We had a light dusting of snow for the first time this year here at Jackdaws Castle. This is the view from the Owner's Suite.
We are delighted to welcome Ms Manjeet Rai and Bully Rai here to Jonjo O'Neill Racing. They are the proud new owners of Head Lad. We wish them all the luck and success!
It was brilliant to see Annie Mc win by 18 lengths at Chepstow this afternoon. Congratulations to all of the Coral Champions Club members who were there today, and well done to Jonjo Jr. for another great ride and for Chris for leading it up!
YOU CAN WATCH THE FINISH OF THE RACE BELOW
Coral Champions Club Ambassador joined us last week to spend a morning with Annie Mc.
Watch him riding her on the gallops of the brilliant video from Coral below.
Jonjo O’Neill is, of course, very proud that his son managed to win a big race on Saturday, aboard Big Time Dancer in Kempton’s Lanzarote. But he is also a veteran of the weighing room of the 1970s, which was full of tough men, so he is unsurprisingly hard to impress and he doesn’t gush.
When I asked him on Sunday for his first reaction to the race, which he watched from his Jackdaws Castle base, he said: “I thought I could have ridden him meself.” It’s great fun, talking to Jonjo on the phone, when you can practically hear him smiling.
“Obviously, Jennie Candlish has done a great job with the horse and he jumped well and travelled well all the way through the race. And he had him in the right place at the right time. You’ve got to be cool and sensible and he did all that was asked of him. But he had the partner to help him.
“It’s lovely to see him ride winners and do it right instead of making a mess of it. It all went right.”
Jonjo is genuinely pleased for his son but he is also clear that he let him make his own decisions and never propelled him towards the weighing room, nor sugar-coated expectations of what Jonjo Jr might find there. “All I said to my two boys was, do whatever you enjoy doing most and you’ll be successful at it because you’ll always put in that 10% extra.
“But I’ve always told them it’s a very, very frustrating game. You can do everything right in this game and it can still bite you.
“It’s the greatest game in the world, as far as I’m concerned. But it’s how it all works out for you. You see some real good lads and they struggle to get rides. They can ride properly but they just don’t get on the right horses.
“I think he’s got quality, I’ll be honest with you. His weight is the only thing, it’s tough for him to do the bottom weights. But he’s well capable of making a good living at it, with luck.”
You can read the full article HERE.
We were delighted to welcome the 10 members of the first Jackdaws Racing Syndicate on Saturday along with family & friends who came to view their exciting 4yo Jeremy filly who will make her debut within the next few weeks.
Two members Nathan Ware & Jane Apted won the chance to name their filly & choose their own racing colours.
More syndicates are on there way & this is a fun & affordable opportunity to join us here at Jackdaws Castle & be an owner with Jonjo O'Neill. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest
Minella Rocco is among the 43 enries for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The JP McManus 9yo is yet to run this season, his most recent outing being on 4th February in the Irish Gold Cup.
hough lightly raced, Jonjo has plenty of faith in the 2017 Gold Cup runner-up when he finished ahead of Native River for the second time round Cheltenham, a year after his defeat of the Gold Cup title holder in the National Hunt Chase.
Palmers Hill winning at Cheltenham in November was a personal highlight of the season so far. Imagine – Jonjo’s son winning in JP’s colours at the home of jump racing? Oh yeah! It was another heart-warming story that makes the jumping game so very special.
Not that this looked likely at the start of the year.
Jonjo Jr. explained: “I got a few bad falls in the early spring but I broke my L5 vertebrae in March as I was trotting in the indoor school – it was very strange. I had eight months off and returned in October. It was a long eight months!
“Rehab was fantastic. It was all rehab-based as there was no surgery involved. I had to get the nutrition right and feed me the supplements, the vitamins and the calcium I was lacking.”
Although some might have been worried about his riding future, young Jonjo himself wasn’t in the least.
“I was always confident. It was just trying to get a grip on how to deal with it. It wasn’t an impact fall – more to do with my body. I knew I had to be patient."
Jonjo Jr. was trying the impossible to do 9-7 last year and his body weight was fluctuating wildly. “So I upped my weight – 10-7 is comfortable and I can do lighter with a bit of notice, although 10-3 would be as light as I would go."
“But now I feel strong and am not having sweat or waste as hard. It would not have been sustainable before and this has made a big difference to my mindset.”
Riding racehorses is what young Jonjo always wanted to do. “I had never thought about anything else. Mum and Dad were pushing me away from it because they know how hard it is, but it just made me feel more determined.”
The first winner came on Temple Lord at Worcester back in July, 2015. But now that things have settled down bit, he looks ready to crack on and has impressed many with his progress.
Palmers Hill didn’t do him any harm. “To have a winner at the November meeting, especially in JP’s colours was unbelievable and it as great they were all there.
“I want to go as far as I can in the conditionals race but I am a bit behind because I only started at the end of October.“
He only has super agent Dave Roberts to assist him. And of course, he is an O’Neill, so that will always help.
It was brilliant to see Tedham win at Wincanton today. Huge congratulations to Martin and well done Nick and the team!
You can catch the end of the race below.