Catch up with the life of Ceredigion’s youngest driver
So the 2012 season is just about over, most of the horses have gone home for the winter and were now starting to get some youngster to break in. The last meeting of the year for us didn’t go that well. We were all set to race at Walton, had 3 tacked up ready to go in races 3 and 4 but after race 2 they cancelled because it was so wet. I think the horse were quite pleased though they didn’t look like they wanted to go out in all the rain. It’s been a very difficult year with the never ending rain. On a more positive note I got my first winner this year so I can’t complain.
We haven’t got too many at the moment which is nice as I get a bit of a lie-in in the mornings. A few more will be coming in soon though to break them into the cart which is always interesting. At the moment we have a brother to Billy and Katie who we are long reining at the moment before he goes in the cart. I also have a pacer that I’m breaking in to ride. I enjoy teaching them to ride under saddle, most of them are quiet and pick stuff up quickly. It’s nice to have a little project of my own to do. I’ll let you know when we get some new horses in so I can keep you updated on their progress.
Sorry it’s been such a long time since I wrote here last. We’ve had quite an up and down season because of the really bad weather so we haven’t been racing that much. Since I spoke to you last though me and Cati (Rush Around) won a race at the Tanycastell meeting which was brilliant. That’s a picture of the two of us after we won. We got a good draw so I decided it was now or never so we just went for it and led from start to finish, I was so pleased with her. It’s nice to get my first win over and done with and hopefully there will be a few more to come. On the same day my Dad and brother both won races so Ceredrotian wrote about us in their newsletter and Rasus came to do a bit of filming.
Then meeting after meeting got cancelled. Luckily they managed to move the Tregaron meeting to Amman Valley and Rhys and Benji (Fool Around) won the Welsh Classic which was amazing. It’s one of the biggest races of the year and he’s dreamed of winning it since he was little so that was really nice. Were supposed to be racing in Lampeter this Saturday so I can finally get back in the cart and get racing again. We had a horrible thunder storm this morning though so we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed for dry weather for the rest of the week.
Had quite a busy day at Ammanford last Sunday. Me and Cati were the first ones out. I was drawn 2 but knew the ones around me were going to get out of the gate faster than me so we were left two wide and had no hope of getting a space on the rail. I didn’t think I would be able to get to the lead so we waited patiently on the outside. Coming off the third bend I thought I still had a fairly good chance so I got behind Just Floyd, hoping he would be a good one to follow. He must have got a bit tired by the home straight so I had to try and find a gap between him and Ynyston JJ. I just managed to push my way through for 3rd. I was very happy with Cati, she ran brilliant seen as she was wide the whole way. Hopefully I’ll be driving her again in 10 days in Allensmore in the 1 win race.
The rest of the horses all went well. McCaw won again, he doesn’t concentrate much so we’ll have to work on that. Nadia and Beth were against each other. Mike drove Beth and Michael O’Mahony drove Nadia. They both went really good and were 2nd and 3rd. We should be really busy now washing tack and getting everything ready for the Ceredigion 3 days but it got cancelled because of the weather.
I’m driving Cati at Amman Valley this weekend. There’s 8 horses in the race with me. A few of them are having their first race of the season like Afan Sir Ivor and Style Matters so not sure how they will go first time. Just Floyd could be the one to watch as he went well down there a couple of weeks ago. I was happy with the way Cati finished in Cilmery and Mike’s not in the race this time so I won’t be stuck behind him. Hopefully we’ll get a good draw and pick some prize money.
Were also taking McCaw, Nance, Beth and Nadia. Mike was going to drive all of them but Nadia and Beth are in the same race so we’ll have to find someone to drive one of them once Mike decides which one to choose.
We’ve had a new horse this week, Blue Daragh. She’s a nice little grey, a bit noisy around other horses but she’ll get used to the place soon. She’s only a qualifier but she should be a good little addition to the stable.
Started to get excited for the big three days at Aberystwyth hopefully we’ll get some nice weather.
We took three horses to Amman Valley Saturday evening, even though it was raining it was quite a good nights racing. Hope you all watched it on Rasus. KTM was in a qualifier but she must have hurt herself so Mike had to pull her up. McCaw is a young horse who has still got a lot to learn, but showed he would be good one day by winning his race even after he broke his stride badly in the first corner. Then we had Marco running in the big race which was the Welsh cup, unfortunately he drew 7, which made the race a lot harder for him as he ended up stuck behind a wall of horses who were tired, but he still managed to come 4th after getting round them all.
Then we had another evening meeting in Cilmeri on Wednesday night, luckily we had a couple of sunny days which was good to make sure the races were on because everybody was worried that it would be too wet and the races wouldn’t go ahead. We were meant to have 7 runners but Dora couldn’t run because she had to go back to Talgrwn for a couple of days, and Dollar also had to be pulled out because he had a bad leg, but he seems to be ok now. Rocky was our first runner he had a good race but hit a bad patch of ground which slowed him down so he only managed 3rd. McCaw ran next but he was hampered on the last bend and broke badly. Then Tom ran a good race and came home third. Wednesday night was my first drive of the season, I was a bit nervous because the track was quite wet down the back straight and I wasn’t sure what Cati would think of it, Mike also had Nance in the same race as me, and my brother was driving a horse as well. The race went quite well we managed to keep it together down the back straight both times and I came home in 5th just beating Mike and Nance. We were meant to be racing in Allensmore on Sunday but its cancelled so I won’t get to drive again now until the weekend after.
Well that was a busy weekend I’m still tired! Sunday was a very busy, very wet day but the horses made up for it by all running so well. Dawn re qualified and is now ready to race. We had our third winner of the season with Dollar. He can be a bit of a strange horse sometimes so it was good to see him going well and he led from start to finish. Tom missed out on a winner; Mahogany Dream was a bit too quick for him but second was still good.
It was a really early morning on Monday had to get up at 4.30am!!! We managed to get the horses mucked out and fed in time though so I got to have a trip to Appleby. Appleby wasn’t quite as successful as Leominster was on Sunday; Marco broke and lost any chance he had of winning. My brother, Rhys on the other hand had a much better day. Bana was 2nd in his heat and won the final. There was a steward’s enquiry though so we were waiting for ages and I think I must have walked at least 2 miles!
This week we’re off to Walton and hopefully it won’t be quite as wet but I think that might be wishful thinking. Tom and Dollar are racing again and Rocky is having his first race of the year.
Yes!! Not only one winner but two, Beth and Dora both won. Dora’s race was a bit too close for comfort, it was a photo finish and she only just beat Mahogany Dream to the line. Beth won quite easy though so that was less nerve raking.
We’ve had quite a quiet week this week. Three of the mares have had to go to Talgrwyn Stud to have AI so that they can have foals. All three of the horse will run in foal for a little while, probably until August so this will be there last year in training.
By the weekend it’ll be getting busy though. We are taking four horses to Leominster on Sunday. Tom and Dollar are both racing, Dawn is in a qualifier and we are taking Cati again for a run around. Dawn has raced before but because she had an injury last year and didn’t race we will take her in a few qualifiers to make sure her legs are ok. Mike’s mum and sister are taking Marco up to Appleby on Sunday because he’s running up there on Monday which means we won’t have much help at the races. Mike is driving up to Appleby on Monday to race Marco. I’m not sure if I’m going up to watch yet it depends how fast I can muck out in the morning!
So we went to the races in Leominster on Sunday and it was even sunny for a change. We didn’t get any rosettes this week but all the horses came back safe and sound. My brother Rhys did well getting a second with Home Habana!
We’ve had a nice week on the yard; all the horses are getting some play time in the paddocks out in the sun, so I have less mucking out to do in the afternoon which is good! This job is the best when the sun’s shining.
This week we’re taking 5 horses to Amman Valley Races, Dora and Beth will be racing, hopefully they’ll bring the first red rosettes of the season. Then we have two Youngsters Sleepy and Katie going for some practice and to see the track for the first time. We’re also taking my horse Cati for a run around.
I’m Annwen. I’m 18 years old and from a harness racing family. My dad bred Scoot Around and my Dadcu trained Saunders Leopard to win Musselburgh well before I was even born.
Last year I got my license to drive in races. I drove in three races which was really exciting, and I even managed to get two rosettes! This year I’m working in Dragon Heart Stables and I get to work with 13 horses every day. I start work at 7 o’clock in the morning. I muck out all the stables and then start getting the horses ready to go on the track. I usually get to jog two horses a day and I mainly jog Dora (Adore Hanover) and Cati (Rush Around). Cati is my favourite horse and I will hopefully be driving her in races soon.
This week we are taking 3 horses to the races, Tom, Marco and Dora. Tom and Dora are in the same race so that will be a busy time. Hopefully they all run well and come back safe and sound.
Check in with me next week to see how they got on.