Daily News

Henry Oliver Stable Visit Part 2

03-September-2018 11:03
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.

Henry was kind enough to take Paul and I around the yard before the parade and shared his thoughts on each and every one of them. 

These are just a few that to our eye and we feel they have the form to match and should be followed in the coming months

Dr Des

A very impressive looking son of Double Eclipse, a proper winter ground horse who is clearly improving with his racing. Lightly raced for a 7yo, 20f seems his trip at the moment, the one blemish on his record at the moment came when he finished 7/8 at Fontwell. 

There seems to be an opinion that he hangs going left handed  and needs a right handed course to show his best. 

I disagree with that, He won at Stratford, albeit a lot lesser race, and when you look at the horses that finished in front of him at Fontwell, well it was hardly a mugs race by any stretch and Air force one was another out the back with him. Fontwell is not every horses cup of tea either and I am inclined to forgive him and trust him to go left handed ok.

If he were mine, given the fact he was thought good enough to go to one of the Novice Hurdles at the Cheltenham festival, I would love to see him take a crack at the Tote Silver trophy at Chepstow if the ground came up soft, 2m plus  on a stiff undulating track would be right up his street.

Henry said, “ Anything he does as a hurdler is a bonus, he is a Chaser in the making” 

Well he is certainly that, an impressive horse with impressive form on stiff tracks around 20f in winter ground. This boy is a horse to follow and all being well win a few this season.

Burrenbridge Hotel

A 7yo son of Ivan Denisovich, out of a Royal Academy mare is a 16f horse through and through.

On an official rating of 124 over fences, is paying the price for two good mid-season wins  at Hereford and Taunton off 105 and 111 so needs to come down a bit now to be competitive again. Has form on varying types of track and will win again when coming down the weights a bit. 

Given the way he won at Hereford and Taunton, I don’t think he will have to come all the way down to his last winning mark to strike again. 

Ground preferences range from good to heavy and he will go on most types of track.

He looks really well in himself at the moment, like most of Henry’s and it will pay to keep an eye on this fellow, particularly when he comes down to around 116-118. 

Given his obvious wellbeing and potential and only a 7yo I’ve no doubt he will win again in the not too distant future.

As a sign of the ability he does have its worth pointing out he did beat Poetic Rhythm in a point to point.



I love this horse, Love the look of him, the way he carries himself, real confident horse.

A half-brother to Philip Hobbs’s great old warrior, Village Vic, has run four times over fences, an out and out chaser on looks ( as most if not all of Henry’s are), seems to love Hereford and no doubt plans will be made for a return visit to that track. 

Won well at Hereford off 111 back in January and has been put up to 116 now, which, back at Hereford over the 2m 3f in a 0-120 absolutely would not be beyond him. 

In my opinion, looking at him and his form, 16f on a flat galloping track on soft ground would do the trick too, but as I say that’s just my opinion. I didn’t put that to Henry.

Defiantly a horse for the tracker under the conditions I have outlined.


Doc Carver 

A horse with decent point form up to April 2017, He arrived at Henry’s in October of 2017. 

Now, He is a horse with I think it’s fair to say, an unfashionable pedigree in National Hunt Terms, so it’s hard for me to make a judgement on where he might take us in that respect. However, he is not short on looks and demeanour, a cocky confident walker who moves well, looks well and is clearly thriving.

I do hope I am not spoiling anything for the stable and owner here but In my opinion (I make a point of never asking a trainer for a tip or if a horse is going to win a particular race, Its pointless and rude) this horse is a handicap project, ran three very nice Novice Hurdles before being introduced to Handicaps off a mark of 121.

First time up in a handicap at Towcester, on soft over 2m, travelling well and would have almost certainly been involved in the finish, just clipped the bar of the hurdle 3 out, stumbled and fell.

 The next two races at Plumpton and Exeter were on totally unsuitable ground and has no bearing on his form and ability. 

Now off a mark of 115 over hurdles, ( can’t go back to Towcester Unfortunately), 2 miles ( will probably stay further on point evidence), soft ground, not heavy, on a right handed stiff finish, in a class 3 ( if he turns up in a class 4 under those conditions it will be a max bet), well,  In my opinion, he is a winner waiting to happen given the right conditions.

Love Lane

A stowaway bay mare, only a 5yo and bags of potential. Didn’t pull any trees up over 3m in p2p but looking at her physically and her pedigree, I don’t think she is a 3m mare. I am not saying she won’t get further in time but I think, at least for the moment 3m is way beyond her.

Now back to the present, three runs in Novice hurdles recoding RPR’s of 99 99 and 88, winning the middle one at Exeter ( always a good sign if you can win a Exeter novice hurdle) and I think valid excuses for the other two races. 2m4f at Market Rasen too far, and Towcester too stiff. 2m 1f round Exeter would have been perfect for her at that stage in soft ground.

Now has a mark of 112 which I think is eminently exploitable, a really good workable mark.

Plans are fluid at this stage I understand, but given time, patience, 112 on a undulating track, probably right handed, then I think this well balanced mare can win a nice handicap.

Only being a 5yo, she will be developing and strengthening up all the time, so patience is the key, put her in your tracker, don’t lose faith if you don’t see her for a while. In any event we will be highlighting her when she reappears.

 Shroughmore Lass 

A strong looking bay mare by Flemensfirth out of an Oscar mare.

If she stays over hurdles this season she has very workable mark to go to war with provided she is stepped up in trip to exploit the obvious stamina in her pedigree. 

If she goes novice chasing, and she might, then this year could be an education over fences for her and 3mile handicap chasing will beckon in time. 

She is a particularly good looking mare, strong well-built model. 

There is no indication at this time, so early in the season, as to the future plans. It’s difficult at 7yo as if they do not go chasing now, and she is bred for it, it could be too late next year, but if she stays over hurdles this season we can, hopefully look forward to a good win with her under the right conditions.

I really hope you have enjoyed this look through parts 1 and 2 of our visit to this fantastic up-and-coming stable.

Massive thank you to Henry and Heather Oliver for their time and too George Hibbert for the original invitation  

Pete Ingram







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