Dull and cold here today, happy to settle for that at this time of year. One runner at Hexham tomorrow where it is soft with heavy places, McGinty’s Dream in the 1.50, Grant rides and 6 run; he’s shown little in his two starts so far this season but should be far more at home in a small field on soft ground, he’s 16lb better off with the favourite having only been beaten 5l by him over course and distance back in May so a revival of his form would see him go very close, we are taking his blinkers off and ear plugs out so hopefully he will wake up a bit but not too much!
A mixed sort of weekend with some disappointments and some highlights; Benny’s Secret was the first of the former at Wetherby on Saturday, running a very flat race despite jumping well enough on his chasing debut, the reason quickly came to light afterwards – he’s very hard to catch right but we will continue to do our best. Marlee Massie ran well enough after such a long lay-off, as I said before he is lazy at home and there should be plenty of improvement for this run, he’ll be out again at the turn of the year.
Sunday at Kelso started with a bad blunder from Ballynanty unshipping Lucy at the second hurdle, he then gave himself a loose schooling session round the rest of the race so clearly doesn’t dislike jumping. Jet Master then proved a highlight by running an exceptionally game race to finish runner up in the valuable Veterans Chase, he’s such a star, then Off the Hook was just denied in the Mares Hurdle.
Her chances were not helped at all by 4 of the 11 hurdles being omitted due to low sun, I, along with many others, continue to be frustrated by the arbitrary and apparently illogical basis upon which this is decided. Silk or Scarlet’s race was also messed up for the same reason but I still expected him to have run better, he was possibly found to be short of fitness as it’s the only explanation I can come up with from my Book of Excuses (every trainer has one….).
Windy today, cold, showers about. A busy weekend with two runners on their way to Wetherby for tomorrow’s fixture and four declared at Kelso on Sunday. Ground at Wetherby is soft and we start off with Benny’s Secret in the 12.40. He has top weight for his chasing debut but should go well if he takes to the bigger obstacles and handles the ground and overnight trip.
His schooling has been good and he will have come on from his run a month ago, 8 run and Lucy rides. Then Marlee Massie makes his long awaited reappearance having strained a ligament in the Highland National at Perth in April 2017, he saves a lot for himself so it is hard to know how fit he is but home safe will be the main objective tomorrow after so long off, 9 run and Lucy rides.
Ground at Kelso is good to soft with soft places, that should be fine for our four runners on what looks like a particularly competitive card with lots of interesting races. Ballynanty is our first runner in the 1.35, I was pleased with his recent handicap debut but feel he needs to come down a little further from a high opening mark, the stiffer track will help, 12 run and Lucy rides.
Jet Master runs in the valuable Veterans Chase at 2.10, 9 run, he won well last time but this is much more competitive and he’s at the other end of the weights now, that will do no harm and ground, course and distance all fine, a low sun and bypassed fences would do no harm, Lucy rides.
Off the Hook then runs in a tough looking mares race at 2.40, Lucy rides and 11 run, she should be fine with another step up in trip and will have come on for her seasonal debut but a career best required to be involved.
Finally we run Silk or Scarlet in the 3.15, another competitive race, he should progress further this season having finished in the runner up slot at Perth in the spring, this is a big ask though for his first run back, 14 run and Lucy rides.
Cold and crisp down here in London where I am for 36 hours catching up with a few people.
Fortunate to be able to reflect on a brilliant few days, Thursday’s Ayr double having been followed up by Lake View Lad’s win in the Rehearsal Chase and then a wonderful across the card double on Sunday.
Calivigny’s win looked most unlikely even half way up the run in but an exceptional power packed drive by Lucy got him up in the shadow of the post to win the valuable Northern Lights Middle Distance Chase Final.
An hour earlier the legend that is Ted Veale won for Kit at the Border point-to-point on his first start for the yard, it’s lovely to be able to find opportunities where a formerly very good horse can still win despite the years catching up with him.
Delighted all round and a huge testament to our team whose care and commitment is unsurpassed. The Team’s first runner as an Owner didn’t bring home much in the way of prize money at Musselburgh yesterday but Dance of Fire’s comeback run after a year off was very satisfactory and he should be able to build on this especially if given a little assistance from the handicapper.
Further assistance from that department would also be welcome for Left Back who ran OK round a track that didn’t really suit. A brief respite before another busy weekend, we have entries at Aintree and Wetherby on Saturday and Kelso on Sunday, let’s hope we can keep up the good work and the great leveller that is racing doesn’t catch up with us too soon!