Colder again tonight, fine performances from our runners at Ayr yesterday but far too many 4ths, most particularly Gold Opera who appeared to have put the race to bed before deciding he had done enough 50 yards from the line at which point three of the opposition swooped past him. Frustrating to say the least but on the other hand gratifying to see him run so well up in grade off a career high mark first time out and surely there will be more to come from him this season. Earlier in the afternoon Buffalo Ballet ran well enough to be 4th but this perhaps came a little soon after his seasonal reappearance two weeks earlier, Another Mattie on the other hand stepped up on his earlier effort to also finish 4th and Presenting Rose ran well for a long way before tiring in the last tow furlongs, unsurprising having been off for over a year and I’m sure she will progress – most importantly all runners seem fine tonight.
On to Newcastle tomorrow where we have two runners on ground that is likely to be on the fast side of good, not usually my cup of tea but I am sure this track is in especially good condition this autumn and both of our runners could go well on proper good ground. Firstly Bertalus (Tony Kelly) in the 1.05; he starts this season on a much more attractive mark after losing his way last winter so the big question is can he find his way again? I’d prefer to answer that question at 1.30pm tomorrow but I’ve certainly been very happy with him at home and he has been trained very differently working exclusively on the new gallops since the end of September. He’s been ready to run for a few weeks so fingers crossed he turns the corner – it’s a competitive race though with 17 runners and it shouldn’t pass without comment that this race is only for £3500 as is the Mares Maiden hurdle on the same card – hmm, not good.
Jet Master then bids for a repeat win in the Veterans Chase at 2.50, he seems well and will hopefully put up a bold show off only a 2lb higher mark, Grant rides and 7 run. No runners over the weekend, our next outing will hopefully be to Hexham next Wednesday.
Quiet weather, perfect really and off to Ayr tomorrow where we have four runners on ground that will be soft. An early start required to ensure Buffalo Ballet is there in plenty of time for his race at 12.30, he’s stepping up to 3m for the first time and I would hope he would improve for that, he wouldn’t want the ground to be tacky and it’s a competitive affair, 9 run and Grant rides.
Another Mattie drops down in grade to run in the 1.35 and hence has to carry top weight, I’m happy with that and he should be more competitive in this company, Kit rides and 9 run.
Presenting Rose runs in the Mares Handicap Hurdle at 2.10; she has been off for over a year and will strip fitter for the run but could still put up a bold show if she isn’t too free and fresh early on, she’s well handicapped but tomorrow is about getting her career back on track after her enforced lay-off.
Finally we run Gold Opera in the feature race of the day at 3.10 – he has won his last two starts and is being forced up in grade, we go up in trip as well in the hope of further improvement but I suspect the favourite will be very hard to beat, he will hopefully run well on what is his seasonal reappearance.
Things never really went right for Calivigny at Carlisle yesterday, forced wide for much of the trip he didn’t really get into much of a rhythm and then hit the 3rd last hard, it was a better run than the 7th of 10 suggests and all being well he will be back there on 3rd Dec.
Cold and crisp today, lovely weather and a quiet day on the yard, in the office and round the farm. I love going round the horses on a Sunday evening, most of the horses have had an easy day and there is a sense of quiet order, they seem more relaxed in their boxes and its a great time to assess them from every perspective. Even better the day after a winner and I was really pleased with Benny’s Secret following up in impressive style yesterday, I’ve always thought a lot of this horse and whilst he hasn’t been straightforward I would hope there will be more to come now we have found the key.
Earlier in the afternoon Landecker ran right up to his best to finish 2nd in the staying hurdle, bumped into one as they say but saw the rest off and he will hopefully go to Carlisle now for a decent race in early December.
The bumper was a bit of a mixed bag for the yard, Figs Pride showed plenty of promise and should make up into a nice staying hurdler in time, Peak of Beauty on the other hand was a bit of a rascal, dropping Kit on the way to the start and then pretending she was in a rodeo rather than a race for the first furlong by which time the field had flown.
She did gallop round resolutely which was quite pleasing in the circumstances but it was a shame she was 100 yards behind the pack, I am sure she will be better next time as she’s always had a mischievous streak and we seem to have managed to channel it the right way at home.
On to Carlisle tomorrow where we have one runner – Calivigny ridden by Grant in the 3.10 and 10 run. He has been a good 2nd on his last two runs over course and distance and should improve both for his first run of the season and the better (good to soft) ground expected tomorrow, will any of the others have improved more is the question? Hopefully he won’t be far away.
Very grateful to Danni who took these great photos yesterday on her day off from working here full time, I love them.
A glorious late autumn morning for exercising horses and a record 17 out first lot as an important workday and we have a busy day ahead at Kelso.
Bitterly cold at Hexham yesterday but a good crowd of enthusiastic national hunt supporters enjoyed competitive racing; we were pleased with Silk or Scarlet’s 6th on his hurdling and stable debut, a little keen early on he tired at the top of the hill before running on again, there should be plenty of improvement and Lucy wasn’t hard on him when his chance was gone. The Bishop also put in a much better effort to finish 5th and I agree with the Racing Post analysis – “The Bishop, reverting to chasing from his lower mark on his second run of the season, showed that there are more races to be won with him over fences on more testing ground” Bertalus was scratched from his race having knocked a leg schooling and unfortunately Lucy was kicked after taking a heavy fall from Sky Full of Stars and has been stood down for a few days. On to Kelso today where we have four runners declared on ground that is good.
First to go is Landecker who runs in the 1.25 with Kit on board, 8 run. This horse seems to like it round Kelso and has done all his winning here including this race last year, he’s 3lb higher this time round but will hopefully run well.
Then in the 3.10 we run Benny’s Secret who won here at a long price last time out, he’s up in grade tomorrow but if we have him right again there should be more to come, we’ve done everything we can so here’s hoping, Grant rides and 7 run.
Finally we have two fillies making their racecourse debuts in the fillies and mares bumper at 3.45, Grant rides Figs Pride and Kit rides Peak of Beauty, both wear hoods as the crowd can be a little boisterous by the time of the last at Kelso on a Saturday afternoon and they will have plenty to take in, they are a pair of nicely bred fillies who have done plenty at home but never been away so will learn a lot tomorrow.
A shame Lucy isn’t riding but good to see Kit back riding, he plays a big part here and I would like him to have more rides but the logic is hard to justify when due to his experience Owners have to pay a full fee which then goes into central BHA funds, I’ve never really been able to understand why.
Fine autumn weather and an early start tomorrow morning for the team with three runners declared at Hexham where the ground is soft. An interesting debutante for the yard in the 2nd race at 1.10pm, Silk or Scarlet who starts out over hurdles having finished 3rd in his sole bumper start at this track.
He’s a lovely active horse who goes about his work nicely, ultimately I see his as a stayer and he will come on for this run and hopefully will have a pleasing introduction, Lucy rides and 10 run.
We then run Bertalus in the 3.10, Lucy also rides and 15 run, having won at Ayr early in 2016 he lost his way badly last season, we’ve trained him completely differently this time round and he works well so I am hopeful that tomorrow will see his career back on track, he is certainly starting from a better position in the weights.
Finally we run The Bishop in the 3.40, Grant rides and 11 run, he’s a course and distance winner who looks well treated over fences though it will probably need to be heavy before he can get his head in front again.