Breezy today and some soft rain; a runner tomorrow at Wetherby, Bertalus in the 4.30, where the ground has been well watered and should ride on the soft side of good, 13 run. It is only his second chase and he moves into handicap company but the track should suit fine and he should appreciate the step up in trip – just a shame there are so many runners!
Runners aplenty at Sedgefield today, 70 no less, where I would venture to say they are staging their best ever day’s jump racing, £76,000 on offer and delighted the track has been well rewarded, the new management at ARC are investing heavily in their jump racing programme and hopefully others will take note – put up the money and the horses will come, the virtuous circle begins. Lucy is there for one ride, Ascot de Bruyere, in the 3pm.
At Ayr on Monday Bracing ran with promise on her comeback and looked like being involved until tiring after the last to finish 5th, Andhaar was held up out the back and unfortunately was hampered by a faller just as he was about to makehis move, they will both hopefully be out again soon. All being well we will have a runner or two at Ayr on Saturday and then again at Carlisle on Sunday; two more quality Northern cards and the latter looks as good as any card so far this season, very competitive again, we are being helped by many of the Southern trainers having to look North due to the ground being so firm further South, helped to the extent that we are staging good competitive racing, not helped so far as Team Kinneston winning any prize money!
Colder again this morning, showers & sunshine and the wind still in the East where is has been for several weeks now, a return to more seasonally normal westerlies but pressure still high so not much rain about.
Ground just on the soft side of good at Ayr today and we have two runners, both in the 3.05, Andhaar (Blair Campbell) and Bracing (Kit), both 2nd in the two divisions of this race last year and both appear in good form so it’s no surprise they take each other on today, they should both run well but Andhaar likely to strip slightly fitter after a short break whereas Bracing has been off since early January so will improve more for the run; ground should suit both well, Lucy rides Premier Grand Crus in the 3.35 for James Ewart.
Heilan Rebel was disappointing at Kelso on Saturday, he’s been in good fettle at home but in his racing he seems to travel well but be unable to quicken at the crucial stage of the race, he then stays on again, very frustrating.
Entries today for Ayr, Wetherby and Carlisle next weekend; four different Horses In Training Sales over the next 10 days, going to try to make it to one or two of them but busy here with a full yard so may leave it to the agents, Kevin Ross is looking at a few horses at Newmarket for us today so do give ne a call if you could be tempted….
Another fine autumn day, horses working well, grass in fine fettle and grand to be able to do some faster work at last. I have a feeling that a few of our horses have missed that, some don’t appear to need it but others do and it’s been too firm until this week- will be doing plenty over the next few weeks. A so-so sort of day at Carlisle yesterday, very pleased that Been Decided ran a much better type of race and he should make a nice staying handicap hurdler this season now he has that run under his belt.
Little Glenshee ran well for a long way but didn’t quicken up, the ground wasn’t really soft enough for her and she has paid for her consistency by remaining high in the weights despite her advancing years and many of her rivals looked relatively well treated. She will come on for the run but may need to be lower in the weights before she is winning again. Road to Gold was novicey over the first few fences on his chasing debut, unsurprising after taking such a heavy fall on his last hurdle start but his jumping improved as the race went on and Lucy was easy on him given the importance of a good overall experience.
More to come from him but he won’t be easy to place, having been a good novice hurdler he has to go chasing off a mark of 127. His alternatives are to take on better horses at level weights like yesterday or run in a handicap off 127, now I hope he will end up a 127 plus handicap chaser but he certainly isn’t that now and may not be for another year at least… tricky, the two disciplines are different and they need a chance to learn their trade if they are to fulfill their potential long term.
Just one runner at Kelso tomorrow on good to soft ground, Heilan Rebel in the 5.25, Harry Reed has his first ride for the stable, 13 run and whilst it is a competitive enough race for the grade I am hoping he is well handicapped.
Quieter weather again now but pleased to say there has been plenty of rain at Carlisle and we go there tomorrow with three runners on soft ground, all are making their seasonal debut. Whilst they will improve for their runs and are a little bit on the heavy side they have been up to full work since the end of August so should be fit enough to run to not far off their best.
Been Decided will start at long odds in the first race at 2.10 which is a good novice hurdle, he works well at home but needs to translate this to the track, Brian Harding rides and 10 run.
In the 2.45 we run Little Glenshee, 7 run and Lucy rides, she seems in great fettle and whilst I think 3m will be her optimum trip now she should still go well over 2m 4f in these conditions. Finally Road to Gold makes his chasing debut in the 5pm, only three runners but three good horses and whilst the best of his hurdling form gives him a chance the focus tomorrow will be to try to ensure he enjoys his first experience of the larger obstacles. Lucy also rides Catching Shadows in the 2.10 and Landmarque in the 3.20 for James Ewart. Presenting Rose was declared but is “doubtful,” hopefully she will be out next week somewhere.
I find myself a little preoccupied by the horses’ weights at this time of year, we weigh them all at 4pm every Tuesday afternoon, at 8am on a raceday and at 8am the day after; I prefer to rely on my eye and intuition as regards their fitness levels but as with heart rate monitors I enjoy having something quantitative to fall back on. I was a little dismayed therefore when Little Glenshee weighed in at 551kg on Tuesday this week when I consider her optimum racing weight to be 535kg. She has made her seasonal debut over course and distance for the last two seasons, albeit three weeks later, and a year ago she was exactly 535kg. She didn’t run very well that day, finishing a slightly laboured 4th. Two years ago she ran an exceptional race to only be beaten half a length by Benny’s Well, the records tell me she was 554kg that day, big fatso, confusing and a good indication how misleading it could be for punters if pre race weights are published, something which is under discussion.
Very different conditions now, wind and rain, lots of migratory geese in the skies and the leaves are turning and beginning to fall. A thoroughly ordinary day at Carlisle on Thursday, teaching McGinty’s Dream to settle was always going to be a painful process and painful it was but settle he did and we can be a little handier next time; I did think Landecker would run much better and was disappointed with the way he failed to travel and jumped averagely – he had been in great form at home but seemed petulant before he even set off on Thursday, all being well we will take him back to his favourite track Kelso in early November and hopefully see a different horse.
Tremendous racing from Ascot this afternoon, Champions Day comes of age, but a dearth of racing in the North until Carlisle again next Thursday, picks up after that though with Kelso on Saturday, Aintree on Sunday and Ayr on Monday so if the rain keeps up we should be busy; we have almost 30 horses with targets pencilled in over the next four weeks. In the meantime a brief update on a few of the newcomers to the yard with pictures from our Owners Day, more to follow next week I hope.