Racing South Africa


It has been a long time since this news has been updated. I stopped training in the UK in Feb' 2011. T he economic climate did not suit a new foreign trainer trying to start racing. Had a few good supporters but you have to have the horses to train and be able to charge a fair training fee, had a fair record with the horses we had, in November 2010 moved the stable to Lambourn to see if being in a racing town would help. Lambourn ended up very expensive to train from and a number of well established trainers, closed their stables. After discussions with my wife, who had supported everything I tried, we decided to close the yard. Heard vabout a job as an Assistant Trainer in a big, established yard in South Africa (140 horses), applied and got the position, there were very few opportunities for a trainer in the UK, to find work.

We moved everything, household, cars, pets and ourselves to South Africa in March 2011. Things went well and I got to run the yard on my own, for a period of 4 months of the year, while the trainer moved to Durban for the winter season. In South Africa, the summer season ( graded/group races are held in Cape Town and then moves to Durban, Kwazulu Natal, for the winter), so the big yards move their feature horses round the seasons. While in Cape Town had good success rate training the winter string/lots and after 2 years applied to open a sattelite yard for another big yard, 4th on the national trainers log, Mike Bass Racing, got the job and opened the yard in Port Elizabeth in May 2013, only have a limited amount of boxes at present and waiting for more, have had a nice strike rate, in the high 40% win/place average, since starting, so all thing going well and a very good yard to be working for.

My wife Estelle applied for a position as the Assistant Trainer to Snaith Racing, 3rd on the national tariners log, to run their Port Elizabeth training yard, she got the position on the 16/07/2013. There is now a good friendly rivalry between us, who can have the most winners in Port Elizabeth. I also have my daughter Gabriella, who helped me in the UK, ably assisting me now in the new set up.

Watch this space and the winners

Posted on 28 Jul 2013 by Gavin


New horse Albert Henry has serous wind problems and organised a portable scope from Bristol to diagnose the problem, Alber Henry,s soft palate had collapsed which would need a tube done, which would not neccessarliy cure the problem as he was a bleeder as well due to the severity of the wind problems. The owner under advise from the vets retired Albert Henry from all equestrian activities and he is now a companion.


2 Runners at Chepstow

D'artagnans Dream 1m, ran fine for 3/4 race, got to the front and stopped, thought race was over, then ran on and in the end ran a mediocre race.

The City Kid 7f, this was her 1st run on the grass for a number of years, we were told the going was soft by the clerk of the course, which is what she needs, on arriving and walking the course, the going was good, good to soft in places. Should have scratched her, but ran her after consulting with owners. Never ever travelling and just going up and down and would'nt let down and gallop


Both runners sound and fine after races


A Kind Of Love turned out and retired from racing


Dilli Dancer raced at Wolverhampton over 5f, drawn 1, she was slightly slow out, which meant thewalmost the whole field got in front of her, unfortunately can't afford to lose lenghts over 5f at Wolverhampton, ran on at the end and only beaten 31/2 lenghts, on wtaching the rerun, horse drawn 2 was slightly unsettled and Dilli Dancer knocked her head on the gate, which is why she was slightly slow out.

D'Artagnans Dream raced at Lingfield (AW) 1m4f, finshed 2nd, beaten by 31/4l lenghts by a progressive horse of  M Stoutes, D/Dream was slow out as is his norm and was last into the bend and giving the eventual winner, who was in the front, 12 lengths, good run and relished the step up in trip.


Both runners sound and fine after races


Yearling filly, by Tobougg, owned by Adrain Smith into yard, neat compact filly that looks like her sire, looks like should have some speed but has a staying pedigree on dams side.


Started lunging Tobougg filly


Dilli Dancer raced at Kempton Park 6f, Hayley Turner booked to ride but stood herself down 30 min before race. Due to rush trying to find a jockey, was late saddling and the rushing D/dancer which only gets her worked up, had quite a hard race in that she was bumped around and got into nquite a bit of traffic in running, ran on at end and beaten 6+ leghths


Dilli Dancer lame both hinds, vets report that both hamstrings are starined. Decide to give her time to recover and when sound send her home for the winter.


The City Kid raced at Wolverhampton 7f, race run to suit, which means they run a very quick pace which allows her to come from off the pace and gallop them down in the staright, unfortunately all gaps are closed as she try's to run through horses, only beaten by 3 lenghts but out of the places, fair effort from mare.


The City Kid sound and fine after races.


D'artagnans Dream raced at Linfield 1m4f, starts as favourite, drawn well, jockey given clear instructions to make sure he jumps out well and to settle him midfield, jumps fine, but is pulled up by jockey and dropped out to last, pulling hard whole race but kept at back, eventually runs on and finshes 4th, rally poor ride and jockey blames horse for bad start. Subsequently find out that winner, who was seesawing favourite with D/Dream was a horse that had been running in flapping races, winning 7 in a row, in Ireland, which is illegal for proffesional race horse, that makes the riding of D/Dream questionable.


D'Artganans Dream raced at Kempton Park, 1m4f, drawn on the outside, jockey jumped out in front, travelled wide all the way and didn't finish race, ran very flat, race obviously too much racing to close up.


D/Dream sound but flat, will send him home for the winter.


My Red Kite, raced at Kempton Park, 1 m, took keen hold early and ran on, but then one paced, probably needs to go back to 7f


My Red Kite sound and fine after races.

Posted on 15 Aug 2010 by Gavin
New Video of Yard

Click here >>>>

Posted on 16 Mar 2010 by Gavin


Took The City Kid with D'Artagnans Dream to gallop at Kempton Park. They did a gallop over 6f , The City Kid did a really nice gallop and this will put her right for  her 1st run.

My Red Kite also started a course of shock wave therapy on his shins as he has had slight sore shins after his last run and now is a good time as I wanted to give him a short break.

A new horse called Albert Henry belonging to Mr Ken Anidjah arrived from a recuperation yard, he had been there to use the swimming pool after having a tie foreward operation on his wind, while there he had also been gelded.


Albert Henry has a very bad wind problem, haved been trotting him around and as soon as he has the slightest bit of labour he chokes up and cannot breath. Have organised him to go to the vets to have a scope by the same vet who did the tie foreward operation.


Albert Henry was scoped and nothing wrong could be seen, will now organise a portable mobile scope from Bristol to be done.


The City Kid runs over 6f at Wolverhampton, drawn wide, jumps well and the jockey gets her into a good position on the rail, she gets hampered in the home straight which probably costs her 3rd place but a good run after a lengthy break.


Take Dilli Dancer to Kempton Park to do a stalls test, is a bit difficult but loads with a blind on and stands well with it on and jumps well when gates are opened.


Dilli Dancer races at Goodwood over 7f, gets really worked up before race and runs a mediocre race, need to work out what went wrong. arrived at course late due to heavy traffic, so had quite a rush to declare her, get down to stables, unload her, groom her, load her and back to the course, everything was a bit quick and got her really upset.

Will continue with the updtates later

Posted on 30 Jan 2010 by Gavin

My apologies for not having updated the news coloumn since June'09, after losing Magical Molecule things got a bit hectic around the stables and Estelle and I have been so busy in the yard, I just never got around to doing the updates.

The last entry was about a horse called A Little More, who had arrived from a spelling/recuperation yard where he had supposesadly been in full training. On arriving in the yard he had  a reputation of being difficult and could be nasty in the stable and also difficult to ride. After 2 days I contacted the owners and told them the reason the horse was diificult was because he was 4/10's lame and would need a scan to find the problem. After speaking to the previous satble who had dealt with him, they took him back and gave it to another trainer who said the horse had a bruised foot, as of this date the horse has not ever been entered in a race.


Took My Red Kite and D'Artagnans Dream to Epsom. My Red Kite ran in a 7f race and never raised a gallop, had got himself very wound up before the race and just never took to the track. D'Artagnans Dream was in the last race over 1 mile+, just before the race the heavan's opened and there was a huge thunder storm, it was raining so heavy the TV camera's could not follow the race. the ground turned bottomless and D'Artagnans Dream ran a moderate race.


Dilli Dancer ran in  6f at Leicester, this was the first time she had been in a full field of 20 runners and being the last to load she got herself really worked up and was difficult to load, she ran a fair race but had lost the race behind the stalls. she was given a failure for loading and will have to pass a stalls test before she may race again.


D'Artagnans Dream had a run over 1 mile at Newmarket. He jumped on terms but was then slow into stride, he was hampered 3 times in running and ran on really well when the gaps opened, finishing strongly against a decent field.


Posted on 28 Jan 2010 by Gavin
Blakes Racing, Latest news, 18/06/09

We had 2 runners at Sandown on the 12/06/09. Magical Molecule was having his 1st run, It was a 5f maiden, he looked well in the parade ring and definately never looked out of place. He jumped well out of the stalls and was leading the way 21/2 f from home when he suddenly went backwards. The jockey tried to ease him up but only managed to pull him up at the finish where he dismounted. Magical Molecule was lame and was transported back to the stables. He was x-rayed and found to have fractured his right hind hock, after consultation with the course vets and our own vet it was decided that the most humane thing was to have Magical Molecule euthanised.

My Red Kite was over 7f having his 2nd start, jumped well and travelled well, seemed to get tired in the last furlong and was drifting around. He finished 81/2l behind the winner, the race was quite a strong race with some very well bred horses in it and the winner was a beaten favourite on her first start and won very easily, My Red Kite had run another decent race. The next morning after removing his bandages and the clay he was found to have bucked both his shins, which would explain the drifting around in the last furlong going up the hill. My Red Kite will be given some time off to get over his shins and then be given a run to get him handicapped for next year.

We have also had 2 new horses come into the yard. The first is a 6yr old mare called, The City Kid, She is a 6 times winner with numerous places and always gives her connections an honest run, she is the full sister to a very progressive 4yr old filly called, Look Busy, who has won 2 listed, a Group3 and a Group2 race in her career thus far. The City Kid is coming off a well deserved 5 month break and is looking outstanding.

The 2nd horse is a 5yr old gelding, called A Little More, he has only had 7 career starts, with the last 2 being over hurdles. He has not raced since May '08 due to some minor injuries. He is now fully recovered and in full training. 

Posted on 18 Jun 2009 by Gavin
Blakes Racing, News Update

We have had another 2 runners this week, Dilli Dancer was scratched from her race at Doncaster on Sat. the 06/06 due to the ground having gone soft, spoke to the clerk of the course who said that they were expecting rain and expecting the course to cut up. Spoke to the jockey, Gabriel  Hannon and Adrian, the owner and we agreed to take her out.

D'Artagnans Dream ran at Folkstone on Mon. 08/06, won best turned out, over 1m2f on ground, good/good to firm, the jockey, Seb Saunders, dropped him out to last, I had wanted him dropped in just off the front runners but Seb is a champion and obviously felt he needed to be ridden that way. D'Artagnans Dream never got into the race and would not go around the bend, right handed, on the correct lead and was therefore always hanging out, it looked like he was eased up and then just cantered home. Will now look for a mile handicap with a left handed turn and also needs to be good to soft or soft ground, will have to draw a line through that race and think of it as a grass gallop and a learning curve.

Dilli Dance ran at Haydock Park on Wed. 10/06, over 6f in a Maiden, ground was good to firm/firm in places. There were only 7 runners due to scratchings because of the ground. I was of the opinion that it was our race to lose and that she stood a realistic chance of winning as she had run on similar ground on her previous start. She jumped out smartly and was always travelling well and 2f out looked like she had a real chance, when the jockey, Gabriel Hannon, asked her to kick for home, she lifted her head up and shortened her stride, could not catch the front 2 and should possibly have got 3rd, beaten on the line by a head, was beaten 2 lengths by the winner. Gabriel said she would not let down on the firm ground and only to run her on good ground, he had said after her 1st race that she would want the sting out of the ground. As she had come out of her last race so well and this race looked much easier it was my decision to run her. She has pulled out lame this morning on her left front and seems to be shin sore, we will give her time off now and wait for her ground and run her again when conditions suit and she is over her shins.

My Red Kite is declared to run in a 7f maiden at Sandown, tomorrow, 12/06, with the proviso the going gets no softer than good to soft.

Magical Molecule, a 2yr old gelding has his 1st run tomorrow,12/06, in a 5f maiden at Sandown.

Posted on 11 Jun 2009 by Gavin
Blakes Racing's First 2 Runners

I have had my first 2 runners now that I am training under my own licence which was issued on the 28th April 2009. The first runner was a maiden 4yr old filly named Dilli Dancer who was unraced due to injuries, she ran over 6f on the 21st May 2009 at Salisbury. The ground was good to firm and there were 11 runners, Dilli Dancer won best turned out and was given  100/1 chance for the race. The filly was ridden by Gabriel Hannon who had given her a race course gallop for me 2 weeks previously, he gave her a good ride and she finished 5th beaten 3 1/2 l by a filly who is now rated 79 after that race. She pulled up fine and took the race really well and I would like to thank Adrian Smith for allowing me train her and his other horses and I hope we can now go forward and win a race with Dilli Dancer.

My next runner was a unraced 2yr old gelding named My Red Kite, he ran on the 1st June 2009, he ran over 5f 213 yards at Leicester, the ground again was good to firm and there were 13 runners, 5 of the runners had raced before and we once again opened 100/1, My Red Kite looked outstanding in the ring and cantered down well to the start and started at 66/1. Gabriel Hannon again rode for me and gave him a good ride, he finshed 5th, beaten 11l, the winner, who had finished 4th at Ascot on his previous start, won by 5l, the 3rd and 4th had both run before. I was very pleased with the run and if the ground had a bit more give in it I think we would have finished closer up as he did not let down in the race as much as he could have. I had galloped him the previous week with another 2yr old at Leicester and believe having had a grass gallop before his run really made a big difference in his performance

Dilli Dancer runs on the 6th June, over 5f at Doncaster. I am hoping for a bit of rain over the next day or two, to take the sting out of the ground for her. I think 5f may be a bit sharp for her but there are so few 6f maidens for 3+ horses, so to get the runs into her I need to enter her in races from 5f to 7f. She has shown enough at home that I think she will run a good race for us.

My Red Kite will have a week off in the field and will run again in about 3 weeks depending on how he takes his work.

Posted on 04 Jun 2009 by Gavin