Cheltenham hope among those enjoying life at Ellison’s Spring Cottage yard without doors

The open boxes at Brian Ellison’s Spring Cottage yard, with Cheltenham Festival candidate Yesyoucan in the foreground

The open boxes at Brian Ellison’s Spring Cottage yard, with Cheltenham Festival candidate Yesyoucan in the foreground

First published in Sport by

A HORSE aimed at next month’s Cheltenham Festival is being trained from an open-air stable by Brian Ellison.

Yesyoucan, who has Cheltenham’s Coral Cup as his target in just under a fortnight, is just one of the residents of a 15-strong avenue which Ellison has installed at his Spring Cottage yard in Norton.

Each horse has a field shelter-type box, without doors, and has the freedom to roam a small railed turnout area directly in front. On the ground throughout is a mix of sand and rubber.

“I put it in for horses who might be box-walkers, and who don’t like being confined in a stable, bleeders or others with respiratory problems, who benefit from being in the open air, or crib-biters - like Yesyoucan - who will always find something in a stable to grab and take in air,” explained the trainer.

“They can’t do that when they’re housed like this, because there are no fitments in the shelter and outside the top rails are all electrified.”

Yesyoucan is thriving in his new surroundings. “He’s already won twice this season, trained from outside,”

said Ellison. “We’ve been running him over fences, but he’s still a novice and wouldn’t be ready to run over fences at a place like Cheltenham, so we’re going to switch him back to hurdles and aim him at the Coral Cup. He’s one of those horses who tells you when he’s right and he’s telling us that at the moment.”

Ellison is also hoping to run Viva Colonia at the Festival, provided the weather remains favourable.

“He wants decent ground to be at his best, so hopefully it’ll continue to dry up before Cheltenham,” he added. “He’ll go for the Grand Annual Chase, which is a race he ran in last year, but had no luck. He was badly hampered and put out of the race early on.”

Ellison, who is expanding his training facility month-on-month, has planning permission to build another two dozen boxes at Spring Cottage, where he is currently putting in a water-walker, which will allow five horses at a time to exercise in varying depths of water.

“You can fill it up to their joints or up to their stomachs and it will be brilliant for horses’ legs,” said Ellison. “I first saw one when I was in Australia and Godolphin have one at Newmarket and they kindly let me go down to see it.”

Ellison has also taken on a second yard in Norton. Purchased from Neville Bycroft and next to the Highfield gallops, the facility has 17 boxes and a large indoor school.

“We are going to increase it to 22 boxes and I’m pleased to have it,”

said the trainer, who has recruited the experienced Guy Brewer, who previously worked for David O’Meara, to run the yard. “Guy is a brilliant bloke and brilliant at his job and it’s great he’s on the team.”

 

JUST two years on from getting his name on the Cheltenham Festival roll of honour, Harry Haynes will leave Malton and try his luck in the United States.

The opportunity to ride for celebrated Hall of Fame trainer Janet Elliot, who is based in South Carolina and who won last year’s $100,000 Colonial Cup, was too good a chance to miss.

“I leave next Monday and I’m excited about it. The new jumps season over there begins on March 22 and initially I am going for three months and then we’ll see where we are after that,” said the 24-year-old.

The job, identified by the Professional Jockeys’ Association, was enough of a temptation to Haynes to give it a go during a domestic campaign which has yielded only two winners from 87 rides.

“Everybody knows, especially the lads in the weighing room, how tough it is as a freelance over jumps. When you haven’t got a big yard behind you and a ready source of rides, it’s hard to maintain a momentum and get on winners regularly,” he added.

Two seasons ago, Haynes won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham on the Malcolm Jefferson-trained Attaglance before following up on the same horse at Aintree in the John Smith’s Handicap Hurdle.

“To ride a winner at Cheltenham was fantastic and to complete the festival double on the same horse at Aintree was the icing on the cake,”

said Haynes, who also had a notable association with According To Pete.

Although he suffered the heartbreak, along with the rest of the horse’s connections, when According To Pete was fatally injured in the 2012 Grand National, Haynes had previously ridden him to victory in Wetherby’s Rowland Meyrick Chase and the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock.

Haynes said: “It’s going to be a lot different to what I’m used to. But the job has potential. I can’t wait to get started.”

 

WHITE Rose Saddlery has adopted a ‘like father, like son’ approach to its latest sponsorship.

The Malton racing supplier is sponsoring teenage apprentice Jack Garritty, son of former crack Ryedale jump jockey Russ Garritty, who benefited from the support of White Rose for much of his career.

Wendy Hoggard, owner of White Rose, said: “We had a great association with Russ over many years and I’m delighted Jack is now on board.

I’m sure it will be a similarly happy and successful arrangement with him as it was with his father.”

White Rose Saddlery, also sponsor of jump jockey James Reveley and point-to-point rider Chris Dawson, tends to take on an apprentice each year to support.

“Jack is perfect,” added Hoggard.

“Although he is with Andrew Balding in Berkshire, he rides in the North as well as the South, he’s doing well and he’s got strong local connections.”

White Rose Saddlery will provide Garritty with racing and riding-out clothing and tack. He said: “To have Wendy’s support is brilliant. The association she and her late husband Chris had with my dad for all those years was great and I couldn’t be happier to have this opportunity.”

Garritty has wasted no time making his mark, wearing his new White Rose Saddlery-inscribedbreeches.

He rode a winner last week at Lingfield on Volito, his third mount since the sponsorship began.

 

JOHN QUINN put the finishing touches to the Cheltenham preparation of Pearl Castle at Doncaster last week. The four-year-old justified favouritism to follow up his win on the same course last month.

“He did well to win again under a penalty,” said Quinn. “He jumps well at speed and will be better on better ground and in a better race.”

A better race awaits. Quinn has the option of running him in the Triumph Hurdle, which he won two years ago with Countrywide Flame, or the Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle.

“We’ll see what the handicapper does and then decide,” said Quinn.

 

THE funeral of owner and former North Yorkshire trainer David Barker, who tragically died last week at the age of 44, takes place on Friday at 1pm at St Mary’s Church, Bolton-on-Swale, near Richmond.

Barker had horses in training with a host of local trainers, including John Quinn, Richard Fahey, Paul Midgley, Kevin Ryan and David Nicholls.

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