Thursday 28 December
We headed to Huntingdon on Boxing Day with no less then 4 runners in the black, red and white. All 4 were in the right races, although we were rolling the dice a little bit with Kaloci in the rescheduled Henrietta Knight Listed Mares Bumper - she needed to step up on her winning form, and we were just aiming at getting her some valuable Black Type. The yard also had Vinegar Hill running in the Lincolnshire National in Market Rasen. Classic Ben got proceedings rolling - and despite running very lazily, and basically dossing about for most of the 2m 3 1/2f trip he burst through as they straightened up, and although, once again pricking his ears when he hit the front, he galloped all the way to the line for a length win. He did veer into the second on the run in, and had to survive a Stewards Enquiry, but there was little chance of him losing the race. We will wait to see what the handicapper says, but he could have earned himself a rating in the mid 130's and if that is the case, he could well step up in grade and trip at the end of January. He is also likely to have an entry in both the Ballymore, and Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival. Remarkably, despite me telling everyone fpr a long long time how much we like him there is still 1 10% share left available - please call me on 07909 518902 if you fancy a share in a horse who looks good enough to be going to Cheltenham!! Sneaking Budge was next up, and he travelled well for a long way, until weakening on the turn in. Ciaran felt he hadn't stayed and a return to 2m is on the cards. Land League had the assistance of Paddy Brennan, with Ciaran claimed to ride for his Boss. Land League has the size and scope to be a really good chaser, but he hasn't quite stepped up yet, and Boxing Day was much the same again. He lacks a bit of conviction at his obstacles, and tends to squeeze and extra stride or two in all the time. He will have another go over the bigger ones, but if that doesn't work he will revert to Hurdles. He is fit and well, but could also be a horse better suited to spring/summer, and we will be mindful of him through the depths of winter, with a campaign in the sunshine in mind. Kaloci was the fourth one to run in Huntingdon, and as mentioned we had pitched her into a red hot Mares Listed Bumper in the (slight) hope that she could pick up third place and some valuable Black Type. Kaloci is tiny, but has the heart of a lion, and despite looking beaten as they turned out of the back, she battled on and on, to get the all important third place a furlong out, which she bravely managed to cling on to! She is such a trier, and has now earned her Black Type, and earned herself her future as a broodmare when her racing career is over. Up in Market Rasen, Vinegar Hill ran really well for a long way on the front, but after making 2 serious mistakes at the fifth and fourth last he lost his pitch, and it was game over. All the horses seem fine after their runs. Huge thanks to Huntingdon who catered for a huge band of our owners yesterday on what is their busiest day of the year! Everyine got an O&T Badge, and were also given a meal ticket as well - other racecourses should take note - syndicates/partnerships are a bug part of racing, and need to be looked after! Top marks to Huntingdon - we will be back!! Yesterday Stuart and I sat down and made a few plans for them - as it looks like a few will have some big targets in the spring, and the rest of their winter has to be geared up to running there. This weekend, Maria's Benefit goes for the 4 timer in Taunton - in the Listed Mares Novices' Hurdle. She won in Sandown on Soft, and will run on that on Saturday, but if it gets any worse than that she will wait a while for her next run. Chandos Belle worked great yesterday, and has an entry in Warwick on Sunday. Their ground is heavy, and waterlogged in places, but if they pass their inspection on Friday,she will take her chance. She worked really nicely yesterday. New Boy Ulyssess (not that one), is entered in Fakenham on New Years Day. A juvenile I purchased in Late October, has been given time to settle in and his work has improved since his arrival. He could be a fun horse for the future, as he has a fabulous pedigree, and has already finished 4th in a juvenile hurdle. The further he goes the better.