• Ian Ender


ASTON LAD. 21 April 2001. Bijou D'Inde-Fishki. Owner-S.T. Brankin.

Aston Lad was the sixth and final offspring of his dam Fishki, who was also trained by Micky. Fishki had been claimed, after finishing third in a Beverley seller in 1990 by Mr Brankin, and went on to win six races under both codes.Mr Brankin also bred from the mare, of which four of her progeny were also trained here, at Oakwood Stables.

Aston Lad didn't race until he was a three year old, showing his first form, at the forth attempt, when staying on in to second place in a Ripon maiden, over one mile and one furlong.He failed to get his head in front in four further appearances, and was switched to hurdles in December, at Market Rasen. His initial runs over jumps were also uninspiring, until on his forth start, when he finished second in a novice hurdle at Kelso.

It was at Hexham on his next start, which will always stick in my memory, for on that day I saw what was possibly the unluckiest loser I will ever see.Aston Lad was still on the bridle, but two lengths down in second, as he jumped the last, it was only a question of when his jockey Barry Keniry was going to let out an inch of reign, when disaster struck, and the horse went wrong. Barry did the right thing, and immediately pulled him up, with the vet confirming after the race, that the horse was indeed lame.At the time it was very disappointing, but at least connections knew that when sound, they had a horse with a good deal of ability.

After his Summer break Aston Lad reappeared at Ayr on the flat for his pipe opener, and a month later in November 2005, at the same venue., but this time back over hurdles, he opened his account from a mark of 100, in a handicap hurdle. The horse was now maturing, and would go on to win twice more, by March 2006, his official mark had now gone up to 121.When he returned to the flat at Catterick in October, his lowly mark of 46 looked very attractive, and Paul Hanagan made no mistake, steering him home at 4/1.

Aston Lad like so many others, had his fare share of injury's, and never added to his tally, but managed to place on many more occasions when sound. He gave us some great memories, and was a credit to his dam Fishki.

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Micky Hammond Racing, Oakwood Stables, Middleham, DL8 4PT.