Trainer hoping Cream Tease proves tops.
Cream Tease won gamely at Salisbury on the first Saturday in August, and Sir Ninja came home with ease three days later at Thirsk.
Both reappear over this Bank Holiday weekend in terrestrial televised events: Cream Tease in today's Group 3 at Goodwood and Sir Ninja in tomorrow's Hennessy Cognac Blaydon Race at Newcastle.
If they continue to run well, it will set ffrench Davis up well for the probable yard move that beckons. The 12 boxes he rents in the top yard of Saxon House, Fulke Walwyn's old establishment, are on the market and he is looking for larger premises in the Lambourn area.
"Twenty or 25 is the kind of number I'd like to deal with in the near future," says ffrench Davis, 33.
"With just a dozen horses, we normally find we have about nine in full work. That's the situation at the moment. Six of them are two-year-olds - five were bought at auction and one was sent to me.
"The way we work, and with the owners we've got, we buy them to run. They don't get put away just for the sake of it. There are no 'store' horses here.
"I went to the October sales with Alan Colering. We picked Cream Tease out and he paid 8,200gns for her - so we like to think we got a bit of a bargain.
"It's tough when one goes a while without a winner, though we did have a fair number of placings. Luckily, I've got the temperament to deal with it, but of course the financial side gets tricky.
"I spent my learning years with Paul Cole and David Elsworth, so I know even larger outfits like theirs go through barren patches. As ever, it was a combination of lack of quality and horses not really firing on all cylinders."
Ffrench Davis was 18 when he moved from Ireland, where his father was a vet with point-to-pointers in County Meath and his grandfather trained at now-defunct Phoenix Park racecourse in Dublin.
After six and half years with Cole and four with Elsworth, he took out a licence and married Avery Whitfield, who had previously trained at Windy Hollow near Lambourn, in the summer of 1996.
Hawaii Storm, the 11-year-old all-weather campaigner who ran 49 times at Lingfield, was one horse formerly trained by his wife who came under ffrench Davis's regime.
He reports that the old stalwart, much adored by enthusiastic owner Chris Capel, ran his final race in January and is spending his well-earned retirement hacking around Devon.
Now with two children to rear, Avery, daughter of successful permit-holder John Whitfield, takes an advisory rather than hands-on role.
Ffrench Davis marked his wedding with a winner at Nottingham the following day and has high hopes that Cream Tease will do the same in today's big race.
"It's a decent field," he admits, "but she's done nothing wrong so far.
"She's a half-sister to Enharmonic and Soprano, and can only improve after enjoying her last win. She should come back even nicer next year. We think she deserves a crack and will hopefully earn some black type."
Ffrench Davis is seeing his trust in his own judgement repaid, and this afternoon Cream Tease represents his hopes for the future.
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|Publication:||The Racing Post (London, England)|
|Date:||Aug 29, 1999|
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