GAVIN CROMWELL: We asked Brand Ambassador Gavin Cromwell to pick out the biggest wins in his training career to date.
I’ve been very lucky to have trained some fantastic horses, many of whom have given myself and the yard some really special days. Here’s my look back on the five winners which have meant the most.
Jer’s Girl was an absolutely brilliant mare for us and gave me my first Grade One winner in 2016.
The bunch of Irish juveniles weren’t thought of as being a particularly good crop that year, but they turned out to be pretty good and she was one of them. She was just touched off by Apple’s Jade over Christmas, with Footpad back in third, which proved to be high-class form and she just went on from there.
JP McManus bought her on Good Friday and she won the Grade One Mares Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse by 13 lengths two days later which was a big thrill for all of us at the time. To win my first Grade One at my local track in front of a local crowd was a really special and memorable day.
Her win in the 2014 Irish Cambridgeshire was a very significant one for the yard. It was our first really big winner and it was the first one which really put us on the map.
I remember looking at the front page of the Racing Post the next day and it showed her form which read 2-2-2-2-2-2-1. It’s a very unusual thing to happen for the winner of a Premier Handicap to have been creeping up the handicap throughout a season, so to win such a competitive race was a real achievement.
She was owned by a good, local friend of mine which made it great on a personal level. She was a smashing little mare and one we’ll always be thankful to have been associated with.
Raz De Maree
Raz De Maree was an amazing servant for the yard and his win in the Welsh National was one of the greatest days the yard has had so far. He was another locally-owned winner which was fantastic for the neighbourhood and the horse became a real fan’s favourite in the local area. We took him to two local schools a week or so after his win and his popularity just grew and grew from there.
He finished second to Native River in the race the previous year and I just felt that with an extra year of experience under his belt, if he could run to a similar sort of level again he’d be a big player. It was a race that was tailormade for him as he was a very slow horse who just stayed all day and to see him win it was incredibly special.
To win a race at the Arc meeting with Princess Yaiza was huge and the fact it was a Group Two was even more special. It was the same year we won the Welsh National with Raz De Maree, so to win two such contrasting races was amazing for us.
She took us to the Breeders’ Cup which was unbelievable too and she’s now back in training. She looks a million dollars and we’re very excited to have her in the yard. If anything, I think she’s better now than she was before and she’s definitely one to keep an eye on in the coming Flat season.
Espoir D’Allen’s win in the 2019 Champion Hurdle was by far the biggest day we’ve had so far. To have a winner at the Cheltenham Festival is something you always hope might happen, but for our first winner to be in the Champion Hurdle was beyond our wildest dreams.
We went there hopeful more than anything else. You had the reigning Champion Hurdler in Buveur D’Air as well as Apple’s Jade who had won numerous Grade Ones, so it was a really high-class renewal. Taking that into account and being just a five-year-old, you can never know if he was going to be good enough, but the way he did it showed how classy he was.
It was a win that really gave us confidence in ourselves that it wasn’t just a fluke what we’d done before. He showed that when we get a good one, we’ll make sure we cherish them as they don’t come around all that often.
It’s very hard to put into words what it meant to me and all the yard and I do still have to pinch myself occasionally as it really was a day I’ll never forget. To have lost him soon after was tremendously sad and given what he did for us, he’s a horse we’ll always hold very close to our hearts.