Cold today having been windy, wet and mild yesterday, topsy turvy weather – 17 degrees to zero in 24 hours, confusing for nature. And wild and stormy it was at Hexham yesterday but it didn’t bother me a jot as I was delighted with both of our runners, most especially Clan Legend who proved himself to be in a different class to the opposition when sauntering home 20 lengths clear under top weight in the handicap hurdle.
Its hard to tell whether he has improved or if none of the opposition could handle the conditions, either way he is an impressive horse when conditions are in his favour. Half an hour later McGinty’s Dream put in a thoroughly accomplished debut round of steeplechasing to finish runner up to the odds on favourite in the novice chase, he hasn’t been straightforward but hopefully he will develop into a nice staying chaser.
Plenty of time to listen to the Budget on the way to Hexham and much commentary on the way home, I can’t remember a more depressing and uninspiring Budget and the only strands of optimism emanating from borrowing even more money off future generations; funny sort of optimism that but what really irritated me was the stubborn refusal to associate all the economic downgrades with Brexit, anyway, no room for politics here – much better to immerse myself back in the bubble of the racing world!
Dull and drizzly today, plenty of rain about including at Hexham where we have two declared runners on ground that looks like being heavy, assuming it is raceable at all. I hope so because our two runners will be fine on the ground and we have found nice races for them starting with Clan Legend in the 2.35.
He’s returning to hurdles for his seasonal debut and carries top weight in this 10 runner handicap, he won first time out last season over fences at this venue off a 4lb higher mark so should be capable of running well, Kit rides and claims 5lb.
Then in the 3.10 McGinty’s Dream makes his chasing debut with Grant on board and only two opponents, we won’t worry too much about them (one much better than him on ratings, the other not) as first time over fences is always about learning and ideal to be able to do this in a small field. He isn’t the most straightforward to school at home but is a good jumper when he applies himself so fingers crossed all round.
Cold, crisp and bright this morning and glorious for training horses, sometimes I have to pinch myself as to how lucky I am to spend my life out there despite another frustrating fourth at Newcastle yesterday. Jet Master needs a patient ride and played late, when it works it looks brilliant when it doesn’t it doesn’t!
I think we were all surprised by the turn of foot he showed after the second last making up about 10 lengths to finish a never nearer 3l behind the winner. Another day for him I hope, and another day’s lost earnings for Lucy after her “UR” at Hexham last week. “UR” the somewhat innocuous description leaving the impression that the jockey fell off and ought to have suffered little further injury. John Grossick’s team captured an excellent sequence of photos of the incident at Hexham and with Lucy’s permission I am sharing them with you. I don’t do that lightly but feel it is worth trying to give the racing public an insight as to how falls happen and the possible perils facing those brave jockeys face every time they leave the weighing room for our entertainment. Bear in mind that this takes place at the first hurdle in a maximum field of 16 runners, the time elapsed between the first and last frame is less than a second and the horse decelerates from approx 35mph to zero within that time….
Enjoy the wonderful jump racing on television this afternoon from Cheltenham but don’t forget the jockeys, some will come home tonight on top of the world, others bruised and battered; our next runners are scheduled for Hexham on Wednesday….
Colder again tonight, fine performances from our runners at Ayr yesterday but far too many 4ths, most particularly Gold Opera who appeared to have put the race to bed before deciding he had done enough 50 yards from the line at which point three of the opposition swooped past him. Frustrating to say the least but on the other hand gratifying to see him run so well up in grade off a career high mark first time out and surely there will be more to come from him this season. Earlier in the afternoon Buffalo Ballet ran well enough to be 4th but this perhaps came a little soon after his seasonal reappearance two weeks earlier, Another Mattie on the other hand stepped up on his earlier effort to also finish 4th and Presenting Rose ran well for a long way before tiring in the last tow furlongs, unsurprising having been off for over a year and I’m sure she will progress – most importantly all runners seem fine tonight.
On to Newcastle tomorrow where we have two runners on ground that is likely to be on the fast side of good, not usually my cup of tea but I am sure this track is in especially good condition this autumn and both of our runners could go well on proper good ground. Firstly Bertalus (Tony Kelly) in the 1.05; he starts this season on a much more attractive mark after losing his way last winter so the big question is can he find his way again? I’d prefer to answer that question at 1.30pm tomorrow but I’ve certainly been very happy with him at home and he has been trained very differently working exclusively on the new gallops since the end of September. He’s been ready to run for a few weeks so fingers crossed he turns the corner – it’s a competitive race though with 17 runners and it shouldn’t pass without comment that this race is only for £3500 as is the Mares Maiden hurdle on the same card – hmm, not good.
Jet Master then bids for a repeat win in the Veterans Chase at 2.50, he seems well and will hopefully put up a bold show off only a 2lb higher mark, Grant rides and 7 run. No runners over the weekend, our next outing will hopefully be to Hexham next Wednesday.
Quiet weather, perfect really and off to Ayr tomorrow where we have four runners on ground that will be soft. An early start required to ensure Buffalo Ballet is there in plenty of time for his race at 12.30, he’s stepping up to 3m for the first time and I would hope he would improve for that, he wouldn’t want the ground to be tacky and it’s a competitive affair, 9 run and Grant rides.
Another Mattie drops down in grade to run in the 1.35 and hence has to carry top weight, I’m happy with that and he should be more competitive in this company, Kit rides and 9 run.
Presenting Rose runs in the Mares Handicap Hurdle at 2.10; she has been off for over a year and will strip fitter for the run but could still put up a bold show if she isn’t too free and fresh early on, she’s well handicapped but tomorrow is about getting her career back on track after her enforced lay-off.
Finally we run Gold Opera in the feature race of the day at 3.10 – he has won his last two starts and is being forced up in grade, we go up in trip as well in the hope of further improvement but I suspect the favourite will be very hard to beat, he will hopefully run well on what is his seasonal reappearance.
Things never really went right for Calivigny at Carlisle yesterday, forced wide for much of the trip he didn’t really get into much of a rhythm and then hit the 3rd last hard, it was a better run than the 7th of 10 suggests and all being well he will be back there on 3rd Dec.