As far as perfect starts go, we couldn't have wished for a better way to kick off 2022 than with a winner.
As his 20/1 price suggested, we were hardly confident that Oud Metha Bridge was going to win but we knew that he was well handicapped and capable of running well on a going day. That didn't even look likely as the stalls opened after he jumped slowly and settled at the back of the field where he usually runs a bad race. However, the new surface at Southwell and long straight there seemed to bring out the best of him as he quickened down the outside and got up to win a bit cosily under Dylan Hogan.
Oud has been a great servant to us since we bought him back in 2017 and this was his sixth win. He still has a fantastic group of owners in his syndicate and it was nice that so many of them could be there to see their boy win.
We should probably quit while we're ahead as our 100% strike rate is impossible to keep but we've three entries with a chance at Chelmsford on Thursday.
Maeve's Memory will be having her first run for us since switching stables and it'll be interesting to see how she fares over a mile having done all of her racing over shorter. She has been keen in the past but has been really relaxed since coming to us and her gallops at home suggest she wants this kind of trip. We'll learn lots about her after this run.
Hot Romance hasn't had much luck with wide draws recently which have hampered her chances but she has some good form at Chelmsford so hopefully she can get a sensible starting stall this time. She is on a low rating now and we'll claim 7lb off so she has all the assistance to help her out.
The third entry is Chelmsford stalwart Engrave. She won her fifth race at the track last month before again not showing the same kind of form elsewhere, this time Wolverhampton. She is on a very high handicap mark now but she obviously loves the course and rarely runs badly there.
The only weekend entry we will have is Arpina at Lingfield on Saturday. She is frustrating in that she has to make the running to be seen at her best but she isn't quick enough for 6f and doesn't stay 7f. We're over 7f this time but hoping the downhill track at Lingfield will help her see out the trip.
She will be our last runner for a week or so as John and myself are heading off to Tenerife for a week. Hopefully the covid situation doesn't affect our plans and it'll be nice to get some sun on our backs. With all the lockdowns and stuff I think this is the first time I've been abroad in three years!
There was a wrap-up edition of our newsletter the Harraton Herald last week and if you missed it you can read it here: https://mailchi.mp/9a73857763b2/harraton-herald-september-11216234