After the frustrating spell of cancelled meetings due to a succession of storms and heavy rain, we returned to action on Monday 17th February at Carlisle. Unfortunately, there have been further abandoned fixtures due to yet more rain but we are hopeful that normal racing will be resumed over the coming few days.
Sao Maxence ridden by Brian Hughes ran in the Maiden Hurdle over 2 miles 1 furlong. He was on his toes when first mounted but otherwise was very professional and once racing he was tucked in nicely in second place. The going was soft but he jumped boldly and Brian took him slightly wide so that he had a good view of the hurdles. Turning in, he increased the pace and went on to win by 5 ½ lengths giving the yard their 14th win of the season. Sao Maxence has really matured this year and his record is now two wins and two seconds from four runs.
Max in the paddock at Carlisle
In the 2 mile 1 furlong Handicap Hurdle (Division 1) Knockrea won best turned out and was happy to be back racing. Brian Hughes settled him nicely and jumping well this was a huge improvement on his previous run at Kelso. Three from home he was feeling the pinch and had a blow but then ran on again to finish fifth. He should improve for this run and would appreciate a further distance on a flat galloping track.
There was drama to follow in Division 2 when Bingo D’Olivate was first past the post by 12 lengths but then most unfortunately was disqualified due to a technicality. Brian Hughes kept to the outside for the better ground but Bingo relished the testing conditions and never put a foot wrong. We were hoping to return to Carlisle with him this week but the meeting was cancelled and he is entered at Sedgefield and Newcastle next week.
Bingo D'Olivate with Brian Hughes at Carlisle
At Musselburgh the next day on Tuesday 18th February we just had one runner with For Three in the 1 mile 7 ½ furlong Handicap Hurdle. The going was soft, wet and very loose and this was against us. Lorcan Murtagh settled him very sympathetically and he travelled well throughout to finish third. This was a good performance as he prefers better ground and the winner has black type and was trained by Paul Nicholls!
Brian Hughes rode Into The Breach at Sedgefield on Wednesday 20th February in the 2 mile ½ furlong Handicap Chase. He looked fantastic in the paddock and was quite an eye catcher. His jumping was good throughout the race but they had removed six fences because of low sun and so this did not help. However, he travelled well until he was hampered by a fallen jockey and then did not really handle the descent. He then ran on again with the rising ground to finish fifth. He would appear to definitely need a longer trip.
The relentless pattern of storms over the last few weeks has been a real challenge to everyone but all the staff have coped magnificently – a day behind the scenes at a racing yard is not for the faint hearted! Amy Elliot (our budding Pony Racing jockey) is learning quickly how one of the most important assets when dealing with racehorses is patience. The meeting last weekend at Corbridge was abandoned but she is hoping to have her first race now at Friars Haugh, Kelso and we are delighted that she has already secured some sponsorship with Tuffa Boots.
It was good to see Sleep in First enjoying his retirement with Jo Bruton - see below
With so many disruptions, we are trying to cover all possible opportunities over the coming week and have a large number of entries at Kelso, Newbury, Doncaster, Sedgefield, Wetherby, Newcastle and Catterick. Let’s hope that we suffer no more interruptions.