Anthony Honeyball Stable Tour 2021/22 is delighted to continue its sponsorship of the very talented National Hunt yard of Anthony Honeyball. Operating out of Potwell Farm, set in a beautiful nook on the Dorset / Somerset border, Anthony and Rachael have been gradually improving both the quality and quantity of horses they race; and this term promises much on both scores.

I spoke at length to Anthony yesterday about his team for this season and below are his thoughts and hopes for the campaign ahead.

The comments are presented in a table which may be sorted by any of the column headings, and may be searched from the box to the right just below this sentence.


Acey Milan2014GeldingChaseWon at Aintree on seasonal bow last year and is entered there again on Sunday. Main target is the Rehearsal Chase
Belle De Manech2016MareHdl/ChsHas a good record fresh and goes to the Wincanton mares' handicap hurdle in early November. It's been a good race for the yard and looks ideal for her. She's had a wind op since last season.
Bohemian Lad2018GeldingNHFHe's a hardy type. Will have a racecourse gallop somewhere midwinter and then aim at a bumper in the spring. Be a lovely jumper in time.
Cape Vidal2017GeldingNHFGood size, robust individual who is taking his work well. Should be ready for a bumper in December.
Captain Claude2017GeldingNHFHas progressed well at home, and did a nice racecourse gallop last spring. We just ran out of time to get to the track. Ready to go now and should hopefully take some beating first time up.
Coquelicot2016MareFlat/HdlA very good bumper mare (Listed winner) for, she didn't quite get her jumping together last season. Will start in a 1m6f novice at Nottingham before going hurdling. Has had a wind op since last season.
Credo2015MareHurdleLove her. Unbeaten in three (Irish point, two bumpers) and is from a strong staying family (including Cyclop). Will go mares' maiden/novice hurdling and should win a 2m4f soft ground heat.
Dear Ralphy2016GeldingNHFHalf to The King's Writ, he's progressing nicely. We've not asked him for everything yet and feel he has more to show us. Be ready for a bumper in December.
Deja Vue2014MareChaseVery consistent and classy mare. Could go to Fontwell on 5th November, or Uttoxeter on 13th. Were she to win we'd be looking at something like the Tommy Whittle with her.
Emzara2016MareNHFWas ready to run and then got a little niggle last backend. Ready again now and might go to Aintree Sunday. She ought to be worth the wait and should go well.
Multiplex ex Montelfolene2017FillyNHFComing along steadily. Related to Soll, and should be ready in the spring for a bumper.
Champs Elysees ex Purely By Chance2017FillyNHFRelated to Ucanaver, she was quite backward last term. Has had a good long break and ought to be ready for a bumper in the New Year. Looking forward to her.
Black Sam Bellamy ex Rouquine Sauvage2018GeldingNHFOut of a mare we won three with, he's a big horse who will probably want some wet ground. One for later in the season.
Fanfaron Dino2015GeldingHdl/ChsHe'll go straight over fences this season. Is potentially nicely handicapped but has a bit to prove after a couple of flattish runs last term.
Firestream2017GeldingNHFWe like this lad a lot. He's a very good work horse and showed plenty in a racecourse gallop last backend. We'd be very hopeful he'll go close on debut, may run at Ascot Saturday week.
Fortuna Ligna2017FillyNHFAnother of our bumper squad, she by Soldier of Fortune out of a Bob Back mare, two pedigree parts we love. Had a racecourse gallop last term and will be entered up soon. Goes nicely at home.
Forward Plan2016GeldingNHFAthletic sort who won an Irish point before coming to us. Will be ready in a fortnight or so. Clean winded and has a nice action; looking forward to him in a bumper before switching to hurdles at some point.
Gabriel's Getaway2017GeldingNHFRelated to Burtons Well and Burton Port among others. Showed a fair bit at home and in a racecourse gallop. Can be a bit gawky but loads of ability and we'd like to think he'll go very close 1st time.
Glorious Isolation2016MareHurdleWill head straight over hurdles. She's schooled superbly and, though she might need the experience early, ought to come into her own at some point this season. Will start in 2m maiden hurdles.
Good Look Charm2016MareNHFWon a bumper at the second time of asking last season since when she joined us. Is sister to a Punchestown Land Rover bumper winner. Might start at Aintree on Sunday. Going nicely.
Gustavian2015GeldingChaseHyper consistent (3 wins, 5 seconds and a third from 9 runs) and will graduate to fences this season. Should have a little more still to come. Probably wants soft or heavy to show his best. Has had a wind op.
Hatos2017GeldingNHF/HdlBought him after he was 2nd in an Irish point. He's a very well balanced athletic horse who goes well at home and will have a spin in a bumper before switching to hurdles. Looking forward to him.
Howlingmadmurdock2017GeldingNHFRelated to Time For Rupert and the smart Easy As That among others. Was just about ready in the spring but the ground went against us. Extra time has done him good. Will be out soon.
Jail No Bail2017GeldingNHFA strong galloper who was ready to run in a maiden point before I bought him and put him away for the summer. Going very well and should take some beating in an ordinary bumper.
Jepeck2009GeldingChaseVeterans' Chase Final winner a couple of seasons back, he's probably going hurdling this time around. Seems to retain all his affection for the game. Wants it soft or heavy ideally.
Khalina Star2017FillyNHF/HdlHad a racecourse gallop last season and another we ran out of time with when the ground dried up. Very laid back mare who seems to have more than she shows us! She's ready to go in a bumper for a syndicate.
Kid Commando2014GeldingChaseA good jumper: neat and brave. He might go to Ascot Saturday week for the novices' handicap chase. He was a point winner before coming to us so we expect he'll improve for fences. Has had a wind op since last campaign.
Konigin Isabella2018FillyNHFAnother syndicate filly, she's by an interesting German sire. Is probably our sharpest 3yo and the plan is to head to Warwick on 17th November for a fillies' junior bumper.
Le Coeur Net2012GeldingChaseStable stalwart has won five for us in recent seasons. High enough in the weights perhaps but does handle mud well so every chance he'll add to his tally through the winter.
Lilith2015MareHdl/ChsShe didn't meet our expectations last season and, as a result is potentially very well handicapped now. Will mix hurdling and chasing and should be best on soft or heavy ground.
Marco Island2017GeldingNHFA big strong horse by Mahler, he might find bumpers happening a bit quick (and might not!), but he'll be a lovely horse over a fence in due course.
Midnight Callisto2015MareHurdleDidn't respect her hurdles enough last season as a novice and has a lenient looking mark as a result. She's schooled much better so we're very hopeful she can step forward. May mix fences with hurdling later in the season. Had a wind op.
Miss Hunky Dory2018FillyNHFLovely mover who is from the family of Dubacilla, Desert Queen and Mister Malarky. She'll need a little more time, likely starting in a bumper in the spring. We like her.
Mister Allegro2018GeldingHurdleDidn't pull up any trees in a few runs on the level but jumped brilliantly when winning a juvenile hurdle on debut (2nd won since). He may go to Wincanton this weekend.
Mollie Brown2018FillyNHFFrom the family of Sam Brown. Is doing all we've asked of her so far and one for a back end bumper.
Pour Me Another2017GeldingNHFAnother ready last season but didn't get a run, and for whom the extra time will be no bad thing. Will run in bumpers before too long, probably won't want it too soft.
Precious2016MareNHF/HdlBig mare who won her bumper well before finding it a bit much in Listed company on second start. She'll probably have another crack at a Listed bumper at the Cheltenham Open meeting before going hurdling. She's a lovely mare.
Pure Vision2011GeldingChaseHas run some nice races at Grade A tracks without perhaps hitting the heights we thought he would. Not sure on plans this season, though it's possible he'll go the hunter chase route. Would be an interesting recruit to that sphere.
Regal Encore2008GeldingChaseThe stable flag-bearer for a decade he was just touched off in a handicap, aged 13, from a mark of 150 last season! He'll start Saturday week in the valuable Ascot handicap he won last year.
Rubys Reward2016MareHurdleHas ability and goes hurdling this season. Could win a maiden but may be one for handicaps when she's accumulated some experience.
Sam Brown2012GeldingChaseAnother yard favourite, he demolished a Grade 2 novice chase field last season before losing his way a little. Back in form now and may run in a Haydock graduation chase before a crack at the Welsh National.
Serious Charges2017GeldingNHF/Hdl2nd in an Irish point (winner sold for £175k), 20L clear of remainder. Is the proverbial chaser in the making, though will have one crack at a bumper before going hurdling this season. 2m4f maidens his starting point.
Sojourn2013GeldingChaseConsistent, having won three of nine (placed four more times) so far. Likely heads to Ascot Saturday week and if he goes well we might look at something like the Becher Chase for him.
Starship Mona2018FillyNHFOut of the good bumper mare Lifeboat Mona, this filly will start off down that route in the spring, or possibly next autumn.
Sully d'Oc Aa2014GeldingChaseGave us a brilliant day at Punchestown in May, winning a valuable prize there. Will probably start in either the Haldon Gold Cup (Exeter) or join our Ascot squad a week Saturday. He wouldn't want it too soft.
Swincombe Fleat2016MareHurdleA nice mare, she's well related and ran a blinder to be 4th in a very competitive Listed bumper in the spring. She goes novice hurdling and will be ready mid-November. Probably wants 2m4f.
Ucanaver2016MareHurdleAbsolutely flew home in a bumper last season before slightly disappointing in Listed company twice thereafter. Goes hurdling this term and will start off this afternoon at Worcester. Has schooled very well.
Whynotnowken2017GeldingNHFIs nearly ready fitness-wise but still a bit green and immature. Has actually had plenty of education and will start out soon. Might just take a minute for the penny to drop but he should be interesting when it does.
World Of Dreams2016GeldingNHF/HdlA typically excellent find by Ron Huggins, this well-bred gelding won two bumpers last season, perhaps surprising us a little in the process. Goes maiden/novice hurdling this term over 2m-2m4f. Had a wind op since last seen.

Monday Musings: A Very Different World

In the week that Lord Derby’s much-hated Hatchfield Farm plan has finally been given approval in its latest scaled-down form, Newmarket’s own Member of Parliament has indicated that there will be further irritations to come for some of his most celebrated constituents, writes Tony Stafford.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health as well as West Suffolk MP, said that “in the coming weeks, people aged over 70 would be required to stay at home in self-isolation for four months” with the aim of protecting that vulnerable group from the ever-growing threat of Covid 19.

Sir Michael Stoute is one of the trainers who will need to work out feasible working patterns within his yard to fulfil those conditions. Nick Rust, outgoing Chief Executive of the BHA, indicated that within a very short time, the UK would echo most other racing authorities around the world by imposing the “no-spectator” format, with one groom and one owner only allowed for each participating horse.

I was looking forward to Huntingdon on Thursday but that no longer seems an option. Even if Waterproof is allowed to run, I’m in the soon-to-be-barred age group. Last night my wife, who doesn’t drive, confirmed that our local shop where I’ve bought my Racing Post each morning for the past 17 years had run out of toilet rolls in the manner of the supermarket we visited late on Friday after my return from Cheltenham. Yesterday morning, the Turkish-born owner laughed as he pointed to very full shelves of the largely-missing product. I don’t think the people that sanctioned the seemingly-annual price-rise in that publication, now £3.50 daily and £3.90 on Saturday, might experience a reader backlash!

It’s a fast-moving situation.

We knew we were on borrowed time in Gloucestershire (or across the border in Worcester where Harry Taylor and I stayed in the wonderful Barn B and B, Pershore) last week. Thankfully for the racing industry and racegoers, but more especially the local community, as the Racing Post headline put it, it was a Last Hurrah. See you, hopefully, sometime in July. Just how much damage in human and commercial terms will have been done by then is a terrifying prospect.


Every day since 1962, the best part of 60 years, I’ve been obsessed by horse racing. I still find it hard to accept that almost everyone else has no conception of Hethersett, the 1962 St Leger winner who a month earlier at York was the agent of my first big win as a 16-year-old in a Bournemouth betting shop, part of a treble with Sostenuto (Ebor) and Persian Wonder.

In jumping, contrarily, it wasn’t ever Arkle: I was a Mill House adherent in their clashes in the mid-1960’s. It was his compatriot, L’Escargot, a few years on, twice winner of the Gold Cup and the horse that prevented Red Rum from a Grand National hat-trick in 1975 when the weights and the ground turned the tide in his favour. Rummy’s third win was delayed for two years, Rag Trade similarly denying the Ginger McCain star in 1976. These heroics from L’Escargot came five years after his first of two successive Gold Cups.

Last week Al Boum Photo joined the select group of dual winners of Cheltenham showpiece, with Kauto Star’s two victories being separated by success for that great horse’s equally eminent stable-companion and contemporary, Denman. Triple winners in the modern (post 1945) era have been restricted to Cottage Rake, Arkle and Best Mate, whose trainer Henrietta Knight was busily autographing copies of her latest book in the Shopping Village last week.

On Gold Cup Day I believe we were in the process of witnessing the best performance ever by a four-year-old at the Cheltenham Festival when the final flight intervened to halt Goshen’s serene progress. Veterans, like me, will have been recalling a similar blunder by Attivo back in 1974, but he and rider Robert Hughes recovered. The Cyril Mitchell-trained and Peter O’Sullevan-owned favourite kept going to win by four lengths as his owner commentated with his usual unflappable calm on BBC television.

In 2013 - is it really seven years ago? - Our Conor won the race by 15 lengths, his final victory in a career ended a year later with a third-flight fall in the Champion Hurdle. Four horses have achieved the feat of following the Triumph Hurdle win in the next year’s Champion Hurdle. The first was Clair Soleil, in the race’s Hurst Park days. That track, between Kempton and Sandown, closed in 1962, the race transferring to Cheltenham three years later.

The Hurst Park years were generally a French benefit and some of that country’s top trainers targeted it. Francois Mathet, Derby winner Relko’s handler, trained him as a four-year-old but it was in Ryan Price’s care that he won the Champion Huirdle, Fred Winter the jockey both times. Alec Head was another to win the race during that era. At Cheltenham, the great Persian War preceded three consecutive Champion Hurdles with his Triumph victory and the others were Kribensis, trained for Sheikh Mohammed by Michael Stoute all of 32 years ago and Katchit (Alan King).

I’m convinced that had the understandably distraught Jamie Moore managed to retain his balance after his mount’s single error in an otherwise flawless performance, Our Conor’s margin would have been superseded. It was a display of raw power that the handicapper Dave Dickinson would have been hard pushed to keep below 165 at a minimum.

It was a week for the clever trainers, that is those with yards full of horses that they can engineer to enable them to target big races without giving away too much in the build-up, and some spectacular results were achieved. None was more striking than Saint Roi, a horse who had been fourth in his sole run in France, in an Auteuil Listed race in September. Transferred to Willie Mullins plenty was expected, but certainly not the 23-length fifth of 17 at 1-3 at Clonmel in December. He atoned by winning a maiden by nine lengths on New Year’s Day at lowly Tramore.

He’d obviously improved more than a touch in the intervening ten weeks under Mullins’ tutelage as the torrent of money told on Friday morning and, off 137, Saint Roi won the County Hurdle as he liked. McFabulous on Saturday at Kempton, a superb bumper horse the previous season, but surprisingly lack-lustre in his first couple of hurdles, also managed a timely win at the third attempt for Paul Nicholls at Market Rasen last month. That (minimum three runs) qualified him for the EBF Final. Off an undemanding 132, McFabulous strolled home as the 5-2 favourite in an 18-runner supposedly-competitive race where they went 10-1 bar one in the re-scheduled-from-Sandown event.


I keep intending to give Coquelicot a bigger mention in these jottings and she certainly deserves a stage of her own after a third win in a row on Saturday. Her victory came with some elan in the also re-staged from Sandown EBF Mares’ Final, a Listed National Hunt Flat race which makes the filly a very valuable proposition.

Do I sense a move in her direction by someone whose horses run in green and gold colours and who has horses in the Anthony Honeyball stable? She certainly has the profile of a JP horse! By the time we get the answer to that, Sir Michael and me will almost certainly be in lock-down. This time a week ago we inhabited a very different world.