Proper rain today, very welcome. A long drive to Aintree and back yesterday, well into the early hours but on cloud nine after an exhilarating win from Final Reminder who notched up her hat trick under a top class ride from Lucy.
Tremendous stuff and whilst she is prone to racing a little lazily she certainly puts it all in when it matters; that’s much the best way and it is very special to win at such a historic venue in front of a crowd of 12,000 plus; whilst it may not have been the most knowledgeable racing crowd what they lacked in knowledge they certainly made up for with enthusiasm creating a wonderful summer atmosphere on a gorgeous warm evening.
Brilliant effort from Kelly who having started here at 7am yesterday finally left the yard at 2.30am this morning, Grant kindly assisted with the driving and the horses were turned out beautifully. We had been struggling with our further away runners but sat down last autumn and came up with a new travelling policy; since then our runners at the “where North meets South” tracks such as Aintree, Haydock & Wetherby have done well with a 25% win strike rate and 75% placed, much better than we do up here and I hope proving that we can train just as well as the Southern powerhouses, and that’s without considering the relative cost of our horses.
Hopefully this nicely bred mare can continue to progress, her owner has had to be very patient as she hasn’t been the easiest to train and I’m grateful to Clare for giving me the tip that has enabled me to manage one specific issue. Earlier on the card Benny’s Secret was disappointing; I thought he was in great shape but he put up a lacklustre display, he’s actually been in training for 56 weeks now and I’m sure will recover his zest in the autumn after a decent break.
We may have a runner at Perth next week but a trip to Ascot beckons before that and then there’s the pursuit of horses at the Derby Sale and Deauville – love this time of year!
A bit blowy today, very blowy actually but a mild wind and some welcome rain last night, looks like a return to a more normal spell of westerly weather. Off to Aintree tomorrow with two runners, seems a little odd to be heading there in the middle of the summer but I’m looking forward to being part of their final fixture until the autumn, ground should be good well-watered summer ground and as one would expect the racing looks competitive.
First up is Benny’s Secret in the opener at 5.45, a conditional jockeys 2m 4f hurdle, he’s not straightforward but has been trained for this race and has slipped back to an attractive mark so ought to run well round a track that I think will suit him, Grant rides and 11 run.
Then in the 8.25, a 3m mares hurdle, Final Reminder attempts the hat trick having won well at Cartmel last time, she’s up 9lb for that success and it will be interesting to see whether she can continue to progress – this has been her target since Cartmel and she should love the track and ground, Lucy rides and 8 run…. fingers crossed!
Warm and dry here, very dry now, very bizarre the extremes that 2018 has thrown at us so far. It’s been a lovely spell and alongside the usual summer refurbishments we have number of projects underway to further improve the facilities at Kinneston.
The window is narrow though with some of the winter horses coming back in within the next 10 days to prevent them putting on too much weight. Juggling these projects along with office stuff, upgrading the website etc, attending sales and having a few days off here and there still makes life feel busy though I welcome the usual somewhat frenetic feel on the yard being replaced by a more relaxed and purposeful atmosphere.
We only have five horses in work at present – Benny’s Secret and Final Reminder who both hopefully run at Aintree on Friday, Frankie’s Promise who will go to Perth on 23rd if it rains, Dutch Canyon who may go there if it doesn’t otherwise Perth on 5th July and Titian Boy who if I don’t see any rain in the forecast for Hexham tomorrow will go to the field.
Last week’s runners, well, mostly non-runners, were Koala Keel at Perth who ran well for a long way until the effects of a busy season caught up with her, she was heavily eased late on but thankfully fine when she came off the track, Fly Rory Fly at Hexham who didn’t really let himself down on the ground at all – we identified a little issue afterwards that can hopefully be sorted and Andhaar whose race came a little quick after his win there the previous week. Benny’s Secret, Titian Boy and Craiganboy were all withdrawn on account of the ground.