Grafter Richard Phillips opened his account for the Jumps season when Organdi held on bravely to win by a neck in the Weatherbys nhstallions.co.uk Handicap Chase at Warwick yesterday, a fixture deferred from Monday because of the Queen's Funeral.
In an extended interview in the Racing Post last weekend, Phillips explained his "survival" as a trainer over 30 years. The man who briefly took over from David Nicholson at Jackdaws Castle operates from the more humble Adlestrop stables presently, and runs a tight ship with a loyal staff. Given his affable nature and infectious humour, one can imagine it being a fun place to work, even if winners flow rather more as a trickle than a torrent.
Winner of over 300 races across a 30 year career, Phillips is highly selective around when and where he runs his limited number of horses. Organdi, a winner of 3 hurdles and two chases, is one of just 7 individual runners from the yard this rainless summer, of which only two have run more than once.
It's a story of frustration that is echoed across training yards throughout the Midlands and South, where, despite the valiant efforts of groundstaff at racecourses to water, ground conditions have played against a broader horse population joining the party. The Adlestrop numbers are only a reflection of the wider issue of small fields plaguing the sport, which will hopefully be alleviated by a wet autumn.
Meanwhile, Organdi played a small part in this epic under Sam Twiston-Davies, lying handy till taking it up 3 out, and landing odds of 5/1 by a neck from the strong-finishing Irish Prophecy, under Tom Bellamy.