A heart-warming win at Kelso yesterday for Isla Pearl Fisher, his third win at the track, his eighth overall and a career best performance 7 weeks short of his 12th birthday. He received a tremendous reception from the Kelso crowd that love their staying chasers and I hope he can build on this despite his advancing years.
To say he has been through the wars is a bit of an understatement, suffice it to say that he has come through 3 general anesthetics with his spirit undimmed, he has been fortunate to have Amy at his side and a proud and loyal owner in Philippa Gammell who yesterday was able to watch the race live via satellite in Australia and then speak to the somewhat hoarse trainer straight after the race, not much different to being at home in Glen Isla really. On to Carlisle tomorrow where we run another stable favourite named with the Perthshire glens in mind; Little Glenshee in the 12.45, 5 run and Lucy rides on ground that I hope will be very soft, she seems well but always comes on for her first run of the season, we have done as much as we can with her at home. Lucy also rides Assirem in the 1.15 and Premier Grand Crus in the 1.50.
Muted celebrations at home last night as Lucy should have been riding IPF yesterday, it was entirely my idea that she should ride one race on Friday, skip Kelso and start again properly at Carlisle tomorrow, with hindsight it was the wrong decision and I felt pretty bad about it; she will have a busy week with fixtures at Carlisle, Sedgefield, Ayr, Newcastle and Wetherby and will hopefully be in the winners enclosure very soon. Desperate for the connections of The Young Master who will be stripped of his win in the feature chase of the day at Wincanton yesterday as the horse was not eligible for the race. Ultimate responsibility must lie with the trainer but I also feel very sorry for whoever at Weatherbys will be feeling the wrath of the industry for a clerical error but we need a more robust system. When we enter a horse online it is sometimes flagged up that it is ineligible and we are unable to enter it, on other occasions we find out it is ineligible on publication of entries, on this occasion the horse was actually allowed to run in the race before anyone pointed it out, surely Horsemen deserve consistency in this regard from the administrative side of the sport? An accident like this was waiting to happen and no doubt someone will be scapegoated but it is the system that is at fault. The worst example is when you go to enter a horse for a veteran’s chase the conditions on the website say it is for 9yo and over when it is actually for 10yo and over, the reason for the discrepancy? Answer – the computer system won’t allow two digits in the age column so “10” won’t fit, at least it then stops you entering a 9yo but it certainly had me baffled…..