Monday 15 March
The Same Week, Just Different
It's the week of the Cheltenham Festival - the same week - just different! I hope you all manage to find a few winners! We had a quiet week last week, with just one runner on Saturday. Volkovka ran in the juvenile handicap hurdle in Sandown. This was a change of plan, a race not originally in her schedule- as many of you will know - I always like our horses to have at least three weeks break between runs - they perform in an endurance discipline, and even though they can appear to have had an easy race, and be in good order - they need that extra time. On Saturday we discovered that Volkovka needs longer between races. The decision to run was the right one - she was entered when it looked like the race would cut up, the track suited, and the ground looked ideal for her too. This entry looked a good call, when Paddy rode her in a piece of work on Tuesday, and said it was a fabulous piece of work. On Saturday, taking on just 3 opponents, V travelled and jumped like the best horse in the race, cruising into contention 2 furlongs out, only for the petrol guage to hit empty when Paddy popped the question, eventually finishing third. It was a shade disappointing, but it was clear that she had run flat, and that her previous win in Exeter had taken more out of her than was thought. She has also been on the go for a very long time - she would have been broken in as a yearling, and then prepped for her breeze up, after which she would have remained in work. She made her debut in France in February last year, and apart from the odd few days here and there - would have been on the go for an absolute age. She needs a break - she will head down to Jason Maguires for a few days at the spa, and then return to Ravenswell Farm until the time that she can be turned out for her summer holiday. She will return for mares handicap hurdles next autumn. Classic Ben has had a small procedure on his joints and is back at Fences Farm. He will remain in, on box rest and in controlled walking exercise for the next 6 weeks during which time he will receive the very latest in veterinary science, with a new treatment. Go Millie Go is in fine fettle after her brave run in Doncaster - and will be out again in mid April. Hi Ho Silva Lining is on his way back from injury, and had his first canter on the gallop on Saturday. He will continue to build up his fitness, and prove that he is 100% over his ailments, and will only run again this season if it is definitely the right thing to do - if not he will be put away and be back in the Autumn. Blue Bikini is declared to run in Sedgefield tomorrow. She is in good heart and this is the right race for her. This will be her fourth start of the season, and hopefully she can get her win bracket tomorrow. It was good to pop into Ravenswell Farm last week - Yauthym is in great form, despite taking a horror tumble last time out. She has an entry in Fakenham on Friday - and is an intended runner. Hidden Beauty really is a beauty - and she is looking great. She is a fantastic looking girl, and is really going the right way, her half sister ran last week in Clonmel, and looked like a filly with huge ability as she was absolutely cantering turning into the straight in her bumper, but then proceeded to run very green as she got tired, and hung left surrendering the victory. There is obviously a lot of ability in the family! Hopefully we will get to see her this spring, but even if Fergal thinks that she is best left until the autumn - she is a smashing mare to look forward to! It was also good to pop into Olly Murphy's last week to see Auditoria. She is in great heart, kicking and bucking. She did run up light after her second on hurdles debut in Hereford, and is another who is having plenty of time between runs at this stage of her career. The winner of her Hereford race had run twice in France, and with her win, the handicapper has a fair handle on her - and has given her a mark of 117 - so Auditoria's run in a close second was a tremendous debut effort and she is a filly with a very bright future. We will be at pains to retain her novice/maiden status over hurdles, so her next run is scheduled for the flat. The half sister to Queenohearts has arrived in the UK. Brexit has caused several headaches and delays - but we are through the system now, and further imports should be a lot more simple now that we are aware of the procedures involved in getting it done, although it will never be as simple as it once was. She heads to Jason Maguires where she will be broken in. She will then have a summer out, and return there for her secondary school around August. The aim is to have her with Fergal by the new year, and get a run in a bumper next spring. I hope we have our import system sorted now, as I have got my hands on a cracking filly in France - I just couldn't let her pass by, even though we will have to work on getting her home! She is a winner on the flat, and has a rating of 85. She is also the 3/4 sister to a Group 1 filly, who was second in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot - she will be given the summer off, and come back for fillies juvenile hurdles in the autumn. More on her in the future. Our Mamool 3 yr old is getting on great guns at Charlie Poste's. He is a fine horse, and we already have most of a syndicate formed for him. He will stay with Charlie for another few weeks, then return to The Elms for some spring grass before heading to Ravenswell Farm in July. He will be aimed at juvenile bumpers and hurdles next autumn, Savingforvegas is nearing her due date - and has been moved into the warm and dry. She is due to Blue Bresil, and hopefully she can make it 4 bay colts from 4! She will visit Falco this year - a sire I really like, and one that I have been keen to use for a number of years! Molly Childers has begun her broodmare career, she was covered by Planteur on Saturday, so fingers crossed she takes to him first time!