Owners don't come much more patient than Carol Bushnell who's policy of buying late-maturing horses requires plenty of the stuff and it was great that she was rewarded with a winner this week. Highway Robbery was in fact bought to be an early type but took a bit longer to mature than first thought. He had really got his act together recently and followed up some consistent efforts with success at Lingfield on Saturday evening.
Settled in behind the leaders by jockey Sophie Ralston, the pair made their move at the top of the straight but needed every yard of it as they only got to the front on the line to win in a photo finish. "Robbie" is as tough as they come and was bucking around the paddock the following morning so obviously feels good after his win. Carol has some nice horses to look forward to in the yard with the highly-promising Noble Account still to qualify for handicap races.
Carol's Winter Snowdrop also ran a career best earlier in the week when finishing fourth at Brighton despite not handling the track whilst Wilson went one place better at the same course, only half a length behind the winner.
Yarmouth holds a two-day meeting this week so we have plenty of entries there but before that, two-year old Alibaba makes his debut at Leicester on Monday. We bought him at the breeze-up sales last month and he hasn't done anything wrong since arriving. He was a bit tricky when we gave him some stalls practice and has to wear a rug in them to keep him relaxed which means he is a bit slow out of them. I imagine this will be the case at the races too so he will likely need the run to sharpen up but hopefully he can show some promise for the near future as he does at home on the gallops.
As mentioned, Yarmouth is racing on Wednesday and Thursday this week but has loads of entries in all their races and the forecast looks very wet so how many we actually run is yet to be decided.
On the first day, Sir Fred and Boxatricks should get a run and won't mind a bit of juice in the ground either. Fred ran well after a winter holiday last time and should be a bit fitter now whilst Boxatricks was disappointing last time, maybe it was the firm ground or maybe he is better on the all-weather but we will learn more this time.
Oud Metha Bridge is in cracking form but wouldn't want really soft ground so we will watch the weather. He has run two great races at the course this season but has to go up a grade this time which will be harder but he is in the form of his life currently and seems very happy with himself.
Lulu Star is the other entry on Wednesday but has been a bit stiff since her last run so we will see how she feels before deciding to run her.
Thursday could be a bit manic with entries at three racecourses.
At Nottingham, Noble Account will be having his third career run after two very promising goes already. The soft ground will be an unknown and he is still learning all the time but hopefully he can put in another good show against the big boys.
Telekinetic has an entry but looks unlikely to get in.
At Newbury, Gas Monkey will be bidding to make it two wins from two runs since wearing a hood and I don't see why he shouldn't. If the hood is the making of him then he has plenty more left in the tank and the fast pace of an amateur riders' race should suit him too for his hold-up style.
Looking at Yarmouth, Miss Green Dream and New Expo are again in the same race after finishing second and third against each other last time. Green Dream was unlucky to be in front so soon whilst New Expo is still improving so they can definitely both build on their last run. New Expo wouldn't want soft ground though.
Approve The Dream was another to run a blinder at Yarmouth in his last run but then got kicked by another horse on the gallops so had to have a few weeks off. He is back fighting fit now and should go close in his race if resuming in the same form as last time.
Completing the Thursday entries is Spanish Mane. She looked to be lacking confidence after clipping heels and falling last month but her work at home has been really good so maybe she is feeling better about herself now. She is better than her current rating so I really hope she can get over her bad experience and show us what she's got.
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