A glorious spring morning, a wonderful day for exercising horses, working on the all weather first lot, on the grass second lot and some schooling third lot for Monday runners and the point-to-pointers. Slightly weary after an exciting few days, Kit had a fantastic spin in the Foxhunters on Top Cat Henry, leading the field over The Chair and jumping immaculately until he started to tire, a thoroughly enjoyable day out and a privilege to be part of such a fantastic occasion.
On Wednesday Calivigny ran well to be 4th at Carlisle, not beaten far at all in the end he was just a little out-paced when they quickened, he will step up to 3 miles now. It is amazing how quickly things are drying up, Kelso heavy on Sunday but watering by Friday, Newcastle have had to put 17mm on ground that had dried quickly. No runners at the latter today, to be honest I would struggle to support a card with such poor prize money on a Saturday and the ground gave us the perfect excuse not to, hopefully we will have a few runners at Kelso on Monday and at the Morpeth point-to-point tomorrow.
Lucy is at Newcastle to ride Lycidas in the 4.30 and Sky Full of Stars in the 4pm but all eyes will be on Aintree where the highlight on an excellent card is of course the Grand National. Surely this is the highest class and most competitive renewal of this race ever staged, goodness knows who will win in but my heart will be willing on One for Arthur and if he can’t do it the North’s other two representatives, Highland Lodge and Definitely Red, most particularly the former though it is going to take a very good horse indeed to win today’s race.
Dry, breezy & cool today and tomorrow we head off down the west coast to Carlisle for one runner followed by another at Aintree on Thursday. Conditions drying quickly and we are hoping for good to soft at Carlisle where we run Calivigny in the 4.05, Lucy rides and 8 run.
He ran well here over course and distance last time out when 2nd to a very well handicapped horse and if he can repeat the same form tomorrow shouldn’t be far away. On Thursday at Aintree we run Top Cat Henry in the Foxhunters over the Grand National Course, also at 4.05, Kit rides and the ground will be on the soft side of good. This has been the target since we bought this horse and it looks as if there will be an ultra competitive maximum field declared; I am just delighted that barring calamities in the next 48 hours we look like making the line up.Whilst it will be a new experience for the jockey the horse was a good 6th in the Topham over course and distance last year and won last time out in good style so lets hope they have a good spin, anything else very much a bonus – it’s great to be able to write another little chapter in the family’s history in the race with Father winning it 51 years ago, stepfather John winning it 33 years ago and brother Jamie completing 20 years ago.
A mixed sort of day at Kelso yesterday; a much more encouraging display from Christmas in USA to finish 4th, he can build on this, an exceptional effort from Marlee Massie who was just beaten under top weight, Another Mattie as I suspected was anchored by his 8lb rise for winning last time and Bertalus, Andhaar and Just Brooke didn’t handle the very holding ground – there will be other days for them I hope. Not that I expect anybody to be interested but we are trialing a short video preview of our runners this month which is being distributed on our social media channels, if you are a glutton for punishment then follow us on twitter – @kinneston or instagram – @kinneston or go to the Kinneston page on Facebook, I’m not sure how keen I am on the latter but this “memory” that popped up this morning did make me chuckle, taken in a motorway service station in Switzerland, happy days…..
A fine spring day, cool but bright sunshine and the grass is growing. Fun point-to-pointing yesterday and good results with Royal Chatelier dead-heating in the Novice & Veterans Riders race under Jamie and Kit having a winner and 2nd from his two rides.
Back down the road to Kelso tomorrow where we have six declared runners on ground that I am concerned will be tacky and holding again after two drying days. Two runners in the first race at 2.10, Christmas in USA (Lucy) and Just Brooke (Blair Campbell), 9 run.
We are struggling to find the key to Christmas in USA and he drops back in trip tomorrow having shaped like a non-stayer on his last two starts, I had wanted to run him on better ground but am attracted by the lack of depth to this maiden hurdle so we will see what the ground is like in the morning. Just Brooke is improving all the time at home and with her mares allowance and rider’s claim may well run better than her odds are likely to suggest though ultimately will improve over further.
In the novice chase at 2.40 we run Marlee Massie, Lucy rides and 6 run, despite being a heavy ground winner several times I am a little wary of conditions for him tomorrow but it’s a good opportunity for him in every other way and he appears to be on the upgrade after six wins in the last 16 months. We are doubly represented in the 3.10 with Bertalus (Lucy) and Andhaar (Blair Campbell), 6 run in this tight little handicap.
Bertalus won for us at Ayr last season but lost his way earlier this season, we’ve given him a nice break and he is fresh and well at home, I had hoped to find better ground for him but time is now against us and I feel it is very much worth him taking his chance in a small field long distance race like this. Likewise with Andhaar who could run very well over this marathon trip off such a light weight, we had always believed he wanted better ground but he ran well last time on heavy at Ayr.
Finally we run Another Mattie in the 4.40, Lucy rides and 8 run, he won well at Ayr last time but will need a career best to follow up in what looks like a competitive race… won’t mind the ground and seems well.
Mild and breezy today, a few showers about but fine spring weather. Not the day we wanted at all at Hexham on Tuesday; a race too many for The Bishop who never really got into it but plugged on to be 4th and a serious injury for Up Helly Aa King who was pulled up in the bumper by Lucy having gone wrong behind.
We are still not quite sure precisely what the problem is and he remains in Northumberland at the Bearl Equine Clinic where he is comfortable and receiving the best veterinary attention. The level of care and diligence from the attending vets and the racecourse team was exceptional, particularly in attending to the horse overnight. Amy, Allanah and Lucy had a horrible situation to deal with in my absence and let’s hope everyone’s commitment is rewarded with a full recovery; we are a long way from that at the moment but we will certainly give him every possible chance as he is a lovely young horse.
Only one runner tomorrow at the Berwickshire point-to-point, Royal Chatelier with Jamie on board, Kit will be there for a couple of rides as well but it will be a busy weekend here as we prepare a team of up to six runners for Kelso on Monday, we are also aiming to be at Carlisle on Wednesday, Aintree on Thursday, Newcastle next Saturday and point-to-pointing again next Sunday prior to a return to Kelso on Monday 10th…..
A glorious spring morning after a lovely weekend, very warm racing on Saturday especially at Kelso; 18 degrees to be precise – a far cry from the snow and ice of earlier in the week and some horses were caught out by it and finished distressed, hardly surprising but symptomatic of the topsy turvy weather patterns, it is also interesting how forward in their coats most of our horses are this year. I think this picture that brother David took whilst skiing in Glencoe on Saturday sums it up…A mixed day at Kelso, Buffalo Ballet blundered and unseated at the “bogey fence” (we’re going to produce some stats on this), I’m not sure if he was distracted by a loose horse or blinded by the sun; frustrating as this was the perfect race for him but all well so could have been worse. Our other two runners were 4th, Craiganboy struggled to go the pace and I think needs further, Jet Master put up a very decent effort under 12st, it was much the best race he has run on this type of ground which blunts his speed.
We fared rather better over at the Lanark point-to-point with Rossini’s Dancer starring again to win the Ladies Open under an accomplished ride from Charlotte Dun, he’s turning into a bit of a legend and seems in the form of his life; Wicklow Lad was 2nd and Bertie Milan 3rd in a competitive Men’s Open which was most satisfactory and Kit had another 2nd and a couple of 3rds.
Delighted that Gary Rutherford won the Hunter Chase at Kelso on Saturday, he has done an excellent job for us pre-training a few horses this winter including Massini’s Lady who he took back again yesterday; she will hopefully run in a couple of late season point-to-points, this could be the key to her and if she finds her confidence she will come back here to run under rules again later in the spring or in the autumn.
The show rolls on to Hexham tomorrow where the ground will be heavy and holding as it emerges from a very wet spell, Lucy rides both and we start with The Bishop in the 4pm. He is in top form, likes this ground and we have kept him fresh since his two quick runs, hopefully this isn’t one run too many but either way he will need to be at his very best in what is a competitive handicap for the grade, 8 run. At 4.30 we run Up Helly Aa King, he was most promising on his debut but that was only two weeks ago and he would have been better with a bit longer, the counter to that is that he wants soft ground and we wanted him to have some more experience before things dry up too much, 9 run.