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.
18 February 2020
Warren Greatrex's Emitom travelled well and got back to winning form in the Unibet Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock. This Gold Well gelding was a top novice last season and finished second in a Grade One at Aintree but he disappointed on his seasonal return at Cheltenham on New Year's Day. The six-year-old didn't jump well that day but he certainly made amends in this Grade Two contest. Gavin Sheehan got him jumping well from the start and he travelled better than his five rivals who began to struggle in the testing conditions. Emitom had no problems, however, and came home with eight lengths to spare.
Riding the Storm
There was plenty of drama in the Betfair Ascot Chase. Riders Onthe Storm had won both his previous two races in Britain after coming over from Tom Taaffe's County Kildare yard but they were Class 2 contests so this Grade One heat represented a huge step up in class. As expected, the Paul Nicholls-trained Cyrname was sent off the 4/11 favourite but things didn't seem to be going well for him when Riders Onthe Storm came alongside in the back straight. The latter soon dominated and Cyrname started to have problems. Then the 50/1 outsider, Traffic Fluide, came on the scene and appeared to be finishing with real purpose but then fell at the last. A weary Cyrname also took a heavy fall further back as the Sam Twiston-Davies-ridden Riders Onthe Storm cruised home to a 14-length victory.
Head of the Field
Copperhead, trained by Colin Tizzard, was an impressive winner of the Sodexo Reynoldstown Novices' Chase at Ascot. This Sulamani gelding was having his first experience of graded company after two easy handicap victories. The two market leaders, however, Sam Brown and Pym, never looked comfortable at any stage of the contest and were both pulled up a long way from home. Paul Nicholls' Danny Whizzbang made most of the running but in these testing conditions he faded early in the straight. That left Copperhead, ridden by Jonjo O'Neill jr., and Kim Bailey's Two For Gold to vie for glory. Copperhead soon seized the initiative, powering clear over the final two fences to win by 17 lengths.