Stanhope came into this having been deliberately put away for the winter he no longer enjoys Dundalk. There was a lot of back and forward on leaving the horse off for the winter. In the end, we're all comfortable trying this route. John McConnell felt we would get the benefits of it. So Stanhope headed away to Delanys for the winter, he was completely switched off. Stanhope had a good winter he looked well and has been moving well. Since he came back in we were positive about it. Obviously, he was coming off a 173 day lay off however he has run plenty of good races fresh. Stanhope was in an apprentice race here we had Siobhan Rutledge who knows our horse well. Stanhope ran two belters at Navan and The Curragh last season if he could reproduce those runs he would be a player here. The bookies were taking no chances at 12/1. Stanhope means a lot to everyone involved with no Mokhalad anymore. Stanhope took the captain's armband for the first time hopefully he could give us all a lift after a difficult winter.
Stanhope under Siobhan Rutledge stormed forward at Navan to sweep away our winter blues to win. Stanhope was securing his fourth victory for us. He is already an icon for our Syndicate, he has done so much already. Stanhope delivered for us lifting the gloom for ourselves and our talented young jockey. As Siobhan correctly said in her post-race interview. It has been a difficult time for her and us. This is the way of it for young people making their way in all walks of life. I always say " They are never doing as well as they think but most importantly they are never doing as badly as they think". It is important to try to stay level. We have stuck together as a team the owners, the trainer, and the jockeys.
Stanhope was very good on the day. There was much joy and some relief afterwards. We got a great kick out of it. Three of our recent wins came during a time of no owners. Our last victory as a syndicate was ruined by Mokhalad sustaining a serious injury. It has been tough but plenty of folks have suffered far worse over the last two years. That said we have had at least one winner every year since 2017. It was our 14th win as a syndicate. I felt it was the closest feeling I have had since our first win on 21-12-2017. We as I said earlier have to stay level. Stanhope won with a little in hand he enjoys this kind of task. We believe it or not have learned a lot about Stanhope in the last twelve months.
John McConnell changed his training regime last season in the middle of the season. John McConnell deserves great credit for this win he peaked the horse very well for this target. After a winter off and at Stanhopes age he would have been entitled to come forward for his first run of the season. We gave John a list of races for Stanhope for the early season on turf. John worked towards them very well. We will enjoy this win and have a chat with John McConnell when the dust settles. The list of races that John is working off is still relevant even after this win. We will work through them. Stanhope will attempt to eat his own body weight in Polo mints and carrots while we come up with a plan. We will happily feed them to him for as long as John McConnell permits us.