EXCELLENT performances at the Cheltenham Festival by two horses trained in West Sussex by Richard Rowe at Ashleigh House Racing Stables, Sullington, have earned them a tilt at major races at the end of the current National Hunt season.
Tatenen is heading for the Grand National and Tataniano will be entered for the Grade Two Celebration Chase at Sandown- previously the Whitbread Gold Cup.
Both horses are owned by the Stewart family and were sent from a large busy stable to the West Sussex yard where they have benefited from personalised attention and the variety of downland routes immediately on their doorstep.
All horses trained by Richard benefit not only from varied terrain and individual treatment but also have regular massage and physiotherapy to ensure they are in good trim.
"Tataniano came to me only a few weeks before Cheltenham and was already entered in the Queen Mother Champion Chase. He had already made great progress with me before Cheltenham, but with another month he would have been even better," he said.
As it was, the horse jumped fluently to finish fifth at 100-1 with Andrew Thornton on board in the Queen Mother Champion Chase behind the outstanding Sprinter Sacre..
"He will improve further and I hope he will run at Sandown on the last day of the current National Hunt season," added Richard.
Tatenen (nine) came to Richard two-and-a-half years ago and has won two successive Victor Chandler Chases at Ascot. He ran in the Grand National last year but was unlucky to be hampered at the Canal Turn in a melee of horses.
He too has blossomed at the downland base and was unlucky at Cheltenham this month, where he was vastly underated as a 50-1 shot and finished sixth of 23 in the Grand Annual Chase- despite being seriously hampered twice and having a shoe ripped off during the race.
As well as the Grand National, he holds an entry in the Bet365 Gold Cup Chase Grade 3 at Sandown.
“We can go for miles along the South Downs immediately from the stables, using different routes and all the horses love it,” said Richard.
"We have had a fairly quiet season this time because of the extremely wet weather and Watergate is one who will be out again before the end of the season, hopefully on different ground. Last time at Fontwell, a ridiculously fast pace was set and he couldn't quicken up in closing stages on the ground," he explained.
He has a promising horse for the future in Grace and Fortune, a six-year-old mare who has performed consistently on heavy ground in novice hurdles this season.
” She will be even better when she goes chasing and will progress further,” he said.
Another winner over jumps has been Current Climate while Marble Walk, owned locally by Winterfield Farm Ltd, Pulborough, has been consistently placed hurdling. The eight-year-old is expected to win when going chasing.
The yard also has several flat horses for the coming months.
“I don’t believe in keeping National Hunt horses going all the year round. They need a break and I keep to the traditional end of the season. My Flat runners come into their own in the interim period, ” he said.
His two sons Luke and Richard Junior are both involved in racing. Richard is currently based in Newmarket and Luke is attached to Amanda Perrett’s yard at Pulborough and has ridden several winners there.