Horse Racing with Jason Hall

THE Lewes team of Jim and Tom Best did not train a winner last week but their spirits were sure to have been high after a particularly encouraging performance from a young horse who is representative of a significant change in focus for the brothers.

To this point, Jim and Tom have forged their reputation on their ability to identify horses’ that they can purchase cheaply and then improve to win at a relatively low level.

There are numerous examples of their success with this strategy over the past few years but for their career path to continue forward and for their aspirations to compete at a higher level to become a reality, they have had to ask for the increased backing of owners who believe in the brothers abilities.

To some degree this is starting to happen and although Sudden Light did not win last week, the potential she displayed will have afforded Jim, Tom and the owner, M&R Refurbishments, a great deal of belief that things at the stable are going in the right direction.

I spoke to Jim earlier this week and he commented on the path the team are now taking: “We are trying to introduce a better quality of horse into the set up but we won’t be forgetting how and what we have achieved previously, after all it’s what got us here.

“Our owners are supporting us and we have been buying at the sales and are planning to continue in the months ahead.

“Sudden Light really pleased us as not a lot went right for her and conditions were nothing like what she will appreciate in time.

“We have also got a number of other relatively new additions to the team that we hope will take us up a notch or two.

School For Scandal has come to us from Mark Johnston via the sales ring for thirty thousand and we feel he can make up into a decent juvenile hurdler.

“Far Flung we bought at the Doncaster Sales. He came from Ireland and as an individual I like him very much.

“Ace Fighter Pilot was a bit weak when he first arrived but we have given him time and as a relation of Gunner Welburn we hope he has a good future ahead of him as a jumper. They are not all just prospective jumpers either.

“We have a very nice two-year-old son of Jeremy called Sudden Wish who we plan to run in the big Irish Sales race if things go well.

“We are happy to be given the opportunity to try to step up and I believe that we are getting things into place to justify that support.”

Being the fragile creatures that thoroughbred racehorses are, every trainer requires a little bit of fortune in keeping their charges injury-free.

Granted that and given the rub of the green here and there, I believe that Jim and Tom have the ability to take the next step up on a ladder that for the majority takes a great deal of climbing.

If that proves to be the case, other potential owners’ will be attracted and the future could be very bright.

Life is very rarely as smooth and as simple as that, but it will be interesting to watch how the fortunes of one of the more talented teams in Sussex unfold.

As an aside, I watched a TV forum recently that featured three leading racing press figures, two of whom claimed Sir M. Stoute was not the trainer he once was!

Just thought I would remind them that he won the Arc, the Derby and the King George last year.

Who pays these guys?