With runners at Kelso, Carlisle and Newcastle we have been kept busy over the last week. It was disappointing that Charmant fell at Carlisle but luckily he was not injured and it is worth noting that he was our first and only faller so far this season. This is testament to the thorough and careful schooling that James and the team carry out at home. Also with two further seconds at Newcastle, the yard is leading the trainers’ championship at the course.
On Saturday 23rd March Kelso was part of the ITV transmission with the team based there and with good prize money, there were plenty of southern raiders.
Aristo du Plessiswith Brian Hughes ran in the 2 mile Bernhard Lighting Rig Handicap Hurdle. This was a valuable and highly competitive race and Brian gave him a very positive start but unfortunately he was taken on for the lead by Beeno and so was never left alone. As is customary for him, his jumping was fantastic and he was right there until the second last where he was unable to maintain his position. Now that he is older, the ground was probably a bit on the quick side for him but he definitely ran his race and finished only 10 lengths behind the winner.
Aristo du Plessis with Brian Hughes battling it out with Beeno at Kelso
Steven Fox rode Lord Wishes in Division 1 of the 2 mile 5 furlong Handicap Hurdle. He won best turned out for Gemma and was very full of himself in the paddock. This was a strongly run race and he was well positioned throughout and his jumping was exceptional. He just got a little tired towards the end to finish fourth by 14 ½ lengths and so this was another solid performance. He has come out of the race particularly well and we would possibly run him over fences next time.
Bullion partnered by Brian Hughes was in Division II of the 2 mile 5 furlong Handicap Hurdle. At the start there was a horse misbehaving and this unsettled Bullion a little and he became rather warm. We were trying him over the further distance for the first time and again this race was run at a fast pace. Unfortunately, he hit three out and knocked it flat which lost him a lot of momentum but he galloped all the way to the line and tried hard throughout the race to finish sixth.
At Carlisle on Sunday 24th March Charmant (bto for Gemma) with Brian Hughes was running over 2 miles 4 furlongs for the first time. Unfortunately, we were to unable to find out if he stayed the further distance as he fell at the fifth fence from home. He appeared to be going well in third place and had not been asked any questions at the time.
Charmant at Carlisle
On Thursday 28th March we had four runners at Newcastle.
Ascot de Bruyere (Steven Fox) had been raised a hefty 13 lbs for his last win and faced a hard task in the 2 mile 7 ½ furlong Handicap Chase. He won best turned out for Daina and lost little in defeat to come second by 14 lengths to an improving younger horse who was more suited by the drying ground. In these conditions, Ascot was unable to maintain the lovely rhythm he had found on his previous two runs and also he has had a long season, always running in marathon contests. His record at Newcastle is 1112 and he has now earned a well-deserved break and hopefully the Handicapper will be kind to him going into next season.
Steven Fox was on board again with Dunly in the 2 mile ½ furlong Handicap Hurdle. Since his promising start in Bumpers, Dunlyhas been a bit frustrating. He missed last season through injury and was going well in his race at Ayr in November 2018 before sprawling three out. Since then, he has not encountered his ideal conditions and his handicap mark is very high. We may try some headgear and send him chasing but if racing is not for him, then we will find him a five star home and a new career as he is lovely horse to look after.
Dunly with Steven Fox at Newcastle
It’s Never Enough settled well for Brian Hughes in the 2 mile Novice Hurdle. After running well on the Flat last year, this was his first attempt over hurdles but unfortunately he did not seem to stay the trip. This is a pity as he is a good jumper and we will now revert to the Flat for a summer campaign as he really deserves to win a race.
Conor O’Farell has a good record for us in Bumpers and he was on The Blame Game in the final race and this was another bto for Gemma. Held up at the back he made good progress to come second by eight lengths. He will now be schooled up for hurdling as he handles good ground.
The Blame Game with Conor O'Farrell coming second at Newcastle
There are not many meetings coming up over the next couple of weeks and with drying conditions this may well go against us but we do have entries at Sedgefield on Friday 5th April and Newcastle on Saturday 6th April.