Wessex PPORA Mare of the Month Award won by a Wessex Yard
Horse: Palmaria 8 y-0 Kayf Tara (GB) – Ollejess (GB))
Owner: Lady Sutton Keeper: Caroline Keevil Area Area: Wessex Jockey: Bryan Carver
Other Nominations for February: Percy @ Alnwick: The Heading For Home Partnership’s Weston Flame (Conditions Race Winner) – Vine & Craven @ Barbury: Andrew Quick’s Dissertation (Maiden Runner Up who continues to progress after injury last season) – South Pool Harriers @ Buckfastleigh: The Withyslade Partnership’s One Big Love (Jockey Club Mares’ Maiden Winner) – Brocklesby @ Brocklesby Park: The BDS Pointers Partnership’s Bene Regina (Jockey Club Mares’ Maiden Winner)
Palmaria first caught our eye at Chipley Park in January where on testing ground, under a confident ride from Bryan Carver, she raced prominently throughout before asserting as she approached two from home and pulling clear to claim her Restricted in convincing style.
We were impressed by her performance that day and awaited here reappearance with eager anticipation. 3 weeks later she impressed once again, shrugging off the stamina sapping conditions at Buckfastleigh (February) to graduate from the Intermediate ranks in emphatic style.
We spoke to her trainer, Caroline Keevil to find out more about Palmaria’s background and future plans.
“I bought her as a 4-year-old on spec at Doncaster Sales, but the owner I originally intended her for wasn’t keen on a mare. Lady Sutton who loves mares and likes to breed from them after they finish their racing careers took her on.
She’s quite a light framed mare and so it’s taken a while for her to strengthen up. She always worked well at home and when we raced her under Rules she showed a few glimmers of ability, but she was hampered with sore shins which stopped her showing her full potential.
Then last year she won her maiden, also at Chipley, and we had a few good runs, we were only beaten a short head in the Restricted at the Mendip so that was encouraging.
This season I’m working with Will Biddick in his pre-training yard and so I decided to train Palmaria from home and in a completely different way, keeping her on grass and only using a Carpet Gallop – it seems to have been the making of her. She’s a real trier even and she’s tough on herself but she certainly seems to relish the testing conditions we’ve been having, she skips through the muddy ground it doesn’t seem to bother her at all.
She’s got plenty of ability and we’re having great fun with her
It’s also been nice to give Bryan Carver, who also works for Will Biddick, some rides. He stood in for Will who was riding for Ed Walker at Chipley and he did a really good job on her so I’ve kept him on board and it’s nice to be able to give a young rider some winners.
Hopefully she’ll progress again in Open class and then the plan is a Novice Hunter Chase at Exeter and leading up to the Intermediate Final at either there or at Cheltenham, she’s qualified for both.”
On hearing the news Palmaria’s owner Lady Sutton said
“That’s wonderful I can’t believe it – I am absolutely delighted for Caroline and myself thank you very much! She’s a really nice mare and Caroline has taken her time with her. I think the change this year to a yard where she’s not with lots of other horses has really suited her. It’s turning out good and it’s wonderful to win, it’s special and means so much.
NAF Racing Manager Sammy Martin said
“Palmaria first attracted our attention in January and so we watched her reappearance with great interest hoping that she would continue to progress. Her run at Buckfastleigh was similarly impressive. She is clearly a very game mare, it is great to see the patience of her owner and trainer being rewarded and we’ll be following Palmaria with keen interest as the season on unfolds.”
Caroline will receive a selection of NAF products of her choice, and Lady Sutton will receive a bottle of champagne from the PPORA