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Henry Oliver Stable Visit Part 1

02-September-2018 11:41
in General
by Admin

Sometimes in life, you just have one of those days when you reflect on it on a long journey home, and despite the best efforts of the M5 and M6 to deflect you from your happiness and satisfaction, you know that the day has been one of those that you will look back on and think, yeah, that was special, all’s well with the world and God is in his heaven.


Well I had one of those days yesterday. The spectacular scenery of the Shropshire and Worcestershire countryside was more than matched by the reception we received when arriving at the yard of Henry Oliver and his lovely wife Heather.

I have been in a lot of yards, studs, racecourses and sales complexes but I have to say the welcome to two lads, from Henry and Heather who they have never met and wouldn’t know from Adam, was warm, welcoming and generous, one felt instantly like an old friend just returning home and before I move on to the substance of the article, I want to say that such was the day, the welcoming, the atmosphere, the quality of the facilities of the yard ( which I will be honest went beyond what I was expecting), the relaxed manner of the horses themselves( clearly thriving in a serene atmosphere) the obvious care and dedication of the trainers staff, I think anyone who this article reaches who is seriously thinking about having a National Hunt Horse in training should consider Henry and Heather their first port of call. Clearly, and I really mean this, this is young, energetic vibrant yard on the up and going places. Don’t be surprised to see Henry Oliver taking high rank in the trainer’s table in years to come.

Our invitation to the yard initially came from George Hibbert and Tino Mastoras, Who run the Best Foot Forward Racing Syndicate and can be found on www.bestfootforwardwinner.co.uk. The syndicate has two horse in training with Henry the first being :-


This 6yo imposing bay mare really fills the eye when you see her, to say she has substance doesn’t do her justice. 

Joint Syndicate manager George Hibbert said “ she is a big scopey mare who will need soft ground, She will almost certainly be targeted at the mares races this this season which the BHA have done so much to promote, She was the first horse in the syndicate and we acquired her form Bob Russell whose stud farm is in Leicestershire, we hope to obtain black type for both the fillies we have in training at the moment as they will be returned to Bob at the end of their careers to join his brood band on the farm”

Now to my eye this daughter of Black Sam Bellamy is one for the tracker/note book. I was shown pictures and footage of her from a year ago and looking at her now, she has clearly thrived to become a substantial model and that was reflected and came together at Hexham in March, where is hock deep heavy ground on an undulating stiff track, the experience she had previously gained plus the maturity and condition she had put on came together. It was not only the obvious manner in which she won this race but there is considerable substance to the form through Princess Mononoke, who was in good form before Hexham and has franked the form emphatically since.

I asked George about racing plans. “ There are no firm plans, the mare, plus conditions through the winter will tell us when she is ready to run, Tino and I leave those decisions to the trainer, we talk regularly, we discuss what’s best for the horses but we make it a policy to be guided by Henry as to where and when the horses run” 

Such is the imposing nature of this mare to look at its obvious that she will get further, need proper cut in the ground and probably a stiff track to make her stamina and her strength come into play in the heat of battle.

She was a major plus for us to see on the day, both Paul and I were really taken with her, all being well she is without doubt a horse to follow, it’s hard to say what the limit of her ability will be, she is a dark horse and a bit special so get her in your tracker/notebook and fingers crossed for connections, she fulfils the hopes and dreams.


The Second of the two horses in the Best Foot Forward syndicate is a 5yo filly by Authorized out of a Shirley Heights mare, again Foaled on the farm of Bob Russell in Leicestershire. She has run 5 times, finishing fourth four times, and ran out on another. 

George explained  “ she is a very excitable filly, the penny just hasn’t dropped with her yet, the trainer tells me she has bundles of ability, She has the right breeding for the job, we are very hopeful from what she shows at home that when she settles down and matures she will prove to be a decent horse, she has been given a handicap mark of 90 and we think, given what she has shown Henry at home, that’s a very favourable mark from which to start from. She will also be targeted at the mares races, physically she has took her races very well, we do feel she has matured over the summer, she looks a million dollars and is back in training now”

On a personal tour of the yard earlier, the trainer confirmed to us that this is a filly with a ton of ability, yet to be fully tapped into, Henry also thinks she is maturing and that the handicap mark belies her ability.

It’s difficult at this point, looking at her pedigree and having viewed the replays of her runs, to fully appreciate what her best trip and ground will be. Personally, looking at her in walk and small trot, I wouldn’t be surprised if a bit of Cut in the Autumn/early winter was to suit her better, but we have no course evidence to support that yet. A very interesting project going forward.


For a syndicate that has its first two horses in training, I have to say they have two different projects on their hands, the first, is very special and could be going places, the second comes under the heading “ could be anything” at the moment, but is of herself an exciting project and with two of the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable people you could wish to find in George and Tino, anyone involved is in for great time.

What particularly impressed me about the philosophy George and Tino are bringing to the syndicate is the fact they don’t want anyone to feel like they are not involved closely with project or feel in any way they are not involved.

I must say from the outside looking in, the relationship between Trainer-owner-members is one of a tight knit group who all feel involved and members who rightly feel like they are they are truly involved with horse, it’s the epitome of what racing is all about in my opinion.


It is my understanding that there are shares still available and also there plans for two more horses to join the syndicate in the not too distant future. If you feel you would like to get involved, have look at the website www.bestfootforwardwinner.co.ukand have a word with George or Tino. 

From a racing point of view get Samarayia in your tracker, could be a bit special in our opinion. 

That concludes part one of the Henry Oliver Stable tour. Part two will be concentrating on a few of henry Horse that really caught our eye.  That will be posted later today or Monday Morning, don’t miss it, Some really nice horses to focus on


Pete Ingram ( BumperToJumper on twitter)




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