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STASH THE CASH. 01 January 1991. Persian Bold-Noble Girl. Owner-G. Shiel.

Stash The Cash was one of the many horses owned by the late Graham Shiel, a big supporter of the Micky Hammond yard. Graham's best horse was probably the high class, but rather quirky Hills Guard, a winner of The Imperial Cup at Sandown, and also placed at The Cheltenham Festival.

Stash The Cash went in to training as a two year old with Richard Hannon in 1993, and made a promising debut at Kempton, finishing second over seven furlongs.His next run was in better company at York, at the Ebor meeting, in the Moorestyle Convivial maiden, but it was probably the drop back to six furlongs, which could explain the poor run. He was then back to Kempton, where he finished second again, this time in a field of 22 runners.His final run as a two year old was a winning one, when sent up to Musselburgh, and coming in at 11/10 favourite.

He started his three year old career at Newbury in April 1994, winning a mile handicap under Frankie Dettori, from a mark of 80, he followed up eight days later at Sandown, taking his mark to 95. He would race a further four times for the Hannon yard, including in Listed company, but failing to add to his tally.

Stash The Cash was purchased at the Newmarket Sales in the Autumn of 1994 by Graham Shiel, and put in to training with Micky, for his new career as a hurdler. Stash The Cash took a little time to warm to his new task, finishing second at Perth twice, and also being runner a further twice at Catterick and Musselburgh, before finally getting off the mark at Ayr in January 1996. He had found a level of consistency over the jumps, but would race from a lowly mark of 90 in a handicap, which was very low in comparison to his best flat mark of 95, from two years earlier. His consistency throughout the early part of 1996 was commendable as he would win twice more, and be runner up in the other five races he took part in. After his Summer break he reappeared at Kelso in November 1996, where he finished second off 102, but from then on in, he would come on in leaps and bounds. He went on to win four of his next five races, taking his mark up to 131, and was then allowed to take his chance in the 'Fighting Fifth' at Newcastle, which proved just a step too far, as he trailed in last of the eight runners.He raced a further six times over hurdles that season, placing on four occasions, but probably finding his new mark too stiff, and his jockey Russ Garritty also reported on one occasion, that the horse had a breathing problem.

On his return from a break in November 1998 he made a winning chase debut at Hexham, by seven lengths, but disappointed in three subsequent attempts. He was runner up twice again in novice chases at Kelso, and Hexham, but the form was well below that of what he had been achieving. After pulling up at Sedgefield in July 1999, it was decided to let him continue his career elsewhere, and he was sold to be trained by Peter Beaumont in Stearsby, North Yorkshire. He never managed to get his head in front again, but was placed second on two further occasions.

I am sure that Stash The Cash must have given Graham Shiel lots of memorable moments. winning a total of 10 races,finishing second an astonishing 17 times, and being third on five further occasions.

OCEAN OF CHAMPAGNE. 04 March 2004. Arkadian Hero-Champagne Grandy. Owner-Ian Ender.

Ocean Of Champagne is out of the very tough mare Champagne Grandy, who raced 60 times for the Mick Channon yard, between 1992-1996,winning on nine occasions, over six, and seven furlongs, and achieving a career high mark of 84.She is from the first crop of the high class sprinter Arkadian Hero,who was trained by Luca Cumani.

Ocean' only raced 12 times,starting her career in the hands of the very capable Alan Dickman, who left no stone upturned, making sure the filly had everything she needed, to bring out the best in her. but I can honestly say she was any owners worst nightmare. Things got off to a wonderful start, on May 30th, 2006 at Redcar, in a two year old fillies only maiden over six furlongs, where after a very sluggish start, she made good late headway to finish fifth of the 15, beaten by four and a half lengths, under Danny Tudhope. We went up to Hamilton three weeks later full of confidence that she would be competitive, but after being slowly away again, she was soon being driven, and was never out of last place.At Pontefract in July, she fared a little better over their six furlongs, but weakened away from a furlong out, with Paul Hanagan reporting back, that he thought the horse was still very green.Her final race as a two year old was on the heavy ground at Ayr in October, from a very good looking mark of only 56, she went off at 20/1, and I had the biggest bet of my life on her, more in hope than expectation. We had booked Silvestre De Sousa to ride, this was back in the days before he had become popular, but he was already as strong as an Ox.She wasn't the most willing of partners, but Silvestre made up her mind for her, and drove her right to the line, only finding one two good, if I remember rightly, I broke about even on my each way bet.

She made her return in April 2007, as a three year old, on the sand at Southwell, under Michael Stainton, where she hung badly up the straight, not looking at all keen.A month later she returned to the turf at Carlisle, showing a little more, by staying on up the hill, but still beaten by seven lengths.She was back at Carlisle two weeks later, for her first attempt over seven furlongs, once again blowing the start, and never getting involved.Her final start for Alan Dickman was in a seller at Catterick in July, but by now it was quite obvious from her performance, she had lost all interest in racing.In one final attempt to try to get her to repeat the form of her debut, I moved her from the Alan Dickman yard to Micky Hammond, because sometimes a change of scenery can rekindle a horses interest, but in two more attempts on the flat, and a go over the jumps at Cartmel, where Graham Lee had to show all of his experience just to stay in the saddle, I finally saw sense and decided to call it a day. I call her an owners worst nightmare, because she promised so much, but never delivered.

On her debut at Redcar, she ran like a horse with a real future, but in every attempt after, she either wouldn't, or couldn't. The trick is to know when it's the right time to call it a day, but we can all be very clever with hindsight.

DANCEINTOTHELIGHT. 22 February 2007. Dansili-Kali Owner-Mrs Sian McCain

There have been some tough horses trained here at Oakwood Stables in recent years. Amir Pasha ran 128 times, with 122 of those runs being over the jumps, while the Sedgefield specialist Roxtfet, who is still a long way off retirement, has currently run 101 times over the jumps.Another remarkable athlete is Danceintothelight who ran an incredible 134 times, with 92 of them being over hurdles or fences.

He has had three different trainers, with Kevin Ryan training him for his first nine runs, before Micky took over for the next 80, with Donald McCain then taking over, for the next 45. Danceintothelight first ran as a two year old in 2009 over the extended mile at Beverley, his best effort for the Ryan yard coming at Ayr on his forth start. By his ninth race he was still a maiden, and was dropped in to a seller at Leicester where after finishing third, he was claimed by the late Mr Roland Roper who sent him to Micky.'Dancer' got off the mark at the 17th attempt at Catterick over two miles, with 3ib claimer Kelly Harrison in the saddle, winning by four lengths, off his lowest handicap mark to date of 56.

It was eight flights of hurdles that Dancer wanted though, he made his hurdles debut at Wetherby in October 2010, and the Racing Post comment read, 'led seven lengths clear, and in total command when fell two out.' The horse was obviously a different proposition in this new discipline, and was soon in the winners enclosure at Hexham in November, and again at Catterick in January 2011.In February he took on the big boys in the Scottish Triumph Hurdle at Musselburgh, finishing a very respectable third, earning him a BHA mark of 128.

With a flat rating of only 65, compared to his jump mark, he looked very well treated for his return to the flat, but in eight attempts he couldn't take advantage, but did finish runner up twice.Back over jumps in October 2011, he also struggled with his lofty handicap mark, and it would be 15 races, and 17 months before he got his head in front again at Catterick in March 2013, over jumps, with a much reduced mark of 97.His flat mark had also come down to 56, and in August, and September,he finished runner up on three consecutive occasions

In September 2013, Dancer changed ownership, and was now running in the colours of one of our racing clubs,'Maybe The Last Time,' but the horse was finding it hard to find his form.He was placed on the flat at Redcar in June 2014, and was third at Sedgefield in October, before a good second at Catterick in December. His next win was at Sedgefield in April 2015, off a mark of 86, which suited as Dancer eased home by eight lengths under Jamie Bargary, taking off a further seven.He raced a further 11 times for the yard,placing on four occasions.

Dancer was sent to the Doncaster sales in November 2015, with the hope that a change of yards might freshen him up, and things couldn't have worked out better for the horse, as Donald McCain was on the look out for a safe conveyance for his young conditional jockey daughter Abbie McCain to ride, to gain experience. The combination worked wonderfully as Abbie McCain won twice on him, and placed a further 15 times. In total Dancer won on five occasions for the McCain yard.

It is my opinion that horses such as Dancer, and Amir Pasha, and Roxyfet do not get the respect that their longevity, and courage, and appetite for the game deserve, just because they were not blessed with a 'Porche' engine from birth.

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