Heavy snow this morning, plans thrown up in the air and we have had to keep our two Musselburgh bumper runners at home due to it being unsafe to travel, that’s a first, luckily Catch and Dutch Canyon left before the weather closed in and he ran an OK sort of race to finish 5th, I guess we will drop back in trip with him next time.
Let’s hope they get home before the weather closes in again and please no disruption at Haydock or en route tomorrow where we run Lake View Lad in the 1.30 on ground that will be heavy. We’ve been fortunate to find a three runner Grade Two novice chase; he goes there in great form and track, trip and ground should all suit well so fingers crossed – Stephen Mulqueen rides, he’s the outsider of the three but you know what they say……
The meeting is subject to an 8am inspection and they are inspecting at the same time for Newcastle’s Sunday fixture which looks more doubtful, the Jedforest point-to-point on the same day has already been abandoned but hopefully will be rescheduled to next Saturday.
Unnervingly mild and quiet weather this morning but an appalling forecast for the week ahead with gales, rain, frost and snow. Will be wet today at Ayr but at least racing goes ahead though if the forecast is correct tomorrow’s fixture will struggle and they are wisely inspecting first thing. So it will be very heavy today and that will be the key to who wins the races, not the fastest horses, rather those that handle the conditions which will suit some of our runners but certainly not all.
We start with Presenting Rose in the mares handicap hurdle at 1.45, 7 run and I think she will be fine on the ground, Stephen Mulqueen rides and she looks well treated on her better novice form.
Another Mattie (Lucy) runs in the 2.15, a competitive race for the grade and Mattie was out of form before Christmas, we’ve changed a few things with him and he wouldn’t be running if we didn’t think he was back in form – a decent run to demonstrate that would suffice, he won’t mind the ground, 9 run.
Buffalo Ballet on the other hand won’t like it at all, the race ticks every other box though so having missed a few engagements it’s worth taking him taking his chance in the hope he slops through it, his race is at 2.50, 8 run and Lucy rides.
Finally, McGinty’s Dream takes a sharp drop back in trip in the 3.20 – he has missed so many races since his promising chasing debut at Hexham in November that we are taking this chance to run out of necessity rather than choice – there isn’t a perfect race for him until next month – having said all of that he’s in great form, runs off his mark and will love the ground which will bring his stamina into play if he can keep up.
Seven runners at Kelso yesterday all home in one piece – delighted with Massini’s Lady (2nd) and Jet Master (3rd), pleased with Silk or Scarlet (8th) and Top Cat Henry (5th) a little disappointed with Gold Opera (5th) and Thomond (4th) and a bit more disappointed with Moores Novelty (12th) – he scoped clear after the race and seems fine so am hoping it was just the ground but he’s a much better horse than this, we will see if anything comes to light.
A quiet day weather wise but raining now and forecast pretty dreadful with rain coming then frost again later next week, desperately hoping it doesn’t interfere with the imminent fixtures as we are hoping to have plenty of runners over the next few days. Kelso tomorrow at least should be OK and they have an excellent card of competitive racing and we have 7 declared runners on ground that is expected to be soft, we start with two runners in the 2nd race at 1.10pm.
Moores Novelty (Lucy) and Silk or Scarlet (Grant) are both nice young horses that would prefer better ground and a longer trip however they need experience and we are just looking for nice runs that they can build on in the future, 14 run.
We also have two runners in the 8 runners feature chase of the afternoon at 2.15, Jet Master (Lucy) and Top Cat Henry (Kit); Jet Master seems fresh and well despite his advancing years and this trip, track and ground combination should suit him well, Top Cat Henry is having his first start back after a break and will come on a lot for the run.
I guess Massini’s Lady will be our shortest price runner of the afternoon in the 2.45, whilst her better form is at more galloping tracks she is fit, could improve for this step up in trip and should run well fresh – however I’d have preferred to have gone chasing with her and having missed numerous engagements over the larger obstacles this is no more than an adequate replacement, Lucy rides and 14 run.
Gold Opera rides in the 3.15, he has questions to answer after a disappointing trip to Haydock two weeks ago so I am hoping he can leave that behind him tomorrow, he seems in grand form and nothing came to light after Haydock – 8 run and Lucy rides.
Finally Thomond makes his stable debut in the 3.45, 5 run and it’s a little ironic that the three best horses appearing at the meeting are running in this Hunter Chase for the, a sighting shot therefore for us running him against this opposition, Kit rides.
Sharp frost this morning, -5.5 in the car when I popped out to get the papers just after 8am, at least things will be drying up after a very wet week. Wetherby was abandoned on Friday when our lorry was at Dunbar, Newcastle and Alnwick both off today due to waterlogging – my philosophical attitude to these abandonments now being stretched to the limit as several of our horses have now lost 5 or 6 possible races and have been ready to run for a month.
Testing times for their owners as well as the team of staff here who are putting in so much effort to keep the horses fit and ready so I’d love to be racing again soon before any more of the season slips past. Ayr on Wednesday the next possible fixture for us, frozen waterlogged ground there so we will need luck on our side, thereafter Wetherby, Kelso, Ayr and Ayr 13th – 16th so let’s hope weather settles for those important fixtures.
Light rain now, missed storm Eleanor but to turn very cold again at the weekend and conditions remain challenging though a “weather window” this morning allowed us to do plenty of schooling. Very wet all over the place including at Wetherby where we have two declared runners tomorrow and the meeting is subject to an 8.15 inspection. Deep sigh…. hopefully it will be on as our lorry will be on the road well before then and the Amateur Riders Handicap Chase at 2.55 looks a nice opportunity for both The Bishop (Kit) and Massini’s Lady (Gina Andrews).
The former looks well handicapped over fences and couldn’t have the ground soft enough, the latter is having only her 2nd start over fences but has placed form both over hurdles and in point-to-points, her dam won 3m 4f cross country chases in France so you would like to think she will improve over fences and stay well, she’s built to be a chaser but quite a big ask first time out.
At Ayr on Tuesday we had a mixed sort of day, the highlight was Off the Hook running a thoroughly promising race to finish 2nd at 50-1, quite emotional after what she has been through and if luck stays on her side there should be loads to come. In the same race Up Helly Aa King made a good hurdling debut, jumping nicely before tiring as they turned for home, that was no surprise and I was just pleased to have him back on the track and home in one piece. Calivigny also ran a nice race looking the winner until the 2nd last, he faded then and I don’t think he saw the trip out in the extreme conditions, I would also put Titian Boy’s disappointing 4th down to the ground, he wants it soft but just isn’t strong enough for very deep stuff. A busy weekend looms with a very uncertain weather forecast, lots of plans to be made that may come to nothing, far from ideal but all part of the game.