Fling), the yard is now back in full swing and expect the runners and hopefully winners to be flowing soon.
Everything is geared for success. They have invested in top-class facilities at Hazelrigg, including a six-furlong Martin Collins all-weather gallop, grass gallops, a one-furlong, oval, covered ride, an indoor equine swimming pool with solarium, a large covered lunge ring and an eight-horse walker.
And that is only a brief insight into facilities with the north Northumberland beaches and North Sea not too far away to revitalise tired and jarred legs!
Currently, the yard hosts 37 horses, many ready to be racing now but with several new young purchases who may not hit the track until into 2018. Principal owners are Rose Dobbin’s parents Mr and Mrs Duncan Davidson who have 12 horses in training at the yard. Over the past five seasons, they have led in 23 winners.
Good news for the yard too with the likes of Robin’s Command, Jonniesofa and Bigirononhiship all set to return.
The latter, a rising chaser, hasn’t run since February this year after suffering a slight tendon injury at Carlisle. Robin’s Command the popular grey has been out of action since an injury at Ayr in October 2015 and it would be great to see him back. Robin is the winner of eight races in all, over rules, since his debut in 2012. Jonniesofa is the highest ‘rated’ horse in the yard on 137 and has been missing since a suspensory injury when running at the 2016 Cheltenham Festival, this after winning the Albert Bartlett Hurdle trial at Haydock.
He could have come back late last season but it was decided overall to sit back a little longer for 2017/18 so look out for his debut over Chases.
Other winners from the yard over previous seasons set to feature again include:
BAKO de la SAULALE: Won two hurdles in fine style at Kelso and Wetherby last term but, when set to go for the treble picked up a fetlock joint injury in training which ended his season. Now back in training and the yard are hoping he can get that top form back.
DONAPOLLO: Has won at Kelso over 3 miles and had few summer runs.
DOKTOR GLASS: Set to run in Novice Chases over longer distances after Hurdle and NH Flat race wins. Partly owned by a north Northumberland group of owners, The Friday Lions, who owned now retired Rocking Blues, who won The Eider Chase for them at Newcastle.
PLANET NINE: Owned by Mr and Mrs Davidson this rising five-year-old has won two ‘bumper’ races, one in Ireland and the other on his stable debut at Perth in the spring, beating several fancied runners. Will now go hurdling and could be a rising star.
PROFESSOR PLUM: Has won two bumper races but has had a few injury niggles which have set back his hurdling career.
PURCELL’S BRIDGE: Hugely popular 10-year-old staying chaser who won in fine style at Haydock in March. They also ran a good race next time out at Wetherby. Has won five times for the Dobbin yard.
SMUGGLERS STASH: Dour stayer who had a couple of good wins at Hexham and Carlisle last term plus several places. Seems to enjoy give in the ground.
SOME REIGN: Very impressive first time out, winning a Wetherby Bumper at the end of 2016 then just pipped at Kelso next time. Also ran in the competitive Aintree Bumper in the spring and set to go hurdling very soon. The yard are very much looking forward to his jumps debut.
FINAL FLING: Has won over almost 3 miles this summer at Hexham and needs good going. May switch to chasing soon but may have another hurdles race on good ground.
MISTER DON: Three-mile chaser who has hardly been out of the frame in the past year after breaking his duck at Kelso in October 2016. Needs good going to excel and there seems plenty more to come.
MONFASS: Won a 2-mile hurdle at Doncaster in March after a few disappointments for the owners and seems to prefer softer going. He may go chasing soon.
SLANELOUGH: Ended last season rated 119 after three very impressive seconds in Novice Hurdles and set to go down that route again soon then maybe chasing.
ATTENTION PLEASE: After a nasty tendon injury is back in racing and looking to hit the winning trail after several places. Last ran in summer 2016.
Also look out for the following horses who could be set to open their accounts soon:
MINELLA SUITE: Looked a possible winner at Kelso until unseating Brian Hughes two out in the spring, this after several places. COOLE HALL: Irish import who was pipped by a Philip Hobbs horse, by a nose, on his debut at Perth in the spring. Won an Irish Point to Point. ROMULUS DU DONJON: Ran a very good race at Kelso recently, finishing fourth after a spell out and impressed several. JUST CHILLY: An Irish import who ran point-to-point and ran fifth in the same race at Kelso as Romulus Du Donjon, showing promise.
Also back in training from last season are: CLASSICAL SOUND, LADY LONDON, PERMISSION GRANTED, HEATHER BURNING, LOG ON, RUBY WHO and WITNESS TIME.
New imports include unraced ENZILLERYA (bought from France), Le GAVROCHE (four-year-old), SWEET AS CANDY (PtoP winner), VINTAGE GLEN (Trevor Hemmings owned), HITMAN FRED (won in Irish PtoP), JACK DEVINE (three Irish PtoP wins), plus CALIFORNIA SOUL (bought at Doncaster Sales and an Irish Hurdles winner who has also run on the flat) and ALONE NO MORE, who won and was placed several times in Irish PtoP races.