Westend Story
Now that Westend Story is in good health he should be able build on his great bumper form over hurdles and fences

In April 2015 the Club acquired, for £60,000, Westend Story, a four year old gelding from Colin Bowe, a leading point to point trainer in Ireland.

Westend Story is by Westerner and out of a Saddlers’ Hall mare, Sarahall. Westerner was a top class stayer on the flat and runner up in the 2005 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. He has been a successful sire of jumpers, most recently with Cole Harden, winner of the 2015 World Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and Champagne West, who won the Thyestes Handicap Chase at Gowran Park in January 2017.

In his debut point to point in Ireland, Westend Story was very impressive only to fall at the last, when he would certainly have been placed. In his second point, he was brought down early in the race. However, these performances impressed Shane Donohoe sufficiently for him to draw Westend Story to the attention of Mick Fitzgerald and the Club.

In the 2015/16 NH season, the Club ran Westend Story three times in bumpers. He won at  Huntindon on Boxing Day 2015 by six lengths and followed up with an 18 length victory under a penalty at Exeter seven weeks later. He then went to Cheltenham for the Champion Bumper, where, despite a rough passage, during which, three furlongs from home,  he got pushed to the rear of the 23 runner field, he stayed on impressively and finished fast to be fifth in this prestigious race.

In the 2016/17 NH season, Westend Story made his hurdles debut. He ran in three maiden hurdles and it would be fair to say that he disappointed. Although he finished third at Warwick in December and second at Wetherby in January and beat all the ordinary horses easily, in neither case did he give the winner a race. At Ludlow in February he was brought down at the second flight and we then decided to call it a day and try again after a long break.

Mick feels that Westend Story was never quite right last season. He had had an operation to remove a fetlock chip in the spring and maybe that took more out of him than had been assumed.

He is in excellent condition now and the Hobbs team are very pleased with his work. His hurdle mark is only 124 and, assuming his ability is anywhere near his bumper form, this should give him a good chance in a valuable handicap hurdle before he goes chasing.

Form & statistics

Lifetime recordStartsWins2nds3rdsWinningsEarningsBest TSBest RPROR
NHF3200£3,249£5,12595130
Hurdle3011£0£1,47990121
PTP2000£0£088
Rules Races6211£3,249£6,604
DateRace conditionsWGTRace outcomeJockeyORTSRPR
22Feb17Lud 24GS C4MdH 3K11-4BD/8 (Step Back 11-4) 10/11FRichard Johnson
06Jan17Wet 21.5GS C5MdH 3K11-62/9 (23L Lakeside Castle 11-6) 1/2FRichard Johnson
08Dec16War 21GS C4MdH 3K11-03/18 (20L Willoughby Court 11-0) 6/5FRichard Johnson
16Mar16Chl 16.5Gd C1NHFG1 39K11-55/23 (3¼L Ballyandy 11-5) 20/1Richard Johnson128
14Feb16Exe 17Hy C6NHF 1K11-111/5 (18L Man From Mars 10-3) 8/15FRichard Johnson
26Dec15Hun 16Sft C6NHF 1K11-01/12 (6L Better Getalong 11-0) 10/11FRichard Johnson
12Apr15Klm 24Y/Sft 4yPTP11-9F/6 (Monbeg Charmer 11-4) 2/1B O'Neill
14Mar15Krk 24Sft 4yPTP11-9F/6 (Good Vibration 11-9) 3/1B O'Neill