Gran Maestro was purchased in the summer of 2014, in a private deal out of the excellent Ruth Carr yard. Granny as we call him was the most consistent type on the flat plus handled all types of ground. He was a big lad too and looked the ideal type for National Hunt Racing.
The horse wasn’t an instant success over hurdles in fact it took him a couple of runs to learn his new trade but on his 3rd start at Bangor, Gran Maestro showed a lot more with a sound 2nd place and the penny looked to have dropped.
Next time out at Fontwell Granny won nicely by 5 lengths and really started enjoying his jumping whilst looked quite progressive.
We gave the horse a wind op over the winter as he'd always made bit of rattle at home, the procedure seemed to help Gran Maestro as he came back full of zest and an improved horse even though his work had always been good beforehand.
First time out after a holiday, was a big meeting at Sandown Park. We were running in A P McCoy’s final race before his retirement. Gran Maestro ran a belter, finishing 2nd of 18 behind a smart type, it was 7 lengths back to 3rd place.
We then made the Summer Hurdle the big plan and purposely kept Gran Maestro’s handicap mark for that race hence going back on the flat. Despite finishing 3rd 2nd 3rd and running well Granny didn’t travel as we know he can back on the level and looked a bit board by it all, however he kept winning prize money and the outings kept his rating intact for the main target.
Come Summer Hurdle day at Market Rasen trainer Dr Newland had Gran Maestro cherry ripe, he’d never been better whilst Will Kennedy was schooling the horse on a regular basis. The race looked a very warm renewal with some smart horses lining up but we knew our lad would gallop all the way to the line and his rivals would have to work hard to get past Gran Maestro.
Will Kennedy had Granny in the perfect position from the off, never worse than 3rd place, the partnership were travelling and jumping great and hit the front just before the home turn with many in behind unable to go the strong gallop.
We jumped two out in front but Hammersly Lake loomed large and got his head in front on the run in, however Will Kennedy & Gran Maestro weren’t for beating, they battled back and won going away again at the line.
It’s not often the long term targets come off but this one did and we won the most prestigious summer hurdle race of the season. It was a fantastic achievement for us whilst Gran Maestro’s owner’s partied long in to the hours of Sunday morning.
The pictures were kindly taken and donated by http://www.mickatkins.com/