Councellor was already five-years-old and had raced 42 times in his career when Stef Higgins recommended him to us. He had been with her for two years already and she was looking to keep him in the Yard in partnership with another long term owner. At that age, with that many miles on the clock and rated 80 at the time it might not be such an easy decision these days, but back then the trainer had already done well with similar types and we very quickly brought into the gelding.
It was a decision that paid immediate rewards. In his first run for us on 26 November 2007 Councellor won a Class 4 mile handicap at Lingfield in really gutsy style. Four days later he repeated the feat making all in a 7f Class 4 Handicap at Wolverhampton. He was now set to race off a mark of 90. But the next two years were to be a fantastic rollercoaster as the gelding was kept busy by his trainer as he was one those horses that became headstrong if he had too much time off. In December 2007 he became the only horse we have had to be placed in black-type company when he finished 3rd in the Sunbury Stakes at Kempton.
There were a number of great days out and near misses throughout 2008 and the highlight of that year would undoubtedly have been him winning in the May sunshine in the historic surroundings of Goodwood. It was a day many shareholders will not forget entering the same Winner's circle as many, many great names in racing history. Councellor was not quite as good on the grass as he was on the All-Weather, but this was another Class 4 Handicap he had added to his name, but he was able to run at Goodwood off a mark of 70. After a break in the summer Stef readied him for an All Weather season through the winter of 2008/2009
He ran well on his re-appearance in October and through November before landing a Class 3 7f Handicap at Wolverhampton just before Christmas. There then followed a date on New Year's Day at Southwell in a Class 2 8f Handicap worth over 11,500 to the winner. This was arguably Councellor's best performance as he swept through the field in the final furlong under regular partner Mick Fenton to win in really tidy style. Off a mark of 92 he then headed to Wolverhampton to contest another Class 2 handicap over 7f in late January. In a bold bid to make all and land the prize of over 12,000 he was just collared in the shadow of the post and went down by a head.
With the gelding in such superb form Stef decided again to have another crack in Listed company back at Kempton. It was a really competitive renewal of the Ladybird Stakes at Kempton and Councellor ran an excellent race to finish 5th behind Premio Loco. That horse would in the following years prove to be a thoroughly consistent Group level performer amassing over three-quarters of a million in prize money. Councellor continued to run good races through 2009. Returning to Goodwood he was placed again at the Sussex course.
In January 2010 the eight-year-old showed he was as good as ever when placed again at Kempton off a mark of 90. Unfortunately at Windsor in April of that year he sustained an injury and was not seen on the course for over a year. In that time he had been nursed back to health by Stef at Great Shefford. The trainer then moved to Lambourn and 'Charlie' raced one more time for her before she handed in her licence. The gelding moved to Derek Shaw near Melton Mowbray but he was never quite the same again following his long lay-off and the decision was taken to retire him in late 2011.
Councellor holds a number of records for us. He is (so far) our only black-type performer. He is the highest rated horse we have owned on the flat (93) and has the highest winning handicap mark (87). Above all, he was a tough and consistent gelding who thrived on racing. As mentioned he was a fairly headstrong character but clearly found a soulmate in Stef Higgins. Mick Fenton rode him to all five wins in our colours and he is fondly remembered for taking shareholders to the Winners Enclosure on a cold January day at Southwell and a warm summer day at Goodwood and lots of excitement in between times.
Videos & Races