Goodbye to a Grand Dam!
The co-founder of the Aramis dynasty has sadly passed away at the age of 29. Ara, a chestnut mare, was bought when a three-year-old for £1000 and for a while was Isobel's riding companion around North London before she was moved to Gloucestershire, where she eventually became a champion broodmare. Ara came from good racing stock but had not raced. The other half of the partnership was provided by Kayf Tara, winner of the Ascot Gold Cup (twice), the Irish St Leger (twice), the Goodwood Cup and the Yorkshire Cup. The recurrence of an old injury, however, brought Kayf Tara's racing career to an end. That's where Isobel got lucky. She found out that Kayf Tara was standing for his first year in retirement at the Overbury Stud in Gloucestershire, just a few miles away. An assignation was duly arranged and the rest, as they say, is history. The first of the new Aramis dynasty was born in April 2002 - Kayf Aramis (Kayf from his Sire, Ara from his Dam and Mis from Misty (the pony stabled in the back garden of a house in North London) – who went on to win four races on the flat, including three at the York Dante Festival and three over jumps, including the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham Festival in 2009. In 2005 the next addition to the Aramis family was Kaylifa, who sadly never raced, due to a throat problem. In 2007 the dynasty was increased by the arrival of the exciting Kaylif, who sadly met his death in a training yard accident before he could reach his full potential. The last of the 'Kayfs' is Kaylina. When she was born the vet said Ara had "saved her best till last!” Unfortunately it has not been possible to find out whether that is true as there has been no opportunity to put Kaylina into training. Kaylifa provided two 'grandchildren' for Ara - Zayfire Aramis who has already proved himself a winner, worthy of his sire, Zafeen and Berlief Aramis, a Bertolini colt, who started to make hs mark in the racing world but then had to retire due to an inoperable throat problem.
What a tremendous achievement for a mare who came from humble beginnings to produce such a marvellous family. Ara is already greatly missed by her offspring in the field.
19 January 2020
Philip Hobbs-trained Defi Du Seuil one more demonstrated his superiority when claiming the Matchbook Clarence House Chase at Ascot. The Voix Du Nord gelding narrowly beat Un De Sceaux in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown last month and even increased the winning distance to two-and-three-quarter lengths. Defi Du Seuil, ridden by Barry Geraghty, came alongside Un De Sceaux at the second-last fence and then went on into the lead, pulling away from his market rival between the final two fences. Willie Mullins' twelve-year-old Denham Red gelding, a three-time winner of this Grade One feature race, stuck boldly to his task and came second, four-and-three-quarter lengths ahead of Marracudja.
Ballyandy nosed his way to victory in the final strides of The New One Unibet Hurdle at Haydock. The Nicky Henderson-trained Pentland Hills was in the lead after the last hurdle but Sam Twiston-Davies urged his mount to a last-minute challenge and narrowly defeated last season's Triumph Hurdle winner. Cornerstone Lad had made a brave bid to lead all the way but Pentland Hills, the 2-1 favourite, was just biding his time before challenging. The Nico de Boinville-ridden Motivator gelding went into the lead but he had no answer to Ballyandy, who claimed his prize right on the line.
The Jessica Harrington-trained Magic Of Light notched up a second successive victory in the bet365 Mares' Hurdle at Ascot. This Flemensfirth mare, giving weight away all round, made a triumphant return to hurdles and, thereby, became the first back-to-back winner of this Grade Two prize. Magic Of Light, ridden by Robbie Power, was in charge from the start and beat the hat-trick-seeking Sensulano by four-and-three-quarter lengths.