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This daughter of Belardo had a torrid time as a 2YO, having to battle against an accident that left her needing stitches in her mouth, and also a nasty bug that laid her and the yard low for a month. However, she overcame both these setbacks to run creditably for her shareholders.
Her luck didn't really improve in 2022, although it wasn't of her own making. This filly loves having some cut in the ground and prefers racing on grass. With the hottest period on record meant almost every track was reporting firmish ground from May through to early September 2022, most of this filly's races had to be planned for the autumn. Even so, trainer Adam West managed to place her on Good ground once during summer and she finished a creditable third.
It was as a 4YO that this filly really started to make progress, winning in the early part of the season and being placed twice from only four runs before the ground went for her everywhere. She is set to come back in October for another batch of runs when the ground goes her way once again. It is this sort of season we expect her to have again in 2024 - now she's learned how to win, there are surely more to come, as she improves again with age.
Be in no doubt that Big Bear Hug is a talented mare. However, she needs conditions to be right for her. She is currently rated 64 by the handicapper, and Adam West believes she has the ability to leave that mark behind when the conditions are in her favour. Look out for her results in the last few months of the season - when the ground eases and she comes into her own!
'This filly is a lovely mover and very straightforward. On soft ground she is a different horse and iI was delighted when she broke her duck earlier this year and was placed as well - showing she is capable of holding her form. When autumn comes we'll be out again and I'm sure she will win again. I imagine we'll do something similar in 2024, making sure we find her the ground she needs, and keeping away from the firm ground. We also have the All-Weather, and although it's not perfect for her, she's capable of going well around Kempton or Lingfield.' Adam West, Trainer.
Big Bear Hug was a recommendation by trainer Adam West. She arrived directly into the yard from the breeder and we bought her after he had galloped her at home for a couple of weeks. Adam is never in a great rush to expose his horses, preferring to bring them along at their own pace. He has proved time and again that this policy works (for example our own Gilbert winning three races as a 3YO after a moderate start to his career as a 2YO) and we are certain that patience will be rewarded with multiple wins from this very likable filly.
Ownaracehorse shareholders have already enjoyed success with a similar filly in Adam's yard this season. Daphne May was Adam's recommended buy in 2020 and managed to win twice for her shareholders that season and win again in 2021, finishing on a rating of 81.
Adam West told us 'I knew that Big Bear Hug would be winning shortly. She filled out as a three-year-old she was even better as a 4YO. I anticipate her winning in her turn in handicaps as a 5YO.'
This Belardo filly will be available to view at our Autumn 2023 and Spring 2024 yard visits by her shareholders, prior to starting her 5YO season in 2024. She has been named Big Bear Hug for two reasons, firstly her sire Belardo's name means 'as strong as a bear' and also, during lockdown in 2020-21 it was a time of minimal contact between family and friends, with many missing their hugs.
This youngster's pedigree is littered with half-brother and sisters who have been successful at the races. None of her five siblings have failed to win races at either two or three years old. Adam has indicated that she is the type to improve as she matures, and this is borne out by her family, most of whom went on to have successful careers as older horses. Her 2024 season looks set up for her to make a concerted effort to work her way up the handicapping ranks.
"She's the sort who I would be looking to slip into a Listed race at some stage, as I would love her to get some black type." commented her trainer, Adam West.
Adam says of the filly, "She is tall, and has plenty of length, but everything is in the right place, and she's straight and well put together. She's got big nostrils, which always helps a horse's wind, and she's a straightforward horse to look after without any vices. I'm really looking forward to getting her back to the racetrack and allowing her to fulfill her potential."
This filly will run a number of times at the back end of 2023 and should progress. Expect her runs to be in March through to July, and then from September through to November as Big Bear Hug is open to huge improvement once she gets her underfoot conditions.
UPDATE NOVEMBER 2023
Big Bear Hug rounded off her season with a second win - this time in a £10k race at Newmarket over a mile on heavy ground. That's two wins for the season. She is definitely improving the older she gets!
Form & Race Plans
The race plans for this filly will be determined by the level of ability shown at home and on the course in autumn 2024. Big Bear Hug has been racing over a mile and ten furlongs and may try even further as the season develops. However, her campaign will be based around getting her preferred soft ground. She has raced on Good to Firm and really doesn't act on ground without some bounce in it.
If she shows the need for longer distances at home, she may step straight into ten furlong races in April or May 2023. However, we will assess this filly's progress and if Adam believes she has the right level of ability she may get entries for some of the more prestigious handicaps in the racing calendar.
Your online Racehorse Manager will provide full details of all developments in terms of the horse's progress and race planning as the season progresses.
Big Bear Hug 2024 Guarantee
We expect to get 3-6 runs and sometimes more from all our older horses per share period/season, however, you should expect periods of no racing as a result of recuperation from injury or training setbacks. This share period starts properly at the start of the turf season on April 1st 2024 and runs through the turf season until November 1st 2024, however, we will be reporting on the horse before the share period starts (from January 2024) should we have anything of importance to share with shareholders.
During the season the horse may be rested or have time away from the track to recover and it is quite normal for a flat horse to have periods of 3-6 weeks of rest between races.
We provide guarantees with all our racehorses. If this horse has a season-ending injury and has not already RACED TWICE during the share period, we will replace her with an alternative horse for the remainder of the season. Replacement horses may not be of the same quality, are provided with no further guarantees, and no alternative choice can be provided. Prize-money cannot be paid on any replacements, but all other benefits such as yard visits and race day badges are available.
As a shareholder you MUST ACCEPT that we cannot guarantee your horse's performance, a specific volume of runs (beyond our minimum guarantee), or that runs will be evenly spaced throughout the share period. This is the chance you take when owning any racehorse and participating in this ownership experience. If you will be disappointed with only 2-3 runs from your racehorse during the season, then please DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN THIS OR ANY OTHER RACEHORSE, as you could be disappointed.
We believe in being crystal clear with our shareholders - any participation in racehorse ownership is a risk, and we are UNABLE TO PROVIDE REFUNDS because of share periods which finish early due to injury or retirement - as training, vets, and livery fees for the horse still remain whether they are racing or not. Also, part of your lease payment covers the five months of their pre-season training.
This risk is the chance all shareholders take, as we do ourselves when participating in the ownership of a racehorse.