The horses continue in good form and we have had a winner on each of the last three Saturdays. We reported on Ascot de Bruyere winning at Newcastle on the 23rd February in our last blog and this was followed up by Empire de Maulde at Doncaster on the 2nd March and Charmant at Ayr on the 9th March. This has put the yard in excellent spirits and makes all the huge of amount of hard work worthwhile.
The long awaited rain (and snow!) has arrived and so the going has changed at most courses including Cheltenham just in time for the Festival starting on Tuesday 12th March.
Empire de Maulde travelled down to Doncaster on Saturday 2nd March to run in the 2m ½ furlong Handicap Hurdle and was awarded best turned out for Gemma. With Steven Fox riding, he became very keen after the first hurdle but apart from one error he jumped well. On the drying ground the pace was fast but Empire showed plenty of speed and then he was a bit green when he hit the front. Pricking his ears as he approached the last hurdle he went on to win by 3 ¾ lengths. This was his second hurdle win but his future will be over fences.
Empire de Maulde with Gemma in the paddock at Doncaster
Empire de Maulde with Steven, Briony and Emma after his victory at Doncaster
Muhtamar (Danny McMenamin) had his first run under rules in the Bumper at Newcastle on Tuesday 5th March. He was very well behaved all day and jumped off nicely and travelled well until they turned into the home straight. He then became rather excited and his effort petered out to finish eighth. However, he still needs to mature and strengthen up but this was a good effort for a first performance and he has come out of his race very well.
Ayr Saturday 9th March
Bluefortytwo with Steven Fox won best turned out for Briony and ran a great race to finish second by four lengths. This was his second run over hurdles and he jumped and travelled well in midfield before making steady headway four out but was just outpaced by the winner Largy Prospect ridden by Steven’s cousin Derek Fox.
Practice makes Perfect! Steven Fox schooling Bluefortytwo (nearside)
Dunly was ridden by Lucy Alexander who reported that he hated the very loose, soft going ; he is also still too high in the handicap. This should change when he gets his revised mark this week and he would probably benefit for a more aggressive ride over two miles.
Charmant(another bto for Gemma making this 4/4) was ridden by Brian Hughes in the Tennent’s Lager Handicap Chase and he clearly appreciated the softer ground and galloping course. He is such a fluent, economical jumper and travelling easily he raced prominently before going into the lead four out and was very game to register a great win by 2 ¾ lengths. Ridden in all his chase runs by Brian, he has now won three out of four over fences and has been a model of consistency.
Charmant with Brian Hughes and Gemma after his win at Ayr
In the concluding Bumper Ebony Jewel with Lucy Alexander and trained by her father set off at a strong gallop and was never headed to win unchallenged. The Blame Game with Steven Fox was held up early on and then made good headway to be well in touch until he was outpaced in the last couple of furlongs to finish fifth. He was not particularly happy on the deteriorating ground and would appreciate better going.
Sarah Wilson with The Blame Game at Ayr
We have entries at Hexham and Newcastle this week.