LUCY WADHAM kicked off her 2017 in style with a double at Fakenham on New Years Day with Artifice Sivola and Iconic Sky and it is at the likes of the smaller venues that her reasonably sized select team can be expected to prosper best.
That not to say that she can't share the big stage either when she has the ammunition to call upon and Potters Legend could well be testing his credentials as a possible Cheltenham Festival candidate at the end of the week.
The dual purpose Newmarket trainer has enjoyed success at the highest level with United in the Grade 1 Irish Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown, the Imperial Cup with Alarazi and at Cheltenham with The Dark Lord, amongst others, and with a host of Flat victories at listed level topped by the success of Lady Tiana in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock.
Lucy has her team primed and ready for action weather permitting, and kindly spoke to Tony Elves of ATR of her hopes for the coming months.
A BOY NAMED SUZI
9 b g Medecis - Classic Coral
"122 rated hurdler. Placed in handicap hurdles at Stratford (2m 1/2f) in May of last year and at Huntingdon (2m) in November. On last named occasion finished third, beaten three and a half lengths to Baby Jane off his current mark.
He has been very difficult to train but has plenty of ability. I am hoping he will run on February 1 at Leicester over hurdles. He is handicapped to win and if I can get him right then he is a winner waiting to happen. He wouldn't want it too soft"
7 b m Le Fou - Etoile Du Lion
107 rated hurdler. Well beaten in a match by the heavily odds-on Coillte Lady at Ludlow (2m 5f) when last seen out in November.
"He is another who has been a bit disappointing, but has good bumper form. He has had two runs over hurdles this year and has been difficult to catch right. She might go to Leicester on Tuesday."
7 gr g Dom Alco - Kerrana
126 rated chaser and hurdler. Winner of a novices hurdle at Stratford (2m 1/2f) in October when beating Chilli Romance four and a half lengths and followed up with an eight length success from Marquis Of Carabas in a handicap hurdle at Fakenham (2m 4f) on New Years Day off 118. Finished runner-up, beaten seven lengths, to Overtown Express in a handicap chase at Warwick (2m) later in the month.
"He's had a very good year and won three hurdles races and ran well back over fences at Warwick last week. He is very versatile as to whether he goes over hurdles or fences and he goes to Sandown on February 4."
5 ch m Presenting - Oh Susannah
107 rated hurdler. Third in her last two outings over hurdles most recent beaten 15 ½ lengths by Ruby Yeats at Southwell (1m 7 1/2f) in December.
"She is a very nice Presenting mare who will go chasing next year. She has run well but been stopping at the end of her races and we have just given her a little wind operation. She will be ready to run in February and, hopefully, the wind operation will just help her a bit."
4 b g Lord Of England - Easy Sunshine
Well beaten on his bumper debut at Warwick this month.
"He had his first run at Warwick recently and we were disappointed. He had been showing a lot at home and I don't know what happened at Warwick he just never seemed to be at the races. I think you can put a line through that and he is entered at Huntingdon at the end of the week."
5 b g Gamut - Dar Dar Supreme
Probably better effort when fourth, beaten seven lengths, to Marten in a bumper at Warwick in December.
"He is a lovely chaser in the making and he ran very well in his bumper. He is due to run in a maiden or novice hurdle probably next week."
4 gr f Sixties Icon - Kentucky Sky
119 rated hurdler. Off the mark at the third attempt over hurdles when hacking up by 28 lengths from Captain Felix at Fakenham on New Years Day.
"She is a lovely homebred of the owners, Tim Wood, and she was a little disappointing on the Flat but has been a revelation over hurdles. She was part of our New Years Day double at Fakenham and if it is on she will go to Warwick on Thursday. The race fell apart a bit for her at Fakenham and she needs to do it again for us really."
9 br g Milan - Open Cry
146 rated chaser. Unseated rider second at Cheltenham (3m 4 1/2f) in November and last victory when beating Pete The Feat two and a quarter lengths at Sandown (3m) in February of last year.
"He has a terrible smash at Cheltenham in November and amazingly only got a stress fracture in his neck. He is back being ridden and will start cantering next week. We are hoping to run in the Bet365 at Sandown at the end of April."
7 b g Exit To Nowhere - Letterwoman
101 rated chaser. Placed in point-to-points and in a maiden hurdle at Huntingdon (3m 1f) in March 2015.
"He is a nice horse and strapping great gelding who is ready to run. He will be going to Fakenham on Thursday. He has had a little time out with injury and this is his first run back but he will make a cracking chaser."
8 ch g Refuse To Bend - Lilakiya
128 rated hurdler. Enjoyed successive wins on the AW at Wolverhampton (1m 6f) in the Spring and respectable efforts over hurdle this season. Finished third, beaten three lengths, to Oscar Rock at Market Rasen (2m 4 1/2f) in November and fourth, beaten six lengths, to Midnight Jazz at Doncaster (2m 3 1/2f) in December off current mark.
"He has been a fantastic dual purpose horse for his owners. He was meant to run last weekend and we are going to step him up in trip over hurdles. He will go over three and he got two miles on the Flat and should stay. He didn't use to settle but he does now and that will help him stay too."
7 b m Presenting - Cash And New
Scored by two lengths from Royal Debutante in a novices' hurdle at Huntingdon (2m 3 1/2f) in November.
"She was disappointing last time at Newbury and just fell in a heap two out. When we got her home we did run a blood test and she wasn't quite right so we will put a line through that effort and she will be better next time."
7 b g Midnight Legend - Cyd Charisse
116 rated chaser and 112 rated hurdler. Placed in all four starts this term and only beaten half a length by Bagging Turf in a novices' handicap chase at Huntingdon (2m 4f) on Boxing Day off a mark of 110. Finished third, beaten two and a half lengths, to Nietzsche in a handicap hurdle at Market Rasen (2m 2 1/2f) this month off a mark of 110.
"He is a lovely horse and how he hasn't won a race yet I just don't know. He always seems to come up against one but he's very versatile over hurdles or fences. His turn must be coming soon."
5 b g Winged Love - Bonny Raithlin
Finished fourth, beaten 21 lengths, to Ballymalin on his hurdling debut at Kempton (3m 1/2f) this month.
"He is a ex-Irish pointer that just had the one run at Kempton a couple of weeks ago. He is a lovely three mile chaser in the making and I thought he ran well at Kempton. We will try and find something less competitive next time. He does need very soft ground."
6 b m Midnight Legend - Kentucky Sky
118 rated hurdler. Last success in an intermediate hurdle at Market Rasen (2m 2 1/2f) in May when beating Closest Friend 13 lengths.
"She is a Spring filly and she is having a break at the moment. She seems to be a much better filly when the sun comes out."
6 b m Phoenix Reach - Viciana
115 rated hurdler. Solid efforts all starts and runner-up, beaten a length, to The Nipper in a novices hurdle at Lingfield (2m) this month.
"She is another homebred and she has been running brilliantly this year but keeps coming up against one. She is due to go to Towcester on February 3."
5 b g Midnight Legend - Loose Morals
Unplaced in a bumper at Huntingdon on Boxing Day.
"He is a full brother to Potters Legend and he was a little disappointing in his first race but was so green at Huntingdon on Boxing Day. Hopefully, we will see a rather better run next time, He is entered at Huntingdon and Warwick at the end of the week."
POTTERS LADY JANE
5 b m Sir Percy - Arabescato
Winner of a bumper at Fakenham and runner-up twice on the Flat at Chelmsford most recently beaten only half a length by Lord Topper over a mile and five and a half in October.
" She won a bumper last season and we are trying to win a Flat race with her. She is probably going to stay on the flat as she is not that big or robust but quite well bred."
7 b g Midnight Legend - Loose Morals.
139 rated chaser. Winner of novice chases at Kempton (3m) in November (beating Barney Dwan eight lengths) and Bangor (2m 4 1/2f) later that month (scoring by two and three quarter lengths from Never Equalled.
"He is one of our stars and is hopefully going to go for a novices' handicap chase at Cheltenham at the end of the week. Depending on how he goes he could be our only possible Cheltenham entry for the Festival. He is a lovely horse."
8 b g Definite Article - Jane Hall
119 rated chaser. Unplaced to Hainan in a novices handicap chase at Wetherby (3m) off a mark of 125 on his latest start this month.
"He has come back from an injury from last year and he has been running well enough but not as well as he was before his break. He has a fall at Fakenham on his second run over fences and when he ran at Wetherby last time we were on a retrieval mission. He jumped very well and his in at Doncaster later in the week. If he doesn't go there he will run somewhere in the next couple of weeks. We were pleased with him at Wetherby and it takes a run or two for them to get their confidence back."
11 ch g Next Desert - Wiesenblute
118 rated chaser. Well beaten in three handicaps chases this season off mark of 135, 129 and 124.
"He is a lovely horse and an old friend who doesn't owe us a thing. He has struggled a bit and does need goodish ground. He is entered up this week and if it is good to soft we will run him."
A BOY NAMED SUZI - Lightly raced but well handicapped and should soon get his nose in front.
ARTIFICE SIVOLA - in grand form and looks set for further success over both fences and hurdles.
ICONIC SKY - thriving since sent hurdling and has more to offer in that sphere.
LE REVE - being patiently brought back from injury and dividends expected in the Spring.
MINSTRELS GALLERY - has been a little star for the stable could find a new avenue for success stepped up to three miles.
POTTERS LEGEND - rising star of the stable who could bid for further chasing success at Cheltenham on Trial Day.