The second half of my Shadwell journey began with a two week stint at SnarehillFarm - the rehabilitation yard for all the Sheikh’s horses in work. There were two yards comprising a total of 40 boxes which were all pretty much in use whilst I was there. As all the horses were nursing some sort of issue you can imagine the attention to detail and quality of care for these horses had to be nothing short of the best. No expense was spared for the well-being and care of these horses.
The facilities at Snarehill farm include a four furlong (800m) round track, which
has a soft rubbery all weather type of surface, schooling areas, walkers, a
treadmill and water treadmill (which both were pretty much in use all day), an
equine spa, an undercover pool (which wasn’t in use due to the cold weather),
an equine salt chamber (used to aid horses with respiratory issues), and a
equine vibrating stall unit. As you can see they have it all.
My day began at 7.30am, where horses were put on the walkers, treadmills, and the
first ridden lot head out. This is then followed by mucking out, whilst getting
horses on and off walkers, and helping riders wash their previous lots and tack
up for their next lots. Vet work was going on all the time and farrier work is
juggled in between all of this during the morning. In the afternoon each horse
is groomed and their boxes are skipped out as well as general tidying of the
yard. There may be more ridden lots in the afternoon also. The head lad checks
all of the legs over and a lot of clay and stay sound bandaging is completed.
The majority of horses had tendon or knee issues.
The people at Snarehill were so helpful and made sure I got to experience
everything whilst I was there for my short time. I spent time on both the
treadmill and water treadmill, and got to watch the horses work on multiple
occasions. They made sure I was with the vets as often as possible and also
spent time holding for the chiropractor and checking legs, where they would
explain the different injuries that had occurred to each horse and what they
were doing to remedy it. They sent me on a float trip to take one of the horses
back to Sir Michael Stoute’s training yard and pick another up from William
Haggas’ yard. It was great having a quick look around the stables of two of the
top trainers in Newmarket. I can’t thank the staff there enough for the amazing
two weeks I had there. I learnt so much in such a short space of time.
Battaash was the highest profile horse at Snarehill whilst I was there. He is a multiple
group winner in the UK and group one winner in France over 1000m. He has also
been clocked running a sub 10 second furlong. Despite having a second wind
operation there is still high hopes for him this season. He was a definite
character. He certainly walked around the yard with a bit of authority and had
to go out in the first lot in the morning otherwise he would spit the dummy. He
didn’t particularly enjoy being groomed either. He left mid March to return to
Charlie Hills so hopefully he should be seen back on the track shortly.
Someone in the yard also told me that Per Incanto had also spent some time here at
Snarehill Farm. He is just down the road in Masterton with Little Avondale Stud
now. Such a small world..
The last two weeks of my time at Shadwell was spent back at the Nunnery stud with
the Mares and foals. Their best performed mare Taghrooda foaled a Muhaarar foal
on my last day. In 2014 Taghrooda became the first filly in 38 years ago, to
win both the Oaks and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes in the same
season (since done been by Enable in 2017). She also finished 2nd in the Yorkshire Oaks and 3rd in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe before being retired at the end of her 3yo season.
On one of my days off, one of the Stallion lads, Brad, took me out to ensure I had the full Newmarket experience before leaving. We initially didn’t have too much planned but very fortunately got pretty lucky throughout the day. It started by going down to the Newmarket Heath to watch the horses work up the various gallops. It is such an amazing setup and has to be seen to be believed.Definitely a bit busier than the Awapuni track that's for sure.. On the wayback to the car we got talking to the head lad of Sir Mark Prescott’s yard who kindly offered up a quick tour. His yard ‘Heath House Stables’ is believed to be the oldest and best situated (his 50 box yard is at the foot of the two principal gallops in Newmarket - Warren Hill and Long Hill) yard in Newmarket.
We then headed off to have a quick look round the Tattersalls
sales complex. Following this we met up with a former rider at Snarehill farm
who had managed to get us a tour at Saeed bin Suroor’s Godolphin yard in
Newmarket, where he was now riding out. They normally don't allow visitors but
luckily all of the main bosses were away for the Dubai World Cup meeting so we
were an exception. Again another set-up with amazing facilities with their own
private gallops, Seawalkers and the like. Godolphin
Stables was formerly known as Stanley House stables and is one of the most
famous racing establishments in the world. The stables were built by Frederick
Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby, in 1903, and originally named Stanley House
stables after Lord Derby's nearby house. This is another place steeped in
racing history - a highlight definitely an archway in the stables framed with
horseshoes to memorialise more than a century of winners.
After a quick pub lunch we headed off to Juddmonte Farm. One
of the ladies in the office at Shadwell previously worked at Juddmonte and made
sure i got to see the ‘wonder horse’ Frankel, who stands at Juddmonte, before I
left. This was for me, was the most memorable part of the day - being able to
see the european equivalent to Black Caviar or Winx, in a sense. I mean a 14/14
record isn’t too bad.. They also stand Stallions such as Oasis Dream and
Kingman so they’re definitely not short of quality!
The day finished with a tour of Cheveley Park Stud by Stud
Groom Mark Dean. ‘Chopper’ as he is better known as, enlightened us on the rich
history of Cheveley Park Stud , the oldest stud in Newmarket, whilst showing us
around the farm. We then sat down for a couple of cups of tea and a slice of
cake with his family and talked everything Horse. Recipients of the Sunline
Scholarship previously spent their England placement here at Cheveley Park, so
he told a few stories about their time, and was very pleased to hear how well a
lot of them were doing. It was a great end to an awesome day.
It was sad saying goodbye to the good friends I had made at
Shadwell. They were all so helpful and I learnt a lot in my 2 months here.
Again, I can’t thank them enough for the experience. I am now heading to
Aintree to meet up with Tony Williams, the Managing Director of Goffs UK, to
spend four weeks with him and his team.