Gold Opera having the finishing touches applied beofre his win at Newcastle on Sunday
Another lovely spring morning, perfect weather but Cheltenham abandoning a race yesterday because it was too hot? Crikey, appears we are having coldest and hottest April days in the same year – wierd. Farm slow to dry out but coming along now and conditions at the racecourses vary, it will be good ground today at Ayr but still sounds very wet at Hexham and Perth.
Koala Keel (Grant)
Deep gluey tiring ground at Newcastle and Kelso earlier in the week but it didn’t stop us having three very welcome winners, all shouldering top weight in handicap chases indicating that the horses are in robust health, Gold Opera took the feature chase at Newcastle on Sunday in fine style, dropping down in trip and grade did the trick and it was grand to see him land his 6th chase win as he has his issues.
Bertalus then won his first chase to give us a double on the day, it was lovely to see him regain his confidence over fences – it’s amazing how long this can take however much one does at home. McGinty’s Dream and Massini’s Lady both threw away their chances with erratic jumping though McGinty did stay on to finish a somewhat unedifying 2nd.
Then a really special win at Kelso on Monday with Always Tipsy winning the 2m 5f handicap chase, he isn’t the biggest but he is all heart and to give weight to the whole field was very gutsy, he’s been a special horse in many ways and now Lucy and Kit have both won on him this season, with luck he can build on this and give plenty of fun to his owners this spring.
Elsewhere on the card Koala Keel ran an honest sort of race to be 5th, Road to Gold and Buffalo Ballet both ran to form to be 4th and Up Helly Aa King was just a bit weak on the ground and finished 6th. On to Ayr today where we have one runner, Benny’s Secret in the 5.15, 18 run in an extremely competitive handicap hurdle befitting of Scotland’s premier National Hunt Festival.
Benny’s Secret (Grant)
This is the race we have been training him for since we decided to keep him over hurdles for the rest of this season, whilst he missed his prep run due to the ground he should be very fit and will love the decent ground. The big question is whether the step up to 3m will bring out the further improvement required to be involved at the finish, who knows – he may not stay but I think he will though of course I could be wrong…. fingers crossed he has luck in running and can play a part at the business end. Tremendous racing today and tomorrow at Ayr; fair to say the best two days of national hunt racing that I have seen staged in Scotland and they look like being blessed with perfect weather so get along there if you can!