Snow showers again today but nothing dramatic and a good morning working horses on the all weather. It was certainly dramatic yesterday at Ayr with heavy rain and gales all afternoon creating very testing conditions, I think the good Lord was wreaking revenge for my rather smug comments yesterday implying that I didn’t really notice what the weather was like when I was racing – ha ha said he – I’ll show you – in a lifetime of some pretty awful weather racing at Ayr I don’t think I have ever known anything quite like it!
Anyway, a good day with many of the horses running above expectations starting with Titian Boy who finished 2nd of 17 in the opener, hopefully he can build on this and I was also pleased with Massini’s Lady who stayed on to be 5th in the same race and should also progress.
We had to change the tactics radically with Clan Chief and that worked nicely with him coming a close 5th doing his best work at the end for once, he can also progress for this and Jet Master had a nice confidence boosting round of jumping, his rating is too high at present and I hope the handicapper shows him some leniency as we don’t want him to join the droves of poorly handicapped older horses that end up leaving the sport for that reason alone.
The highlight of the afternoon was a first win for Bertalus who, I have to say, would never have been declared to run in those conditions but he stayed on strongly to win like a horse who can progress, especially when conditions dry up.
It was splendid to get another winner for octogenarian owner Vere Cochrane and his family, whilst this horse was bought as a replacement for Or de Grugy they also had a half share with Cornelius Lysaght in Northern Acres who we sadly lost last week. “Alec” was a little star, quirky as anything, loved to plant on the gallop and buck repeatedly he would give me great entertainment most mornings as he tried to get rid of his rider.
He was also a star on the racecourse and having won on the flat he then won five times over hurdles, initially rather inconsistent latterly he became a model of consistency and finished in the frame on all of his last ten starts winning two including landing the infamous “Cornelius gamble” at the Perth Festival in 2014; having been out of form for a while Cornelius made me run him over 2m on the Thursday rather than in the race I wanted to run him in on the Friday. Having fed me the red herring that this was to do with him having to be at Sandown on the Friday he then demonstrated that he knew the horse much better than the trainer by leading a monster plunge on the horse to take his odds from 20-1 to 6-1, he duly obliged under a canny ride from 7lb claimer Kit and of course it was me that had to go into the Steward’s Room to deny knowledge of any funny stuff having as usual not had a penny on myself.
RIP “Alec” – you gave so much fun to your owners, Susan and I as your NH trainers and your many different jockeys. I digress, Heilan Rebel found it all happening a bit quickly at Musselburgh today, looked like a 3m chaser trying to keep up with 2m hurdlers, he’ll be out again soon in something more appropriate, and on to Kelso tomorrow where we have 5 declared runners on ground that is likely to be deep and holding, not ideal for some but what do we do? Road to Gold runs in the first at 1.20, Lucy rides and 8 run, a course and distance winner earlier in the season he won’t mind the ground but looks up against it with a couple of these carrying a penalty.
Holding ground would be a concern for Gold Opera in the 2nd race at 1.55 but I’ve always thought of him as a 3m chaser in the making and this is a nice little race for him, Lucy rides and 5 run. Neither of our runners in the 3.40 can be expected to like the ground but Landecker (Lucy) is a three times course and distance winner and ran well at Musselburgh last time, Always Tipsy (Stephen) should also like the track and distance and is looking better treated now, 11 run. Wicklow Lad will love the ground in the 4.15 and will hopefully run well in a reapplied visor, Kit rides and 8 run.