Exceptionally warm, irrationally so and worth enjoying while it lasts which looks like being another 24 hours at the most. Catching up back in the office this afternoon after a long and ultimately productive week at Doncaster Sales, interspersed with a trip back up North to Hexham on Tuesday evening it felt busy and it was thirsty work sorting through so many horses in the heat. Trade was very strong and in these circumstances it is hard to adjust one’s perception of value so there were many near misses but I felt we ultimately bought well, perhaps aided by many people having gone home by later yesterday afternoon.
So two promising young horses from different backgrounds are heading to Kinneston; Ride the Lightning, a 4yo 84 rated three time flat winner by one of my favourite dual purpose sires in Dalakhani has been bought for a long established owner in the yard and Silk or Scarlet, a 5yo by Mahler who was placed 3rd on his only start in a bumper last month. This racey individual with bags of scope is for sale and should make a nice hurdler next season prior to going chasing, both will go to grass.
Kelso have been watering hard to keep their ground safe for their fixture on Sunday and providing there is a bit of cut Lady Oatcake will make her racecourse debut in the mares bumper at 5.25, Lucy rides and a maximum field of 14 line up, she’s a lovely filly with a great pedigree but is still very green, she needs to go to the races now as the next step in her education and should come on hugely for the experience. Lucy also rides Lycidas in the 3.15 for James Ewart
An inauspicious evening at Hexham earlier in the week with Queen of Avalon paying the price for being much too free early on, Andhaar ran well enough to be 5th and will have a break now, Bertalus ran a bit better but faded late on and whilst Christmas in USA also ran a bit better we are definitely missing something with him and I think we will step up in trip next time.
So, after a damp morning a lovely afternoon, the weather looks settled for the week and should feel like summer. A busy week ahead, leaving shortly for Doncaster Sales, a good looking selection of store horses for sale there tomorrow, back up to Hexham for racing tomorrow evening where we have four runners then back down to Doncaster for two days of Horses in Training on Wednesday and Thursday, about 800 horses to sift through so hopefully we can come back with something exciting for next season, this is the biggest UK NH sale in the calendar and always turns into a bit of an end of season party so come along if you can spare the time.
The ground at Hexham should be well watered and hopefully on the easy side of good, so long as there is a bit of give in it we will start with Queen of Avalon in the 5.45, Grant rides and 9 run, she had a minor setback after her hurdling debut just before New Year and needed time but she’s in good fettle and can hopefully build on her promising 3rd that day though as it’s only her 2nd hurdle we won’t ask too much of her.
Then in the 8.20 we run Bertalus (Lucy) and Andhaar (Kit though Blair Campbell will ride if his licence is through in time), this looks an ordinary race and either could run very well if putting their best foot forward, 11 run.
Finally Kit rides Christmas in USA in the 8.50, 7 run and he should go well at this level if taking to the track though he did disappoint at Perth last time. An ordinary day at the point-to-point yesterday with Rossini’s Dancer running well to be 3rd, Top Cat Henry less so to be 4th and Bertie Milan staying on the lorry due to the quick ground (again…)
Damp this morning and some heavy showers about this afternoon, definitely a change to a more normal weather pattern but a glorious afternoon at Perth on Thursday where a huge weekday crowd enjoyed competitive racing and, it has to be said, lots to drink! A “Ladies Day” at it’s best and in the opening race Dance of Fire took a small step back in the right direction by finishing 4th, he still appears to be saving plenty for himself though and at this stage he doesn’t look like replicating the level of form he showed on the flat over hurdles.
Later in the afternoon Dutch Canyon was sent off the well-backed favourite in the staying handicap chase but didn’t really run his race, I’m just not quite sure he had enough chasing experience to handle the sharp track/stiff fences test that Perth represents, he stayed on well enough at the end and I haven’t ruled out a quick reappearance at Hexham on Tuesday.
We are off to Hexham tomorrow as well, for the first of the two point-to-points they run on the inner course there this year; I am assured it has been well watered and the conditions of the first race suit Rossini’s Dancer particularly well so he will hopefully make a quick reappearance under Crawford in the opener, then Kit will ride Top Cat Henry in the Men’s Open and Bertie Milan will run in the NPPA race later on the card. Some great pictures of our runners at Perth taken by Dennis Penny.
Warm and sunny this morning, Perth putting on a little more water and it appears that they will be blessed with good weather for their incredibly popular Ladies Day. Two runners from Kinneston on ground that should be good starting with Dance of Fire (Lucy) in the 2pm; this horse has loads of ability but a mind of his own and we took a step backwards last time but if he reverts to his form of a couple of starts ago he should run very well with conditions to suit (mind you it’s a big “if”), 12 run.
Then in the 3.40 we run Dutch Canyon, Grant rides and 11 run, he ran well last time over fences at Kelso and shouldn’t be far away if he takes to these fences and, most importantly, stays 3 miles which remains a question. Not the greatest evening at Perth yesterday despite the lovely weather and mellow atmosphere; it started on a good note with Just Brooke running a very decent race for the first time in her life to finish 4th at long odds but she gave herself a little cut in a nasty place and had to be transferred to the Royal Dick Equine Hospital for treatment, fingers crossed she should be OK and we are very much hoping to get her back here today.
Clan Chief then didn’t run much of a race in the 2m chase, the jockey gave the run a more optimistic interpretation than the trainer so we will give him another chance and I’ll try one or two radical changes at home to see if we can flick the switch before its too late. Jet Master then ran very well, finished 5th but only beaten 6l by the winner and giving all in front of him plenty of weight and 4-6 years in age – he remains a remarkably consistent and versatile horse who should have another good season ahead of him after a well-earned summer at grass. A damp squib in the Hunter Chase to finish the day with Allthekingshorses being outpaced from flagfall and Rossini’s Dancer showing a wariness indicating that he remembered the nasty injury he incurred there last year, both were pulled up a mile out and may have another spin in a point-to-point soon, that is their forte these days.
A lovely warm evening and conditions drying up quickly after a welcome drop of rain. Ground at Perth hopefully still on the easy side of good for their evening meeting tomorrow where they have attracted an extremely healthy 69 runners, 5 of which hail from Kinneston.
We start with Just Brooke in the maiden hurdle at 6.05, Blair Campbell rides and 10 run, she should be much happier on this better ground than the holding ground at Kelso last time.
In the 6.35 we run Clan Chief , he’s had a very frustrating season but as a result is well-handicapped if he can get into a rhythm with his jumping, 9 run and Brian Hughes rides.
Then in the 8.35 we run Jet Master, Lucy rides and reverting to hurdles he has to shoulder top weight in what looks like a competitive race for a decent prize, he should run well but is 11 and likely to be vulnerable to a younger improving horse with less weight.
Finally we have two horses going for the “Bruce Farms Bonus” in the Hunter Chase; Rossini’s Dancer (Kit) and Allthekingshorses (Jamie), both have been in good form in point-to-points and have classy rules form from their younger days but face a hard task versus the favourite on these terms.