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.
22 October 2019
Bo Samraan's victory in the KC Ethical And Sustainable British Caviar Handicap at Pontefract yesterday means that Mark Johnston has equalled the record for total number of winners trained in a calendar year in the UK - 235. Last year this North Yorkshire-based trainer became the most successful trainer in terms of career winners in Britain. The record had previously been shared between Richard Hannon Snr. who notched up his best score in 2013, and Richard Fahey, who equalled this target in 2015. Before this year Mark Johnston had a personal best of 226. In July alone he saddled an incredible 50 winners, an impressive strike-rate of 23%.
All the Best
At Exeter today one race takes us down Memory Lane. It's the Best Mate Beginners' Chase, named, of course after Henrietta Knight’s legendary chaser began his dazzling career by winning this contest in 2000 and then went on to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup three times. Best Mate ran 22 times and never fell once over hurdle or fence. Paul Nicholls is probably hoping that such a stellar career awaits his novice hurdler, Southfield Stone, who has his first start over fences in a contest that has been won by quite a few star jumpers over the years, including, of course, the race's namesake.
Defending the Crown
Frodon and Bryony Frost take on a maximum of nine rivals when they head up to Aintree on Sunday to defend their Monet's Garden Old Roan Chase crown which they won last year as part of their dazzling Grade One-winning 2018/19 season. This Nickname gelding followed up that Grade Two success with three victories from four races at Cheltenham, the highlight of which was a memorable victory in the Ryanair Chase at the Festival in March.