Our trip up to Newcastle was a luckless one on Saturday as the very slow pace meant that War Empress' race turned into a bit of a sprint which isn't something she is very good at doing. She is a big, galloping filly who stays two miles really well and will be seen in a better light when getting a more suitable race tempo. These things are out of our control as the filly likes to be held up so we'll just have to put it down to a bad day at the office.
The trip up to Newcastle should be a straightforward one as it just involves the A14 and A1 to get there but road closures at the minute make it a headache. I don't think I was actually on the A14 for very long but got to see plenty of the villages around it following all the roadworks diversions!
It obviously hasn't put me off going up north again as we'll be back at Newcastle on Wednesday with two runners. Oud Metha Bridge has won there before and run some excellent races in defeat too so the straight mile seems to really suit him. He had no luck last time when missing the break and getting hampered and I'd expect a better result here as he is in flying form at home.
Sea Shack will be heading north with him and he too is in good order. He has run two good races at Southwell recently and I don't see why Newcastle's different surface should be a problem for him.
We'll be closer to home on Thursday with another pair of runners at Southwell, both in the same race. Candesta ran pretty well last time considering how long off the track he had had off and he has won around this time of year for the past two years. If he is a bit fitter now then he could be in the shake-up.
Limerick Lord was behind Candesta last time they met and seems to have gone off the boil a bit. I might change the headgear he wears to race in to see if that perks him up as he is well handicapped on his old form now.
The team will be enjoying their Christmas party at the town's Mexican restaurant on Saturday evening and hopefully I'll be back from Lingfield in time to join them as we have Highway Robbery entered there. He hasn't had much luck in recent runs having been trapped very wide so if he can get a lower draw and a better position then I don't see why he shouldn't run well.