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Stabell talk 2021

Our Boy John - tough as nails

Our Boy John enjoyed an excellent campaign in 2020, winning three of his twelve races and running placed four times. Having a horse with such consistency and and appetite for the game is any racehorse owner's dream. Our Boy John certainly brought a lot of fun to his connections. His first success of the season was in a handicap over 1600 metres on turf in late July, when h​e overcame a far from ideal trip to get up for a narrow win over My Cup Of Tea, who beat Sonriente for second place. Stable companion Karen From Finance finished fourth. Just over three weeks later, on Norwegian Derby day, Our Boy John was once more in action over the same course and distance. The task looked quite a bit tougher on paper but he was more than up for it. Earning 51.800 kroner, Our Boy John won the Energima sponsored event by 2 ¾ lengths from Sunbreak, with Seraphine third and the race favourite Alsimsaam back in fourth.

Fast forward one month exactly, from Derby day on August 23 to September 23, and we find Our Boy John's third win as a six-year-old, and his eighth in total. Sticking to 1600 metres on the lawn, he beat Ocho Rios by a head. Hope And Glory was three parts of a length behind in third. Our Boy John had finished second to Sonriente on an outing in between these winning runs and he was clearly in great heart at the time. Like for his two previous wins, he was partnered by Jacob Johansen, who gets on well with Troy Durant's fine runner. Our Boy John improved steadily throughout last year. His handicap mark at the end of 2019 was 69kg and he has now been raised all the way up to 79kg. This means a much stiffer starting point as we head into a new season. Then again, Our Boy John is as tough as nails and a horse that takes his racing well. GS 100421

Our Boy John - his third win in 2020. Photo:

His third win this season

Our Boy John prevails in tight call

23 Sep 20: Our sport certainly has its highs and lows, and Team Bye Hansen experienced both extremes in the September Handicap on this Wednesday afternoon. While Our Boy John, one of the toughest handicappers in Scandinavia these days, prevailed in a very close finish to win from Ocho Rios, his stable companion Mujimba came riderless up the straight. Unfortunately, he unseated Nora Hagelund Holm as the stalls opened for the 1600 metres contest. The good news was that Nora was fine after the incident. She was actually back in the winners' circle after the following race, having had a more enjoyable ride on Topas Royal. That happened half an hour after Out Boy John's third win of the season had been celebrated. Ridden by Jacob Johansen, he travelled like a winner in fourth place going around the bend, advanced to grab the lead 200 metres out and kept on to beat Ocho Rios by a head. The two were on opposite sides of the course, with Our Boy John racing by the outside rail. His reward, 30,000 kroner, boosted his 2020 earnings to 173,375 kroner and his career total now stands at 635,932 kroner. Nice figures, for a horse Durant Racing Stables bought for just 3,500 guineas in England. Prolific winners don't have to cost a small fortune. 

Our Boy John shines again and

Swedish Dream runs big race in defeat

23 Aug 20: Swedish Dream bounced right back to his very best, perhaps he even ran up to a level above what he has achieved previously, when running second to Kick On in the high quality Marit Sveaas Minneløp (G3) on Derby day 2020. He sweated up a bit before the big race but it could hardly have affected him too much. He performed with great credit and made the winner pull out all the stops at the business end of the 1800 metres long contest. Ridden by Jacob Johansen, Swedish Dream proved too good for high profile names like Square de Luynes and Privilegiado. One horse was even better than him but this really felt like 'half a win' for Stall Øvrevollkollen's incredible six-year-old. He is clearly back in form and the autumn weeks coming upp could be very interesting. His efforts on this annual racing feast was rewarded with 235.500 kroner.

Jacob Johansen has been a good team player for the stable on many an occasion, and earlier on the day he rode Our Boy John to a win in the Energima Løp, a tough 13-runner handicap over 1600 metres. Our Boy John was the only one capable of catching the longtime leader Sunbreak, and he ran out an authoritative winner, gaining his second success from eight starts so far this season. Seraphine came home in third place, while the Swedish trained favourite Alsimsaam was fourth past the winning post. 

Our Boy John winning on Derby day. Photo:

Our Boy John (left) fighting his way up /

Tiz not over till...

Our Boy John is past the post!

30 Jul 20: Anyone who backed Our Boy John, the favourite for the sixth race on this interesting Thursday card probably felt like losers for the best part of the contest while watching the 1600-metres handicap. Our Boy John was pulling hard going down the back straight, wasting precious energy - before settling better by the time the field turned for home. Then, as the chips were down, he came under serious pressure and appeared to be struggling. Perhaps he was, but he was nothing but game and as the leaders began to feel the heat, Our Boy John began to find his stride. He gradually wore them to down for a tenacious win from the Swedish trained raider My Cup Of Tea. Sonriente - with two recent wins at this venue - was a close third. This was Our Boy John's sixth career win and his first since joining Annike Bye Hansen ahead of the current season. He was ridden by Jacob Johansen, who certainly deserved his fee for the job.

Our Boy John winning last November

Our Boy John - his move a compliment

One of the biggest compliments a racehorse trainer can get, is when a fellow trainer sends one of their own horses to be trained in your yard. Which is exactly what has happened with Our Boy John. Formerly trained by Yvonne Durant – and still owned by Yvonne and her husband Troy – Our Boy John moved to Annike's stable this March, and he is an interesting new player on the team. A son of top class sprinter Dandy Man out of the Petardia daughter Jine, Our Boy John was a winner on his most recent start. He captured the well paid Høstfinale Bronsedivisjon Handicap, run over 1600 metres at Øvrevoll Galopp last November, taking the race gamely by three parts of a length from Mustajjid, with Chivas 2 ¼ lengths further adrift in the nine-runner contest. This win was by no means unexpected, since Our Boy John had finished second on both of his two preceding starts; behind Queen's Delight over 1750 metres, and narrowly behind one of Annike's many winners in 2019, Karen From Finance, over 1600 metres ten days prior to his win. All these three races were over the dirt track. Our Boy John is equally effective on the lawn, however, something that was well demonstrated with a win over 1600 metres in August, when he came out on top in a big field by fending Rock Dancer off for another 3/4-length verdict.

Our Boy John appears to be best suited by 1600 to 1750 metres but do note that he has also performed really well in sprint races on a few occasions, and his versatility has made it possible to give him a busy campaign. This battle hardened gelding faced the starter no fewer than twenty times last year. Now a six-year-old, he has raced 57 times to date, with 5 wins backed up by 8 runner-up effort and 7 third place finishes. This gives Our Boy John a nice 35% top three record. His career best handicap, recorded back in October 2017, was 79kg, while he is now on 71kg. He is a half-brother to Our Boy Jack (Camacho), a most useful runner who managed 8 wins in England, where he was trained by Richard Fahey and Conor Dore. The dam Jine has also produced Heather Heath (Tendulkar), a filly who won in Ireland as a juvenile. GS 06 Apr 20