A strong cold East wind this morning but bright and sunny. A challenging sort of day yesterday at the Morpeth point-to-point, driving to the races expecting all three of our runners to win always induces an increasing feeling of trepidation as I realise that is a most unlikely outcome and thoughts of what will go wrong quickly supercede the early optimism. Needless to say the day didn’t quite go to plan starting with Christmas In USA somehow getting loose whilst we were saddling him and taking a tour of the Northumbrian countryside, at least we know he can jump a double barbed wire fence if he ever needs to go hunting, half an hour later he travelled beautifully into the race to take up the running going to the last fence where he took a heavy fall, again not part of the plan.
However, I am sure that the elation I felt after he emerged unscathed from behind the dreaded “screens” was much more than had he won the race in the facile fashion I expected. Wicklow Lad and Royal Chatelier ran grand races to be 2nd & 3rd respectively on ground that wasn’t wet enough to see them at their best and Kit had a good winner on My Lady West for Victor Thomson so not a bad day in the end but not quite what I was expecting and in many other regards it was the most fabulous day’s point-to-pointing.
Back down the road today to Kelso and we will definitely be travelling more in hope than expectation. We have six declared runners on ground that I expect to be on the easy side of good, we start with two runners in the first race at 2.10pm, 12 run and Lucy (yes, at last, delighted to have her back) rides dual course winner Road to Gold who should go well despite his double penalty, Heilan Rebel hasn’t got his act together yet over hurdles but I am hoping the better ground will produce a better run, Stephen rides.
In the 2.40 Clan Chief runs with Brian Harding on board, 5 run and whilst this may come a little soon for him after last week I am keen to get more jumping experience into him.
Rather bizarrely we then run three horses in the 4.10 which looks like an extremely competitive 2m 6f handicap hurdle. Always Tipsy (Stephen) and Landecker (Kit) have both been waiting for this race having run well in it last year and Andhaar (Lucy) won over course and distance in the autumn – it is the perfect race for all three which is why they are all there but I really couldn’t tell you which one will come out on top. Kit also rides S for Estuary in the prestigious Buccleuch Cup at 3.10, my stepfather JGD loves reminding me of the horse that won this race on the Monday and went on to double up in the Scottish Grand National on the Saturday of the same week, those were the days!
By the way if you happen to see the Fife Farmer waddling round Kirkcaldy with wads of money hanging out of his pockets (unlikely, will all be under his mattress no doubt) please send him my way, as a non-racing man attending the Grand National he asked me for some tips (not my forte), I didn’t really have much advice for the big race but I did tell him to stick the short priced favourites for the Grade One’s in an accumulator and make sure he backed Maggio each way in the race before the National…..