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HEIDI 21 April 1995. Bayolidaan-Irlandaise Owner-J McAllister.

Heidi is a French bred gelding who raced five times in his native France, three times on the flat and twice over jumps, before joining Micky in 1999, His final run before arriving at Oakwood Stables was a winning debut over fences, in a four year old chase at Pau.

That win would prove to be the first of 10 consecutive races where Heidi would not finish out of the first two. He made his British debut at Carlisle in November 1999, after a 10 months break, finishing second under Brian Harding. It was another five months until he was seen again, returning at Carlisle in April, winning a novice hurdle by 11 lengths. At Wetherby 18 days later, he carried his penalty with ease, winning by a length and a half, in a conditional jockeys race. He completed a quick hat-trick at Perth in June 2000, when winning a four runner novice at odds of 1/5. His final run over hurdles, before going chasing, was a handicap debut off 118, when finishing second, again at Wetherby.

Heidi made his chase debut at Newcastle in November 2000, he went down by a head, and then filled the same position on Boxing Day back at Wetherby. It would be his next appearance in January 2001, at Doncaster in the prestigious 'Great Yorkshire Chase,' that would prove the highlight of his career. Making great use of a featherweight 10 stone 2lb, he won the £70,000 race, under Dean Gallagher. Heidi wasn't finished there, as just three weeks later he was back in the winners enclosure again, winning at Newcastle, this time in the hands of Adrian Maguire. Heidi had now run nine times for the yard, and had never finished out of the first two.His final race of the 2001 season was an audacious attempt at the Whitbread Gold Cup at Sandown, where he ran his usual game race, but probably didn't see out the three miles and five furlongs.

When Micky took a break from training in the Summer of 2001, Heidi was transferred in to the care of Andy Crook, and after a pipe opener to get fit, he proved himself as good as ever by finishing second in the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby, on December 27th. He had a further three runs for Andy, culminating with a second place back at Wetherby in April 2002, to that wonderful old horse Grey Abbey.

After that race the owners decided that a change of scenery was required, and Heidi was sent to be trained in Wales by Lisa Williiamson. He showed little in his first two runs for the yard, but a return to Wetherby on December 7th, saw him finish a good second from a reduced mark of 118. That was his last race for 15 months, until returning in a hunters chase at Bangor in March 2004, where he finished second. It was back in to handicap company again after that, finishing third at the same track. He had three more runs for the Williamson yard, failing to get competitive on any occasion, before returning to the Micky Hammond yard to see out the remainder of his career.

He had his comeback run for the yard in January 2005, winning by four lengths under Tony Dobbin, but this would prove to be his final win.He was placed in his next two races, and again on his return in the Autumn of 2005. but as the age of 11 approached, he wasn't getting any faster. He raced a further six times through to May 2006, bowing out at Cartmel, by finishing sixth under Barry Keniry.

Heidi retired to a life in the sunshine with his owner. He now spends his days in Alvor, in the Algarve, Portugal.

CAMPLI 13 May 2002. Zafonic-Sept A Neuf. Owner-Racing Management & Training Ltd & Ian Ender.

Campli was another purchase out of the Luca Cumani yard, in the Autumn of 2005, from the Newmarket horses in training sales.He is a son of the 1993 '2000 Guineas' winner Zafonic, out of an unraced Be My Guest mare.

Campli made his debut in a bumper at Ayr in March 2004, finishing forth of the six runners, beaten 11 lengths, and not appreciating the soft ground. On a faster surface at Perth in April, he finished a very promising second, especially since he was pulling too hard early on. At Sedgefield in June on his third start, he coasted home by seven lengths, giving his jockey Neil Mulholland, what must have been the easiest winner of his entire career, winning at 11/10 favourite.Hopes were high for a follow up at Market Rasen in July, but after going second two furlongs from home, he hung violently, coming home in forth, beaten 10 lengths. He made his hurdles debut at Sedgefield in August, and although he finished second, he was beaten in-excess of 30 lengths, showing little aptitude for this new discipline.In October he made the long trip to Kelso, but unfortunately the mornings heavy rain had got in to the ground, and Campli came home in fifth, beaten 18 lengths.

He returned to racing in April 2007, and ran a blinder under Michael Stainton, finishing second in the 10 furlong maiden, to future Champion Hurdle runner up, Celestial Halo. Three weeks later at Sedgefield he showed no aptitude for jumping, and that would be the last time he ever ran over hurdles.It was back to the flat in May at Thirsk, where he once again showed great promise in the maiden over 12 furlongs, staying on well into third place.At Catterick in August on his handicap debut from a mark of 69, he came there travelling three out, but not for the first time hung badly, this time under Paul Hanagan. He then raced twice at Musselburgh in August and September, over 12 furlongs, and 14 furlongs, finishing third on both occasions, staying on at the finish both times.

Campli raced a further five times for Micky, between May, and July 2008, but he was proving very difficult to keep sound. In an attempt to freshen him up, and after an eight month break, he reappeared in March 2009, now in the care of Malton trainer Brian Ellison. He made his stable, and all weather debut at Wolverhampton over the extended nine furlongs, he attempted to make all, and only got caught on the line.He also went to Musselburgh over seven furlongs, and only succumbed by a neck there, before finally winning for the second time in his career at Wolverhampton, over the seven furlongs in May 2009. He would race twice more, running respectably at Carlisle, on both occasions before he was retired, as injury had caught up with him, finally.

For me the remarkable thing about this horse was how when racing for Micky over 14 furlongs, and when racing for Brian Ellison over seven furlongs, he was producing very similar performances, from the same handicap mark, give or take a 1lb or two. Which begs the question, was Campli a very unusual horse, or is it that not enough horses are given the chance to show how versatile they might be?

VALIANT WARRIOR 27 March 1988. Valiyar-Jouvencelle. Owner-Paul Sellars.

Valiant Warrior was bred to be a decent middle distance performer on the flat, and over the course of a 62 race career, he performed on the flat, over hurdles, and fences, including hunter chases.

His career began in September 1990, in the care of trainer Henry Candy, finishing midfield in a seven furlong two year old maiden at Leicester.After three runs he was given a handicap mark of 70, but it would take until October of his three year old season, on his 12th start at Chepstow, before he finally got his head in front.It was on his final start for the Candy yard in his next race, that he probably ran his best race, off a mark of 71, he stayed on strongly, over twelve furlongs.

Now with David Nicholson he began his hurdling career in January 1992, finishing third at Kempton, but not convincing that a win was imminent. He was disappointing in his next three attempts, but still lined up in the 1992 'Daily Express Triumph Hurdle,' finishing 20 of the 30 runners.

Valiant Warrior was purchased by Micky in the Summer of 1992, and had three runs without success on the flat. He made his hurdles debut for the yard at Wetherby in October, going off at 11/4 favourite, he made all under Peter Niven, coming home five lengths clear of One Man, (yes, you did read that correctly.) There was no doubt that Valiant Warrior was a very talented horse, but he also had a mind of his own, and in three further runs, he failed to get competitive.

He made his chase debut a winning one at Perth in August 1993, quickly following up at Bangor, followed by a staying on second at Cheltenham, and then winning a handicap at Haydock, his rating was now a generous looking 109, either he had matured, or fences had sweetened his attitude up. Unfortunately he missed the following year through injury,returning in November 1994, having seven runs, winning three, and placing in all of the others, his mark had now climbed to 125.

After his Summer break, he returned at Wetherby in December 1995,and his consistency, and improvement continued apace, winning a further two races, and taking his new mark up to 139. In December 1996, on his return for the following season, he started with a second at Haydock, and a third at Newbury, he was now probably in the grip of the handicapper.His final start of the 1996-1997 season was a tilt at the Grand National, from a mark of 152, probably not seeing out the four miles and four furlongs, he still finished a very gallant tenth in Lord Gyllene's year.

Valiant Warrior was 11 years old when returning for the 1998 season, and was finding life hard from a mark of 133, but the handicapper did relent, and in March 1999 he got his head in front for the 11th, and final time at Newcastle off 115.

Injury struck again, but it was decided to go down the hunter chase route for one last hurrah, He contested the Martell Fox Hunters Chase at Aintree, in April, but got no further than the first fence when falling.In February 2001, at the age of 13 he was second at Musselburgh, under Adrian Maguire, and he finished his career at Perth on the 15th May 2001, when pulling up lame.

Valliant Warrior was one of the very best horses to fly the flag for Oakwood Stables, and a credit to his very proud owner Paul Sellars.

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