Last week was billed to be a busy one and after a few near-misses, we finally came good at the last attempt but probably from the least likely source!
Tallulah's Quest was our big hope for a winner and we looked to be right as she cruised into the lead with two furlongs to run at Ffos Las on Monday, only to run out of steam and be chinned on the line. It was a hard defeat to take at a time when we desperately needed a winner and the six hour journey home certainly felt long! However, it was great to see her run as well as we thought she could and it won't be long before she gains compensation.
Another who went close was Majestic Moon at Yarmouth on Wednesday. He was dropping back to six furlongs but still had the pace to get to the lead before lacking a turn of foot inside the final furlong and finishing third. He was running in a race restriced to lady riders (professional or amateur). I had no qualms about Hayley Turner coming out of retirement (again) to ride in the race but the one concern about the conditions of the event was that she could ride against far less experienced jockeys off level weights i.e. the amateurs did not claim an allowance. This seems pretty unfair and will ultimately lead to inexperienced riders struggling to get rides in these races. It is the first year of this great series and hopefully the conditions can be altered for next year to make things a bit fairer.
Anyway, feeling pretty tired after a week of long days, we headed to Lingfield on Saturday evening with a pair of raiders. Rain on the way down led us to think the meeting might be abandoned as Lingfield is notorious for flooding and the ground was already soft.
Luckily, the showers dodged the course and Our Cilla went to post as the 20/1 outsider for her race. With orders to make the running, we were cursing as soon as the gates opened after Cilla and jockey Milly Naseb were hampered and had to sit in last place. Luckily Milly didn't panic and she took her time by gradually creeping into the race. Turning into the straight, the pair had passed half the field and were coming down the straight with a wet sail. The eventual six length victory left us speechless!
Fair play to owner Carol Bushnell, this is not the first (or even the second) time one of her horses has been pretty useless as a two-year old to then go on and improve bundles as an older horse. She loves to buy late-developing types which is a refreshing change in an industry full of people wanting a quick return. After success with Sancho Panza, Duke Of Diamonds and now Our Cilla, her policy obviously works and hopefully she will have many more successful days to come.
On a less happy note, some of you will already know that my longest serving owner, Dick Creese, left the yard recently after our (only) argument. After 17 years and many winners together, it is a great shame that the partnership comes to an end over something as trivial as a jockey booking but, after the way I was spoken to, I felt the association was untenable.
His horse Aldbury Lass was picked up by another trainer this week whilst Oceanus and Little Orchid will have to go to the sales to dissolve the partnership.
I know many of you got to meet Dick at the races and he was always a gentleman but it appears that on this occasion we met a block in the road that could not be passed. Time is a great healer and I hope we can be friends again.
After a manic week, the coming few days will be lot quieter thankfully with our only runners coming next Saturday.
Majestic Moon loves his racing and his syndicate of owners love going racing so it's a perfect match and they are set for a great day out at Ascot next weekend. He will be lining up in the prestigious Ladies's Diamond race on King George day and could have a chance at a course he has done well at in the past. We will try and book the best rider available but it shouldn't matter too much as he is a straight-forward ride.
As already mentioned, Tallulah's Quest was a very unlucky loser last week and she will bid to go one better this Saturday at Lingfield. The race conditions are pretty much identical to last time but thankfully the track is four hours closer to home! I hope she has another great chance.
FOUR TO FOLLOW UPDATE
Ken Campbell 60
Ros Taylor 60
John Chalklin 59
George Evans 58
Clare Peacock 54
Kevin Case 49
Trevor Mather 48
J Rogers 46
Julia Feilden 44
Eileen Turner 44