Warm and sunny again today, needless to say the rain we missed in April and May all arrived in the space of about 72 hours earlier in the month but conditions have dried up again now and on balance it’s been a fair summer so far; a few pictures showing summer life at Kinneston.
Only two horses in training at present, Benny’s Secret and Queen of Avalon, another half dozen still in recovering from injuries but two more going out tomorrow and work continues at a pace to ensure everything has been steam-cleaned and repainted prior to the horses starting to come back in from grass, 20 of those turned out earlier are due in by the end of the month.
We’ve found lovely new homes for a few old favourites this week; Clan Chief, Wicklow Lad, Heilan Rebel, Farewelltocheyenne and Bertie Milan are all moving on but my priority is to source new talent for the yard and after recent visits to France, Doncaster and Ascot it is over to the Derby Sale in Ireland next week followed by France again and then Newmarket in July – value seems particularly hard to come by at present but we are working hard to fill our target of 8 new horses for the upcoming season; most of these are for specific clients but we will also be buying a few on spec that will be offered for sale later in the summer.
A stormy wet night down here in London, very wet at home as well and concerns re drought and applying to SEPA around extend our irrigation licence very much on hold, for the moment anyway but rather typical that this comes just as we have turned out so many horses, weather due to cheer up again tomorrow thankfully. BHA yesterday and a first visit to Ascot Sales today – looks like it will be damp but Tattersalls are successfully upgrading these sales and it will be good to see first hand what is going on having bid remotely over the last couple of years.
A somewhat disappointing weekend on the racecourse, not entirely unexpected in some cases but Bertie Milan falling for the first time in his life was a surprise and I had hoped for better from Final Reminder; Queen of Avalon didn’t stay 2m 4f, Dutch Canyon and Clan Chief both need a break and stepping up in trip for Christmas in USA certainly wasn’t the answer.
What I have learnt (again!) is that running horses in the summer that have been on the go all winter doesn’t work. Tremendous racing at Perth though in front of a huge crowd, it would be good to have the resources to prepare horses specifically for these meetings as Scottish trainers were notable for their absence in fielding runners, especially for the better races. A quieter time now on the racing front but a lot going on at home, working on some major improvements to our facilities, more of that later…….
Warm here in the south west coast of France where I find myself briefly after a long drive from Cartmel, home tomorrow and a busy weekend with four runners at Hexham tomorrow and two at Perth on Sunday, both should have good watered ground.
I will still be in transit so Catch will take charge at Hexham where we start with Bertie Milan in the 2.40, Will Kennedy rides and no less than 17 run; Bertie was really just meant to be point-to-pointing this season but fast ground has prevented him from running for the past two months and he seems so fresh and well that I couldn’t face just turning him out, he should go well but we could have done without such a big field. Then in the 3.50 we run Clan Chief, he has lost his way a bit and probably needs a break but the conditions of this race suit and I thought it was worth one more throw of the dice, 10 run and Brian Hughes rides.
Dutch Canyon then runs in the second division of the 2m 4f handicap chase at 4.45, he is somewhat in the same boat having run poorly last time at Perth and probably needing a break but this track should suit him better as should the ground, Grant rides and 9 run. To be honest I don’t think we’ve played it very cleverly with either of these horses, they’ve been in training for a long time but haven’t run that much as we wanted to avoid the bad ground in winter, they would have been better having a proper break. Finally we run Christmas in USA in the 5.55, Kit rides and 13 run, we are taking quite a radical step up in trip with him from 2m to 3m, would have preferred something in between but this race suits well in every other way so we thought it was worth a spin, he does seem fresh and well at home despite being in training a long time.
I’m pleased to say that the two mares running in the opener at Perth on Sunday did have a proper break in winter and they both seem in good form, Will Kennedy rides Final Reminder and Grant Cockburn rides Queen of Avalon, it’s a decent enough novice hurdle for the time of year and for these two young horses it will be about continuing to learn their trade.
Damp, much cooler now, normality returns. Likely to be good quick ground at the Hexham point-to-point this evening where the curtain comes down on the season in the Northern Area, we have one runner, Rossini’s Dancer, who should go well.
Cartmel had some torrential rain last weekend and the ground will definitely be on the soft side for the third day of their May fixture, we have two runners in the 4.10, Wicklow Lad (Kit) and Allthekingshorses (Jamie), both would be well up to winning this on their best form but are very much at the veteran stage these days, 6 run and I’m looking forward to my annual jolly to such a unique track.
At Kelso on Sunday Lady Oatcake proved even greener than I expected but Lucy persevered and she galloped on in the end, she will hopefully be back out at Perth early in July, Lucy had a welcome winner on Lycidas and is now heading to France to work for Guillaume Macaire for a couple of months.
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.