After six days of shut down because of Equine Flu, racing resumed again on Wednesday 13th February but all horses have to have been vaccinated within the last six months or they cannot race and there is also a 10 day withdrawal period after vaccination. As James routinely vaccinates three times a year this was not a problem for the yard.
On Monday 18th February David Macleod went down to London as a finalist in the ‘Dedication to Racing’ category for the Godolphin Stable Staff awards. Accompanied by his wife Maggie, together with Neil, Sally and James, he was really well looked after all day and then everyone gathered in the evening at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel for dinner and to find out the results. As one of the judges, Mick Fitzgerald said ‘Everyone is a winner’ and David was a gallant runner up to John Bottomley who believe it or not has been working in racing for even longer than David! This was a fitting tribute to both David and everyone who works in the yard.
David Macleod seeing the sights of London!
The horses continue to run well and we sent six to Kelso on Thursday 14th February and won best turned out with Lord Wishes.
First to run in the 2 mile Novice Hurdle were Bullion and Into the Breach.
Bullion ridden by Lucy Alexander did not travel particularly well and was always finding the drying ground too quick in a fast run race. However, on the whole he jumped well and did make up ground towards the end to finish seventh. He will much happier on softer ground and over further once he has obtained his handicap.
Steven Fox rode Into the Breach who also struggled with the strong pace on drying ground to finish 6th. His jumping was superb except for one small error and he will be better over a further distance on softer ground.
Lord Wishes ran a cracking race on his comeback after 607 days to finish fourth beaten 11 lengths in the Brewin Dolphin Handicap Hurdle over 2 miles 6 ½ furlongs. Bounding along in front he jumped brilliantly and just tired a little in the closing stages. Next time we will run him over a slightly shorter distance.
Lord Wishes enjoying himself at Kelso with Lucy Alexander
We had three runners in the Bumper over 2 miles:
Cellar Vie with Lucy Alexander ran a really encouraging race to finish fifth beaten only by 3 ¼ lengths. He was handy throughout in this strongly run race and travelled very well. He would benefit from slightly softer ground.
Fostered Phil ridden by Steven Fox was fitted with a hood in the Bumper and he ran a great race to come second beaten by only 1 ¼ lengths. Brian Hughes on the winner Enlighten set off at a good pace and Fostered Phil was keen in the early stages just as he had been at Kelso in his previous race. However, Steven produced him with a good run and he held on well in the final furlong.
Fostered Phil and Cellar Vie (both nosebanded) in the Bumper at Kelso
Foxey (Ross Chapman) looked fantastic in the paddock but the waiting tactics did not suit him at all and with a true run race they got strong out with Foxey being too far back and he finished 10th. His previous race at Newcastle was over 1 mile 6 furlongs and it is possible that he does not stay the extra distance at this stage. He is a lovely professional horse and we need to find a race on a galloping track and with easier going.
On Monday 18th February Ueueteotl ran in the 2 mile 4 furlong Handicap Chase at Carlisle. Jumping for fun he was given a great ride by Brian Hughes to finish third beaten by 9 ½ lengths. This was a very game performance and he would appreciate slightly better ground.
Uueueteotl brought a smile to Brian Hughes's face after his race at Carlisle
On Thursday 21st February, Ettila de Sivola (another bto for Gemma) ridden by Brian Hughes returned to Sedgefield where he had won previously on his debut over hurdles in December 2018. However, this was a much stiffer task and the winner Ingleby Hollow ridden by Richard Johnston was a seasoned campaigner having run 51 times before this race and also had won six times on the flat. Ettila jumped very well but could not match the speed of the winner and was just beaten into third place by 10 ¾ lengths. His previous successes had been on softer ground and the first three finished 23 lengths ahead of the rest so this was a creditable run. He is a chaser in the making.
We had runners at Newcastle and Carlisle over the weekend and will report on these in the next blog at the end of the week. We also have entries coming up this week at Ayr, Catterick, Musselburgh, and Doncaster.