Preparations near completion…..

Well, the weird weather continues and nature is confused, wet & stormy then warm and sunny, and from time to time a peculiar sulphorous smell in the air.  Most odd and the horses don’t quite know how to react.

Mist receding as the sun rises with horses lobbing along

Crucial stage now with the horses’ training intensifying as they approach their first run, every piece of work matters and detailed horsecare essential, hoping to run 25 horses in next three weeks and I’m mostly very happy with them, by and large they are at their racing weights.

Titian Boy being washed down this morning

Last year it all came a week earlier but we had a similar 25 runners across this series of meetings and they produced a couple of winners so we will be hoping one or two can do so again – main thing is that they run well, if so the results should follow and the extra week will have done no harm.

Silk or Scarlet (Grant)

Likely to be a low key start though with Dance of Fire scheduled to run on the all-weather at Newcastle on Tuesday – a “super-claimer” that looks very competitive, unlikely to be a rewarding hunting ground for a rookie flat trainer but we will be doing our best, thereafter possibly Calivigny at Carlisle on Thursday and entries will be made at Kelso Saturday, Aintree Sunday and Ayr Monday…. off we go – can’t wait but nervous days!

Wicklow Lad enjoying his retirement at the Hodges with his new friend Sandy – think he needs to come here…

21 October 2017|

Brief Update

Lovely warm and sunny autumn morning after a stormy old week.  Wet overnight at Hexham, ground turned heavy so Landecker a non-runner, declared in the hope they would miss the rain so no runners this week and unlikely to have any entries until Carlisle on 26th Oct, a disappointing absence of opportunities for the time of year but we look like being very busy from then on.

Landecker at Perth last month, non-runner today, great picture from Dennis Penny

Having a good time here though with the yard very full and the new facilities proving a revelation, will they improve how they run, time will tell!

Lake View Lad this morning, making good progress

New recruit Moores Novelty looks like he can jump OK!

14 October 2017|

Boom, boom, Benny!

A fine autumn day and a skip in my step this morning after the wonderful Kelso racecourse yet again managed to produce a magical moment with Benny’s Secret reverting to form to win the last race under a well judged ride from Lucy at the staggering odds of 33-1; we made a plan and she carried it out perfectly, needed luck on our side of course and very stressful – usually something or other goes wrong.

Benny’s Secret draws upsides at the last

It may only have been an ordinary handicap hurdle but I’ve been very open about how tricky it has been to get this talented horse right and yesterday was a thoroughly rewarding result for the whole team, whether it proves to be a one-off only time will tell but at least now we have a road to follow.

I said prior to the race that if he we had him right he was very well handicapped and that we believed all was in order though as ever I was hopeful rather than confident.  That information was available to everyone and I was amazed that the price he was sent off at, I’m just pleased that some of the Kinneston faithful took advantage of the market’s generosity though I am afraid that didn’t include me (always hopeful, never confident!). 

This blog will never be a source of betting information but I hope will always be uniquely open and honest and therefore valued as such, those who enjoy reading it may also enjoy our weekly photographic update on the Kinneston Facebook page.

Earlier on the card Dance of Fire I am afraid ran like a non-stayer, he travelled well and jumped proficiently for 12f  but couldn’t go on.  It appears the high class sprinting genes on his dam side are outweighing the staying genes given by his sire, he was a little free early on so it may be worth trying once more with more restraint but we will also be looking for options on the flat.  One entry this week, Landecker at Hexham on Saturday, otherwise all hands on deck preparing the team for what we hope will be a busy winter.

9 October 2017|

Kelso tomorrow

Dampish overnight but nothing serious and a lovely autumn day, perfect for working horses and we find ourselves extremely busy which is exactly how we want to be at this time of year.  Two runners at Kelso tomorrow where they have a cracking 8 race card on ground that is likely to ride on the soft side of good.  Hopefully not too soft for Dance of Fire who we run in the 2.05, 9 run and Lucy rides, this is a horse with a big engine who for some reason didn’t fire last season and so far hasn’t converted his better flat form to hurdles; despite that the handicapper is giving nothing away based on what he has achieved over obstacles so far.

Dance of Fire in relaxed mode

Whether he is just taking time to adjust to the different training and racing regime required for hurdling or whether he doesn’t stay I’m not sure; there is also the possibility that mentally he is taking time to get over some hard training and races; whatever, he’s had a good summer now and I couldn’t be happier with him at home, he showing plenty of enthusiasm for his job so hopefully he races with that same attitude in which case he shouldn’t be far away, cheek pieces being worn for first time over hurdles.

Benny’s Secret (Grant)

Then we run Benny’s Secret in the 5.20, he won a maiden hurdle here over shorter and should love the underfoot conditions, he’s a horse with lots of ability who is very hard to catch right and I’ve clearly failed to do that recently as he has pulled up on 3 of his last 4 starts.  The step up in trip shouldn’t be a problem for him and if he’s right he’s very well handicapped, we’ve done everything we can and clearly believe he is OK otherwise he wouldn’t be running but I’ve thought that before…. tricky, Lucy rides and 13 run, hood back on, tongue strap off.

Love this photo of Lucy coming in on Jet Master, kindly sent to us by Perth Racecourse

With ground conditions perfect a disappointingly empty schedule in the Northern programme for next week, only Hexham next Saturday – not quite sure why we have a mini break in proceedings at this stage but we will be busy here preparing for what will hopefully be a busy second half of the month.  Some sections of the website are a bit out of date, apologies for that – a revamped version is under construction, in the meantime here is a link to our 2017/18 Horses in Training book.


7 October 2017|

Jet, Clare, Owners Day and Perth 2018?

A lovely day yesterday but a storm to sweep through today, nothing serious expected and it is the 1st of October so nothing unusual.  A busy week and a welcome winner in the form of Jet Master who won the 2m handicap hurdle at Perth’s Autumn Finale meeting for the third year in succession- delighted for the yard, Lucy and his owners’ Harry Turcan and Simon Dunning.

The smiles say it all, a mud spattered Jet Master comes in off the track with Lucy and Kelly; he has given us so many special days – thank you Jet – Harry and Simon for letting me train him.

Also special because this was our 200th winner, every one of them lodged in my memory as something to treasure.  A bit of a “teary” day yesterday as Clare headed South to take up her new job as pupil assistant to Nicky Henderson, a fantastic opportunity for her and wonderful to be immersed in a yard at the height of its powers as we head into the new National Hunt season, we will have to find an excuse to visit soon.

A captive audience – I do love the chance to bang on about my horses!

Earlier in the week I was delighted to host our annual Owners Day with breakfast followed by a parade of 34 horses here followed by an excellent lunch in the Club Lawn Marquee at Perth, the horses looked really well and were a credit to the team here.

And as “tipster” of the day I managed 4 of the 6 winners – all credit due to Brian Castle!

Of course that was also the 3rd year in succession that we opened our account for the season in that race; we used to train plenty of summer winners but don’t seem to have the horses for it these days.  I would love that to change and with over £1m in prize money likely to be on offer at Perth next year I hope to put a small syndicate together specifically to target that, please do contact me if you would like to be part of it.  Two runners today, The Great Scottish Run 10k, off at 9.30 – don’t worry not me, as usual I’m just the support team, ie the bloke to nervously drink coffee beforehand and help with the pints afterwards – good luck boys!  Equine wise, one entry – Fight Away Boys – at Hexham on Friday and Dance of Fire & Benny’s Secret at Kelso next Sunday – in the meantime enjoy the fantastic racing at Chantilly this afternoon, the best!

1 October 2017|