A very special win at Musselburgh on Monday for Isla Pearl Fisher with Lucy creeping into the race late to collar “AP” on the line, never the plan, a clear round was the only real objective but great to see the horse come back to his best after a couple of nasty injuries this year. When he won at Kelso in May he sustained a horrible cut far too close to his tendon, this required several months of box rest and special care from many people, most particularly our vet Jenny and our team members Gillian and Amy overseen by his owner Philippa and Andrew McDiarmid of Clydevet. Then when he fell at Newcastle last month he split his knee open which was stapled up prior to blowing up like a rugby ball and bursting all the staples, nothing straightforward and I hope it excuses my rather over-exuberant celebrating on Monday, unfortunately captured on TV!
Hard frost with light snow today, racing abandoned up and down the country, signs of it relenting before the weekend but will take a few days to shift, fingers crossed for the big fixture at Cheltenham and Northern racing’s two fixtures on Sunday. The gallop is frozen in places but hard work with the harrow has kept it open and most of the horses had plenty of work yesterday. I think I have discovered a surface that is much less prone to freezing and late last night the first load arrived from Lancashire, Jimmy started to lay it as soon as the horses came off yesterday and the idea is that he will put an inch over the whole gallop that will hopefully enable us to keep going through what is increasingly looking like a hard winter.
Everyone is chipping in their bit on the Kauto Star saga, my view is that however much of a prat Paul Nicholls thinks Clive Smith is it is unbecoming of our champion NH trainer to slate a leading owner so publicly, it should be Clive’s decision and the trainer should have been able to persuade him to take the right one, all a great shame but what I would like to know is where is Master Minded?
A moan and you are forgiven for yawning at the thought of reading it but………..very frustrated by the lack of opportunities for our handicap hurdlers at present and I know I am becoming boring on the subject but Musselburgh’s proactive approach in scheduling an extra fixture to help us all beat the weather this week has in my view been let down by the BHA who were responsible for framing the races. This was done via an interactive forum which I followed closely and participated in and I don’t think the resulting simplistic schedule accurately reflected the demand shown in the forum. Amazingly no handicap hurdles were put on despite it being obvious at that stage that the handicaps at the last meeting were going to be heavily oversubscribed and there being plenty of demand in the forum (12 of 17 contributors requested one, mostly at lower ratings where the bottleneck appears to be). Instead a 2m 4f and 3m novice hurdle – unsurprisingly 7 of the 20 in the 3m are in the other race as well. They have also scheduled three handicap chases which were again in danger of overlapping in terms of the horses they attracted, as a result the three races have only attracted a total of 31 horses between them with 5 of the 13 in the 2m 4f race double entered and several of these horses have already run this week; this compares with I think 39 entered for the 3m handicap hurdle on Monday. If someone can explain to me logically why this has been done then fair enough but to me it just looks like it hasn’t been properly thought through and the result will be a fairly humdrum days racing of novice hurdles and smallish field handicap chases; Musselburgh deserves better for its efforts as do my owners who cant get a race for their horses. Surely the point of an extra fixture is to provide an extra opportunity for as many different horses as possible.