The good old days returned for Kim Bailey last season when he notched up 61 winners and was back in the winners enclosure at the Cheltenham Festival when Darna won the Brown Advisory & Merriebell Plate and with 30 winners on the board already he is looking forward to a busy Spring from Thorndale Farm in Andoversford.
Emily Gray gave him plenty to crow about when usurping the odds-on Gitane Du Berlais in a Listed Mares Chase at Huntingdon last week and this weekend Kim is likely to send his Grand National hope The Last Samuri to Doncaster for the Grimthorpe Chase en route to Aintree.
Darna will be looking to defend his Cheltenham title this month and for a trainer who has the enviable record of winning a Grand National with Mr Frisk, a Cheltenham Gold Cup with Master Oats and a Champion Hurdle with Alderbrook there is plenty of untapped talent in his yard to ensure there will plenty more winners coming his way in the next few months.
Kim kindly spoke to Tony Elves of ATR about some of the horses he hopes can build on current total.
5 b g Authorized - Azalee
Winner of one of his 5 starts. Scored by 19 lengths from Young Dillon at Southwell (2m 4 1/2f) in November. Currently rated 125 over hurdles
"He was unlucky not to win first time out at Warwick. He then went and won on soft ground at Southwell which slightly surprised us as we didn't think he liked the soft ground. We ran him a couple of times on the soft after that which might well have been a mistake. He is entered a Ludlow and Taunton this week where the ground should be better and we hope we will see a better horse."
6 ch g Network - Jumper Nellerie
Winner of two of his three starts. Successful in a bumper and a hurdle at Ludlow.
"He won his bumper at Ludlow in May and then went back to Ludlow in October and won his novice hurdle there. He then went to Doncaster where he was favourite and ended up breaking a blood vessel. He is back in full work and will be back early March."
7 b g Portrait Gallery - Katie O'Toole
Winner of one of his four starts. Off the mark when beating Ballywilliam a short head in a novices' hurdle at Chepstow (2m 7 1/2f) in December. Currently rated 124.
"He has been involved in about three photo finishes - he got up once and was beaten in the other two. The ground was horrendous the day he ran at Warwick last time and you can forget that run. He is a soft ground horse and will go on and do things this season but he's a chaser for next season."
BOY IN A BENTLEY
6 b g Kayf Tara - All Our Blessings
Runner-up in his three career start.
"I was disappointed he got beaten in the end at Huntingdon last week but I am really happy with him and we have been waiting for decent ground with him. He is an out and out chaser but he should win a hurdle race on what he has shown us. His season was delayed slightly as he got kicked in the neck when out in a field and had to have an operation on it. He is a nice horse and he will make a proper chaser in a couple of years time."
BY THE BOARDWALK
8 br g Presenting - Peripheral View
Winner of three of his 17 races. Last win at Perth (3m) in September when beating King Of The Wolds nine lengths off a mark of 120. Currently rated 128 over fences.
"He is entered next week at Ludlow and has won three races for us this season. He has to go right handed and has to have good ground. He has had a breathing operation and is a bit high in the handicap but hopefully he will find one again."
5 b g Iffraaj - Eoz
Winner of four of his 7 starts. Scored by 11 lengths from Brain Power at Musselburgh (1m 7 1/2f) in February. Previously beaten only two and three quarter lengths by Yanworth in a Grade 2 event at Ascot (1m 7 1/2f) in December. Currently rated 147 over hurdles.
"He has done very well for us so far this season and he goes for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle. He is also entered in the County Hurdle but the plan is to go for the Supreme and he has been entered for that in case anything goes wrong.
CRACKED REAR VIEW
6 gr g Portrait Gallery - Trip To Knock
Winner of one of his two starts. Finished third, beaten three lengths, to Mahler And Me in a novice hurdle at Newcastle (2m 6f) in December.
"He is a Sligo bumper winner who was odds-on favourite for his hurdling debut at Newcastle but hated the ground. He has come back and had a wind operation since and, basically, he is ready to run and will be out soon."
8 b g Royal Anthem - Cindy's Fancy
Winner of three of his 12 starts. Runner-up, beaten five lengths, to Arctic Gold on his latest start at Ludlow (3m) in January off his current mark of 122.
"He is what you see on paper, a sweet tough and honest horse. He has been placed and won races and he will win more races when correctly placed.
10 b g Alfora - Dutch Dyane
Winner of seven of his 18 starts. Winner of the Brown Advisory & Merriebell Plate at Cheltenham (2m 5f) last March by a length and a quarter from Monetaire off a mark of 140. Pulled up in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham (2m 4 1/2f) in November on his only start this season. Currently rated 144 over fences
"He won at Cheltenham last year and he goes back to try and defend his crown. It will be difficult for him as he's year older. He's a good ground horse and a Spring horse and he hates soft ground. He hasn't seen a racecourse for awhile but he worked last week and I am very happy with him."
6 gr/ro g Proclamation - Kayf Lady
Winner of two of his 6 starts. Last win when beating Rock On Oscar a head in a novice hurdle at Kempton (2m 5f) in November
"He was a winner first time out at Kempton and then found the ground too soft for him when beaten at Newcastle. That form has worked out really well and he is entered this week. He will be campaigned over hurdles until he is sent out to grass and he will make a smashing chaser next season."
8 b m Flemensfirth - Rose Island
Winner of six of his 24 starts. Has won three of her five starts and career best effort when beating Gitane Du Berlais a neck in a listed Mares Chase at Huntingdon (2m 4f) last week. Currently rated 145 over fences.
"Her win last week at Huntingdon in a Listed Mares Chase was something else. She has had an extraordinary season and is tough as you could imagine. She is not entered at Cheltenham and I wouldn't think she would go there. We need to find another race somewhere down the line and she is going to be a walk in mare to Kayf Tara shortly and then we will continue after that."
9 b g Portrait Gallery - Good Hearted
Winner of four of his 17 starts. Scored by six lengths from Risk A Fine in a handicap chase at Kempton (2m 4 1/2f) in November off a mark of 132. Currently rated 137 over fences.
"He's had a good season and loves Kempton, where he seems to be a stone better at than anywhere else. Having said that we are going to run him in the Topham Trophy at Aintree and he goes there next He loves good ground and is a good jumper and that's his plan."
7 br g Monsun - Montserrat
Winner of four of 27 starts. Successful in a handicap hurdle at Towcester (2m 5f) in November when beating Stephen Hero a length off a mark of 117. Currently rated 123 over hurdles.
He won a handicap hurdle at Towcester second time out this season and disappointed last time out at Leicester but the ground was very heavy and his blood wasn't right afterwards. He has had a bit of a break but is back in full work and will be out in a couple of weeks. There are definitely more races in him."
6 b g Scorpion - Gold Shot
Winner of one of his 3 starts. Beat Road To Rome half a length in a bumper at Bangor (2m 1/2f) in April.
"He won a bumper last season and he did well to win that. He had one run over hurdles and finished third and he is due to have a run any minute. He is certainly capable of winning races."
8 b g Kayf Tara - Miss Quickly
Winner of one of his 7 starts. Scored by three and a quarter lengths from Miss Biscotti in a novices' handicap chase at Bangor (2m 4 1/2f) last May off a mark of 101. Currently rated 104 over fences.
"He won at Bangor at the beginning of the season and things haven't gone right for him. He has stacks of ability and he is due to run fairly soon. He should win his races."
NET WORK ROUGE
7 b g Network - De La Rouge
Winner of two of his 10 starts. Won a maiden hurdle at Worcester (2m 7f) in October and followed up in a similar event at Warwick the following month when beating Dan Emmett three and a half lengths. Currently rated 135 over hurdles.
"He has won a couple of races this season and has been pretty harshly treated by the handicapper for what he has done. He is going to be entered at Newbury this week and is most probably better in a small field in good races than bad races with big fields. The owners would like to take him to Punchestown in the Spring."
6 br m Erhaab - Pulling Strings
Winner of one of her 6 starts. Off the mark when beating Happy Diva two lengths in heavy ground at Towcester (2m) in January. Currently rated 116 over hurdles.
"Has won and been placed over hurdles. She is entered this week and her ultimate aim is the Mares Final at Newbury if I can get one more run into her. She's a nice mare."
6 b g Redback - Massalia
Winner of five of his 10 starts. Beat Pine Creek half a length in a beginners chase at Leicester (2m) in November and followed up with a 25 length victory from Notnowsam off a mark of 135 in a novices handicap chase at Warwick (2m) in December. Currently rated 143 over fences.
"He is entered at Cheltenham in the JLT and in a couple of the handicaps. He's had a good season and I was pleased with him at Doncaster where he should have finished second. He made a mistake at the wrong time in the race and he did well to finish where he did and it was a good run."
5 b g Beneficial - Slaney Athlete
Runner-up in an Irish point-to-point.
"He is a bumper horse due to run and he is former Irish point-to- pointer. He has been pleasing us at home and I expect him to run very well when he runs."
4 gr g Kayf Tara - Silver Spinner
"He's another bumper horse and, all being well. he runs in the DBF bumper at Newbury on Saturday for his maiden start. He has been pleasing us at home and is a nice horse to follow."
SUCH A LEGEND
8 ch g Midnight Legend - Mrs Fizziwig
Winner of three of his 13 starts. Finished fourth, beaten four and three quarter lengths, to Olivier's Gold off his current mark of 126 when last seen out at Wetherby (1m 7f) in October.
"He has had a difficult season but is a good ground horse and hates soft ground. We have had problems with his feet but he is now back in full work and we are happy with him. He has some good form over fences and will be running soon."
THE LAST SAMURI
8 ch g Flemensfirth - Howaboutthis
Winner of seven of his 13 starts. Finished third to Wakanda in the Listed Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle (2m 7 1/2f) in November and off the mark for new trainer when beating Viva Steve a length and a quarter in a valuable handicap chase at Kempton (3m) in December off a mark of 140. Currently rated 149 over fences.
"He runs at Doncaster this weekend in the Grimthorpe Chase and is all goes to plan he goes for the Grand National. He has given us the impression he has improved since his win at Kempton."
8 ch g Midnight Legend - Miniature Rose
Winner of three of his 13 starts. Runner-up, beaten three and a quarter lengths, to Killala Quay in a Grade 2 Novices Chase at Kempton (2m 4 1/2f) last Saturday. Currently rated 140 over fences.
"He ran in the Grade 2 Pendil Novices Chase at Kempton on Saturday and ran a good race to finish second to Killala Quay. He is a good ground horse and had two disappointing runs on soft ground prior to Kempton."
8 b g Voix Du Nord - First Ball
Winner of five of his 17 starts. Best effort over hurdles this season when runner-up, beaten eight lengths, to Virgilio at Aintree (2m 4f) in December of a mark of 144. Currently rated 140 over hurdles.
"I am very happy with him and he's qualified to run in the Pertemps in which I expect him to run very well."
BOY IN A BENTLEY - solid effort in a novice hurdle at Huntingdon last week and can soon go one better.
CHARBEL - tough as teak individual who looks sure to win more races at the top level.
EMILY GRAY - battle hardened mare whose refuse to die attitude can help her win more races in listed company.
PULLING POWER - another mare who possesses plenty of pluck and can win more mares' hurdles.
THE LAST SAMURI - looks the sort to continue to progress and could well enhance his Grand National claim at Doncaster this weekend.
UN ACE - best form on good ground and could be one of the better handicapped individuals in the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham.