Rain Rain Go Away!
Will it just stop raining!! We had a bit of everything in the last week – rain – frost – fog – and more bloody rain! It does at least look like we have a bit of a drier week forecast, which will be welcomed by all – it was amazing that we got to see as much racing as we did yesterday, with Aintree, Chepstow and Sandown all passing multiple inspections, a huge well done to everyone for getting those meetings on!
Our week started quietly enough, Monday spent in the office, Greyval was declared to run in Ludlow on Wednesday. She had run really well on her seasonal debut in a very hot race in Ascot, travelling and jumping great until the lack of a recent run, and an interrupted prep took its toll as they turned for home. We had spotted this mares only handicap in the programme book straight after that run, and it had been her target race since then. The entries had been kind, and when declarations closed at 10.00am on Monday, we were all looking at runners and very much looking forward to heading to Shropshire two days later. It looked like an ideal opportunity for her to get back to winning ways, with the ground and return to a flat track sure to suit. Greyval had suffered a minor set back a couple of weeks before when she had pulled a muscle, but after a quiet week she had bounced back to form and had worked great the Friday before and schooled well under Kielan Woods on Monday morning ahead of decs so we were all set to go and looking forward to it!
On Monday afternoon we received the final part of the Red Sash Racing Club welcome pack, when the digital file for the two free bet offers from The Tote arrived by email. The team at The Tote had been going to print them off and send me them so that I could get the first welcome packs out to members, but their print departments was overrun working on pre-Christmas offers, so to enable us to deal with our own pre-Christmas rush, and get the packs out to everyone that has purchased a share in Ridin Solo, we had to print them off ourselves. The Tote have been very generous and given everyone that joins The Red Sash Racing Club two free bets
- An enhanced welcome offer for anyone signing up for Tote accounts – customers will receive £30 in Tote Credit after placing a £10 bet
- A free £7 Placepot or Fantasy bet when the syndicate horse first runs.
This means that every Red Sash Racing member receives £37 of free bets when they join the club and place a £10 bet with The Tote! Thanks to them for their generous offer, the voucher was a while in getting to us, but now everyone that signs up to our new Racing Club, and buys their share in Ridin Solo, gets two free bets, along with other benefits and offers we will be incorporating over the next few weeks! Will and I were keen to work with The Tote on this as they are all about returning profits to horseracing, with £50m guaranteed back to participating tracks over the course of the next 7 years. This ethos fits well with what we aim to achieve with The Red Sash Racing Club, which is to promote horse racing to as wide a group as possible, and give something back to the sport rather than simply take from it, as through our new ‘In Behind’ series that will appear in our Members Area of the website, we will be bringing our members insights into often overlooked elements of the racing and bloodstock industries that go into getting horses to the track, and indeed, getting a raceday off the ground. This will be both entertaining and educational and will be something very different from other racing clubs. Our ‘Ambassador’ Luke Harvey will feature for sure, and we are really looking forward to getting the first edition of the ‘In Behind’ feature out to members very soon.
Entries made for a couple of the team on Monday – Olly Murphy spotting a low number of mares entered in a novice hurdle in Kelso on Sunday, so he popped Tintagel Queen in there at the last minute, and Maria’s Flame entered in the Junior Bumper in Wetherby on Saturday, a race that had been on her ‘dance card’ for some time!
Monday night, was Curry Club, this one hastily arranged, and very welcome. Great to see Matt and Sarah, and good to catch up with them after what has been a difficult time recently. The Nawab Lounge in St Neots – it is a bit of a go to – always decent, and the staff are great! Banquet night Monday Tuesday and Wednesday, made little difference – they were happy to add a few extras onto the order!
Tuesday – Welcome Packs finally heading out – and plenty of them – safe to say that we have been blown away by the amount of shares that we have already sold. Especially given that our ‘soft’ launch got away from us, (which is a good sign – better to be like that than have no interest at all I suppose), and that we have had all sorts of issues with processing payments via Paypal, We finally seem to be getting there with the card payment issue form mobiles, which should be rectified by tomorrow. Both card and Paypal account payment options are available through Desktop versions of the website, but due to a Paypal issue, only Paypal account holders could purchase shares via the mobile version of the website. I know there are quite a few that are waiting for this to be sorted and I can only apologise for the delay! The good news is that we are seeing new members every day - Club membership makes a fantastic Christmas present for any racing fan, or ‘something a little different’ for someone that you think may enjoy something new in their life! Head over to www.redsashracing.co.uk and see what it is all about – as we say – it is more than just a Racing Club!
Wednesday, and we had quite the day planned. An early start, and a trip up to Donald McCains to see the horses there, then a short jaunt down the A49 to Ludlow to see Greyval and meet up with a big crew of her owners, and then after racing – head down to Northleach in Gloucestershire where Fergal had kindly booked me a room to stay overnight ahead of a quick visit to Ravenswell on Thursday morning. Minus 3 when we left home for the trip north at 4.45am. At least it was dry, although the freezing fog we encountered in Shropshire wasn’t so much fun. Even less fun when missed a call from Fergal as I was filling up with Diesel at Newport. Calls from trainers at that time of the morning, accompanied with a message asking me to call him back never end up being good news! Right enough – Fergal and the team not 100% happy with Greyval, in the previous 24 hours, and she would not be heading to Ludlow! Gutted is an understatement! Everything had been in place for a good day – the race was perfect for her, the opposition looked beatable, and here we were, not taking part – in a way the good news is that Greyval is not suffering from a long term injury or the such like – she was just not able to run that day. Subsequent blood tests have been analysed, and Fergal and the team were 100% right – her bloods are a ‘bit all over the place’ – thankfully it looks something as simple as a few supplements in her diet will see her right, but it would certainly have not been the right thing to run her on Wednesday. Having let all her owners know straight away, we carried on up to Bankhouse, arriving there at 7.30am. A frosty morning, but thankfully the fog that had plagued the journey up through Shropshire was not in Cheshire, and it was a crisp, and bright morning at the top of the gallop.
We currently have two in training with Donald, and we got to see Red Sash Racing’s Ridin Solo work second lot. He goes about his work very nicely and can certainly gallop. Having won his Irish Point to Point on debut, he has that experience under his belt, and he works well. On Wednesday morning he worked very nicely with a fellow Point to Point winner who has already had an educational run in a bumper, finishing third. A full account of his work, along with pictures and videos are now on the Members Area of the Red Sash website. Ridin Solo will be making his UK/Rules debut over the Christmas period.
Third lot and it was good to see Will Hughes who was in to watch Dino Bellagio stride up the hill a couple of times. Dino had been a bit stiff and sore the week before, but he is back on song now and moving well. He will have an away day to school over some hurdles, and then be ready to run around Christmas. His bumper form looks very good, and we know that he possesses plenty of ability, so his return is eagerly anticipated by his syndicate members!
A chilly morning at the office
With no Greyval to see in Ludlow, it was nice to spend an extra hour at the yard chatting with Donalad and his staff. Good to see Brian Hughes as well, on what was a tricky morning for everyone – frozen hoses, and slippery surfaces make a hard job even harder – but they were all smiling and making light if it – even Brian had a smile, although with Haydock falling foul of the frost, he couldn’t be persuaded to head down to Ludlow for one in the bumper! Evidently he’s not a fan if the track!
Having killed a bit of time at Bankhouse – I headed down the M5 to The Cotswolds – most of the journey spent on the phone to Paypal!! My destination, The Sherborne Arms in Northleach, and a room kindly booked for me by Ferg (more likely Charlotte). I checked in and headed to the bar to sort out the dinner reservation. A quick pint of Guiness as that was sorted went down extremely well (I needed it after another Paypal episode) and the second one went down well too! Before I knew it, we were having a jolly time in the bar, and my intended walk around the village was forgotten. Time seemed to fly by – and before I knew it, Debbie had arrived looking suitably unimpressed by the temperature after a few days in Abu Dhabi, followed by Fergal and Sally, and we were all enjoying a lovely supper. The Sherborne Arms is a nice place. The room was very comfortable, the staff were lovely and the food good. Four scotch egg starters on our table all went down really well. Northleach is a pretty little village, and The Sherborne Arms is a nice place to stay, although be warned they do not do breakfast there, but the café on the other side of the pathway opens at seven, and the locals tell me the breakfast is fantastic!
Up and out by 6.40am, so I didn’t need a breakfast, before making the short trip to Ravesnwell Farm. It had warmed up overnight, but that meant the clouds had rolled in and they had brought rain. It was a dark and gnarly morning for sure. With Greyval off games along with Volkovka, who is stubbornly holding onto an infection which has needed a few changes of antibiotics to shift – I got to see six of the eight horses we have there out on the round gallop and having a school.
First Lot and Blue Bikini and Maria’s Flame were on the round gallop. Blue Bikini is back in great form after a disappointing seasonal debut. She was found to be not right after that run, and the team have worked hard to get her healthy again. Tia, her regular rider, says she feels fantastic again now, and she has an entry in Warwick this week, although we will be keeping an eye on the going there, as we are not sure that she really likes a soft, tacky surface. There are options for her going forward and it will not be long before she is out again. After warming up on the round gallop Maria’s Flame headed over to school over a few hurdles. The aim is for her to remain in bumpers for the time being, but she simply loves jumping, and letting her have a school is the ideal way for her to stay fresh and enjoying her work! MF was entered in a junior bumper in Wetherby on Saturday, but their ground was waterlogged in places, and the meeting looked likely to be off, so she was not declared. This means that the original plan we had for her is unlikely to happen as the timings of available races don’t fit anymore. We had hoped to go to Wetherby, and then on to Cheltenham on New Years Day, but that plan is likely to be shelved, and we will look at an alternative route for her, the aim still being to try and get some ‘black type’ with her this season. She is a lovely filly, and we are all looking forward to getting her out again!
Second Lot, and two on the round gallop. Fortune Forever and Intrepide Sud. Both look really well. FF has been allotted an opening handicap mark of 98, which would appear to be workable, and IS is coming back from an injury he sustained when winning his bumper last year
Third Lot – Hidden Beauty and Mamoon Star both headed to the round gallop, and then on to the schooling strip. Both in great order, neither of them wants soft ground, so placing them short term could be tricky, but we are sure to get some settled weather shortly and tracks like Ludlow, Huntingdon, Doncaster and Taunton will all offer some decent ground soon enough. Hopefully they can both get a run around Christmas.
Back home just after lunch, and in time to get some more Red Sash welcome packs out in the post – some that were due for Birthdays this weekend, so I really needed to make the post box in time!
Friday – Kelso looking likely to be another victim of the weather, so Olly took the decision not to declare her. The timings of their inspections meant that she would be well on her way to Scotland before we knew if the meeting was in or off, so we decided that as it looked likely to be off, we would not declare her. She schooled great on Friday morning and has certainly sharpened up for her debut run. She will be running in the next two weeks. The form of her hurdles debut was given a solid look yesterday when the winner ran really well to finish second in a competitive and valuable handicap hurdle in Sandown off of a mark of 121. TQ has a lovely future, and she looks certain to be winning over hurdles this season!
While on the phone discussing plans for TQ, Olly gave an update on Itchy Feet and Auditoria. IF is in great form, and he has come out of his Market Rasen win really well, and the plan is to run him again over the Christmas period, and a decision as to where he goes will depend a lot on track, field size, and where Sean Bowen is going. Auditoria, who was lucky not to do herself any serious damage when giving herself a nasty overreach the week before, has had her staples removed and is back cantering. She is a lucky girl, and if all goes well, she should be back on track in 2/3 weeks.
Saturday, more bloody rain – wow it is wet now! No Wetherby so an afternoon at home watching some very good racing on the TV. A great afternoon for the Gary Moore team, with an across the card treble – 2 in Sandown and one in Chepstow. The two in Sandown were interesting to us, as Le Patron and Spirit D’Anou are bothe horses that I have seen work upsides Cloud Dancer. Le Patron has always been a horse that Gary has liked, but I would think he has exceeded expectations in winning a Grade 1 chase! I spoke to Gary yesterday morning, and got an update on Cloud Dancer who was slightly lame after his excellent run in Ascot. Gary expects him to be fine by Monday, and he can crack on with him. He should be out on track again early in the New Year!
Down at Ivy Lodge Farm, Old Blue Eyes is back doing some gentle exercise, and his recovery is very much going to plan. Reflexion Faite is getting the best of both worlds, she is out in her paddock in the daytime, weather permitting, and then in her warm stable at night. She will return to pre training on Jan1st – before heading back into training in February. Our yearling by The Grey Gatsby, is a fine horse and developing and maturing in all the right ways.
At Alan Kings – Rockola has come out of her race in good order. She seems to take her racing very well. She will now have a small break, and return to the track in the New Year, when she will be aimed at another bumper. Alan is keen to win a bumper with her, which he feels she is very capable of, before deciding which route to go with her. She schools well and could easily switch to hurdles before a summers break if needs be! I am still amazed that there is a share left in her – she has now been placed in 2 bumpers, is by a fantastic sire, is a half sister to a black type performer and a full sister to a highly regarded Irish Point to Point winner, and therefore has a certain value when her racing days are over. She is outstanding value – with shares just £2500 plus £250/month all inclusive training/keep cost! What is not to like??? Get in touch!
The forecast looks a little better for next week – I was going to put the Christmas lights up along the thatch today but guess what – it’s bloody raining again! They will have to wait!