Tuesday, 30 March 2010

the sting in the tail...

of this awful winter appears to be the horrendous storm that started last night and looks like lasting for another 24 hours, Newcastle today has been abandoned and the staff are having to show renewed levels of stoicism riding out in 40 mph winds accompanying heavy sleet and snow.
Fortunately we had a busy time last week, starting at Kelso on Monday where Forcefield showed promise again to finish 7th in the bumper, then on to Ayr on Thursday where Fearless Footsteps' breathing issues sadly prevented her from being competitive, we will find another job for her now, then Skipping Chapel ran a big race to finish 5th in the 2m 5f Handicap Chase, not quite seeing out the trip on the testing ground. Four Fiddlers then made a most pleasing debut in the bumper, travelling nicely into the race as they turned into the straight prior to tiring in the late stages. At Carlisle on Friday Isla Pearl Fisher (pictured on the left) didn't handle the soft ground, I am very hopeful that we will see a different horse on better ground. On to the Berwickshire point-to-point on Saturday where Almost Blue finished 3rd under brother Jamiein the Mens Open, Commercial Express was 2nd under Kit in the Novice Riders race and Lucy came 2nd in the Ladies Open for another yard.......... still too many 2nds!
Following today's abandonment at Newcastle Seeking Power will run at either Carlisle or Haydock on Saturday, Noir et Vert and Native Coll are also intended runners at Carlisle and Papamoa is entered at Haydock. Then it will be on to the Morpeth point-to-point on Easter Monday where intended runners at this stage are Amulree, Whispering Moor and Commercial Express - as ever, much will depend on the weather.

Sunday, 21 March 2010


Half of Tyneside seemed to be at Gosforth Park for the racing yesterday and they were in good voice having been stirred up by a fabulous week's racing at Cheltenham and lashings of Guinness who were sponsoring the day. Both our runners finished 2nd which in some ways was excellent but also slightly painful, Native Coll (pictured) was a little outpaced turning for home but stayed on gamely to finish 2nd to a handicap "good thing" of David Johnson's. Seeking Power only just failed by a neck to snatch victory from an Irish raider having made a bad mistake 3 out, hmm, we will keep trying. We left the point-to-pointers at home as the ground at Lanark would have been a bit too firm for them.

Tomorrow we run Forcefield in the "bumper" at Kelso, 14 run and Lucy rides, I hope he will have improved from his highly promising debut at Musselburgh and the track and ground should suit him well, this looks like a hot race though so we will just be hoping for another decent effort.

Later in the week we have entries at Ayr on Thursday, Carlisle on Friday, the Berwickshire p2p on Saturday and Hexham on Sunday; as ever, we will go where the weather takes us....

Sunday, 14 March 2010

hitting the crossbar..

Isla Pearl Fisher (pictured) put up a much improved effort to finish 4th of 9 at Carlisle on Thursday, after a few sketchy jumps early on he seemed to settle into a rhythm and hopefully he is now getting the hang of the job, we will look for a suitable handicap for him. After IPF's race I walked the course and found the ground rough and inconsistent so chickened out of running Four Fiddlers, I took a bit of flak but its important to follow one's convicitions in these circumstances. On Saturday at the Buccleuch p2p we had plenty of potential drama with Uncle Jamie riding and Lucy taking 3 outside rides, Almost Blue ran very well for Jamie considering he had been confined to his stable for most of the week, they finished a close 3rd, Lucy had two seconds, on Lesley Cottage in the Mares Maiden and Floreana in the Ladies Open, the latter just beaten a head. She then followed her Uncle home on Sorkatcheguy in the NPPA race to finish a good 5th after a two year absence. Luckily the main drama of the afternoon involved Mrs A leaving her binoculars in the Ladies loo, fortunately they were re-united by the end of the day.

This week we will sadly not be making our annual pilgrimage to the Cotswolds, we hope to have a couple of important runners at Hexham on Thursday if there is a little rain (Seeking Power and Native Coll) and at this stage there is little time to take the eye off the ball. Following that we should be represented at Lanark on Saturday and perhaps Newcastle on the same day, thereafter it is Carlisle next Sunday and Kelso on Monday.

Well, what's going to win at Cheltenham? who knows but spring like conditions could turn a lot of recent form on its head, either way I like the chances of Somersby and Khyber Kim on Tuesday and later that afternoon David Pipe's "banker" The Package might get a fright from Calgary Bay. If one wanted to oppose the awesome Dunguib in the opener then Oscar Whisky might be the one and in the Mares race later Voler la Vedette could upset her compatriot favourite Quevega. On Wednesday Diamond Harry might be good value to overturn the Henderson hotpots in the RSA Chase and everyone in the North will be hoping Kalahari King can lift the Champion Chase.... hmm that's a few trainers' weeks ruined having had the NWA kiss of death, win or lose let's hope for a great week's racing and all home safe and sound....

Thursday, 11 March 2010

the week rolls on

Papamoa made a most encouraging racecourse debut on Tuesday finishing 5th of 14 with some decent horses behind him. Seeking Power decided to have a sore foot and was lame so he didn't run, he appears sound now though. It is too late to have him ready for Ayr on Saturday so he will revert to his original target at Hexham next Thursday, a little precipitation would help.

Today two go to Carlisle, Isla Pearl Fisher runs in the 3.15, Adrian Lane rides, 9 run and the ground is good to soft. He has little chance at the weights but the key with him is to give him more education over fences and Carlisle ought to be the perfect place for that job. Later in the day we run Four Fiddlers (pictured) in the bumper at 5.15, Lucy rides and 18 run, could be a bit of a stampede and lots of top stables are represented. I bought this horse expensively as a yearling (though not for as much as it says in today's paper!) with a view to trading him on unbroken, as happens he received a kick to the head whilst I was laid up with my broken leg two years ago. Due to go the esteemed Derby Sale in Ireland the consignor's vet said he would never be able to breath properly (and therefore race) so he was duly withdrawn from the sale. There was however no case for humane destruction so we were left with him, thank goodness for that as he is as nice a horse as I have ever had anything to do with, he has it all - looks, temperament, an engine and he jumps, all he needs now is luck.

He won't be as tuned up as the horses from the "bumper" stables so today is very much about learning, I hope he will run a nice race though,I should add that I will walk the course at Carlisle and if it isn't proper good to soft ground he will be withdrawn.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Oh dear...

well, the only horse that ran below expectations at the weekend was the one owned by Mrs A, Commercial Express, hmm, clearly not as fit as trainer thought, "ground" said he, luckily we travelled to Alnwick in seperate cars... later in the afternoon Almost Blue put up a decent effort on ground far softer than he would have liked to come 2nd in the Men's Open. On Saturday Native Coll ran a good race to finish a close 5th, he was 10lb "wrong" and should go well when back in his own grade. Skipping Chapel ran slightly better than at Catterick on Tuesday, he has his problems now though.
Tomorrow we hope to run Seeking Power in the 3.20 at Newcastle, he will need to get over a last minute problem though, we will see in the morning, 5 run, Lucy rides and the ground will be holding, despite the low numbers it's competitive with 4 of the 5 winning last time and its a big step up in class, tomorrow looks tough but I do think he can progress further in the right conditions. Papamoa then makes his long awaited debut in the 5.20, Graham Lee rides and 14 run. This is a lovely young horse, the weather has played havoc with his preparation but I am happy with him now.
Later in the week we hope to be represented at Carlisle on Thursday, Ayr on Friday, perhaps Ayr on Saturday and also at the point-to-point at Kelso on Saturday so let's hope we keep busy...

Friday, 5 March 2010

Busy weekend (we hope)

Weather permitting we will have a busy time this weekend starting with Native Coll in the 1.55 at Kelso, he's a bit wrong at the weights and its a step up in class but I have been longing to run him over fences at Kelso which I think will suit him and frankly, with the weather still dodgy, I am going to grab any chance I can to get him on the track. 8 run, the ground will be gluey and Adrian Lane rides. Skipping Chapel makes a quick reappearance in the 3.00 after his disappointing trip to Catterick on Tuesday, he pulled too hard there and didn't see out the trip, to be honest we are only running because we sponsor the race and I was disappointed to see only 4 runners originally declared, they re-opened it and I declared him because the prize money is excellent and he seems well. 5 now run and Fearghal Davies rides. We hope to run Almost Blue in the Hunter Chase, I say hope because I wasn't quite sure about him today and I need to see how he is in the morning, if he does make it Jamie will ride and 5 will run, one of which, Robert Miller-Bakewell's Know the Ropes will be ridden by Lucy.
After a quiet night at the Ednam House Old Peoples Home in Kelso we will then head to Alnwick on Sunday where Kit is due to ride Commercial Express for his Mother, Mrs A, this horse is really bouncing and I am hopeful that he will run well.
As we are sponsoring a race Kelso Racecourse is kindly providing us with a box for the afternoon, I think it's known as the Duke's room, if anyone feels thirsty then please come and join us for a drink....