Lovely warm and sunny autumn morning after a stormy old week. Wet overnight at Hexham, ground turned heavy so Landecker a non-runner, declared in the hope they would miss the rain so no runners this week and unlikely to have any entries until Carlisle on 26th Oct, a disappointing absence of opportunities for the time of year but we look like being very busy from then on.
Having a good time here though with the yard very full and the new facilities proving a revelation, will they improve how they run, time will tell!
A fine autumn day and a skip in my step this morning after the wonderful Kelso racecourse yet again managed to produce a magical moment with Benny’s Secret reverting to form to win the last race under a well judged ride from Lucy at the staggering odds of 33-1; we made a plan and she carried it out perfectly, needed luck on our side of course and very stressful – usually something or other goes wrong.
It may only have been an ordinary handicap hurdle but I’ve been very open about how tricky it has been to get this talented horse right and yesterday was a thoroughly rewarding result for the whole team, whether it proves to be a one-off only time will tell but at least now we have a road to follow.
I said prior to the race that if he we had him right he was very well handicapped and that we believed all was in order though as ever I was hopeful rather than confident. That information was available to everyone and I was amazed that the price he was sent off at, I’m just pleased that some of the Kinneston faithful took advantage of the market’s generosity though I am afraid that didn’t include me (always hopeful, never confident!).
This blog will never be a source of betting information but I hope will always be uniquely open and honest and therefore valued as such, those who enjoy reading it may also enjoy our weekly photographic update on the Kinneston Facebook page.
Earlier on the card Dance of Fire I am afraid ran like a non-stayer, he travelled well and jumped proficiently for 12f but couldn’t go on. It appears the high class sprinting genes on his dam side are outweighing the staying genes given by his sire, he was a little free early on so it may be worth trying once more with more restraint but we will also be looking for options on the flat. One entry this week, Landecker at Hexham on Saturday, otherwise all hands on deck preparing the team for what we hope will be a busy winter.
Dampish overnight but nothing serious and a lovely autumn day, perfect for working horses and we find ourselves extremely busy which is exactly how we want to be at this time of year. Two runners at Kelso tomorrow where they have a cracking 8 race card on ground that is likely to ride on the soft side of good. Hopefully not too soft for Dance of Fire who we run in the 2.05, 9 run and Lucy rides, this is a horse with a big engine who for some reason didn’t fire last season and so far hasn’t converted his better flat form to hurdles; despite that the handicapper is giving nothing away based on what he has achieved over obstacles so far.
Whether he is just taking time to adjust to the different training and racing regime required for hurdling or whether he doesn’t stay I’m not sure; there is also the possibility that mentally he is taking time to get over some hard training and races; whatever, he’s had a good summer now and I couldn’t be happier with him at home, he showing plenty of enthusiasm for his job so hopefully he races with that same attitude in which case he shouldn’t be far away, cheek pieces being worn for first time over hurdles.
Then we run Benny’s Secret in the 5.20, he won a maiden hurdle here over shorter and should love the underfoot conditions, he’s a horse with lots of ability who is very hard to catch right and I’ve clearly failed to do that recently as he has pulled up on 3 of his last 4 starts. The step up in trip shouldn’t be a problem for him and if he’s right he’s very well handicapped, we’ve done everything we can and clearly believe he is OK otherwise he wouldn’t be running but I’ve thought that before…. tricky, Lucy rides and 13 run, hood back on, tongue strap off.
With ground conditions perfect a disappointingly empty schedule in the Northern programme for next week, only Hexham next Saturday – not quite sure why we have a mini break in proceedings at this stage but we will be busy here preparing for what will hopefully be a busy second half of the month. Some sections of the website are a bit out of date, apologies for that – a revamped version is under construction, in the meantime here is a link to our 2017/18 Horses in Training book.
A lovely day yesterday but a storm to sweep through today, nothing serious expected and it is the 1st of October so nothing unusual. A busy week and a welcome winner in the form of Jet Master who won the 2m handicap hurdle at Perth’s Autumn Finale meeting for the third year in succession- delighted for the yard, Lucy and his owners’ Harry Turcan and Simon Dunning.
Also special because this was our 200th winner, every one of them lodged in my memory as something to treasure. A bit of a “teary” day yesterday as Clare headed South to take up her new job as pupil assistant to Nicky Henderson, a fantastic opportunity for her and wonderful to be immersed in a yard at the height of its powers as we head into the new National Hunt season, we will have to find an excuse to visit soon.
Earlier in the week I was delighted to host our annual Owners Day with breakfast followed by a parade of 34 horses here followed by an excellent lunch in the Club Lawn Marquee at Perth, the horses looked really well and were a credit to the team here.
Of course that was also the 3rd year in succession that we opened our account for the season in that race; we used to train plenty of summer winners but don’t seem to have the horses for it these days. I would love that to change and with over £1m in prize money likely to be on offer at Perth next year I hope to put a small syndicate together specifically to target that, please do contact me if you would like to be part of it. Two runners today, The Great Scottish Run 10k, off at 9.30 – don’t worry not me, as usual I’m just the support team, ie the bloke to nervously drink coffee beforehand and help with the pints afterwards – good luck boys! Equine wise, one entry – Fight Away Boys – at Hexham on Friday and Dance of Fire & Benny’s Secret at Kelso next Sunday – in the meantime enjoy the fantastic racing at Chantilly this afternoon, the best!
Sunny and mild this morning but a wet night and ground at Perth likely to be very heavy, at least racing goes ahead after an early morning inspection and should be wet rather than holding. This is unlikely to suit our runner Jet Master who is likely to go off favourite for the 2.40 in which there are 4 runners (Lucy rides).
To be honest I’d prefer better ground and a more competitive race as he has won the last two renewals of this contest on good to soft ground and until February this year had never beaten another horse in his previous four starts on heavy, his run in February on the ground was pretty moderate as well even though he finished 4th, having said all of that he is a worthy favourite and could well defy the conditions – let’s hope so! A pleasing effort from Landecker at Perth yesterday running a solid race to finish 4th despite his somewhat insulting odds of 22-1, with luck he will have another good season ahead of him and a great photo taken by Dennis Penny below.
A memorable and significant morning in the history of training horses at Kinneston as we were able to use part of our new gallop facility for the first time; the whole thing will be finished by lunchtime today and so far I am absolutely delighted with how it has all worked out. We will feel our way gently with it but exciting times and I feel most fortunate and extremely grateful to all those who made it possible – thank you.