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  • Ian Ender

JUST A CLASS ACT.

JUST CAMERON 21 April 2007-Gelding Kayf Tara-Miss Fencote Owner-Mr and Mrs Paul Chapman Not just one of the best horses Micky has ever trained, but one of the best two milers from the North of England in recent years.

The owners Mr and Mrs Chapman always prefix there horses with the word 'Just,' with the second word being the name of a family member. Just Cameron started his racing career in bumpers in 2012 for trainer Kate Walton, he won at the third time of asking with Richie McGrath in the saddle. By the time Just Cameron ran again the following May, Kate Walton had retired from training, and the horse was now in the very capable hands of Phil Kirby.

He made a successful debut over hurdles at Bangor, with Richie McGrath retaining the ride, until his retirement from racing, as a jockey. His next race was at Aintree the following month where he finished tailed off when never travelling. He was given a break until December, but after appearing to not get home over two and a half miles he was dropped back in trip to the minimum of two miles, which made all the difference, coming home by three and a half lengths off 113 at Carlisle in March 2014. His last three runs for Phil Kirby saw him being placed each time, and gradually climbing the weights to 125.

Just Cameron made his debut for us at Haydock on December 20th, 2014 after returning from a short break, that race put him spot on for Sedgefield two weeks later where he dotted up by twelve lengths with his new partner Joe Colliver in the saddle. No one could have envisaged what was to come next, when Cameron made his chase debut at Ayr, taking on the 148 rated Nicky Richards trained Duke of Navan, who went off at 1/3 favourite. Cameron made all with many thinking he had, had the run of the race, but when the two met again the following month, Cameron again came out on top, this time by further and off level weights, everybody now knew that this was a serious horse. The three timer was completed in handicap company in April at Haydock, by six lengths off 140. The decision was made to have a crack at the best, so Cameron was given an entry for the Grade 1 Ryanair Novice Chase at the Punchestown Festival. there were only five runners but none were rated lower than 140. Just Cameron gave his all going under by three lengths to the superstar Un De Sceaux, with four and a half lengths back to the third horse. He was given a well deserved holiday after that race, with the long term plan being the following years Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He reappeared at Sandown in January 2016, weakening quickly in heavy ground while looking in need of the run. Four weeks later at Doncaster from a mark of 148 he stayed on nicely to be second to the well handicapped Dandridge, trying to give that horse twenty three pounds, but he was now ready for his date with the festival.

At his peak two miles was the optimum trip for Cameron, but in the Queen Mother of 2016 in the most exalted company he found it difficult to go the break neck pace. After being outpaced for much of the race, to his credit he was staying on again at the finish behind that years winner Sprinter Sacre, with his old foe Un De Sceaux in second place. His Racing Post Rating for that race of 154, would be the second highest of his career. It was on to Kelso two weeks later for compensation in their £50.000 Class 2 event, but a uncustomary bad blunder two out cost him all chance of winning, he came home a gallant third. He rounded off that campaign at Perth where he found a mark of 150 just beyond him . On his return from his Summer holiday he had his pipe opener in November at Cheltenham in the Grade 2 Shloer Chase, before a tilt at the prestigious 'Castleford Chase at Wetherby over Christmas. He finished third to Yorkist a horse we used to train, owned by Mike and Eileen Newbould, he failed by two lengths trying to give seventeen pounds. It was back to Wetherby in January, and this time from the same mark of 147 he made no mistake coming home two lengths clear of the Kerry Lee trained Grey Gold. He finished his season in the Grade 3 conditions chase in Ireland at Naas, but the heavy ground was all against him and he trailed in a very sorry looking fourth of six.

He began his Winter campaign of 2017 in quality handicaps at Kelso, and Newbury before another crack at the 'Castleford Chase.' Off four pounds lower than the previous year he went two places better this time, and the horse he beat in to second was his old adversary Duke Of Navan, the horse he had beaten twice in two novice chases, over two and a half years earlier. He next went to Ludlow in March, finishing a very pleasing second of four, before going to Ayr, and unseating at the first after being badly hampered. His last three runs would come in November and December of 2018, when after his pipe opener at Wetherby, he returned there to finish third off 142, he was fast approaching his twelfth birthday and although this performance was short of his very best from his prime, it was still one hell of a run from a veteran.The 'Castleford Chase ' of 2018 would prove to be his final racecouse appearance as wear and tear and age were beginning to catch up with him.

As with every horse who has spent their career at Oakwood Stables, we make sure that they end up with a good home to go to. Just Cameron will now enter a second career in the showing and eventing sphere, with his proud new owner George Browne.

Thank you Just Cameron a horse of a lifetime.

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01969 625 223     hayley@mickyhammondracing.co.uk

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