Dull and damp this morning, some showers around, at last. Late back last night after a thoroughly worthwhile trip to France, more of that later as off to Hexham this morning where we have two runners on what should be well watered, good ground.
Left Back (Grant) runs in the 2.20, he wasn’t suited by the track at Perth last time so I am hoping that he will fare better stepped up to 3 miles today, 8 run. Then in the 3.30 we run Landecker, he’s been running well recently and should give a good account if he takes to the track which I hope will suit him, Kit rides and 7 run.
Another fine morning, milder now, the cool East wind has relented but no sign of rain, the driest spell I can remember and reflected by firm ground up and down the country, Wincanton abandoned due to hard ground, Carlisle chase course deemed unfit to race on and a total of 15 horses contested the six races at the Lauderdale point-to-point on Sunday. So the Kinneston horses will just have to sit this out; no runners at Kelso tomorrow or Carlisle on Thursday, a few entries made for the weekend at Hexham and Aspatria in the hope of rain and am sure Perth will be very well watered for their two day May fixture next week so will have a few entries there.
A visit yesterday from the Racing School’s mobile training unit to provide valuable work rider tuition for the team, something we hope to repeat that on a regular basis, and an opportune moment for a fleeting visit to France to see some horses. I’ve been racing a fair bit in Paris and occasionally in the Provinces but this is a chance to delve a little deeper into the jump racing scene over there, will rack up a few miles no doubt and probably eat too much but looking forward to ending up in Paris on Thursday night and sharing the sense of celebration with the French electorate having shown some sense in electing Macron – a huge relief in my humble opinion after the Brexit and Trump disasters.
A sublimely beautiful spring morning, a hint of warmth at last and birdsong filling the air but still dry, very dry indeed and that’s certainly the talk of the farming community.
Rather splendid that our last two runners of the 2016/17 season, Allthekingshorses and Rossini’s Dancer, both won at our local point-to-point at Balcormo; the ground had been very well watered to produce an excellent racing surface and a huge crowd had gathered to enjoy the racing and an increasing variety of stalls selling local products along with an excellent range of food and drink.
It really is far and away the best point-to-point staged in the North from many perspectives and they deserve to attract more runners – best prize money, best going, best food and drink, best stalls and biggest crowd, here you can read a more detailed report on the racing from Peter Burgon. This video also gives a good flavour of the day.
So that ends the 2016/17 Season and the new one is already well under way, rather sudden and not for us thankfully as we won’t have any runners until next weekend at the earliest though I doubt we will run anything until the weather changes. Plenty of horses here now being turned away for the summer and as ever rather a narrow window in which to carry out improvements and refurbishments as well as of course source some new equine talent, lots of opportunities to do that looming and we will be in France next week, then at Doncaster & Cheltenham sales later in the month prior to a trip to Ireland so do contact me if you fancy an involvement for next season when we will start to see the benefits of the new Levy & media rights deals; fingers crossed we ought to be looking at a very different landscape prize money wise by the end of the year.
Cool this morning, dry still and due to brighten up so should be perfect for the traditional end of season party at our local point-to-point at Balcormo, we hope to have three runners – Rossini’s Dancer, Royal Chatelier and Allthekingshorses on ground that has been well watered to produce a good, safe jumping surface.
Great plans went well astray when Top Cat Henry pulled up in the John Dudgeon Cup, disappointing but he was nervous and rushing into his fences prior to hanging left, he has run disappointingly after Aintree in the past and I’m guessing that had left a mark mentally as he was perfectly sound post race, so long as nothing comes to light in the next few days expect to see him out again soon.
Earlier in the afternoon Final Reminder ran considerably better over a trip well short of her optimum, she hurdled well on the better ground and should be able to build on this, Marlee Massie finished 8th in the Highland National on his first start out of novice company, he didn’t appear to travel especially well on the better ground at a sharp track and I’m not sure he stayed the extreme trip either, he’s had another good season and all being well will start off next season as an attractively handicapped second season chaser though we’ll see how he is before deciding whether to turn him away now as he seemed full of bounce coming off the lorry last night despite his exertions.
Whilst the performances of our horses were a bit mixed it felt to me like a very successful Perth Festival with good crowds enjoying competitive racing with lots of very exciting finishes, an emotional farewell to Brian Harding and a poignant Hunter Chase adding to the sense of occasion; I was in the weighing room after racing when the senior valet Charlo poured a bucket of cold water over Brian Harding and was amused by how entertaining the jockeys seem to find it that half the bucket landed in Brian Hughes shoes and socks, it was then even more amusing to see how anxious Charlo seemed to be to rectify the situation before Brian came out of the shower, happy days!
Lovely warm day at Perth yesterday and more competitive racing, a slightly flat sort of day for team Kinneston with Dance of Fire failing to progress and finishing 6th of 11 in the opener, he’s much better than this but is complicated, Christmas in USA made up ground nicely in the back straight but faded to finish 11th of 15, there’s something stopping him and I strongly suspect it his wind which we will hopefully sort in due course; Landecker ran a very honest race and whilst 5th of the 6 runners was beaten less than 3 lengths by the winner at the end of 3m 2f, his new found consistency is becoming his undoing as the handicapper won’t relent to allow him to win again. Back up to Perth today, forecast is good and it promises to be a very special day with the Hunter Chase being run in memory of my late stepfather John Dudgeon and Brian Harding retiring.
Brian started in 1992 just as I started to involve myself seriously in the game following the death of my Father, he’s always been there and recently has very much been our go-to jockey when Lucy has been injured, he’s ridden many winners for us and has been a fantastic coach, role model and mentor in the weighing room – all at Kinneston certainly wish him all the best and thank him for his massive contribution to the sport.
We have five declared runners starting with two in the mares novice hurdle at 2pm, Final Reminder (Lucy) and Just Brooke (Grant Cockburn), there is a couple of good mares in this race that our two will struggle to compete with on what they have achieved so far but I am hoping Final Reminder will improve for the better ground and Just Brooke should benefit from her first time tongue tie.
A pause then until we run Marlee Massie in the Highland National at 4.15, this is a very competitive race but he goes into it at the top of his game, he will need to improve again of course and whether the extreme trip brings out that improvement, or not, is the big question.
Finally we have two runners in the Hunter Chase at 4.50, Top Cat Henry (Kit) and Bertie Milan (Crawford), Top Cat is well but has to prove he can be at his best at 3m having never won beyond 2m 5f, he also isn’t the biggest to carry 12st 6lb and give weight to the whole field. Bertie Milan is very fresh and well but would prefer softer ground.