Thursday 26 November
A long trip to Wetherby yesterday - to see Savingforvegas make her debut for Ben Turner in the concluding Mares Bumper. SFV was purchased at the Cheltenham May Sale after showing some pretty decent form in Irish Points prior to winning her final start in that sphere in Tralee by 20 lengths. Having summered out at The Elms Stud, she returned in August, having done herself well. She was treated for a nasty sarcoid under her girth, but Stuart was always able to work round it and she was never held up for long. After a recent racecourse gallop around Towcester she was spot on for yesterday. We had been told the ground would suit, but when I saw her against a nice bunch of fillys and mares in the paddock, she looked like the one least likely to cope with it, as she is a small and slight wee thing. What she lacks in stature she makes up for in heart, and under a brave ride by Paddy Brennan, who never left the inside, she crept up the inside up the home straight to beat a very highly regarded mare of Alan Kings to land the spoils, with 13 lengths back to the third. This half sister to Rathvinden is a lovely prospect, and the chances are she will now begin her hurdling career, although further bumpers do remain an option if we think she can sneak some black type, and enhance her paddock value/potential. She has returned safe and sound, and will have a good few days off to get over the exertions of yesterday. Congratulations to Ben, who has supported us for many years now, and backed us when we suggested he bought this mare in the spring. Ben would like to breed in the future, and having not quite hit the spot with Maypole Lass, he now has a nice mare to carry on that plan!! Before we set off for Wetherby we got to see Cloonacool school over fences again - he was electric!! Blood tests have shown that he isn't suffering with anything, which means that he almost certainly ran his race in Ascot - it is just that the race was a hot heat, and he got found out on the softer surface. He was able to win on soft off of lower marks, but when you are approaching the ceiling of your abilities, you need everything to be right, and he probably needs a sounder surface to bring out the best in him. We will look for a Novice Chase in 2-3 weeks. This evening we have a go on the All Weather!! Sneaking Budge runs in the 7.10 in Chelmsford City. We have offered him to the owners of Dawn Commander, who we sadly lost last week, and 99% of the folks that I have had chance to contact have taken up the opportunity to have a share in him - we thank you for your continued support! SB is only going to Chelmsford tonight so that we can learn a bit about him. Stuart hasn't done too much with him since he arrived, but what he has seen, he likes. Jo rode him in a piece of work on Saturday, and said that he had really improved in the time he has been at Fences Farm. He has schooled really well over hurdles, and will go down that route in a couple of weeks, but tonight will help us learn about him. We think the step up to 2 miles will help him travel, and although not expecting to be troubling the judge, we are looking forward to getting going with him. Bold Conquest is declared in the opener in Doncaster tomorrow. The good ground will suit, and Brendan rides. BC is in fine form, and should enjoy the track and ground. A big field will be to his liking, and again, it could be a good day out. To end a busy few days - Sage Grouse will head to Bangor on Saturday. I look forward to seeing a great number of NBR members over the next couple of days - Good Luck!!