Sunday 30 December
Topsy Turvy Christmas Period
It has been a real mixed bag over Christmas. No runners for us on Boxing Day, but the yard had a third place in Huntingdon. On the 27th. Three headed to Kempton. San Seb was fancied to run well in the opener. A very impressive winner of his previous start, he had to conceede 7lbs to all of his rivals, but we felt that he was up to the task, and this was the right race. In thick fog, where visibility was limited, he seemed to jump and travel well, and there were 5 in a line jumping the second last. On the day it looked as though the 7lb penalty then caught him out, as he weakened to finish 5th. We were still happy enough with the run, and were looking to the future - sadly we will not see him until next season now, as it has transpired that he has suffered a season ending injury during the race, and will need a period of rest. In hindsight it shows how much ability he has to run the race he did, a fact that was backed up yesterday, when the horse that he beat easily in Fakenham was a facile winner in Newbury. A frustrating early end to his season, but he will be back in the autumn, and remains a lovely prospect. Maria's Benefit was next up, and in even thicker fog, she failed to read the script. She settled in behind beautifully, and from what little we could see, was jumping really well. The favourite Kalashnikov was off the bridle, and Ciaran thought he had all bases covered as she was going very much within herself when he decided to change up a gear and slip up the inner half way down the back. Sadly Maria got herself in a muddle, and just got the second in the back straight all wrong, in the process, dislodging Ciaran. She came back into view without him, but seemed fine. Not what the doctor ordered, but one thing is for sure, she can travel in that grade, and there will be many fine days for Paul and Jan to have with her in the future. Molly Childers was the third of the three - back over hurdles, she ran probably the best race of her career, when giving the winner a real race in the mares hurdle. She jumped and travelled great, but once again, just found one too good. There was a long gap back to the third. She really tried, and was a tired horse in the winner enclosure - it is amazing that she has still only won one race, and has finished second 8 times, but she is genuine, and surely, her time will come very soon. We will wait and see what the handicapper does, and make a plan. She has come out of her race fine. Yesterday Classic Ben headed to Doncaster and ran a blinder to be a close third in a very competitive handicap chase. With cheekpieces back on, he travelled and jumped great, and did just as he had done over hurdles at the track earlier in the year - he flew after the last going from 5th to 3rd, and flying at the death. For once, Ciaran enjoyed the ride he got off of him, and everyone was pleased with the run. We know that marathon trips are what he needs, but he is only 5, and despite having an entry in a regional National already (Fontwell Nov), he will not be asked to undertake one of them until next season. These sort of races can really bottom horses, and often when they have had a hard race in one of them, they never regain their form - so for that reason we will mind him - there will be plenty of fun to be had with him, without bottoming him out. CB has come out of the race well. Lilly's Arc stepped up the pace yesterday, and is going the right way - if all continues this way she will be back on the track in 3-4 weeks. Pull Together is another that is nearly back, and we will start to look for races for him. Queenohearts is bouncing after her win, and The Jane Seymour (Grade 2) remains the plan for her, with a possible trip to Ireland in early April also on the agenda. Getaway Mixie will resume ridden work next week after her wind op. Figarella Borget is really pleasing everyone, and she looks great. She is coming along really well, and if this continues, she too could be out in just a few weeks. Our Bubba is looking great after his wind op, and will quicken up again soon. Happy New Year to everyone!!