Over the last 10 days we have had 10 runners with two wins, a second, a third and two fourths so the horses are continuing to run well. As always we are very grateful to everyone in the yard as this has been another high pressure period. Aristo du Plessis bounced back to form in great style to win at Carlisle on Monday 3rd February making this his 10th win for the yard in the U.K. at the age of 10. He had already won a flat race in France before joining us so has won a total of 11 races.
Aristo du Plessis in the paddock at Carlisle
On Saturday 25th January Bingo D’Olivate ran in the 1 mile 7 furlong Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at Uttoxeter. Ridden for the first time by Danny McMenamin he travelled and jumped extremely well to come third beaten only by 3 ½ lengths. The ground was very testing and they went fast in this competitive race where the winner Main Fact has since won again so this was a good result. We will try and find a similar race for him on a more galloping track.
Bingo D'Olivate in the paddock at Uttoxeter
We had three runners at Kelso on Monday 27th where the going was officially soft but in fact was quite testing and due to the sun they omitted four fences and four hurdles in the later races which did not help our horses.
Tortuga Bay ridden by Brian Hughes ran in the Maiden Hurdle over 2 ½ miles. She jumped very well and ran promisingly until tiring over the last half mile in the difficult ground. She has come out of the race in fine form and depending on the going we will drop her back in trip if it is heavy for her next run.
Empire De Maulde (Brian Hughes) was having his second run of the season in the 2 mile Handicap Chase where the removal of four fences was not to his advantage. He won BTO and was very settled and professional in all the preliminaries. He was carrying top weight of 11st 12lbs and ran a little too freely throughout but his jumping was good and it was only towards the end that he tired on the ground to finish sixth. He will be much better suited once conditions improve.
The ground had deteriorated for Black Pirate in the 2 mile Novices’ Hurdle where he was up against the front running Ebony Jewel who had previously won a competitive Novice Hurdle at Haydock. Brian Hughes set off on the inside and tracked Ebony Jewel until he drew alongside on the run in which was increased to 3 ½ furlongs due to the omission of the last two hurdles. These two then drew 22 lengths clear of the others and Black Pirate prevailed to win by a neck – a good performance on the sticky ground.
Sarah Poole giving Black Pirate the spa treatment back home after his win at Kelso
In the 2 mile 7 ½ furlong Handicap chase Ascot de Bruyere (who won BTO for Briony) was ridden by Danny McMenamin. They set off at a very strong gallop and because of this Ascot was soon towards the rear but his jumping held up really well under pressure and enabled him to make up ground again later on and he finished fourth. In the very tacky ground and with the pace of the race against him, this was a good result and hopefully will prepare him well for the long distance Eider Chase back at Newcastle later on this month.
Brian Hughes rode Foxey in the 2 mile Novices Hurdle. This was his first time over hurdles and he ran a cracking race to finish second by 2 ½ lengths. Beautifully ridden by Brian on a long rein, he settled well towards the rear of the field on the inside and his jumping was excellent. The soft ground and slow pace were probably not ideal and he should come on both mentally and physically for this run. Racing Post picked him out as the Eye Catcher of the meeting.
Foxey caught the eye of Racing Post after his second at Newcastle
Dunly had to carry top weight of 12 stone 1lb in the 2 mile ½ furlong Handicap Chase and we have never had a winner that has carried more than 11 stone 12 lb and won! Brian Hughes rode him prominently throughout and his jumping was really good under his huge weight but up the home straight this began to tell and he struggled to keep up and finished fifth.
Dunly in the paddock at Newcastle
It was Catterick next on Friday 31st January with two runners and the going was soft.
Brian Hughes rode The Blame Game in the 2 mile 3 furlong Maiden Hurdle for his second run over hurdles and he was in mid field until he lost his place after the 5th. He then became tailed off and was pulled up before 2 out. The ground was very broken and loose and this did not seem to suit him and we need to work to improve his jumping. Next time we will find him a race on a sounder surface and more galloping track.
Bering Upsun (Brian Hughes) was having his fourth run over fences in the 2 mile 3 furlong Handicap Chase. His jumping was not all that fluent at times but he was in touch before losing his position 5 out. He then improved again towards the end of the race and stayed on to finish fourth beaten by 7 ¼ lengths. Catterick was not ideal for him and he would be more suited by a galloping track on genuine good to soft ground.
Aristo du Plessis was making his first visit to Carlisle on Monday 3rd February. He had been working very well at home and David Macleod was very pleased with him. In the 2 mile 1 furlong Handicap Hurdle Brian Hughes jumped him off smartly on the inside and he was able to dominate in front for most of the race. With ears pricked he looked very happy skipping over the hurdles with great gusto and in fact the only one he missed was the last. This was probably due to tiredness in the testing ground but he still went on to win by 5 lengths. Taking into account the extra railing out, the race was more like 2 miles 2 furlongs and he has never won over this distance before and so this 10th win was a great result for a stable favourite.
Aristo du Plessis with David Macleod at Carlisle (with a famous name behind!)
Chloe Aitken has joined the team as office assistant to Gemma who is taking more of a role in the stables and away racing as you all know. Chloe is from Langholm and used to come up and ride Blackie, Sa Suffit’s Shetland pony companion after school and on weekends quite a while ago now! We are delighted that she has re-joined the team.
Also we have a new work rider Liam Berridge who has had plenty of experience and was last here when we first started sowearedelighted to have him back as well.
Amy Elliot is fighting the clock to recover from ligament damage so that she can ride JD Delivers in her first pony race. Amy has her qualifying day at Hawick on Saturday 8th so we wish her the best of luck.
Amy Elliot on JD Delivers
On the 31st January we had a visit from the National Horseracing College with Russ Kennemore spending time filming and helping the team with improvements for their riding. Also two of the pony racing squad Amy Elliot and Codey Forster had a chance to practise their race starts. We are lucky to have such a great facility available to us.
Next month Briony will be going on the Level 1 Jockey Coach course at the British Racing School in Newmarket and when qualified will be able to assist as well.
The NHC in action
It is good to be hot!
We have a busy time coming up again with entries at Doncaster, Newcastle, Catterick and Ayr. However, with storm Ciara approaching some meetings may be cancelled.