Racing on the turf is gradually coming to a close for the year with the Cambridgeshire meeting at Newmarket done and dusted whilst Yarmouth will be hosting its final raceday of the year this Tuesday.
We were out in force at the track last week with a seven-strong raiding party and although we couldn't bag a winner, we came very close with a pair of seconds from Gas Monkey and Oud Metha Bridge whilst every other runner came home with prize money.
Thankfully we won't be quite so busy there this time with just two runners.
The first of which will be Oceanus. He won at the course way back at the start of the season but hasn't had his preferred soft ground since then. He had a spin over hurdles last time and has come back none the worse for that so should be fit for this test. There are a few unexposed sorts in the field but hopefully he will run another good race,
Going with him will be Maazel. He has been finding things hard this year but his rating is falling as a result. He still has lots of ability but zero confidence so it is just a case of waiting until things fall right for him and he will get back into the groove. Six furlongs was a bit too sharp for him last time so the step back up to seven furlongs is more suitable.
Yarmouth's final meeting of the year will also see the close of our Four To Follow Competition which was kindly sponsored by the track this year. Standings are extremely close going into the final day and it's all to play for between the top 10:
Tony Peacock 152
Simon Kirk 152
Rita Aspland 149
Mark Arlidge 149
Dominic Lisle 138
Tony McGovern 137
Rod Gleed 136
Paula Smith 135
Ged Turley 134
Jim Stevens 134
Also running on Tuesday will be Boxatricks at Kempton. He ran his best race yet last time but hanging right in the finish probably cost him a place. He'll be going right-handed this time so that shouldn't be a disadvantage and he has really come into himself in the last few weeks so hopefully he can start stringing some good results on the track together.
Our Cilla has been waiting all year for some soft ground and she ran a lot better when finally getting it at Yarmouth last week. She was a bit unlucky that day but should head to Newbury on Friday with conditions in her favour again. She is on a good rating so I hope the two mile distance isn't too much for her.
Lots of the horses have now gone off on their winter holidays until the new year so things are a bit quieter in the yard at the moment. Plenty of odd-jobs have been done in the mean time and we also took a few of the older horses for a spin over hurdles to perk them up. As you will see in the video above, they all got the hang of it in the end but that was after a few scares at the first attempt with one rider hitting the deck (we won't name the rider!).
Newmarket has been a busy town recently with the yearling sales dominating the last fortnight. We knew all we could afford at the premier sale was a cup of tea so we stayed away until this week when the more affordable lots went under the hammer. After loads of catalogue research and even more time spent inspecting the lots, we came away with a lovely filly by Helmet who has been a lucky sire for us with Oud Metha Bridge. We were after a horse who could win as a two-year old and she is bred to do just that as two of her siblings won in their juvenile season.
The mammoth horses in training sale is taking place at the end of this month and after then we will put her up for syndication along with any other horses we may have picked up in the coming weeks so keep posted!
I’m pretty sure we’ve never had seven runners in one day before so Monday may be setting a new record as we take that many to our favourite track Yarmouth.
I did have nine entered and only really expected four or five to get a run as there were so many others entered in each race but some of the fields cut up meaning that a few extra can take their chances.
The 7f nursery split into two divisions meaning Highway Robbery gets a chance to run. I was happy with the rating he got after three runs but thought that he would run better on handicap debut last time. Maybe he didn’t quite stay the mile distance that day so the drop back to 7f could help him out. He is still a bit weak and immature so it won’t be long before he goes on a winter holiday to strengthen up.
I think the same can be said for Approve The Dream. He is just starting to look like he has hit another growing phase so we will see how he does in the second division of the nursery on Monday. I was hoping he would get a handicap rating of 60 or less so the 62 he got given is a touch high. I’m still not sure whether 6 or 7f is his best trip so we will learn more about him this time.
Owner Carol Bushnell only has one set of racing silks and for good reason - I don’t think she ever expected to have two runners in the same race! Sir Fred and Our Cilla will be up against each other in the staying handicap and it would be hard to choose between the pair. Our Cilla has had a frustrating year waiting for soft ground which means she hasn’t had a chance to run much but at least she is fresh and would have a squeak if there is a bit more rain. Sir Fred is very versatile with regards to the ground and has run well at the track before. Like I say, it’s hard to split their chances so I’ll settle for a win from either of them!
Gas Monkey is another horse who hasn’t had much racing this year but that is mainly because he is still growing and needs time between his races to recover. He has lots of ability and is well handicapped so should be winning again providing the 1m2f doesn’t get too testing on soft ground.
There is no doubt that Oud Metha Bridge is a better horse on the all weather but he is rated a stone lower on the turf so it makes sense to try and exploit that before a winter campaign on the sand. He has been a bit sulky in his last two runs but Shelley can now ride him again and he seems to go best for her. The straight track and wide draw should be to his liking so hopefully he can get back into form.
By the time Pitch High is our last runner, we’ll either be singing from the roof tops or desperate to get home depending how the others run but he is just the type of horse who could spring a surprise. He has always shown more ability at home than on the track but some cut in the ground would really suit him and there is no doubt that he is well handicapped it’s just a case of whether he wants to do it!
That rounds off our seven runners on Monday at Yarmouth, hopefully all come home safe and sound, the owners have a great day out and we bring back a winner or two!