It's always nice to have a winner but the first winner of the year feels even better after the team have spent the winter working very hard on horses we "hope and pray" will become winners this season for us. With little more than a handful of horses to run on the all weather, Toboggan's Gift was the one to get us off the mark at Southwell this afternoon after a promising second recently, both under the guidance of Jimmy Quinn, deputising for PJ who's diet is in full swing but whose weight has not abatted enough for him to have made the weight on our girl today. Her dam "Toboggan Lady" won three for us, her first foal Toboggans Star won as a two year old before being sold to race in the States, Toboggan's Fire won as a two year old last season and so it is really nice to have trained the only other foal of the now deceased dam, to win as well.
It is always useful for a trainer to know a family well and we certainly know this family inside out. But while we managed to win with the other two as juveniles this filly was by far, the weakest physically, in fact she used to literally fall apart after her races and even after a hard piece of work sometimes, more so than any other horse I have ever trained, making her the perfect guinnea pig for the water treadmil. Long standing owner Dave McMahon has been incredibly patient and keen to see if our water treadmil really would do as it promised to do in respect of helping horses stengthen physically.
Toboggan's Gift has been on the treadmill three times each week since it's arrival here and the improvements have been significant, the muscles along her back have got noticably bigger and more defined, her gait is more balanced and her posture and stride pattern has improved. She has required less hard work on the gallops to keep her fully fit and, crucially she has recovered from her races really quickly.