Damp and mild this morning and a nice buzz on the yard after fine day at Ayr yesterday with three winners, a second and two thirds, confirmation that the horses remain in good fettle although one of the winners was perhaps fortuitous.
In the first race Just Brooke showed a little progress on her hurdling debut to finish 7th, Left Back was too keen during the early stages of what was a falsely run race but knuckled down and jumped well when the pace picked up prior to tiring late on, he’s very much a work in progress. In the 2m 4f hurdle Andhaar stayed on well to be 3rd having been outpaced over what was very much his minimum trip, Christmas in USA travelled strongly down the back straight prior to emptying quickly. Post race checks revealed nothing so as ever he has occupied most of my thoughts overnight, he is much better than this and appears well in every way, ate up, sound; I just don’t know what I am missing but all being well he will be back out soon over shorter on better ground. I was delighted with Benny’s Secret who moved into his race stylishly prior to a little match fitness finding him out in the closing stages on ground that was too soft for him, he finished 3rd. Then we won the last three races, I didn’t think there was much to split our pair in the novice chase and in the end it was only a neck with Marlee Massie’s bold jump at the last probably sealing it for him, delighted with them both and with any luck Buffalo should get his head in front soon. Gold Opera was gifted the race in the feature chase when his two rivals came to grief 4 out, he may have won anyway but all three were still travelling so who knows.
The icing on the cake was then Another Mattie winning the last under a judicious ride from Kit who rode out his 7lb claim in the process. Some pictures from yesterday to follow no doubt but another busy day today with two runners at Ayr and two at the Cumberland point-to-point. It is likely to be heavy again at Ayr which should suit The Bishop well in the 5.05, he’s been out of form his last two starts but has had a nice break and hopefully a return to hurdles will boost his confidence, Blair Campbell rides and 6 run.
Then in the 5.35 Up Helly Aa King makes his stable debut in the bumper, Grant Cockburn rides and 9 run, he is a nice horse in the making but he hasn’t been here long and may run a bit green.
The lorry is well on its way to Dalston where the ground is described as heavy, very heavy in places – the mind boggles but sounds perfect for Royal Chatelier who Jamie rides in the Club race, may prove a bit too much of a test for Bertie Milan on his first start for 11 months, Crawford takes the ride on Bertie who last ran in a point-to-point 7 years ago ridden by the much missed JT MacNamara. The National Hunt Chase on the opening day of next week’s Cheltenham Festival is being run in memory of “JT” and Rose and I have been asked to select the winner of this race on behalf of Mr Bruce’s esteemed lunch guests – any clues?