Season round up and latest news

Ian Robinson 02/05/2017

We are heading towards what has traditionally been the end of our season, but we have plenty of ammunition to fire over the summer months with 5 horses sporting the Imperial Racing colours. The jumps season has seen Imperial Racing make a leap forward with many new owners joining and in most cases providing their first experience of racehorse ownership. We don’t run for profit, it is purely for the sport and the social experience surrounding racehorse ownership. Introducing new owners to the sport we love has always been one of our core aims. By that measure, the season has been a resounding success. With many new owners joining, and in a lot of cases being their first experience of racehorse ownership. Ownership certificate have been produced and will be despatched over the next few weeks. Next on the agenda will be enamel lapel badges for each     individual horse, and a range of club clothing.

We have also worked hard at recruitment on the equine front and the overall quality of our horses in training is also on an upward curve. We are extending our search and will be active in the sales ring and buying privately in the UK, Ireland and France this summer.

On the track, we have had wins for IORA GLAS, DEPUTY COMMANDER, AN CAISTEAL NUADH, and WINGED CRUSADER. IMPERIAL ELOQUENCE has put up some excellent performances in graded bumper company and was unfortunate to fall when making his debut over hurdles at Warwick. Despite the setback Paddy Brennan rates the horse highly and considers him a Saturday horse for next year. He gave him a great feel and we expect him to improve further for a good summer. He has a very exciting future ahead of him. We also have some nice young horses who have gained training experience and will be ready to start on the track next season.

This summer will be a busy time as we have both IORA GLAS and AN CAISTEAL NUADH running over jumps and three new recruits on the flat running in our colours. There are shares available in FLIGHT OFFICER, and another partnership for WELD AL EMARAT will be opened later in the year. The third recruit is a 2-year-old filly by Poets voice named LYRICAL PURSUIT who has caught the eye in her early work.


Sadly, on the 6th April we lost Imperial Commander who died suddenly in a field at Mount Top Stud in County Antrim. Mount Top Stud was his spiritual home where the dream began and where he spent his summers and retirement years. Retirement was suiting him well in the care of the Ross family who contributed immeasurably to his development and success, without them the journey wouldn’t have got started. I always felt we had much in common, as he was regularly difficult to get going in the mornings and we shared a great love for Cheltenham. I was very privileged that he allowed me to hang onto his tail for what was a momentous journey including the realisation of my life time dream of lifting the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Gold Cups are moments in time, moments of history that live with you for a lifetime. They are a significant part of history and etched into the memories of all who love the sport. This Gold Cup had its own distinct narrative, which didn’t include Imperial Commander. But it was Imperial Commander who wrote the final chapter in emphatic style and in his own inimitable way.

As a racehorse, he rubbed shoulders with the best of his generation probably the best of many generations and never once bowed his head. He was a horse of exceptional ability, heart, courage, grace and in dominatable spirit, wrapped up in a kind and unique persona. As a horse, he had a unique character and attitude (he knew how good he was) and is sadly missed. He has been buried in his field at Mount Top Stud and a memorial stone will be placed on the spot in due course. Sadly, I didn’t get to say goodbye but his hoofprints will be forever printed on my heart.



An Caisteal Nuadh is scheduled to return to the Gordon Elliot yard next week and will be ready to start his summer campaign in around three weeks’ time. He has done well during his break and will be very competitive over hurdles. Having won his bumper with ease at Limerick last July we ran him back too soon at Galway where he failed to produce his best. He was in the process of running a big race in a maiden hurdle at Down Royal in   August when coming down whilst challenging for the lead at the 2nd last. He would have been a clear 2nd in a race that has produced 6 subsequent winners including the winner Peregrine Run who is now rated 142. He ran much to keenly that day an is still relatively green. We have always felt he had a preference for quicker ground and with plenty of prize money to chase in the summer months we are hoping for a fruitful few months ahead. Definitely one to keep on your side over hurdles, and a good jumper of a fence which will be his job next season.


Has unfortunately had a start stop season and is now out for a while with a tendon injury sustained at Chepstow. He returned in November and posted a brave performance to win a 0-120 novices handicap chase at Doncaster by ½ length from Duke Arcadio. Raised by 5lbs he was comprehensively beaten in his next two starts at Ffos Las when 18 lengths 3rd to Zephyros Blue, and at Doncaster when 14 lengths 3rd to I Just Know. As the form lines have developed it is clear the race he won was not a strong heat, with the participants failing to win on 20 subsequent starts and Duke Arcadio developing a tendency to bleed. In contrast the form of his two comprehensive defeats has proved to have more depth. Dr Robin who finished 2nd at Ffos Las has on since and the winner Zephyros Blue is now    running off a mark 12 lbs higher. The winner of the Doncaster race I Just Know is now rated 135 having won decisively again since. His last two runs were none events as he struggled on virtually unraceable ground without the tongue tie when stepped up in trip at Warwick, then ran no sort of a race at Chepstow. He came out of the race at Chepstow stiff and sore and with some heat at the top of his leg. A scan has revealed a 15% hole and he will need 9 months off to recover. The best treatment for the injury is twice daily spells on the walker, so he will be shipped back to Ireland where he can be kept in semi training to speed his recovery. His handicap mark over fences has dropped to 116 and he can expect further respite for the break. So, he will return off a competitive mark and there are more races to be won with him.  


Eden Collonges is an athletic three-year-old who was purchased from the same stud as Neptune   Collonges. He comes from a good Robin Des Champs (Garde Royale) dam line and his half-brother Delphi Collonges (by Voix Du Nord) was a winner as a 3-year-old under rules in France. His sire Lucarno has produced some useful horses from his early jumps crops including the unbeaten Monbeg Worldwide who is trained by Gordon Elliot. Other  notable progeny includes Roycano, Lady Lamanver, Lamanver Odyssey, Persian Delight and Bamby's Cat. He was broken as a 2-y-o and will come into pre-training this autumn, where we can assess the best route to follow. He has grown over the last year and is a very     athletic horse who looks a sharp type.


Our first flat recruit and there are still shares available in the partnership. A beautifully bred son of New Approach that we acquired from the Godolphin disposal. He is a half-brother to four winners, most notably UAE Oaks heroine Devotee. He made a promising   debut when second in Newbury maiden in October 2013, he returned from almost a year off to easily win a Nottingham maiden in October 2014. He stays 1m2f and doesn’t mind testing ground so may yet become a dual-purpose horse. He has had niggling physical issues earlier in his career hence the reason he has only had six runs to date, and he came up short in his handicap appearances. Our vet nary advisors were happy he has no lasting issues which should impact on his ability to perform as a racehorse. Acquired at the right price he represents real value for a horse who is already rated in the 90’s. From what we are seeing at home he remains an exciting prospect who is yet unexposed over middle   distance trips. He is expected to see him on the track in three to four weeks.


The first of three horses we acquired last summer, all of which have failed to make the track to date for a variety of reasons. Despite the lack of action on the track I think we will struggle to find three horses of equal quality to add to the string next year. Imperial Aura was the most forward of the three horses and showing a lot of ability at home before a sinus infection laid him low. His progress was further delayed when he banged a joint in his stable. Whilst there was no lasting damage it was sore for a week or too and he was   reduced to light duties. He has grown and become much stronger over the past three months, and was working really well in the last fortnight. But given the time needed to acclimatise in a new yard and running out of time ground wise we decided to delay his transfer until the autumn. A son of Kalanisi, his dam Missindependence won the Champion   Fillies Bumper at Punchestown and his half-brother Pawn Star is rated 123 over hurdles. Imperial Aura has shown enough to know he will be competitive in bumpers and is rapidly developing into an impressive physical specimen. One to add to your horses to follow list when he appears on the Racing Post database.


Of the three new recruits this one was the closest to running and was entered on several occasions. Unfortunately, on each occasion he produced a cloudy trac wash on the eve of the race and was not declared. After two courses of antibiotics we decided to draw stumps and try again in the autumn. He has shown plenty of ability in his time with Fergal O’Brien. By an up and coming sire Doyen out of a Lord Americo mare he is bred to do the job, and looks to be an exciting prospect. He will have a long summer in Ireland which will allow the infection to clear his system, and return a stronger horse in the autumn. An athletic horse with plenty of scope we expect him to make an impact in bumpers before he embarks on a jumping career.


Has run with distinction on two of his three starts this season, being overawed by the occasion in his last run in the Cheltenham bumper. His strength is his jumping and he is undoubtedly the quickest horse over a hurdle we have ever owned. As he was still immature we decided to keep him to bumpers this season, before sending him jumping in the autumn. He ran a big race first time out when 3rd beaten only 1¾ lengths by Poetic Rhythm in a listed bumper at Cheltenham. Produced another notable performance when 2nd beaten by 2 lengths by Western Ryder in a listed bumper at Ascot. Ran no sort of race in the Champion bumper at Cheltenham, boxed in on the inside and being in top gear all the way. Never a threat from 2f out and allowed to come home in his own time by Paddy Brennan. His hurdling debut at Warwick on May 1st   did not go to plan, being all but wiped out at the first hurdle and then falling at the 6th after over jumping. He is now heading to Ireland for his summer. A 3 mile chaser in the making who still has a lot of filling out to do, but possess a lot of ability. Another to add to the horses to follow list for next season, he is going a long way.


Should probably have been named Imperial Colossus due to his imposing frame, and he has done nothing but grow. Was always going to take plenty of time and considered the least likely to run before heading to the UK. He struggled to come to terms with the training regime at Naunton in the early weeks, but made steady progress. A recent worming exercise found him to be riddled with red worm, and once free he progressed at an impressive rate. The trainer was close to finding him an entry, but we have opted for an early summer break as he is well worth waiting for. His half-brother Next Destination won a point for John Costello (son of the legendary Tom) on Easter Sunday 2016 at Quakerstown, an event won previously by Champagne Fever. He also won a bumper at Fairyhouse before finishing a 3 length 4th to Fayonagh in the Champion bumper at Cheltenham. Imperial Nemesis is well regarded at Grangehill Farm and with another summer on his back is likely to improve substantially. His early schooling sessions have been top drawer. He will be ready to run in the autumn as soon as the rain comes and has shown enough ability to be competitive. Will be at his best when eventually seeing a fence with plenty of distance to cover.


Not a horse I thought we would be featuring as he developed and issue with his joints which were both life and career threatening at one point. But patience and perseverance have prevailed and he is now working very nicely for Kevin Ross at Mount Top Stud. He has been schooling over fences with a view to making his debut in a point to point this spring. It looks like we will run out of time, so we may handicap him over hurdles as a starting point. Whatever his route it is great to see him finally flourishing when a catastrophic end looked imminent two years ago.


Much loved by his owners, trainer and stable staff and has the nicest nature. He is also very useful on the racecourse with his latest win at Cheltenham being the first at Prestbury since the 2010 Gold Cup. Went up 5lbs for that win and is still of a workable mark. A great jumper of fences and hurdles, who relishes 3 miles without too much juice in the ground. Seems to have improved for his break and kept to his preferred better ground (and well away from Towcester) should enjoy a productive summer. There is still 15% available in Iora Glas if anyone is looking to extend their portfolio.


A really nice filly by Poets Voice that caught the eye on a visit to the Mick Easterby yard. She has good presence, looks very athletic and has a generous touch of the chestnut temperament thrown in. Imperial Racing purchased a 50% share to supplement our summer string, with our trainer retaining the other 50%.  She currently holds entries the Wetherby’s Super Sprint at Newbury in July and the £300,000 Goff’s Premier Auction Stakes at York in August. She is well regarded by the stable and has received positive     reports from a senior jockey who has been riding work at the yard.


Weld Al Emarat is by top sire Dubawi and has achieved a rating of 86 in his 7 runs to date. Despite being well regarded by both Kevin Ryan and Simon Crisford he never reached his full potential and was offered for sale at the Tattersalls HIT earlier this year. Imperial Racing purchased 50% of Weld Al Emarat from Mick Easterby after the sale with a view to offering our owners some light relief in the summer months. He certainly has his quirks, but there is nobody better to get the best out of him than his new handler - and whatever happens we will have some fun along the way. He is currently side lined and having     electric shock treatment for a tendon issue, but will be in training at the back end of the season.     


Has proved something of an enigma throughout his career, and there is always the feeling that he is a better racehorse than the one we have seen. Despite that he has won 5 of his 26 races, and been placed on another 4 occasions. All of his wins have come off marks of between 101 and 109, although to be fair he did go down by a nose at Ludlow off a mark of 115. We have managed to lease the vacant two shares this season but have no takers for the following season, and have another share becoming vacant. As a result the partnership will be concluded at the end of May when Winged Crusader heads to the HIT sale at Doncaster. At the age of 9 he will make a nice point to point recruit for somebody, and would do well in the hunter chase programme.

We are always looking for new owners, so anyone wanting to attend any of our events as an introduction should drop us a line via the contact section on the site. We can't guarantee you will finish in the winners enclosure (although we do have some useful form in that direction), but we can promise you a lot of fun trying.

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