The horses have made a very encouraging start to the season and it was good to get another winner on the board with Bering Upsun at Kelso. Multipede made an excellent start on his first time over fences at the same meeting, Bullion ran well for a long while at Carlisle and Aristo du Plessis ran a cracker at Wetherby. The yard currently has a 22% strike rate and there was the added bonus of Kelso being televised on ITV on Saturday 24th due the bad weather down south causing the abandonment of Newbury and Doncaster. Mick Fitzgerald gave a nice mention about James following Bering Upsun’s win there.
Brian Hughes rode For Three in the two mile Handicap Hurdle to finish sixth of 16. He was really well in himself before the race but he seemed to find the ground hard work and was not moving very well on it. His jumping was very good on the whole but Brian reported that he did not handle the ground and would appreciate a sounder surface.
Bullion ridden by Ross Chapman ran in the Lisa Harrison Handicap Hurdle over 2 miles 3 furlongs. He got very hot down at the start but for most of the race he travelled and jumped well and handled the ground fine. Unfortunately, four out Ross lost an iron and parted company. Therefore, we are none the wiser if he handles the further distance or not but he did seem to be going well at the time. He has come out of the race in fine form and we will find another opportunity as soon as possible.
Brian Hughes rode Bering Upsun (best turned out) in his first start over fences in the 2 mile 1 furlong Tarrag Naegel Novices Handicap Chase. He jumped really fluently, travelled well on the ground and ran a super race to win by six lengths to record a fantastic training performance for James after an absence of 640 days. We will give him some time now before looking at a further race.
Brian Hughes was on board again with Multipede in the Clifford & Martin Firth Memorial Novices’ Handicap Chase over 2 miles 7 ½ furlongs. He was also returning after a long lay-off and also attempting fences for the first time. His jumping was excellent but he is a big horse to get fit and just tired towards the end to finish fourth.. Hopefully, he will strip fitter next time but we will give him a month before we look for a suitable target. Brian felt he would appreciate softer ground and a step-up in trip.
Multipede ridden by Brian Hughes at Kelso
Apache Valley was another best turned out and ridden by Nathan Moscrop in the Western House Hotel Mares’ Maiden Hurdle over 2 miles 4 furlongs. She jumped off in a handy position and mostly jumped well but she came under pressure early on and by the end of the first circuit was struggling to stay in touch and so was pulled up. She did not handle the good ground and like her dam, she will need soft or heavy ground and a more testing track with a sensible handicap mark.
Ettila de Sivola was having his first run over fences and was ridden by Nick Scholfield in the Novices Handicap Chase over 2 miles 4 furlongs. His jumping was exuberant in the early part of the race which probably was not a help over this distance but he jumped impressively throughout before tiring towards the end to finish fifth. He is only five years old and we had wanted to run him in a 2 mile Novice Chase but there were no opportunities. Most of the wins for his Sire (Noroit) have come over 2 miles to 2 miles 1 furlong on soft or heavy ground. He is still a raw, lightly raced young horse and will be an exciting 2 mile novice chaser this winter.
Ettila de Sivola at Ayr
On Friday 1st November Aristo du Plessis returned to his favourite track at Wetherby to run in the bet 365 Handicap Hurdle ridden by Lucy Alexander. This was highly competitive and was the fastest run race of the day. Lucy gave him a lovely ride and with ears pricked, Aristo bowled along in front flicking over the hurdles in great style. Towards the end as the others bunched up behind he was gaining ground at each flight but sadly this was not enough against progressive horses and he came fourth beaten by 5 ½ lengths. He finished the best of the northern horses and the first three are very smart so this was a much better performance than his first outing last year.
Aristo du Plessis and David Macleod at Wetherby
Looking to the Future
We are constantly looking forward and bringing on horses for future years. At the moment we have a couple of home-bred two year olds having the first stage of their education. They will then have a break and be brought back into work again in the spring.
Bill McGradey lives locally and has been a long- time supporter of the yard since we started in 2004. He regularly visits with armfuls of bananas and biscuits for the team! When we asked if he would like to think of a name for the two year old by Black Sam Bellamy out of Overlady, he gave this some serious thought and came up with the name Scarlet n’ Black.
Two year old Scarlet n' Black named for us by Bill McGradey
It's Enough - Two year old by Multiplex out of High Meadow Girl
The Graham Richards National Hunt Guide 2020 is now available and James has contributed to this publication so please follow the link http://grahamrichardsonline.co.uk
Plenty of schooling and prep work has been put in this week by the team thanks to Steven, Rachel, Ross and Nathan and we have entries at Musselburgh, Hexham and Newcastle.