We just had the one runner last week and that was nothing to write come about as Silver Alliance suffered with the 'Newmarket factor' and ran a stinker at our local course. Because horses who are trained in the town can travel straight to the track an hour before their race without the need for checking into the racecourse's own stables, some horses don't get 'in the zone' and don't realise they are heading to the races until just before the race. If racing at other tracks, we will normally arrive three hours before our race and this gives the horse time to psych themself up but when racing at Newmarket, this isn't the case.
We've had winners at both of the town's courses before and it doesn't affect every runner we have there but you could clearly see from Silver Alliance's demeanor before the race that he wasn't his usual self - getting very anxious in the stalls and sweating up. Unsurprisingly, he ran no sort of race. All you can do is learn from the experience so I doubt Silver will be running at HQ again!
The weather has definitely turned this week and we had to bring out the horse's thick rugs to keep the chill off their backs. We have some faces in the yard which have been with us for years and it is usually the same ones who lose their smooth summer coat first as they grow a thicker one for winter. The Ducking Stool is always the first to call time and it's always around about the St Leger that she loses her coat, despite the mild autumn we have had. It won't be long before I have to dig the clippers out and go through the long process of clipping every horse because they get too sweaty when racing with a thick winter coat.
The yard is back in full swing now with plenty of horses galloping during the week as they come back to full fitness after some time off through coughing.
One horse who did very well for his break was Candesta and he will be looking to make it back to back wins as he heads to Bath on Monday. He won well at Beverley a fortnight ago and only went up 3lbs in the handicap so I think he is still on a good rating. The race might be a bit hectic with so many runners around the tight track but hopefully jockey Liam Doran can get a good run through like last time and come home in front.
It may have been a while since he last won a race but Veeraya has gone very close on numerous occasions in the meantime and he is primed for another big show at Kempton on Wednesday. He was rated far too high when we got him but he is on a rating he can be competitive off now and seems to like the course. Things will need to pan out perfectly for him to get his head in front but I hope he is thereabouts at the finish.
Secret Ballerina looked like being a really sharp and precocious two-year old earlier in the season and her first run was full of promise but she hasn't improved as we expected. The plus side to this is that she is has been given a low rating as she tackles a handicap for the first time at Chelmsford on Thursday. She worked very well in blinkers a couple of weeks ago so we'll stick them on her and hope that the return to Chelmsford (where she ran her best race) is enough to see her in a better light.
Secret Strategy, the horse I bought from Godolphin last month, has settled in really well and is now doing steady canters as he makes his way back to full fitness. He is a really strong-looking two year old and I'm sure he will be winning as soon as he hits the racetrack. The plus to him is that as a foal he was registered for the 'Plus10' bonus scheme which means when he wins a qualifying race, the syndicate owning him will receive a £10,000 bonus on top of any prize money won. Shares are still available in him for £1000 per 10% plus £200 per month all-inclusive training fees. CONTACT me for more details.
The other Godolphin recruit I bought a month earlier is now doing strong canters and had his first gentle gallop on Saturday. Best Example is a strapping chestnut and, because he was so fat when we got him, I've just brought him along gently so not to push him too hard too soon. He has taken every step up in his training very well and is about three weeks off a run, all being well.
Tallulah's Quest has had little setback after little setback which has meant she is still yet to run. The latest niggle was a slight muscle problem but she now seems in good shape, thanks to the work of my physio Grainne. There's a race for her at York in a couple of weeks and we'll just see how she goes until then before making any definite plans.
Both Dakota City and Duke Of Diamonds are working their way back to full fitness after some time off and I'm pleased with how they're going. Duke needs soft ground so we will try and find some of that for him whilst Dakota is more of an all-weather performer so I'll try and find an ideal returning point for him next month.
THREE TO FOLLOW LEADERBOARD
Ross Birkett 64
Jonathan Kinge 63
Annette Hall 61
Liam Doran 61
Gary Wardle 61
Jean Allen 61
Maureen Case 56
Anthea Telford 56
Barbara Walton 56
Michael Buckley 55