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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Ann Buy 82
Sue Morris 76
Linda Weston 68
Mark Jackson 67
Stephen Broadley 65
Jim Stevens 63
Andy Condon 63
Rita Aspland 62
Hugo Dodge 62
Ian Jennings 62
This week's plaudits went to Casey Banter who got her first win of the season at Chelmsford on Monday under a great ride from apprentice Sean Kirrane. She had been very consistent at the track recently and was unlucky last time not to win so thankfully things went her way on this occasion and she came home four lengths clear of the second place horse.
It was another winner for the N.E.T. Racing Club who are enjoying a successful time at the moment after Gas Monkey's win a few weeks before.
The Club is the best introduction to racehorse ownership and costs just £200 for 12 months' membership, more details can be found on our OWNERSHIP page.
There were no winners for us at this week's Yarmouth meeting but some big efforts in defeat as we had the second and third home in the first race after 11/1 shot Miss Green Dream led home 100/1 chance New Expo behind a last-gasp winner. Miss Green Dream has looked a much better horse since tackling middle distances and is sure to win one soon as she settles well and has a good turn of foot for the grade. She probably just found herself in front a bit too long on this occasion after hitting the front three furlongs from home.
New Expo is very unexposed and we thought he would run well last time but he got stuck in the mud at Wetherby. He appreciated the faster ground this time and has plenty more to come so could be in for a profitable year for owners Chris Cleevely and partners.
This was Miss Green Dream's last run for her current owners as she will replace Terri Rules in the N.E.T. Racing Club after that filly was sold this week. She had been becoming more and more difficult in the stalls and, after four wins for us last year, it was the right time to give her a change of scenery and she has joined a trainer down in Epsom so we look forward to seeing how she gets on there. All this news and much more was in our latest newsletter which you can read HERE. I'm happy to report that it will now be available monthly once again and I hope it keeps you informed and entertained about life here at Harraton Stud.
With no Yarmouth meeting we won't have our usual raiding party on the coast this week but they do hold a two-day meeting the following week so we will be out in force then. We will still get some seaside air though as Winter Snowdrop goes down to Brighton on Monday for her handicap debut. She needed her three runs in maiden races and has been given a very fair rating by the handicapper which gives her a chance to be competitive. We are still learning about her but I don't think she quite stays 1m4f at the moment so the drop in trip isn't a worry and she seems well balanced enough to handle Brighton's unique contours so hopefully she can outrun her odds.
After that we won't be in action again until Friday with Wilson back at Brighton looking to have a bit more luck than last time when he was hampered at a crucial stage. Majestic Moon will be at Goodwood that evening and I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do over this longer trip as he has looked like he needs it recently. He is well handicapped now so should be in with a shout if staying the distance.
Saturday will be pretty busy with four runners at two different meetings.
Close to home, Raha and Exning Queen will be running in the same novice race at Newmarket as they get a bit more racecourse experience under their belts. You need a very good horse to win these races nowadays so they are both works in progress and will improve for the experience before they go handicapping.
At Lingfield, Limerick Lord will be back in action after a short break and should go well as he normally does after a rest. He has no worries about the trip or track so fingers crossed he can get involved. Likewise with Highway Robbery who will be accompanying him down south as he bids to continue his consistent run of form.
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