There are no runners for us this week as the team prepare for some races later this month and last week might as well have been a no-show as our sole outing at Chelmsford proved a waste of time.
Highway Robbery went to the track in great form at home and we were hopeful of a big run especially when he got into a good early position during the race. However, it was clear from halfway that he was struggling and soon dropped to the rear and was virtually pulled up. We initially thought that he was being lazy without his usual cheekpieces on but a post-race check by the vet showed that he had an irregular heartbeat. This is often a one-off thing and returned to normal after the race but he did get quite worked up in the stables before the race so maybe he got himself in a state which affected his heart rate. Anyway, he is fine now and was due a holiday so he will have a few weeks in the field to recover and freshen up.
We thought we had another good chance that evening as Engrave made her debut for us but she never even got a run as the race was abandoned due to high winds when the horses were in the parade ring. Personally I don't think it was a problem but I'm not the one who has to ride in it so if the jockeys say it isn't safe then maybe it isn't. It was annoying to miss this race with the filly but there will be other days.
Things are very busy in the yard now with all the holiday makers back into work ready for the turf season and things haven't been made easy with various staff issues. Shelley is obviously on the sick-list with her shoulder problem but luckily Sarah is now back to work after recovering from her broken foot. We sadly said goodbye to Chloe on Friday as she heads off to the National Stud to do a six month stud course which will hopefully set her up for a career in that industry. After four years with us having graduated from the British Racing School, most of you will know Chloe well and she will be much missed in the yard.
The horses' form definitely seems to have taken a turn for the better recently and we saw some solid performances from the team this week.
Limerick Lord, Oud Metha Bridge and War Empress all finished in the frame whilst Sea Shack did the same despite being virtually pulled up inside the final furlong at Southwell on Sunday. At first we thought that he had been injured but it turns out that Shelley's shoulder dislocated when she used her whip so she was unable to ride him and did well just to stay on and pull him up after the line. She was taken to Masfield hospital and the doctor put the shoulder back in very professionally so hopefully there will be no major repercussions although Shelley will need some time to recover. I'm sure you all know how often Shelley has been in the wars so she is well used to dealing with injury.
Shelley was due to ride our only runners this week at Chelmsford on Tuesday so we have found some very good replacements.
Highway Robbery will now be ridden by Dylan Hogan who claims a handy 5lb allowance. The horse is in great from at home and is galloping very well but hasn't had much luck recently in his races with wide draws and bad positioning. If all goes to plan here then I don't see why he shouldn't run well.
Accompanying him will be Engrave who has her first run for us after I bought her at Tattersalls in December. She hadn't long run before then so hasn't needed much work to get fit but I hope she is the type of horse who saves her best for the racetrack as her gallops at home haven't been anything special yet her racecourse form is very good. I think she will stay a bit further in time but she will be one of the leading contenders on form in this race so fingers crossed she can make a good start for us and owner Carol Bushnell.