It has been yet another highly productive season so far for Sue Smith and husband Harvey at Craiglands Farm in Bingley with 34 winners to date and the not inconsiderable total of over £445,000 in prize money.
Chief contributor has been the rising star Wakanda who won three listed handicap chases including the £100,000 Sodexo Silver Cup at Ascot and looks in the mould of the likes of The Last Fling, Mr McGoldrick and Grand National winner Auroras Encore who all had the established Smith badge of progress and longetivity.
Lackamon has shown his love of longetivity with the landmark 1000th success for the stable when landing the North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick last month and Cloudy Too put himself in the mix for a possible second Aintree National success for the stable when making his mark in the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock.
Delusionofgrandeur looks the type the stable will excel with in long distance chases in the future and with the likes of Vendor and Smooth Stepper at her disposal there looks plenty of more exciting days ahead for Sue and her team.
Sue said: "We are pleased with the way the season has been going. We don't have a huge amount of horses but they have all been going along quite nicely and we hope that continues as it has been."
Sue kindly spoke to Tony Elves of ATR about the horses she will have in action in the next few months.
5 b g Danehill Dancer - Beyond Belief
Placed in two of his 3 starts in novice hurdles. Finished runner-up, beaten 18 lengths, to Master Jake at Hexham (2m) in November.
"He is a little horse Harvey bought off the Flat. We have had a few issues with his feet and things but he is about ready to go but the handicapper hasn't given him a mark yet."
10 b g Beneficial - Alure
Winner of six of his 41 starts. Finished third, beaten 17 lengths, to My Friend George off his current mark of 104 over fences at Sedgefield (2m 5f) this month.
"He hasn't run a lot this Winter purely as a result of the ground. We ran him at Sedgefield recently and he finished third over a trip a little bit short of his best but the old lads in great form and we will crack on with him now. He is a nice horse for the local meeting like Sedgefield and Hexham - he can handle soft ground but he needs it a fraction better than very heavy ground."
8 br g Presenting - Smashing Leader
Winner of two of his 8 starts. Third in two chases this season at Carlisle (3m 1/2f) in November at Kelso (2m 7 1/2f) beaten five and three quarter length by One For Arthur. Currently rated 132 over fences.
"He just had a small wind operation which is why he hasn't been out. He is about ready to roll now there is a possibility I might give him a run over hurdles at Carlisle next meeting then he will be back chasing."
10 b g Cloudings - Curra Citizen
Winner of eight of his 32 starts. Returned to form with a vengeance in the Grade 2 Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock (3m) in January when slamming Virak 15 lengths off a mark of 139. Currently rated 149 over fences.
"He won the Peter Marsh at Haydock well and I do have him entered in the Grand National Trial at Haydock but I'm not sure he goes yet. He is in good form and he loves this heavy ground. He has to have soft ground and loves these long distance staying chases."
9 b/br g Overbury - Stony View
Winner of six of his 28 starts. Runner-up, beaten eight lengths, to Cultram Abbey in a handicap chase at Wetherby (2m 3 1/2f) in January off his current mark of 122.
"He has gone really well this season and won over hurdles and fences. He ran a very good race down at Ascot where the ground was just a bit lively for him and just short of his trip. We ran him again at Wetherby the meeting before last and he finished second and will be out again soon."
12 b g Sassanian - Pondiki
Winner of eight of his 56 starts. Best effort this term in a handicap hurdle at Haydock (1m 7 1/2f) in November when third, beaten seven and three quarter lengths, to Baby King off a mark of 125. Currently rated 129 over fences and 122 over hurdles.
"He has been a good old servant and he had one run over hurdles and ran quite well. We are just waiting for a fraction better ground for him and he wants that ground over fences. He is going to alternate between hurdles and fences when the ground settles down a little bit but he is in very good form."
6 b g Mahler - Olivia Rose
Winner of two of his 6 starts. Beaten only two lengths when third to O O Seven in the Albert Bartlett Scottish Trial (Novices Hurdle) at Musselburgh (3m) this month. Currently rated 133 over hurdles.
"He has been a smashing horse this season and I think he could have been a lot closer to them at Musselburgh the other day if it had been a bit stiffer track. He has done nothing wrong and we don't have an out and out target as, again, he wants softish ground. He is going to be a smashing chaser next season."
DE VOUS A MOI
8 b g Sinndar - Dzinigane
Winner of three of his 21 starts. Scored by six lengths from Indian Temple in a handicap chase at Wetherby (2m 3 1/2f) in November when last seen out. Currently rated 130 over fences.
"He went really well and won at Wetherby in November and has a small problem which we have had to give him time for. He is back on track and he will probably be out in another three weeks. We will keep him in novice handicaps this season."
7 b m Flemensfirth - Ballerina Laura
Winner of one of his 6 starts. Off the mark at Sedgefield (2m 1f) in January when beating Question Of Faith half a length of a mark of 86. Currently rated 91 over hurdles.
"She won last time out at Sedgefield and she doesn't mind a bit of soft ground. A trip is what she has been wanting and she seems to be improving into a nice mare."
7 b g Royal Anthem - Friendly Girl
Winner of two of his 12 starts. Successful in a novices handicap chase at Hexham (2m 4f) in October off a mark of 100 and at Uttoxeter (2m 6 1/2f) in November off a mark of 106. Currently rated 122 over fences.
"We could never have a lot of luck with him over hurdles but since he has gone over fences he has run really really well. I am very pleased with him and at Wetherby we upped him in grade and it was just short of his trip. He wants a step up to 2m 6f/three miles and we will see him to good effect again."
9 b m Pilsudski - Countessdee
Winner of seven of her 25 starts. Last success at Haydock (2m 3f) in May off a mark of 115. Pulled up in a handicap chase at Wetherby (3m) last week off current mark of 120 over fences.
"She has been rated too high and we had to pop her in there last week. She is a tiny little thing and carries topweight in 0-120's and she couldn't handle the ground in a 0-130 at Wetherby last week. We will have to see how she comes in."
5 gr g Saddler Maker - Queenhood
Runner-up in four of his 5 starts under Rules. Beaten eight lengths by Captain Redbeard in a handicap hurdle at Sedgefield (2m 4f) at the end of January off his current mark of 110.
"He is a smashing horse and run well in all his novice hurdles. We are just giving him a short break now and he will probably come back and run in a handicap hurdle in three weeks time."
5 gr g Laveron - Honor Smytzer
Winner of two of his 13 starts. Scored by four and a half lengths from Iron Butterfly in a handicap hurdle at Catterick (3m 1 1/2f) this month off a mark of 115. Currently rated 125 over hurdles.
"He won at Catterick recently and we had been looking to step him up in trip and he duly won quite well. Hopefully, he can run in that Challenger Series and that is what we are aiming for."
6 b g Kayf Tara - Just Kate
Placed in three of his four hurdles. Finished fourth, beaten 25 lengths, to Wade Harper at Catterick (2m 3 1/2f) this month off a mark of 115. Currently rated 113.
"He is going to be much more a chaser than he would be a hurdler but he has done nothing wrong this year. He didn't really seem to handle the track at Catterick last time but still didn't disgrace himself. We are really looking for him more as a chaser next season."
11 b g Fleetwood - Pearlossa
Winner of eight of his 43 starts. Winner of the Durham National at Sedgefield in 2013 and runner-up in two subsequent runnings of the race. Scored by half a length from Alto Des Mottes in the North Yorkshire Grand National at Catterick (3m 6f) off a mark of 125 in January. Currently rated 133.
"He finished second in the Durham National again and loves Sedgfield, He won the North Yorkshire National at Catterick and he has an entry in the Eider Chase. He does love a longer trip and enjoys himself doing that."
12 b g Double Eclipse - Kinross
Winner of six of his 37 starts Rated 144 when pulled up in the Skybet Chase at Doncaster when last seen out in January of last year.
"He is well back into work now and I am possibly looking for an entry for him at Haydock this weekend. We will start him off over hurdles but he does have an entry in the Grand National. After he's had a run over hurdles we will have a look and see if there is a possibility of him running in a Veterans Chase at Newbury but it all depends on how he comes out of Haydock."
11 b g Oscar - Roxy River
Winner of seven of 33 of his starts. Finished fourth, beaten 13 lengths, to Firth Of Clyde at Sedgefield (2m 3 1/2f) in January off a mark of 125. Currently rated 122.
"He has been a good little horse for us but we haven't just managed to hit the spot with him so far this season. He has run well in defeat and he is getting on a bit but hopefully we can pick up a race with him somewhere along the line."
9 b g Kayf Tara - Poor Celt
Winner of nine of his 32 starts. Last win in a handicap hurdle at Haydock (2m 7f) when beating Alternatif a length off a mark of 135. Best effort over fences this term when third, beaten 13 lengths, to Vieux Lion Rouge at Haydock (3m) in November. Currently rated 132 over fences.
"We haven't found the right race with him this year. We did go over the big fences at Aintree but that didn't work and he fell. We ran him in the Great Yorkshire Chase and he pulled up there but he seems to be in good form and we will just get him back round Wetherby or Haydock - places he loves going too. He stays three miles and we will find one for him before the end of the season."
NOT A BOTHER BOY
8 b g Flemensfirth - Cab In The Storm
Winner of three of his 12 starts. Completed a hat trick when winning a handicap hurdle at Southwell (3m) in December off a mark of 103. Runner-up in two subsequent starts over fences at Market Rasen and Sedgefield. Rated 117 over fences and 112 over hurdles.
"He couldn't win a hurdle race with him but this season round these small tracks he's won three and finished second in the Lincolnshire National. He has done nothing wrong at all and stays forever and jumps pretty well. We are looking forward to winning one or two of those long distance races next season with him."
7 b g Rainbow High - Forsweets
Winner of one of his 17 starts. Beaten only a neck by Snuker in handicap hurdle at Sedgefield (3m 3f) this month off his current mark of 90.
"He won a little race at Market Rasen for one of our young lads and stays pretty well. He just got touched off at Sedgefield last week and there is a possibility we will get him over fences now."
8 gr g Great Palm - Lucy Cooper
Winner of two of his 13 starts. Last win in a handicap hurdle at Market Rasen (2m 4 1/2f) in December when beating Pixiepot a length and three quarters off a mark of 112. Currently rated 111 over fences and 114 over hurdles.
"He was a bit disappointing on his last run but won first time out at Market Rasen and then had a first run over fences with one of our young lads on. He jumped very well and just stayed on. He is just about ready to come out again but we are not sure whether to go back over hurdles or stay to fences."
7 b g Alflora -Jazzy Refrain
Winner of three of his 14 starts. Finished third, beaten eight and three quarter lengths, to King's Odyssey in a novices' handicap chase off his current mark of 130 at Cheltenham in January.
"He has been nice this season. I feel he's been a better horse over fences even though he won over hurdles. He won at Newcastle over two miles and seven and then fell at Doncaster. He went down to Cheltenham in January and ran an absolute corker to finish third to King's Odyssey. He has an entry in the Novice Chase at the Eider meeting."
7 ch g Alflora - Oso Special
Winner of one of his 15 starts. Rated 111 over fences.
"He is not an easy horse to work out - whether he gets three miles or not. He has run some good races and some moderate ones. He seems in good form and was hampered badly at Catterick last time so we have to forgive that run. He has an entry back at Haydock on Grand National Trials day."
7 gr g Medaaly - Sue's Song
Winner of three of his 19 starts. Runner-up, beaten a length, to Gold Futures in a handicap chase at Kelso (3m 2f) in October off a mark of 127. Currently rated 128 over fences and won a handicap chase off that rating at Catterick (3m 1f) in February
"He was a little bit disappointing at Kelso and although Danny Cook is adamant that the horse wants better ground, he managed to win on soft (g/s places) at Catterick last time.
8 gr g Kendor - Village Rainbow
Winner of four of his 24 starts. Solid effort when runner-up, beaten only two lengths, to Shrewd in a listed handicap hurdle at Musselburgh (1m 7 1/2f) off his current mark of 138.
"He is a horse that Harvey bought out of Doncaster Sales in May and he has gone very well for us so far. He ran an absolute corker at Musselburgh last week and it's a possibility he may have an entry at Newcastle or an entry in the Imperial Cup at Sandown. He is definitely going the right way and is going to be a smashing two mile chaser next season."
6 gr g Cloudings - Rare Vintage
Winner of two of his eight starts. Scored by nine lengths from Baratineur in a novices hurdle at Haydock (2m 3f) in November and runner-up in two similar events at that course since. Currently rated 132 over hurdles.
"He is a lovely horse that Trevor Hemmings bred. He won a bumper for us and has won a hurdle for us and ran very well in all his hurdles so far. He gets an entry in the Albert Bartlett novices hurdle at Haydock."
7 b g Westerner - Chanson Indienne
Winner of six of his 12 starts. Completed a hat trick in listed handicap chases when beating Virak a length in the Sodexo Silver Cup at Ascot (3m) in December off a mark of 151. Earlier successful at Newcastle (2m 7 1/2f) and Wetherby (2m 3 1/2f) Pulled up behind Smad Place in a Grade 2 event at Cheltenham latest start and currently rated 155 over fences.
"He won his first three races this season and has been a little star. He went to Cheltenham and couldn't handle the ground at all as it was very holding. He does provisionally have an entry in the big handicap chase at Kempton. He is a grand little horse and he's tough."
BLAKEMOUNT - small wind operation could see him fulfil his undoubted potential.
CLOUDY TOO - winner of the Peter Marsh and can find success in similar events.
DELUSIONOFGRANDEUR - found Musselburgh too sharp last time and plenty of more success can come his way where stamina is a premium.
SMOOTH STEPPER - solid effort in a novices handicap chase at Cheltenham last time and can soon rediscover the winning thread.
VINTAGE CLOUDS - could prove a different proposition when stepped up in trip.
WAKANDA - tough handicapper whose jumping will always stand him in good stead.