by David Jennings
The days of Gavin Cromwell being recognised as Gordon Elliott’s farrier are long gone, as he is now well established as one of the most potent forces in the Irish jumping ranks.
Cromwell’s impressive progress in recent years has been one of the standout themes to the end-of-term standings, going from the fringes of the top 20 with eight winners in 2017-18 to seventh position a year later with 33 successes.
The 46-year-old nearly doubled that domestic tally with 62 winners last season and ended proceedings in fifth, with only Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott, Henry de Bromhead and Joseph O’Brien ahead of him.
Cromwell’s Danestown team is undoubtedly going places fast, with the trainer able to get the best out of low-grade handicappers to the same extent as with top-level performers, advertised by his Champion Hurdle exploits with ill-fated 2019 hero Espoir D’Allen and last year’s third Darver Star.
Cromwell is building new boxes at his expanding operation and another strong season in 2020-21 should do his chances of promptly filling them no harm.
Where Balrath, Navan, County Meath
Started training 2005
Horses in yard 70
Members of staff 15
Head lad Ger Fox
Assistant trainer Feidhlim Cunningham
Assistant head lass Nicola Walsh
Pupil assistant trainer James Callinan
Travelling head lad Justin McGovern
Assistant travelling head lass Rebecca Rafter
Secretary Rachel Doody
Accounts Derek Murray
Jockeys Jonathan Moore, Conor McNamara, Conor Maxwell
Amateurs Joey Dunne
Stable sponsor Betdaq
Winners over jumps in Ireland
Profit/loss to €1 stake
Total prize-money 2019-20
Five-year-old gelding by Fair Mix (sire) – Alora Money (dam)
Owner: John P McManus
Form figures: 415127-
Racing Post Rating 142h Official Rating 142h
We’re going to start off over fences shortly, possibly at Navan on Sunday. He had a good time of things last season and has schooled well, having come from point-to-points.
5g Doctor Dino – Argovie
John P McManus
RPR 117c OR 112c
It was a big improvement from him when he was second at Punchestown last time. He’s very slow to jump though, and would want to sharpen up.
4g Helmet – Bajan Belle
RPR 121h OR 128h
He’s a hardy horse and we’ll be starting him back over the next couple of weeks. We’ll definitely give him another go over fences. Soft ground is fine for him, although I don’t know about running him on bottomless ground when chasing.
5g Califet – Blackthorne Winter
John P McManus
RPR 117h OR –
He was a bit disappointing on his hurdles debut at Galway and we might try him over fences. He’s quite a free-going sort and I’d say we’ll probably keep him to two miles.
5g Beat Hollow – Rushmore Rose
A M Murray & Grant Harrison
RPR 118h OR 117h
He’s been knocking on the door but is still a maiden over hurdles and he’ll probably struggle to win a maiden at this time of the year. We’re giving him a break until next year and hopefully he can pick up a race in the spring or summer.
8g Kalanisi – Maggies Oscar
SSP Number Twentytwo Syndicate
RPR 162h RPR 151c OR 160h
He was brilliant the first day over fences and we were a little bit disappointed last weekend at Punchestown, but he wants better ground. I thought he could have travelled a bit better but he didn’t get slow overnight and we’ll have to put a line through it and blame the ground. Johnny [Moore] was delighted with the way he jumped and he went to the line well. Two and a half miles is probably more of his trip but we’ll try him again at two miles – we don’t really want to take on Envoi Allen. It took him a while to come to himself last year so I’m not too worried.
7g Smadoun – Luzerne Du Poitou
Force Eight Syndicate
RPR 141c OR 132c
He’s only been with us a few weeks but he’s settling in well and it’s nice to have him. He’s started to come together over the past week and hopefully a change of scenery could be something different for him.
4g Ruler Of The World – Palladius
Gavin Cromwell Racing Limited
RPR 109h OR –
He’s a grand, unexposed horse who ran well when third to The Shunter at Downpatrick. We’ve given him a break and will bring him back in the spring.
5g Yeats – Lillymile
Flooring Porter Syndicate
RPR 141h OR 136h
I don’t really know what happened when he hung at Gowran, maybe he was looking for the stable yard or something. He’s fine anyway and will be aimed at the Proudstown Hurdle at Navan next month.
5g Tirwanako – Gunboatfrance
Mick & Molly Syndicate
RPR 142h OR –
Apart from getting beaten you can’t really knock what he’s done. He didn’t lose a whole lot in defeat when beaten in a photo at Fairyhouse last time. He’s one of our nicer novices.
6g Yeats – Sway
John P McManus
RPR 139h RPR 111c OR 136h
He was probably a bit disappointing in the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham and we’ve sent him chasing this season. Hopefully he can improve as he gains experience.
6m Jeremy – Supreme Beneficial
Flushfarm Racing Syndicate
RPR 139h OR 136h
She jumps brilliantly so it’s unfortunate she hasn’t completed on either of her chase starts. She just over-jumped the first on her debut over fences and she was tired after racing too keenly when unseating at Wexford last time. We’ll definitely be putting the hood back on her and are doing a few different things at home. She seems to be settling better and has the talent, so hopefully we can get her to produce her best.
6g Milan – Garlucy
RPR 140c OR 133c
He had a small setback but hopefully we’ll have him with us by Christmas. He’s a huge staying chaser. I would have loved to have him back for the Porterstown Chase at Fairyhouse but we can look forward to him for later.
6g Jukebox Jury – Sweetheart
Five Lamps Racing Syndicate
RPR 125h OR 123h
We’ll be running him over hurdles this season and he has an option at Cork this weekend. He doesn’t have too many miles on the clock and is jumping a lot better. He did well for his summer break.
5g Flemensfirth – Clarification
Alymer Stud Limited
RPR 136b OR –
We’ve always liked him and he’s bred to be a good horse, being out of Refinement’s first foal. We’ll stick to the bumper route this season. He’s a big, raw horse, 16.3 hands. I don’t want to overrace him but he hasn’t come off the bridle in either of his two runs this year. He could go for a Listed bumper at Navan next month and, depending on how things go, he has the option of the Grade 2 at Leopardstown [at the Dublin Racing Festival]. I don’t think he’d go to Cheltenham but Punchestown is an option. He doesn’t need cut in the ground – he has plenty of gears – but obviously handles testing going.
5g Oscar – Coolsilver
RPR 114h OR –
We were a little disappointed with him last time at Killarney but it was a better race than he’d won at Kilbeggan. We’re going over fences with him and hopefully he’ll make into a nicer chaser.
Peaches And Cream
5g Salutino – Muffles Girl
Gavin Cromwell Racing Limited
RPR 133c OR 127c
He won well at Wexford but bottomless winter ground probably isn’t his trick so we might just hold off and bring him back at Leopardstown. We know he likes the track.
5g Perugino – Rose Earley
Miss Susan Barton & S O’Brien & John Mahon
RPR 130h OR 131h
He’s beginning to deliver on his early promise and we’ll look to find a rated novice hurdle for him. He’s not a slow horse and the drop in trip seemed to help last time at Tipperary.
Theatre Of War
4g War Command – Final Opinion
Clara Jug Syndicate
RPR 128h OR 127h
He was very disappointing at Tipperary but has had a wind op since and is back in work. He ran very well in the Fred Winter and is still a maiden. He could potentially be back for Christmas.
6m Getaway – Golden Blossom
RPR 134c OR 124c
I think the ground was too deep for her at Cork last time, she just didn’t jump or travel as well as she can. I was delighted with her when she came back in this season. Hopefully her best days will be ahead of her.
6g Multiplex – Rosa Canina
Michael J Lynch
RPR 129c OR 120h
He ran very well at Navan on his first start over fences and we ran him back quickly at Fairyhouse because it was tailor-made for him. He ran a cracker in defeat and we’ll see what the handicapper does.
5g Martaline – Virgata
Mrs H M Keaveney
RPR 115h OR –
We were very happy with his first start for us at Punchestown and I’d imagine we’ll stick to the maiden hurdle route with him. He’s a nice horse who’ll make a lovely chaser in time.
7m Shantou – Simply Deep
Matthew Grimley/Raymond Grimley
RPR 128h OR 114h
She keeps surprising us. She had issues before and after she came to us but she’s putting it all together and has been progressive.
Walk Me Home
5m Galileo – Sway
John P McManus
RPR 119h OR 107h
I don’t know whether she’d have won but she was unlucky to come down at the last at Navan. She actually hampered another nice mare of ours called Presenting Meghan and Johnny [Moore] felt she had a live chance at the time. We’ll look for something similar.
5g Westerner – Stitch Pockets
North Star Syndicate
RPR 138h OR 132h
He’s going the right way and it was a pity he knuckled at the back of the hurdle at Punchestown last time. We’ll look for a rated novice again, or try him in handicap company.
5g Camelot – Synergy
RPR 126h OR 125h
The hustle and bustle over two miles on his first handicap run at Listowel probably caught him out a little but he still ran well there, and again in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket since. We’ll probably step him up to two and a half miles and run him in a rated novice hurdle.
4g Pour Moi – Preach
RPR 136h OR 136h
We couldn’t put our finger on why he disappointed at Down Royal last time but we’ll run him in the Fishery Lane Hurdle at Naas this weekend. We had a good season with him last year but it’s always tough for four-year-olds to step into senior company.
4g Zebedee – Bluebell Park
Yafordadoe Racing Syndicate
RPR 128h OR 124h
He probably ran close to his mark at Punchestown last time but we’ll take our time with him and find a race for him around Christmas. He’s a fun horse and can go back to the Flat too.
We’ve got some nice young horses and Vintage Prosseco (5g Arctic Cosmos – Executive Games) is a lovely type who enjoys soft ground. He won in good style at Limerick on Tuesday and will want a trip in time. He’ll be nice when he gets a hurdle in front of him. We probably didn’t make enough use of Eyre Square (5m Doyen – Inistioge) when she was third in a Fairyhouse bumper but she’s a grand mare. Presentingnewyork is another nice bumper mare we’re looking forward to. Army Of One (3f Kingston Hill – Auctorita) came to us from the Flat in Germany through Bernard Cullinane. She could potentially go straight to a Listed mares‘ juvenile hurdle at Aintree, a race we’ve had some luck in. Pretorius (3g Durban Thunder – Pixie) has also arrived from Germany and could be a nice horse for the future.
Two for the tracker
Gavin Cromwell’s share price continues to rise on jump racing’s stock exchange and, let’s be clear about it, he could have another class act in his care.
It is a bold statement to suggest Letsbeclearaboutit will achieve anything close to what Espoir D’Allen did, but the early signs are extremely positive and it would come as a surprise if he did not turn out to be a Grade 1 horse at some stage.
The suggestion is that the son of Flemensfirth won’t go to the Champion Bumper, but following his progress will be fascinating.
While everything has gone perfectly for Letsbeclearaboutit, nothing has gone right for Jeremys Flame.
Last season’s Tolworth runner-up now has form figures of FU over fences, but I agree with Cromwell and believe she is actually a decent jumper of a fence. She needs a hood and hopefully it will be applied for a mares‘ beginners‘ chase. She can pick up one of those with her eyes closed.
Jukebox Jive is a horse I am very interested in this winter. He has only been seen twice for the whole of 2020 and has not run over hurdles since last December.
A hurdles mark of 123 pokes the eye out, especially when the mud is flying and the ground is at its heaviest. The Pertemps route might suit him.