We worked some horses on the ‘back of the hill’ gallop on Wednesday. Plum Stone worked very well but did just need the blow. Westbrooke and Portmonarch worked very well together, both finishing very strongly. Fine Parchment looked full of beans.
Sureness ran on the All Weather at Kempton that evening, Adam Kirby rode her and confirmed as we suspected that she needs her wind doing, which is good news as she may well get two miles back over hurdles when it is sorted. She is booked in next Tuesday and then it should only take a month to get her back on track.
I only schooled 3 on the all weather on Thursday; Always Smiling, Almost Gemini and Seventh Sky. They all jumped well, with Seventh Sky seeming less hesitant.
This morning I rode Seventh Sky, he has been going in a hood all week to try and get him to relax and settle, it seems to be doing the trick so I have declared him to run in one at Stratford tomorrow. I then rode Area Access, he is in good order and goes to Stratford as well, it is stiffer competition but I think he will like the extended trip. Westbrooke also runs at Stratford in the bumper and Duke Of Monmouth runs in a h’cap hurdle at Uttoxeter, I have left Dukes head gear off this time as I have always thought he is a very genuine little horse, I hope this run will just give him his confidence back.
On Sunday we run Fine Parchment at Ascot in the Veterans Chase, it is a tough ask for him but as long as Harry doesn’t miss the start he should go well! It is likely that Airmen’s Friend and Always Smiling will run at Plumpton on Monday as long as the ground doesn’t get too soft.
David Crosse rode out for us on Wednesday morning and was full of the joys of spring after his first win in a year the previous day, unfortunately that afternoon he had a horrible fall smashing himself up quite badly. We all hope he makes a swift recovery and once again it is a stark reminder of what a tough job these boys do.
Things took a strange turn on Thursday morning when my ex wife bought round her new boyfriend to ask my permission to move in together! I felt like the Pope giving my blessing! With a new lease of life I then took 3 horses to the schooling ground, Airmens Friend, Always Smiling and Verano who all jumped well ahead of running in the next week.
We ran Shockingtimes at Newbury on Friday, he was a fast finishing 5th. He jumped okay but didn’t get the best ride in the world, I think he nearly could have won. That morning we sent Who Owns Me up in the lorry to run at Kelso on the Saturday, as it turned out it was an awfully long way to go for a very bad ride to eventually be pulled up.
Luckily I went to Newbury on Saturday rather than heading up to Kelso, we ran Murray Mount in the DBS 50k bumper, he was running well but 2f out he got stuck in the very tacky mud. Sands Cove ran in the 2m h’cap chase, he just found one to good when the winner went clear in to the lead 4f out leaving us on the back foot. He jumped beautifully and although we are still looking for that elusive win with the horse he did run well.
We ran Verano at Wincanton on Sunday, he ran on to take 3rd in the closing stages, his wind was very suspect. We have since managed to get him to Geoff Lane to have a soft palate today, which will enable us to still run him before the summer months, I am hoping he will improve quite a bit for it.
On Monday morning I rode Dragon City who gave me a very nice feel. I also rode Airmen’s Friend who felt superb and in need of a run. We put Sureness through the stalls ahead of her run on the all-weather on Wednesday at Kempton, she was very good compared to my helpers who couldn’t get the hang of it at all! Duke of Monmouth had an over ground scope, it showed absolutely nothing. It has been very frustrating with him as since he won in November his season has gone down hill and I don’t have clue why. We have done all sorts of tests on him and found nothing wrong with him.
I rode Almost Gemini and Sureness this morning who both felt very well. I had declared Airmen’s Friend at Fontwell today but I took him out this morning as they had a large band of rain and the ground had gone too soft for him.
I rode Sands Cove and the young horse Westbrooke on Monday, they both seemed in very good form. I then drove up to Southwell where we ran Area Access over the fixed brush hurdles. Harry Bannister rode him again, I think he was a little bit unlucky as had he have jumped the last without chipping in he probably would have won. It has been a frustrating season because of the rain and the fact that we have not had the ‘rub of the green’ in that we have had a few horses falling that would have won and too many seconds! but it goes like that.
This morning I rode Verano 1st lot, he feels great and will most likely run at Newbury on Saturday. I rode Murray Mount 2nd lot, he will take his chance first time out in the £50,000 bumper at Newbury on Saturday too.
We ran a nice horse today at Wetherby called Almost Gemini, he ran a really nice race in finishing second by 3/4l but he looked to be winning all the way until the line. He is a big horse who will win next time and will certainly jump a fence.
We had Harry Bannister riding out on Monday morning, he then drove me down to Taunton where we ran Sureness in her first hurdle, although she looked superb and jumped very well she does not get the trip. We will be running her on the flat though the summer. We then ran Area Access who was backed from 16-1 down to 9-2, he won very nicely with Harry Bannister on board. I had told the owners 3 days before that he would win but neither of us had a penny on him! The horse will most likely go up quite a bit in the h’cap but I have 10 days to run him before this so I will most likely get him out gain on Monday.
When I arrived at the Turf Club at Cheltenham on Tuesday there were 3 bottles of Champagne lined up for me on the bar – at least everyone else seemed to have backed Area Access! Prince Constantine came to ride Mr Big that morning ahead of his race course debut in the Cheltenham Charity race. The ground changed quite quickly at Cheltenham, all the races were run at an incredible speed, when they go as fast as they do there is very little room for error. We had a full house all week with family friends and owners staying. including Mark and my sister Caroline, Nick Bannister, David Batten, Lucinda Green and Andy Stone.
Fine Parchment ran in the Kim Muir on Thursday unfortunately he got left at the start, we then ran Mr Big in the Charity race with Prince Constantine on board, they both had a great time and raised lots of money. All in all it was a fantastic week of racing.
Seventh Sky at ran at Fakenham yesterday, it was unlucky that they had a delay at Cheltenham as he spent 15 minutes in the pre parade ring then more time walking on course, by the time he looked at the first hurdle he was shaking like a leaf and had left his race at home.
Dragon City worked very well with Portmonarch this morning. Shockingtimes and Verano both did a good bit together and will both run next week. Murray Mount worked very well and is on target for the DBS sales bumper next week.