Cold and damp this morning, a slow spring so far and it looks like more material rain arriving on a westerly wind later today, hard to predict what the ground will be like at the three meetings we hope to attend this weekend – Kelso tomorrow, Friars Haugh and Carlisle on Sunday. Soft side of good at the moment at Kelso and we have six declared runners on what looks like a typically excellent card.
We start with two in the first race at 1.45, Gold Opera and Wicklow Gold, Gold Opera appears to have thrived since his busy weekend three weeks ago and this trip looks ideal for him, Wicklow Gold is potentially very well treated but I suspect will come on for the run after 18 months off, he will only run if there is significant overnight rain – 5 run.
Clan Chief runs in the 2.50, 8 run and he needs to put his recent Newcastle mishap behind him, no reason why he shouldn’t but this is a much better class of race and he certainly won’t be going off 7/4 favourite this time. Marlee Massie and Dutch Canyon are declared for the 4.35, 12 run, the trip might be on the sharp side for both of them and finally we run Isla Pearl Fisher in the 5.10, 7 run and I hope he can bounce back to form on the better ground at a track he loves.
On Sunday we have The Orange Rogue declared for the 3.55 at Carlisle, 15 run but he won’t be one of them unless the ground turns to soft whilst at the Berwickshire point-to-point at Friars Haugh the current plan is to run Jamie’s recent recruit Allthekingshorses along with Rossini’s Dancer.
At Hexham earlier this week I was happy enough with slightly improved efforts from Been Decided and Farewelltocheyenne, disappointed with Celestino who travelled and jumped well but couldn’t get home stepped up in trip at a stiff track, delighted with Calivigny who came back to form to finish 3rd carrying a double penalty in a decent novice hurdle and I felt the Bishop’s race probably came too soon for him when he finished 4th in the 3m handicap chase. After four beaten favourites over the two days and plenty of sarcastic remarks from the Steward’s room the “lucky beard” was duly removed on Tuesday evening.