During the spring of 2012, Attaglance and Cape Tribulation gave Malcolm Jefferson his most successful period as a trainer.
Both were victorious at the Cheltenham Festival, and then completed a stunning double by winning at Aintree just a few weeks later. They found success over hurdles, with Attaglance winning the Martin Pipe before hauling top-weight to victory in the listed 2m4f handicap hurdle at Liverpool.
Cape Tribulation won a pair of staying hurdles at those spring festivals, before becoming something of a stable hero, when arguably reaching dizzier heights over fences. His finest hour came in January 2013, when winning the Grade 2 Argento Chase at Cheltenham in treacherous conditions. A month earlier he’d romped to victory in the Rowland Meyrick at Wetherby, in similarly testing conditions.
He was undoubtedly a star for the North Yorkshire yard, though by no means the first. Jefferson was brought up in Cumbria, and started his career in horse racing working at Greystoke for the legendary Gordon Richards. He switched to Yorkshire in 1981, when setting up camp at Newstead Cottage Stables, his home to this day.
He tasted success at the Cheltenham Festival in 1994, when Tindari took the Pertemps Hurdle Final. But it was 12 months later that a stable star announced himself by winning the Champion Bumper. That talented four-year-old was Dato Star, a horse that would go on to win the Fighting Fifth twice, and a Christmas Hurdle at Kempton. He hammered the talented French Holly when winning Newcastle’s showpiece in 1998.
Cyrus Darius looked set to become the latest star of the yard, before injury curtailed last winter’s chasing campaign. He had hosed-up in the Top Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree, but having scrambled home on chasing debut at Perth, spent the rest of last season on the sidelines. Thus far there is no news of his return, though Jefferson had hoped to get him back on track in November.
In his absence, Mount Mews could well become the yard’s flagbearer. He has an unblemished career to date, with three wins from three, including an impressive hurdling debut at Kelso a couple of days back. A powerful looking son of Presenting out of a Bob Back mare, he is owned by Trevor Hemmings, and looks sure to make into an exciting chaser. In the meantime, he may well make his presence felt over the smaller obstacles, especially when being stepped-up in trip.
Cloudy Dream is another that will have excited the Yorkshire based trainer. He’s proved a natural over fences, with two comfortable victories at Carlisle and Haydock. Yet another owned by Trevor Hemmings, the yard has high hopes for this fella, and he looks sure to play a part in the festivals later in the season.
Waiting Patiently is yet another novice chaser with a bright future. The son of Flemensfirth out of a Beneficial mare, was a comfortable winner on debut at Sedgefield. His form over hurdles tied in closely with Cloudy Dream, and he looks set to have another spin over fences at Newcastle later in the week. He’s very lightly raced, with only four career starts, and there’s sure to be plenty more to come from this five-year-old.
With Jefferson running at a 25% strike rate, the yard is in sparkling form. The chasers in particular are hitting a stunning 28% win rate. The test will come when the team venture south, as they are sure to do in the coming months. Of all the northern trainers, Jefferson appears to have the firepower with the potential of holding their own, when the tougher tests arrive.