Milder again today, bit of a storm coming then turning much colder. Two runners at Haydock tomorrow where the ground is soft/heavy, hopefully the rain will arrive in time to freshen it up as could be tacky otherwise.
First off is Silk or Scarlet in the 1.55, he was withdrawn at the start at Newcastle on Saturday having been kicked and this is a good alternative as he continues his education, Lucy rides and six run, ground an unknown but hopefully will run a nice race.
Then we run Clan Legend in the 3.30, Kit rides and 7 run, he won well at Hexham recently but this is a step up in trip and a very different type of race, will hopefully go well and the wetter the better.
Milder today but a changeable week in store, London bound for next 48 hours, Catch taking over the controls at a busy time. A tremendous win at Newcastle on Saturday with Lake View Lad opening his account over fences in great style, he’s a good horse and let’s hope luck stays on his side. It wasn’t nearly soft enough earlier on the card for The Orange Rogue who was wisely pulled up by Lucy and then Silk or Scarlet was unfortunately kicked at the start and had to be withdrawn, fortunately he was fine by the time he returned to the stable yard.
At Carlisle on Sunday as I suspected most of our runners weren’t suited by the track and soft conditions however it was important to support an initiative from the BHA that provides an opportunity to run for good prize money for middle tier horses, it would be nice to think that this sort of series could be replicated in all the regions in due course.
The highlight of our day was Calivigny finishing an excellent 2nd to a well handicapped horse, he keeps bumping in to one but surely his day will come soon, especially if stepped up to 3 miles I think. Earlier Jet Master ran OK but deep ground blunts his turn of foot, Buffalo Ballet ran a grand race to finish a close 5th but he really needs a flat track to be seen at his best, too soft for Landecker – back to Kelso for him and something seems amiss with Another Mattie – I hope we can find out what is bothering him, I have my suspicions. Trainers meetings tomorrow at the BHA, trainers feeling slightly under the cosh at present; a lot of new rules and hoops to jump through – non-runners, wind operations, culpability plus a never ending increase in red tape, its’s the way of the world I suppose but generally increases stress levels as it is easy to make genuine mistakes – most of us are only doing our best. Runners this week possibly at Haydock on Wednesday, Aintree, Wetherby on Saturday along with the first point-to-point of the season at Alnwick then Kelso on Sunday – let’s hope the weather behaves. Oh, and another winner for the team yesterday with Johnny recording a personal best to win the Edinburgh Christmas 5k – and nobody there to support him this time.
A cold Friday evening to end a busy week; due to get milder over the weekend, and busier! It starts with a small birthday party this evening for a cousin, the first of our generation to collect his bus pass, scary – be me soon (sad face), then off to Newcastle early in the morning where we have three runners. Weather has been rough down there this week and I would expect the ground to be heavy which will certainly suit our first two runners and is an unknown for the third.
The first is The Orange Rogue in the 12.30, Lucy is declared to ride though we are still awaiting clearance from the BHA, 12 run and this is really his minimum trip so his competitiveness is likely to rest around how deep the ground is, he’s in good heart and will have improved for his seasonal debut.
Then in the 1.40 we run Lake View Lad with Stephen Mulqueen on board, 6 run and he takes a big step up in trip, we are hoping that will suit him very well and whilst he has to shoulder top weight I am still very much hoping that time will prove him to be a better horse than this.
Finally we run Silk or Scarlet (Lucy?) in the 2.45, 12 run, there are a few decent unexposed horses in this and we will probably be seen in a better light over further in due course however he should step up on his stable debut at Hexham. Back up the road tomorrow night and then back down to Carlisle on Sunday where we have a probably 5 runners on what is the inaugural Northern Lights finals day, an excellent initiative from the BHA to provide really good prize money for horses that are decent enough but not quite good enough to compete for the usual better races. Ground there needs to thaw out and a little rain tomorrow evening would be a big help otherwise the ground might be very holding which won’t suit any of our runners.
We start with Jet Master in the 1.55 (Lucy?), 9 run, he’s had a busy autumn and would prefer a flat track but could still run well back over hurdles.
Then Buffalo Ballet runs in the 2.25, 9 run again and I’m not sure this is really his track or distance however he could prove well-handicapped if he handles these different conditions.
Landecker (Kit) and Another Mattie (Lucy?) run in the 3.00 – ground and track might not be ideal for Landecker though he ran well last time out, Another Mattie will be fine on the ground but is another who I think prefers a flat track.
Finally we run Calivigny (Lucy?) in the 3.30, 10 run, he likes the track though the ground may not suit if it is sticky – he wears a visor for the first time which may improve him.
Hmm, far too many question marks in this blog, anyway hope they all come home safe, Fight Away Boys ran well enough at Musselburgh yesterday to be 4th, he will come on for the run and we will know a bit more about him next time, delighted that while we were there Gillies dropped off and exciting new arrival from Ireland in the form of Eagle Ridge, here he is…
Bitterly cold today, a strong north wind and looks set this way until the weekend but all the gallops were perfect this morning to facilitate a good work morning for most of the horses. Musselburgh tomorrow and we have one runner, Fight Away Boys making his stable debut under Kit in the 1.00pm, 9 run and the ground should be good.
We have waited for this race for a while with this horse as his point-to-pointing form would suggest he prefers good ground, he seems to have been given a decent enough mark if he can translate his form between the flags but that is never guaranteed, we should find out tomorrow. Another step forward for Christmas in USA down at Sedgefield yesterday, he stayed on strongly to only just be denied for 4th, he is seeing his races out much better now and should improve for a more galloping track.
There’s been a lot of hooha recently about Trainers being required to declare wind operations with effect from 19th January, personally I will be very interested in seeing whether other trainers have as little success as me with these procedures and it has been fascinating hearing the opinions of some very experienced men. I certainly don’t mind declaring when we have carried out an operation though I can think of plenty of other things we do that would be much more relevant for punters however I do think the legislation appears poorly drafted and is bound to end up with all sorts of unnecessary kerfuffle.
Cold today, very cold actually and looks like being a cold week. New facilities reacting as expected; sand froze but was fine this morning, as I hoped carpet proved itself to be the most “all-weather” surface I have experienced and frost actually seems to help it by lifting it and reducing compaction. Sorry, all a bit technical, one runner tomorrow at Sedgefield where the ground is good to soft, Christmas in USA in the 1.50, Kit rides and 13 run.
I was very happy with his seasonal debut at Carlisle a few weeks ago and think this track will suit him better, he’s 3lb lower for that effort and Kit who knows him well takes off a further 5lb; so I think you can tell by now that I am hoping he will be competitive. However, many is the time I have travelled to Sedgefield full of optimism only to come home disappointed! We will see, after that possibles for Wetherby Wednesday & Doncaster Friday before a potentially busy weekend at Newcastle and Carlisle.
Surprising to see four of the five Northern Lights Finals at Carlisle on Sunday reopened due to insufficient entries; we’ve had these races in mind for a few of our horses for some time, whilst conditions certainly won’t be ideal for many of them these races represent an excellent chance for decent but not very good (100 to 125 rated) horses to run for excellent prize money – £25k per race. I’m surprised more of my training colleagues haven’t been more alive to this series – I’m sure they will be next year!