Thawing here but only just, ground still frozen and due to turn colder again. Six runners declared at Newcastle tomorrow, subject to an 8am inspection, our lorry will hopefully be at Berwick by then so fingers crossed it will be on as an ultra early start for the team. It’s the nature of the game at this time of year and along with the exceptional efforts made by the team here it’s great to see how the racecourses do their utmost to keep the show on the road, ground at Newcastle likely to be good to soft though no doubt a bit tacky after the frost.
First runner is Final Reminder in the 12.10, a maximum field of 18 line up and Lucy rides, she was disappointing last season and is taking time to come to herself again having been put through the wringer to win her Irish point-to-point 18 months ago, she should like the step up in trip and will prove a decent mare in time though ground tomorrow a doubt.
Then we run Moores Novelty in the 1.15, 2m 6f on this ground may stretch his stamina but he needs to run somewhere, not too much rain for him please, Lucy rides and 11 run.
We have two runners in the 1.45, McGinty’s Dream (Lucy) and Massini’s Lady (Brian Hughes) – both diverted from Ayr this looks like a nice race for them and they should be fine on the ground especially if they get a bit of rain, 8 run.
Christmas in USA runs in the 2.20, this is an ideal race for him, he should be fine on the ground and shouldn’t be far away, Lucy rides and 12 run. Finally, and the ground will need to ease for him to line up, we run The Orange Rogue in the 2.55, Lucy rides and 7 run; he needs to find his way again after disappointing on ground that wasn’t soft enough last time.
Cold weather continues, hardest spell for a few years, and we are very much in the abandonment season which always tests one’s temperament. We have five runners declared for Ayr tomorrow, they have gone to huge efforts to cover the entire racing surface in fleeces and it will be touch and go whether they are enough to protect the track from a third consecutive hard frost.
The 9am inspection will tell us and if it is on the ground will be holding and tiring; our first two runners are in the 1.10, Titian Boy (Brian Hughes) and McGinty’s Dream (Lucy), the former won this race last year and seems in great fettle as does the latter who made a fine chasing debut at Hexham a few weeks ago, I’d rather he was going back there on Wednesday but will hopefully run well though he is a bit unpredictable – 10 run.
Massini’s Lady runs in the 1.45, Harry Reed rides, 10 run – she was runner up in this race last year, goes well fresh and should be fit.
Craiganboy is back over his winning course and distance in the 2.20 and we’ve had this race in mind for a while, 7 run and Grant rides.
Finally Presenting Rose makes her chasing debut in the 2.55, Stephen Mulqueen rides and 5 run, her schooling has been very good and she will run well if she settles, she has a first time hood on to help in that regard. Fingers crossed!
Very cold, as it is up and down the country, as cold as it has been for a good few years. Ground too hard to turn horses out so the team here had to work particularly hard to ensure all 43 horses had time out of their box on the horsewalker, we find a little bit of exercise on a Sunday averts plenty of possible problems on a Monday. With racing abandoned today at Kelso and tomorrow at Musselburgh it looks like we will be riding out a record number here this week, not ideal in the weather but hopefully some steps taken this afternoon to ensure all gallops bar the sand are in good working order.
A great point-to-point at Alnwick yesterday, the cold weather and amateur ethos combine to produce a crowd of genuine enthusiasts which creates a great atmosphere – no winners for us but happy with how our three ran and Kit managed to get into the winners enclosure with three of his four rides. It’s meant to be a busy week coming up for us but looking at the forecast I’m not sure we will be racing very much at all, having to come up with a lot of “plan B’s” for horses that were meant to be having their pre Christmas runs this week, let’s hope it gets milder soon!
Bitterly cold today, eye-wateringly so in the wind and looks set this way for the next week, brr. We could have been at Wetherby or Aintree tomorrow but Clan Legend has already run this week and the ground at Aintree has gone against Benny’s Secret so it’s off to the first fixture of the new point-to-point season at Alnwick; ground on the easy side of good and fortunately they seem much less concerned about the weather than I am, let’s hope they are right.
Three runners starting with Left Back in the maiden, he’s a big, scopey son of Oscar that ran well in Irish point-to-points before fluffing his lines last season over hurdles, we want to rebuild his confidence in this sphere. He’s not entirely straightforward and Crawford has done a lot of work with him here recently so he will ride him tomorrow, he should run well if he settles and gets into a rhythm. Two runners then in the Mens Open – Killer Crow (Kit) and Royal Chatelier (Jamie) – KC has come from Gordon Elliot and is a lovely horse that lost his way completely for previous connections, the ability is certainly there so it will be interesting to see if the change of scenery have a positive effect, I couldn’t be happier with him at home. RC is reaching the veteran stage and needs softer ground to be seen at his best, am sure that will come and tomorrow’s run should bring him on nicely.
Three declarations at Kelso on Sunday, more about them tomorrow night if I think there is a realistic chance of racing taking place, prospects appear bleak unfortunately but let’s hope the forecast is wrong – have a good weekend!
Bitterly cold this morning and due to get colder, long range forecast not good and with an exceptionally busy 10 days racing coming up I’m very concerned about disruption, hmmph. Schooling day today despite the weather and 6 went nicely over hurdles and 7 very well over fences, all due to run soon if the weather behaves…. Two fourths at Haydock yesterday, fed up with fourths another “hmmph”, a pleasing enough 2nd effort over hurdles from Silk or Scarlet over what will no doubt prove to be an inadequate trip, he wasn’t in love with the ground either and every time I step Clan Legend up in trip he comes unstuck, bang there 2 out and then faded – back to 2 miles and fences next.