Wild, wet and windy this morning, cold, but all is well after two lovely winners at Ayr yesterday. We thought Road to Gold was well and he duly obliged under a strong drive from Lucy at the surprisingly long odds of 20-1 – he will improve for this first run back and I’m delighted he is rewarding his owner Judy Douglas Miller’s patience.
Craiganboy was more of a surprise in the last, trying 3 miles for the first time he stayed on strongly to beat the heavily odds on Southern raider with the pair drawing well clear, a fine patient ride from Grant and wonderful to have this horse back in the winners enclosure for Silke Quandt, Tom Cochrane and Cornelius Lysaght – he suffered a serious foot injury at Ayr last December and an amazing bit of work from our vet, farriers and team to bring him back to his best.
Others runners – delighted with Not the Chablis’s debut to be a good 4th, Ride the Lightning shouldn’t have been running once the ground had turned heavy, Landecker put up a much more spirited effort to finish 6th, Buffalo Ballet was a little rusty on his reappearance, Up Helly Aa King ran well for a long way until lack of match practice cut in and McGinty’s Dream ran in snatches and only managed to beat 3 home. Full credit to the team at the races who produced 8 runners on time turned out immaculately and to the rest of the team at home who focussed on the rest of the horses some of whom have important engagements this weekend. It was late last night before they were finished up but it didn’t stop Amy and Charlotte being in before 5am this morning to hit the road ahead of the traffic with our first ever runners at Doncaster this weekend starting with Fly Rory Fly this afternoon at 2.50.
He was disappointing in the spring but had a few issues which we have taken time to try to resolve, I think we are there and am hopeful he will run much better today – the good going, trip and track should suit well but it’s a competitive little 7 runner handicap chase, Lucy rides for the Turcan Douglas Miller, Dunning, Stewart and Burnham partnership. Tomorrow at Doncaster Titian Boy also runs in the 2.50, 7 run and Sam Coltherd rides for Tim Hardie and Greig & Louise Robb – he’s going into new territory distance wise but should be helped by the better ground in what looks an ordinary race.
Half an hour later over at Newcastle Lake View Lad runs for Trevor Hemmings in a somewhat more competitive affair, ground is good to soft with soft places, 12 run and Henry Brooke rides. This Listed Handicap is one of the top races run in the North each season and comes after what is probably the best hurdle race run in the North for at least a decade so there should be a tremendous atmosphere – be there if you can.
Lake View Lad won the novice chase on this card last year over the same distance and should have plenty more to offer this season, he does however seem most effective on softer ground and I would have dearly loved to have found a prep race for him but he goes there in great heart so will hopefully run with credit. A double header beckons for the yard again on Sunday with the Northern Lights Finals at Carlisle and the opening point-to-point of the season at Hexham.
We have two horses heading to both; at Carlisle, where the ground is suitably soft, we run Another Mattie for Silke Quandt and Tom Cochrane in the 3pm – Lucy rides and 10 run, he ran no race round here last season and I’ve always thought wants a flat track but he wasn’t right this time a year ago and goes there in great heart this time round off a good mark. Calivigny was 2nd in this race a year ago for Angus Hodge and this has been the plan since, he ran well on seasonal debut over course and distance last time so hopefully he won’t be far away, 6 run and Lucy rides.
Over at Hexham two horses make their point-to-poinitng debut for the yard, our old friend (?) More Madness for Jamie and former Cheltenham Festival winner Ted Veale for Kit. After that lot I might need to lie down but runners at Musselburgh on Monday…. and in case anyone is still reading there will be another short piece on the yard on Landward this evening at 7.30pm on BBC1 Scotland.