Cold and grey this morning, a dusting of snow, no runners today but a busy morning with 30 horses working and another 12 doing lighter work, 6 of which are declared to run at Ayr tomorrow. Going should be fine, good to soft, as a result and in stark contrast to many other recent fixtures there are bumper fields for almost all the races. This of course is going to make it very competitive and winning extremely difficult so we will certainly settle for finishing in the money and all six runners have a respectable chance of doing that.
First up is Off the Hook in the 12.50, 17 run and Lucy rides, a spectacularly bad piece of placing by the Trainer after ducking some ostensibly easier opportunities but she still goes into this as best in on official ratings if, of course, you believe the rating given to her after her excellent 3rd in a Listed race at Haydock before Christmas is accurate; we will find out tomorrow but I hope there is plenty of pace on as she is essentially a better horse in better company if that makes any sense.
Then Craiganboy runs in the 1.25, Grant rides and 7 run, it was a tough decision as to whether to run in this novice with a penalty or run in a better handicap at Haydock this afternoon, I still believe him to be well treated but in the end it was the smaller field that swung it as that suits the way he is ridden and I can’t really see a way he can go up in the handicap for being beaten which is always key in these situations, it’s a quality little race though and any of the 7 could win.
A short break then before Calivigny attempts to complete a three timer in the 3.05, ground/trip/track should all suit well and he’s still well treated but that probably applies to a few of the opposition as well, 11 run and Lucy rides.
Two interesting runners for the yard in the 3.40, Marlee Massie (Lucy) and Bertalus (Grant), both ideally prefer softer ground but this is Marlee Massie’s first start in a Class 5 handicap since January 2016 and previously he made hay in this grade, probably still needs to be a bit lower though as has 11.12 tomorrow.
Bertalus makes a belated seasonal reappearance having signed off with a win over fences at Newcastle in the spring, he’s a stone lower over hurdles and won over course and distance off much higher many moons ago on heavy ground, lost his way after that so no idea what to expect really but he is potentially well treated if picking up where he left off, 16 run.
Finally Just Brooke makes her handicap debut in the Mares Hurdle at 4.10, 11 run and Grant rides, we were delighted with her last run at Kelso after a long lay off and she should have improved for that, probably needs a little further to see her at her best but hopefully run a big race tomorrow. Musselburgh off yesterday so looking forward to going racing again after a quiet ten days, hopefully with a bunch of fit and healthy horses that should all run with credit, fingers crossed.
Great to be back at base on a Saturday, love being out with all the horses working and then an excellent afternoon’s racing on the TV – enjoy!
Cold and frost, still dry. One runner on good watered ground at Musselburgh tomorrow assuming it survives an 8am inspection for frost. Benny’s Secret in the 3.30, 6 run and Lucy rides, he only just failed to get up to win over course and distance last week and if he’s in the same fettle (hard to know with him) shouldn’t be far away again, especially if he sharpens up his jumping.
Delighted to report that Catch has made the final three for the Leadership Award at the valuable and prestigious Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards, thoroughly deserved and a huge credit to her that she has made it this far, a trip to London beckons and whatever happens in the Finals she has already won a valuable Finalists prize for the Team here, well done!
Another fine winter’s day, cold and dry, slight frost. Disappointingly dry to be honest as many of the courses need rain, good ground doesn’t suit many winter jumps horses and it is most bizarre to read of racecourses from Musselburgh to Taunton watering in January. “We will pay for it” as they say round here and I just hope that doesn’t come in the form of heaps of snow which some forecasts suggest could be on the menu at the end of the month.
One runner only therefore at Newcastle tomorrow where the ground will be fine, soft side of good, and it is Eagle Ridge who lines up in the 2.50, 10 run and Lucy rides. He drops back in trip for what is effectively his handicap debut and looks nicely enough treated on his Irish form so we are looking for a decent run despite disappointing on his last two starts.