Cold and wet this morning, the East wind back, at least its not snowing, always look on the bright side…. back to Ayr today where the ground is soft though may ease if the rain arrives as forecast. We have two runners, Bertalus in the 2.45, a step back in the right direction last time and his last win was in similar conditions off a much higher rating, blinkers on for the first time so will hopefully run well, Grant rides and 7 run.
Elvis Mail is declared to run in the bumper at 5.35 though he may be withdrawn if the ground goes heavy, he’s wearing a hood having run too free last time and is a nice long term prospect, only 4 runners but they could all take a bit of beating including the favourite who won as he liked last time.
On to Kelso tomorrow with three declared runners, ground heavy and raining so meeting subject to inspection today. A somewhat reluctant declaration for Buffalo Ballet in the 4.20, he’s been running well enough to be runner up on heavy on his last two starts but I’d prefer not to be asking him again on this ground but the opposition aren’t in great form on paper so on balance I felt we had to have a go, he’s very well, Grant rides and 5 run.
Slightly similar scenario with Silk or Scarlet in the 4.50, didn’t really fancy it on the ground but small field countered that, he will improve for the step up in trip and I’m not sure any of the field will be at home in the conditions so again worth a shot, Grant rides and 6 run.
Then Christmas in USA runs in the 5.20, 8 run, he won’t mind the ground at all and the form of his recent Wetherby 2nd has worked out very well so we travel with high hopes – Grant rides.
Our four runners at Ayr all ran well though we didn’t have a winner – The Orange Rogue put in a bold display up from and was disputing the lead when stumbling on landing at the 3rd last, Lake View Lad was just done for a turn of foot and stayed on to finish a close 2nd under top weight, Massini’s Lady’s jumping was found out by being in among a bunch of seasoned handicappers on her 3rd start over fences – she ran well enough to be 4th in the circumstances but we will look for a novice chase again for her next time and Another Mattie put up much his best effort of the season to finish 3rd, only beaten 3l by two good horses. Team Kinneston excelled themselves with all four runners winning best turned out which at £100 a pop is well worth having.
Snow slowly disappearing but in no hurry and frost this morning unhelpful. Off to Ayr tomorrow with four runners, ground soft with heavy places, and we start with The Orange Rogue in the 2.50, 7 run and Grant rides.
He’s been disappointing this season and didn’t really appear to stay last time at Wetherby, back in trip today and slipping down the weights so could run well if the recent hold up hasn’t affected him.
Then we run Lake View Lad in the feature race on the card at 4.00, conditions should suit and he’s on pretty well the same mark as he won off at Haydock three weeks ago, he should go well again if this doesn’t come too soon.
That would also be a concern for Massini’s Lady who won last time out 16 days ago at Wetherby, she’s also got a 9lb higher mark to contend with and this is a better race, so a follow up will be tricky but she seems in great heart and should like the track, going and trip, Brian Hughes rides and 7 run
Finally we run Another Mattie in the race he won last season at 5pm, Kit rides and 6 run, this looks a better renewal but he should been trained for the race – so far as we could manage! Today at Carlisle McGinty’s Dream ran a little better to be 3rd, remains a frustrating horse though and we will see how Killer Crow goes later in the 5pm.
Milder today, thank goodness, like everyone we have had a really tough week weather wise and the team have done a marvellous job of keeping the show on the road in some of the worst conditions I can remember, no fun at all and the farm and gallops are now a complete mess with remains of snow drifts, ice, water and mud everywhere compromising our ability to train the horses as we would like.
I’d guess it will be another week before normality returns and we can work the horses as we would like; plenty of runners coming up in next few days and I wonder if they can perform to their best with such an unorthodox preparation. We saw the weather coming so everything worked on Tuesday of last week, since then it’s been tricky with us being unable to ride at all on Thurs & Fri and restricted to steady cantering thereafter….. diets are adjusted of course and it is interesting to see which horses have put on weight, particularly those that are running over the next few days, inside information? There are certainly a couple that I am concerned about.
So Carlisle tomorrow, ground heavy, two runners starting with McGinty’s Dream in the 2.50, Grant rides and 6 run – hmm, a nice race for him – ground, trip, track and company should all suit – fingers crossed he is up for it because we were very disappointed with him at Newcastle last time.
Then Killer Crow in the 5pm, Kit rides and 4 run, outsider of the field I see, not sure why though he does have 8l to find with the fav, back in trip today & hood off, think that gives us at least a chance of reversing the places. After tomorrow hoping to be at Ayr on Friday and Saturday and then Kelso on Sunday prior to the annual pilgrimage…
As with much of the rest of the country we are experiencing extreme weather at Kinneston with sub zero temperatures, gale force winds and heavy snow. The conditions are due to ease slightly but no significant improvement expected until next week. I trust you will bear with us as normal communications from the office are suspended as all efforts are going into looking after the horses – water, feed, warmth and whatever exercise possible. On a brighter note I am delighted that Little Glenshee gave birth to her first foal at 11.40pm on 27th February… a filly by Blue Bresil.
The most glorious of late winter afternoons driving back up the A68 from the Tynedale point-to-point, just as well really as I could be forgiven for feeling a little battered. We had been on a bit of a roll recently but we were brought back to earth sharply with heavy falls for Lucy yesterday and Jamie this afternoon.
At Newcastle Clan Legend was working his way nicely into the race when he made a rare mistake at the first fence in the home straight, putting down then chesting the fence throwing Lucy over his head and then kicking her in the face when she was on the ground. I’ve no idea what caused this most uncharacteristic blunder but prior to the race I had been struck by how illogical it had been for the race to be delayed whilst the stewards inspected a fence facing South whilst paying no regard to the home straight where all the fences faced straight into the setting sun, the protocols on this issue need tightened up as it still all appears amateur and arbitrary. Earlier in the afternoon Off the Hook ran a tremendous race to finish 2nd again, her time will come soon with any luck at all and there should be plenty more to come when she steps up in trip, its just such a joy having her around at all as she was on death’s door this time last year.
Today at Corbridge Royal Chatelier was running his best race for a long time and bang in contention among the most progressive young horses in the North when taking a purler of a fall at the 2nd last firing Jamie straight into the ground, not good for the senior man of the weighing room but after a few worrying minutes he rose to his feet and was helped into the ambulance, very groggy he will need a quiet week. As will Lucy who was in A&E in Newcastle until 10pm undergoing some repairs, Rose and I shared the joy of 5 hours in a busy city hospital on a Saturday evening – a reality check if ever there was one, we came away full of admiration for the NHS staff but wondering how anyone can work for long under such pressure, the present situation is simply unsustainable and hence very worrying. Nearly 1am when we returned home but I had no problem at all heading back down to Northumberland this morning for the point-to-point today which attracted a huge crowd, masses of runners from all over and very exciting racing including Kit only just being denied in the Men’s Open on Robert Miller-Bakewell’s For Yes at odds of 33-1!
Oddly there will be a fraction of the number of horses and people at Ayr tomorrow despite solid prize money and we are heading there with 5 runners on ground that will be sticky but hopefully not much worse than soft, has to survive 8am inspection for frost, pleased to see they have frost covers down. They are all likely to be long odds and for good reason as none of them especially want to be there but they all now missed several engagements and with the forecast as it is for the next week I really feel we need to get them out for a run – not what I like doing but there we go and hopefully they will run well enough and hopefully might sneak into a place.
We start with two runners in the novice hurdle at 2.15, Eagle Ridge (Jamie Hamilton) who is a lovely horse but needs further on better ground and Up Helly Aa King (Grant) who is working his way back from a serious injury last year, hopefully both can build on their previous starts, 9 run. Gold Opera (Grant) runs in the 2.45, a hesitant declaration as had been looking for a hurdle for him as he has lost his form over fences since running well on seasonal debut, will like ground and track and could run well if he stays as will appreciate this drop in class, 6 run. Finally we have two runners in the handicap hurdle at 4.55, Silk or Scarlet (Grant) and Jolie Crickette (Kit), both would prefer better ground, Silk or Scarlet is making his handicap debut off not an obviously appealing opening mark, I am sure he will prove better than that in time but guess will be over further, Jolie Crickette is coming back after a year off and will hopefully be going over fences after this, she also looks to have plenty of weight. After a weekend like this home safe everyone please!