Brookhouse or poor house?
Mr Brookhouse has spent millions on National Hunt horses mainly buying winning Irish pointers at Brightwell’s and has had Cheltenham Festival success with Cheltenian and Western Warhorse and reading between the lines that seems to be THE aim. It would seem that Mr Brookhouse has two ways of doing things, his way and the wrong way! He moves horses from yard to yard on a regular basis and I would guess it would be very difficult for any trainer to say no with the quality of horse being offered.
Last summer it would seem poor Tom George lost all of his Roger Brookhouse horses and I’m particularily interested in those that have appeared at Ditcheat in the care of champion trainer Paul Nicholls. I think that Mr George has been really unlucky inasmuch that he was giving a bunch of horses that were all destined to be chasers but not surprisingly haven’t come up to scratch over hurdles. That aside there is no better trainer of a chaser in Britain than Paul Nicholls and I fully expect the following to make use of some lenient handicap marks. Nicholls has already gone public saying that those from Tom George “may need a run”. Once they are “Ditcheat” schooled and fit I expect some real dividends.
SOME BUCKLE (Paul Nicholls) Mr Brookhouse paid £180K for this son of Milan after he had won at Tattersalls Farm point-to-point. The vendor Hamilton said: “Some Buckle could turn into a very nice horse and I wouldn’t have been afraid to run him in a bumper. He has plenty of scope for improvement.” He ran third to Zeroeshadesofgrey and Relic Rock on bumper debut (7/2F) and then a respectable 9th to Shaneshill in the Punchestown Festival Champion Bumper. He opened his hurdling campaign beating Mad Jack Mytton a comfortable 14L in a C5 maiden at Southwell. Then in January of this year Tony McFadden of Timeform (published 14th January 2015) wrote “Roger Brookhouse and Tom George have enjoyed success this season with Stellar Notion and The Ould Lad, and Some Buckle could be the next one off the production line. Much like the other duo, we are only likely to see the best of Some Buckle when he tackles the larger obstacles, but he has shown enough promise in bumpers and over hurdles to suggest that he’s also of short-term interest. Some Buckle couldn’t quite follow up his impressive Southwell win, but, in pulling clear with another exciting prospect (Glingerburn), he ran at least as well, deserving plenty of credit for putting so much distance between himself and the third in a slowly-run contest. He should benefit from the experience of such a hard-fought finish, and there’s certainly better to come down the line.” Next seen at Cheltenham on Trials day at Cheltenham he was 5th beaten less than 8L behind Ordo Ab Cheo in the Neptune trial with the Racing Post analyst reporting “Held up, headway after 2 out into closely disputed 3rd, not clearest of runs on stands’ side rails but ridden approaching last, no extra final 120yds”. He didn’t run at the Festival itself but was 6th of 23 beaten less than 4L off OR135 in the Imperial Cup at Sandown on the Saturday prior. Three points of interest, firstly he was held up and kept on but nothing got to the front two who led throughout, secondly he went off at just 14/1 and thirdly he wore a first time tongue tie. His final appearance for Tom George is at the Aintree Festival when 13 of 23 in the C1 Grade 3 handicap hurdle off OR135, again in a tongue tie and just 9/1 in the market. Held up he makes progress to have every chance two out but weakens from the last.
Mr Brookhouse moved him to Paul Nicholls in the summer who starts him off in a 0-140 C3 handicap hurdle at Cheltenham on day one of the International meeting, once again with a tongue tie, with Sam Twiston-Davies in the plate. This 6yo must show some pace at home to be kept in these two mile hurdles. We want to see him over a fence at 2m 4f plus having had “a small wind op”? OR135h
SOME PLAN (Paul Nicholls) A late starter, not making his first racecourse appearance to just five days before his 6th birthday, he was beaten 10L by Twenty Two’s Taken in a two mile Down Royal bumper. Mr Brookhouse paid loose change for him, just £40K, whilst the winner went for £150K and is currently with David Pipe!
Sent to Tom George he had just one run in a bumper when fourth behind the talented pair of Relic Rock and Fletchers Flyer (#startracking). He won on hurdling debut beating Kings Odyssey in a Southwell C4 novice hurdle, made most, headed between last two but fought back. He was then a front running second in a C3 event at Cheltenham when caught late by Seedling. Went to Musselburgh on their Cheltenham trials day and won the C2 four runner novice race beating The Grey Taylor having made every yard, keeping on strongly and easing close home. He took his chance in the Supreme at the Festival coming home a well beaten 10th to Douvan.
Over the summer he went from Tom George to Paul Nicholls and nine months after Cheltenham ran in a 2m listed handicap off OR142 at Sandown. Despite wearing a hood and a first time tongue tie the money came for him from 11/2 to 100/30 favourite. The Racing Post analysis reported “Held up in last trio, smooth progress on long run before 2 out, close up when hit 2 out, soon ridden and found nil.” Is this another candidate for “a small wind op”? This 7yo son of Winged Love might just turn out to be a better hurdler over 2m/2m4f than over further over fences. His next run should tell us more, . He does have an entry in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot on Saturday December 18th.
STELLAR NOTION (Paul Nicholls) Purchased for a not to be sniffed at £140K. 2nd in an Irish point, won his bumper and his novice hurdle and signed off with a 2nd to Un Ace (#startracking) giving 6lbs away. This strapping son of Presenting was meant for fences. So it proved, winning his first two attempts before Christmas and his handicap mark went from 120 to 137, making all both times. He was sent off at 4/1 favourite to repeat the feat in a G1 Listed handicap at Cheltenham in January but a serious error three out put paid to his chances and he finished seventh. Wearing a first time tongue tie he was a disappointing 9/1 shot behind Irish Cavalier in the Novices Handicap chase on day one of the Cheltenham Festival and that was his season over with a mark of 137.
Moved to Nicholls over the summer he started off over half a mile shorter, again with a tongue tie, in a C2 handicap at Newbury. The subject of strong market support, 7/2 into 9/4 favourite, he was beaten before the ditch three out! I fully expect to hear the words “sorted out his wind” soon and I think he has the potential to run to 150 and once Nicholls has him worked out he should be back in the winner’s enclosure. OR ch 137 135
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THE OULD LAD (Paul Nicholls) Moved from Tom George to Paul Nicholls he went off at 9/4F for the Badger Ales Listed handicap Chase at Wincanton over 3m 1F. Why?
A winner at the second attempt PtP-ing in Ireland Roger Brookhouse paid £100K for this son of Heron Island. His hurdling efforts were undistinguished, 744, but it did mean he started his chasing career in March 2014 on a mark of just 112 at Newbury in a heavy ground C3 two and a quarter mile novices handicap finishing fourth as 9/4F, he weakened from two out. He started last season off just 110 with a second at Huntingdon but got his head in front at Warwick (C4 2m 4f OR110) and followed up within the month at Leicester (C3 2m 6f OR118). His sights were then raised and he ran a cracking second in a C1 G3 chase at Cheltenham, four pounds out of the handicap but Brennan putting up 5lbs overweight! He just failed to see out the extended trip of 3m 2f and then he was third over half a mile shorter at Leicester but that was a surely just a prep for the seasons target, the Kim Muir at the Festival where off a mark of 130 he was a distant 14th to the Package, having hit three out and then being eased. On his final start he was pulled up behind Cocktails at Dawn and finished the season on OR125ch.
In the Badger Chase he was never competitive and pulled up before three out and guess what? He wore a first time tongue tie!! I would like to hear of the ubiquitous wind-op, see his sights lowered, win a couple (current OR122, that’s C4 territory), get some confidence and have another crack at the Kim Muir next March because he was going well when he hit three out last March.
WUFF (Paul Nicholls) Mr Brookhouse paid £120K for this winning Irish pointer. Caught my interest when getting up to beat Straidnahanna in the last stride over the fixed brush hurdles at Haydock in heavy ground two seasons ago. He is huge and really looked a chaser and I was impressed by his willing attitude. He doesn’t do anything quickly and improvement would be expected stepping up in trip. He made his chasing debut in February of this year, after a year off the course, at Haydock over 2m 5f and it was a fine chasing debut just done for toe between last two over 2m5f with further improvement expected when stepping up to three miles. “Wuff confirmed my impression of him last year that he would require a good test at three miles on soft ground,” Norms Notebook Haydock Feb 14th Next seen at Newbury over three miles the ground was a bit quick for him, he clouted the last and The Skyfarmer was just too speedy for him. His next race was an odd choice (by the owner?) he appeared at Punchestown in May in a £46K novice handicap chase on good to yielding ground off 130 back at 2m5F. They had too much speed from four out and he was beaten 53L in 10th. Moved to Ditcheat in the summer he made his debut for Nicholls in a C3 3m 2f handicap chase for amateur riders and the booking of Mr Will Biddick was eye-catching and the market agreed making him 6/4 favourite from a top price 5/2. He was badly hampered at the last on the back straight and never recovered, indeed he emptied at the top of the home straight but will definitely come on for the run. He has worn a tongue tie for his last two races and it would be no surprise if he has “a small wind op”! As I said he is huge and he is probably still growing into that frame and may take a few runs to reach peak fitness. Wouldn’t shock me if that was in March in the Kim Muir with a certain Mr Biddick on board.
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The next two are Brookhouse owned but in other yards, as I write!
CHAMPAGNE WEST (Philip Hobbs) Simply couldn’t leave him out as he was probably the best novice hurdler at Bilbrook who improved throughout the 2013/14 season. He was 4th in the Alfred Bartlett and his 2nd to Beat That earlier reads well. Three miles with a bit of cut are ideal conditions and it wouldn’t be difficult to see this son of Westerner in the RSA justifying the £120K Roger Brookhouse paid for this 12L winner of an Irish PtP. Three runs at Cheltenham over 2m5f, two wins and a 2nd to Ptit Zig. He was right up with the best of the novice chasers last season. Unfortunately he fell in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles at Sandown, when going well. His trainer Philip Hobbs said on Wednesday morning 4th February 2015: “Unfortunately Champagne West banged his hock when falling at Sandown when he seemed to be travelling well and some tiny bone chips around the hock have been detected as a result. He will be sent to Newmarket for further assessment but hopefully it is nothing serious and is not career threatening. If all goes well he should be back in the autumn for the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November.”
Well he didn’t make the Paddy Power but he is back for The Caspian Caviar December Gold Cup over the same course and distance. OR150ch
SOLOMN GRUNDY (David Pipe) This is the least exposed of the Brookhouse horses I’m putting forward. In his second Irish PtP he was third to Missed Approach (current OR140) and Weststreet (OR119) and he changed hands for just £30K. Off the course for eighteen months he made his British debut in a hot C4 novice hurdle at Taunton behind Vieux Lille. He was given a schooling in public tender, educational ride by Tom Scudamore being held up, making some progress turning for home and coming home a happy fourth. This son of Westerner will probably want further and maybe a fence but showed enough promise on debut to be worth following especially when the Pipe team eventually hits their straps.
A bit more background.
Fat Jockey put this up on the Betfair Community Forum in April 2012 “If you don’t yet know who owner Roger Brookhouse is, you probably soon will. In recent months, Brookhouse has been busy at some of the biggest National Hunt sales snapping up some of the sport’s most exciting young prospects to race in his colours. A former trainer himself, Brookhouse had to give up looking after his own horses as his business interests expanded, but he has enjoyed some decent success in recent seasons, for example when the fragile Cheltenian won the 2011 Championship Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival. By signing some meaty six-figure cheques at the sales in recent months, Brookhouse hopes he has secured some future stars who will carry his light blue and pink silks with distinction. Not that Brookhouse is necessarily the easiest man to train for and it is more his doing than trainer David Pipe’s which sees Goulanes head up to Wetherby to make his chasing debut in the Towton Novices’ Chase rather than staying over hurdles, where he remains not yet fully exposed.”
The worldwide inter-webby thing tells us, “Roger Stephen Brookhouse holds currently these positions: Director (DIRECTOR), Director (PIPELINE SPECIALIST) in companies AUTOWELD (UK) LIMITED, R.S. BROOKHOUSE ENGINEERING (EVESHAM) LIMITED. He has been a Director (DIRECTOR) of AUTOWELD (UK) LIMITED for 21 years, Director (PIPELINE SPECIALIST) of R.S. BROOKHOUSE ENGINEERING (EVESHAM) LIMITED for 24 years.”