Saturday 31 March
Today we head to Haydock for the Final of their Challenger Stayers Series. This has been a great initiative by the BHA for the last few years, as it gives a chance for horses rated between 120 and 140 a decent end of season target to aim at, with all the finals worth £50,000. These horses, at this stage of their career, are not quite good enough to be worthy of a run at the big spring festivals in Cheltenham, Aintree or Punchestown, but this is an opportunity for them, and their owners to have a big day out, at a Grade 1 track, and run for some serious prize money. Today Classic Ben gets his chance. After winning his first two starts over hurdles, we had visions of him lining up in The Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle at The Cheltenham Festival, but after being well beaten in Grade 2 company in Doncaster in January, we scrapped plans to run in that. He was instead aimed at a qualifier for todays final in February, again in Doncaster, and ran a cracking race to be a close second under top weight, and immediately after that we decided to head here with him. He is very well in himself, and has the cheekpieces on for the first time, which will help him a great deal. Classic Ben has stablemate Clondaw Native lining up against him today, and they run off of the same mark - Tom O'Brien rides CN. Ciaran rides Classic Ben,and hopefully he will run a big race. Talking of Ciaran, he had been looking for a sponsor for a while, and thanks to Phil Beard, and his business partner Tony Wright at Thomas Quinn - Ciaran will now carry their logos on his breeches and bib. Phil and Tony set up accountants, Thomas Quinn, in 2013 under their leadership they have grown the business, so that it now operates from 4 offices. Phil has shares in a number of horses with us, and as a big fan of Ciaran - he is very much looking forward to him riding for him both today, and in the future! If anyone is looking for Accountancy services then please get in touch with Phil at Thomas Quinn (www.thomasquinn.co.uk) - they are our chosen accountants for our Investment arm, Whitwick Bloodstock Ltd, and come highly recommended. Tomorrow we will head to Plumpton with Pull Together, who runs in their maiden hurdle. He is stepping back in trip, but the ground is going to be very testing, so we don't see that as an undue negative. He has been so very consistent this winter, and deserves to get his head in front. It would be lovely to get a hurdles win on his card before he heads off on a chasing campaign next winter. Sneaking Budge will head to Market Rasen on Monday, and Chandos Belle will only have Huntingdon as an option, as it will be Plumptons second day racing in a row, on very bad ground, so she will not be going there whatever. If Huntingdon is deemed not suitable she will have entries from April 7th onwards. By the looks of the weather forecast, both meetings at Huntingdon and M Rasen on Monday must be in some doubt, as there looks to be lots of snow around!! Happy Easter!!