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  • Ian Ender

STARS OF THE PAST PART 2.

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.


DEEP WATER 18 January 1994 Diesis-Water Course Owner-The Country Set.


When you list the top 10 horses to have been trained at Oakwood Stables, then Deep Water comfortably takes his place. He was bred to be a potential Group 1 performer over one mile, to one mile, two furlongs, being by Diesis out of an unraced Irish River mare. Owned by HRH Prince Fahd Salmon, he was put in to training at two with Paul Cole. He raced on eight occasions as a two, and three year old, his best effort coming at Salisbury when finishing second, earning a BHA mark of 72.

Deep Water arrived in Middleham at the end of October 1997, after being purchased at the Newmarket Sales, and was immediately gelded in preparation for his jumping career. He made the perfect start over jumps, when making a winning debut at Kelso,in January 1998, and followed up 13 days later at the same venue, beating future top class staying chaser Robbo by 14 lengths.He made it three appearances in a row at the Scottish track, when tackling the Grade 2 hurdle, finishing a very respectable second, but it was his next race at Aintree, at the Grand National meeting in the Glenlivet Hurdle, Grade 1 race, that he took his form to a new level, beating Martin Pipe's high class Rainbow Frontier by an easy 14 lengths. Deep water ended his juvenile hurdling career with an official rating of 150.

He was off the track until the following February of 1999, and in his first two runs back failed to beat an opponent in either race, in both the Grade 2 at Sandown, and the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, but at Haydock in February he was back in the winners enclosure, when winning the Grade 2 Hurdle under Brian Harding. He then took in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham, but a mark of 144, saw him weakening from the second last, and then he had his one and only flat race for us, finishing second of 10 over one mile, and three furlongs at Hamilton Park.

He made his chase debut after his Summer break in November 2000, finishing second at Carlisle, then followed up with two hard fought wins at Catterick, and Market Rasen, he fell on his last chase appearance that season at Musselborough.

We saw the very best of Deep Water as a four and five year old, but he continued to race until he was 11, providing his connections with many wonderful memories.A return to hurdles in 2002 saw him finish second off 113 at Ayr, and over fences in March 2003, he notched up back to back wins, taking his mark all the way back up to 124.His final win came in February 2004 at Catterick under Tony Dobbin, but he was still running to a high level at the age of 10 and 11, being placed off marks in the low 120's.He had his final race at Wetherby under Wilson Renwick, on December 3rd, 2005, finishing third, but returning lame.

Deep Water was a horse of a lifetime, and with an official rating of 150, was the second best National Hunt performer for his Sire, Diesis, just behind the Nick Gifford trained Straw Bear. Deep Water lived to be 26 years old, and enjoyed a very well deserved, happy and relaxing retirement.


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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