Milder today thank goodness, a big thaw underway and the forecast looks reasonable for the week. Two runners declared at Wetherby tomorrow where they are holding an 8am inspection to be sure it is safe for racing to go ahead on ground that sounds very wet. Let’s hope it is on because our two runners ought to be suited by those conditions despite both being burdened with top weight in their respective handicap chases.
We start with The Orange Rogue in the 2.15, he’s yet to find his form this season but we found a little issue after his last run which we believe we have sorted, we will find out tomorrow but he remains 3lb above his last winning mark, Lucy rides and 8 run. Clan Legend runs in the 3.30, he is up 9lb for his convincing Haydock win at New Year and this really does take him into new territory handicap wise, a serious test for him to give weight away at this level but he has earned the chance and it will be very interesting to see if there is more to come – track ought to suit him well, 4 run and Lucy rides.
We defied the elements and our Government’s advice to stay at home in taking Lake View Lad to Haydock on Saturday where I was delighted with his brave run putting it up to a very good novice chaser; he jumped really well but in the end was simply outclassed by a horse rated 9lb higher than him, I’d love to see him take him on in a handicap but doubt we will get the chance as that horse is Cheltenham bound, we however will hopefully return to Haydock for a handicap next month.
We have been through a seriously challenging spell of weather which I hope is behind us now, our team of staff have been amazing in their commitment, three of the team are off with fracture injuries so the remainder have had to dig really deep to keep the show on the road through some really appalling weather and I’m very grateful to all of them, it’s just as well they didn’t listen to our “can’t do” Government/Public Sector advice or I wouldn’t have been able to run my business – a tale of two nations?
It was therefore particularly appropriate that on Thursday the judges arrived to assess us for the “Team Challenge” competition for which we have made the final four, Kevin Parsons from the National Association of Racing Staff was joined by Yogi Breisner, Chef D’Equipe of the British Three Day Eventing Team and Laura Whyte, BHA Director and former Head of Human Resources at the John Lewis Group- it made for a fascinating morning and hopefully they were impressed by our team’s good humour and positive attitude as they knuckled down and got on with their task of preparing equine athletes. And we mustn’t forget the rest of our support structure, our farriers who are here whatever and actually appeared at 6.40 am on the bleakest of mornings to stick a shoe back on the other day and of course our vets, feed merchants and everyone else who helps keep the show on the road. Just a shame Daniel is having to take the rubbish to the dump because the bin lorry didn’t make it, I’ll say it again – a tale of two nations. Mind you, we did fail to get our two runners to Musselburgh for the bumper on Friday….