Cole Harden ran out a seriously impressive winner on Saturday at Wetherby. Tidal Bay had won the previous two running’s of the Grade 2 West Yorkshire Hurdle at the grand old age of 11 and 12. But this year’s winner at five is still very much in the fledgling stage of a promising career.
Warren Greatrex must be thrilled to bits to have a horse of this quality. The victory was the first major success for the yard that has started the new season so well, with 26 winners in just 71 runs, at a strike-rate of 36%. Kaysersberg made it a double on the day with a comfortable win in the novice chase, the final race on the card.
Greatrex, previously assistant to Oliver Sherwood, started on his own in 2009, and now has around 70 horses at his stables in Upper Lambourn. Last season was a cracker with 43 winners, almost touching a winner in every four runs. That was a serious improvement on the previous year, and with total prize money of over £250,000 the yard is now capable of competing with the very best.
There can be little doubt that the arrival of Gavin Sheehan has played a huge part in the team’s fortunes. A winner of the Conditional Jockey’s title, Sheehan looks an absolute natural. His ride on Cole Harden showed off his talents perfectly. Taking matters into his own hands in a field of three, he gradually applied pressure from the front, before running away from two high class horses, At Fishers Cross and Medinas. His judgement of pace was pretty much perfect.
The Greatrex/Sheehan partnership looks to be one for the future. With 11 unbeaten bumper winners last season, this winter has the potential of being the best ever. Two in particular, also winners at Wetherby back in April, are Ma Du Fou and One Track Mind. Both have a great pedigree and won their bumpers emphatically. The former was purchased by Dai Walters, who is yet another high-profile owner attracted to the Warren Greatrex racing team.
Similar in many ways to the Skelton’s, this looks to be an upwardly mobile partnership, which is sure to make a huge impact over the coming years. Expect to see plenty more ‘big Saturday' wins for horses trained by W Greatrex and ridden by G Sheehan.