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Happy New Year 05/01/09

2009 got off to a flying start for the Overbury stallions when Bertolini recorded his first Group winner on New Year’s Day at Ellerslie in New Zealand. Three-year-old filly Puttanesca won the G2 New Zealand Bloodstock Royal Stakes over 2000m following up on a good third in the G3 Eulogy Stakes in December.

Over the Christmas holidays, Smokey Rye, a full-sister to Bertolini’s four-time juvenile winner Smokey Ryder, extended the family’s excellent recent record when winning over a mile at Lingfield to secure her third victory.

With so much excellent jump racing in Christmas week, Kayf Tara’s offspring have also been busy. Jau, a half -brother to one of the nation’s favourite flat horses, Sergeant Cecil, announced his arrival on the National Hunt scene when winning the Wincanton Boxing Day bumper in tenacious fashion.

Despite his illustrious sibling, the five-year-old was overlooked in the betting market on his racecourse debut and was sent off at 33/1. The Anthony Honeyball-trained gelding is unlikely to be offered at such generous odds again after taking the lead turning for home and battling up the straight alongside King’s Legacy, the even-money favourite from Paul Nicholls’ yard, and eventually getting the better of him within the last 100 yards.  Out of the Touching Wood mare Jadidh, Jau is still owned by his breeder Susan Brimble and was raised at Overbury Stud.

Jau’s victory sealed a memorable Boxing Day for Kayf Tara’s runners after the highly regarded Micheal Flips obliged in the opening race at Kempton to win by seven lengths under Champion jockey A P McCoy. Bought at Brightwells’ April sale at Cheltenham, Micheal Flips, then a winning point-to-pointer, changed hands for £200,000. He has now won three races from four starts and is considered a live contender for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

Later in the week, the tenacious mare Give It Time recorded her third Listed hurdles victory when winning at Leopardstown. She will now be given a short break in order to keep her fresh for her Cheltenham Festival target, the David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle.

J Henderson’s homebred Dream Garden recorded his second steeplechase victory when scoring by nine lengths at Leicester on 28 December and Planet Of Sound was another convincing winner of a novice chase, this time at Newbury, when romping home by seven lengths under Richard Johnson. The Philip Hobbs-trained seven-year-old runs for his breeder C G M Lloyd-Baker and has also won twice over hurdles and been placed a further four times in just nine starts.