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ALDERBROOK LAD. 14 May 2006-Chestnut Gelding Alderbrook-Alone Tabankulu Owner-Ian Barran, Rita Butler and Gemma Hogg.

In our yard the 'Lad' you almost certainly think would be the stable star would be Cornerstone Lad, but there is another Lad who has reasonable claims to dispute who in fact is the top Lad, because this elder statesman, who reached the lofty rating of 144 in his younger days, who almost got killed on the streets of Middleham, when running loose, who has had 70 races,might just have a case for top billing.

It was thanks to our ex, go to jump jockey, turned very successful trainer Neil Mulholland, who alerted Micky to the fact that Alderbrook Lad was up for sale. He was duly purchased at Doncaster Sales in November 2013 for £7000, he looked a bargain purchase then, and he certainly looks one now.

After an inauspicious start when falling at the first on his stable debut at Catterick, he soon hit back by winning his next two starts at that track, both in heavy ground, although it would turn out over the years that he his best performances would actually be achieved on good ground. From an opening mark of 103 over fences, and in the space of just six months, with three further wins, this time all over hurdles, he found himself rated 140. Because of his ground preference, summer jumping seemed the logical move, and because he loved to force the pace, Cartmel Racecourse which suits a bold front runner, has become his second home.

Taking advantage of a 17lb lower mark over fences Alderbrook Lad won two in a row at Cartmel in May, and June, of 2015, making all on both occasions, and accumulating £20.000 in prize money, he finished that campaign with a rating of 144. He has returned to Cartmel a further 18 times since, winning twice, and being placed a further nine times. He ran in a total of 65 races under rules, which included 57 over fences, of which he won eight, and eight times over hurdles, of which he won three, he also ran in five point to points, winning one of those as well.In total he amassed just over £110,000 in prize money.

He ran his final race at Cartmel on August 7th, 2020, putting in a typically gutsy effort, when giving his all as always, over a distance of two miles, a trip it appears, his old legs just hasn't the pace for anymore.He will always be remembered for his leaps over the fences, especially at Cartmel, which were 'spectacular,' as he gained lengths in the air, over his rivals.

Alderbrook Lad retires in one piece at the grand old age of 14, and is assured a loving home for the rest of his days, with his owners.

HOLLINS 15 April 2004 Lost Soldier-Cutting Reef Owner-R D Bickenson.

Over the years the yard have had a lot of success with horses bought out of the Luca Cumani yard, via the Newmarket sales, that is where Hollins arrived from.He is a very well bred horse, being by American sire Lost Soldier, out of a Kris mare, with a best Racing Post Rating of 108.

Hollins was too backward to run as a youngster, so was sold unraced. He made his debut for us in a bumper at Wetherby in March 2008, and despite whipping around and unseating before the start, ran on to be a very respectable second.He disappointed at Ayr the next time, but was later to have found to scoped badly.He made his flat debut at Newcastle in May, once again finishing well to be runner up, over what looked an inadequate 12 furlongs, and when stepped up to one mile and six furlongs at Catterick, he just failed to give 15lb of weight for age to the Howard Johnson trained Woody Waller. His final two starts of his first season were both well below par efforts, with Paul Hanagan reporting that the gelding was unsuited by the heavy ground.

He was put away for the winter, and was not seen until the following July. The break had done him good, as under Frederick Tylicki, he stormed home by three and a half lengths, from a mark of 70. He had another three runs on the flat that Summer, without success, and then made his hurdles debut at Hexham in November, finishing a moderate third. A month later at Kelso, he showed the benefit of that debut, when getting off the mark over jumps by 10 lengths. His next run also at Kelso in February 2010, saw him finish third under a penalty, receiving an official mark of 122. His next race gave his owner a big day out, as he was allowed to take his chance in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, where he finished a very respectable 14 lengths, behind that years winner, Menorah. Back on the flat at York in May, from a mark of 70, he was back in the winners enclosure, coming home by six lengths in good to firm ground.He went to Royal Ascot for the Queen Alexandra, going under by ten lengths, and then it was on to Glorious Goodwood, where under Frankie Dettori, from a mark of 85, he finished sixth of the 20 runners.

He started the 2011 season back over the jumps at Kelso, and Cheltenham, but off marks in the 130's wasn't getting competitive. A return to the flat in June, saw a revival in form, with a solid second placing at Pontefract, before a return to Glorious Goodwood on July 27th, where Hollins would have his greatest moment, in winning the prestigious 'Goodwood Stakes' over two miles and four furlongs, under Paul Hanagan. He was down the field in the Cesarewitch trial at Newmarket in September, before making his chase debut at Mussleburgh in November, unfortunately showing very little inclination for this new discipline.

After his winters break he returned to the flat in April 2012, but finished well down the field on all four starts. In December he had a second go over the fences, failing to complete in three of his four attempts, before finishing second at Catterick in March 2013.He had two more races for us, without success before being sold at the Doncaster sales to the Stafford-shire trainer, Tony Forbes to continue his racing.He enjoyed a 17 race career for his new yard, finally coming good over fences on December 13th, 2013, from a mark of 99. Hollins was a great servant for the yard, winning at Glorious Goodwood, as well as running at Royal Ascot, and The Cheltenham Festival.

RASSEEM. 08 February 2002. Fasliyev-Yorba Linda. Owner-Ian Ender.

Today I am guilty of being a shade indulgent, by writing about one of my horses, the first horse I had in training with Micky Hammond.

Rasseem was bought at the Newmarket horses in training sale in the Autumn of 2004. she had been in training at Newmarket with Saeed bin Suroor, and ran four times in the colours of Sheikh Mohammed, Her best run came on debut at Nottingham in July 2004, finishing second of the four runners, but earning a Racing Post Rating of 76. She appeared to take a backward step on her second run, but was a decent third at Redcar on her next start. Her last run in the Godolphin colours was back at Nottingham in September, when disappointingly dropping away under Frankie Dettori, who had also ridden her on her previous two starts.

Racing for the first time for her new yard, in December on the sand at Southwell, couldn't have gone any worse. She was badly hampered as the stalls opened, injuring Tony Culhane, who had to pull up due to being unable to ride. 20 later at Wolverhampton she could never get involved, and finished last of the 11 runners. A step up to seven furlongs at Wolverhampton at the end of January 2005 offered a little more hope,she finished fifth, beaten 12 lengths in a maiden, giving us hope that she might get competitive in a minor race.

Rasseem was only small, and had not physically developed as a three year old, so we decided to drop her into selling company. Paul Hanagan took the ride at Wolverhampton, and from stall eight she finished ninth of the 13, but only beaten four lengths After the race Paul Hanagan told me that if he had ridden her differently,he thought that he would win, and assured me he would go very close next time. There was no suitable race for three weeks, (and it was a very long three weeks).until back at Wolverhampton over the same course and distance, but this time with one big difference, the plum draw of the number one stall, she took up the running just inside the final furlong, and after what seemed an eternity, she passed the post with half a length to spare, at the once in a lifetime price of 16/1.

I was under no illusion, that due to sensible placing, and an awful lot of luck, I was a very proud winning owner. Just over two weeks later back at Wolverhampton, but stepping down a furlong, and from a bad draw of 10, she stayed on, but was beaten three lengths.The good news was that 'PMRacing' had, had their eye on her, as a potential broodmare, and claimed her after the race. She was sent to race out of the Simon Earle yard, but in three runs never managed to strike a blow, and was sent to the paddocks to be covered.

Rasseem produced two offspring, the first a filly by Mind Games, and the second a colt by Three Valleys, but neither could get their heads in front.

When winning, Rasseem gave me one of my greatest moments in racing, and it was at least a week until I came back down to earth, and reality kicked back in again.

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