After three weeks without a runner due to a few of the horses feeling slightly under the weather, we are finally back on a racecourse this week with a handful of runners.
I'm very happy with how the yard are looking and it has been a while now since any horse has started coughing so hopefully we are over the virus. The older horses really enjoyed their fortnight out in the paddocks and it has certainly recharged their batteries if nothing else.
Our first representative will be Pitch High as he travels down to Brighton on Monday. He ran a promising race on debut and then showed nothing next time out but I have the feeling that the ground may have been too firm for him that day so hopefully the rain that has recently fell over Brighton will help him out this time. He is quite a big horse so I would be a bit worried about him handling the track's unique lumps and bumps but he will qualify for a handicap rating after this and should progress with time.
One horse who has shown no signs of illness this year yet hasn't run much is Valley Lodge and that is because he loves soft ground which we just haven't had much of this summer. As a result, we have been chasing conditions around the country in the hope of getting some rain for him which means we will be making the trek to Chepstow on Tuesday. His best run to date was when he narrowly lost out at Haydock on really testing ground so you can forget his poor run on firmer going the next time. He is working well at home and I just hope the ground doesn't dry out too much between now and race time.
He had a good gallop with Secret Ballerina during the week and the filly went very well wearing blinkers for the first time. I thought she would be winning a race earlier in the season but she has gone backwards since then so some headgear may be just what she needs to get her back on track.
Wednesday sees the return to action for old stalwart Candesta. He is mainly an all-weather horse so has had the summer off for new owner Jo Lambert but his race at Beverley this week looks a good starting point as it is a low-grade handicap for horses which haven't won more than one race so he fits the bill nicely. It's likely he will need the run but he looks great at home and could run well if on a going day.
Another old favourite in the yard running this week will be The Ducking Stool at Pontefract on Thursday. I had her entered at Haydock last week but the ground was a bit too quick for her so hopefully Pontefract will get the forecast showers. She will be running over the extreme trip of 2m2f but I think that will be ideal for her as all she does nowadays is gallop on relentlessly. She will improve for the run as she can get quite stuffy after some time off but she always tries and should give N.E.T. Racing Club members a run for their money.
I'm delighted with how Best Example is progressing after we bought him from Godolphin last month so I had no hesitation in looking at the big operation's lots which came under the hammer at Doncaster Goffs' September Sale last Tuesday and I'm glad I did. As per usual there were some lovely horses on show and I was very happy to come away with an unraced two-year old by one of the best sires in the country, Kodiac. Called Secret Strategy, this powerful gelding was regarded as one of the sharpest juveniles in Charlie Appleby's yard but a setback in the spring meant he couldn't race in the early part of the season. As is the way of many big yards, he was then forgotten about and sent to the sales without ever being given a chance to shine. That is where smaller yards like ours take advantage and we can really get the best out of him.
He is available for syndication with 10% shares costing £1000 plus £200 per month all-inclusive training fees. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or CONTACT US for more details.
As I'm sure you all know, we have an 'open door' policy to owners here at Harraton Stud, meaning they can visit the yard whenever suits them but if you've been meaning to come down to see the yard, as an owner or not, this weekend is your perfect opportunity as it is Newmarket Open Day on Sunday 18th September. Out of the 70-odd licensed trainers in and around the town, it is a bit sad that we are one of only 15 yards opening our doors to the public. I know that those not opening will be blaming the virus which has hung around the town all year but with the correct hygiene measures in place, there is little risk to horses in the yard and the public will be missing out on a once in a year chance to get up close to some of their favourite equine stars. Although we can't boast of having any Derby winners in the yard, we will be unique in the fact that you can come to ours and see the horses out in the paddocks enjoying their day off whilst also getting the chance to stroke some of the youngsters in their stables. We also have a trio of foals for you to play with in the field and you can see how a racehorse starts its career. Anyone is welcome from 10am and there will be plenty of refreshments on offer so head on down! Full details of all events happening on the day can be found at: http://www.newmarketopenweekend.co.uk/more-information//