Happy New Year!!
Christmas week – and it was due to be a busy week for us – with a few entries later in the week I would be doing more miles than Chris Rea!! But first we needed to get the presents bought and wrapped. Like most men – I had left it late – which means I faced a race against time on Christmas Eve. I freely admit that wrapping presents is not my strong suit – most of mine look like they have been wrapped by a chimp – in fact, that is being rude to chimps – a chimp would make a better job of it than me. I can’t think of two more incompatible things than sellotape and wrapping paper – I am sure it is all good when it sticks to the right bit – but just how do you do that? – what is that witchcraft?? It is impossible! Anyway, we got them covered in one form or another! One pleasure I did have on Christmas Eve was to give two Owners Badges to Jan Lever, one of our followers on X who was lucky enough to come out of the hat when we held an impromptu prize draw. She would head to Sedgefield on Boxing Day to see Ridin Solo run. After getting all that done I headed down to Wiltshire where I would be spending Christmas Day.
Christmas Day was quiet but fun – a superb dinner, and plenty of laughs and more than a drop of red wine! I know we pride ourselves on being ‘open all hours’ – but it even surprised me that folks were buying Red Sash Racing Shares on Christmas Day – had these folks left it later than me? Or was the TV that bad this year? Either way, huge thanks to all of you that have got involved in our new venture – it has been very popular, and things were about to get even better.
Two declared on Boxing Day – Ridin Solo was down to make his UK/Rules debut in a maiden hurdle in Sedgefield, and Hidden Beauty was making her second start of the season in Market Rasen. As I was setting off from Wiltshire, I chose the closest option, and headed for Market Rasen. I arrived in time to get to the on-course betting shop and watch Ridin Solo run. Having avoided the chaos at the start, where two fell and one was brought down, and himself suffering a degree of interference he settled into a lovely rhythm and jumped great. RS has a pedigree that shouts stamina, and he had been declared on Soft ground, which on this sharp track would suit him better than some of the former flat horses in the field, but a couple of days of drying weather had seen the ground dry back to good to soft, which was always going to be against him and work in the favour of a couple of his rivals over this 2m1f trip. As expected he was outpaced at the top of the hill, but knuckled down and got rolling down the hill before staying on really well on the ascent to the line, eventually going down by just a length. Peter Kavanagh reported that he could not pull him up after the line, and he was delighted with the run – Ridin Solo is a horse he likes, and he is confident that adopting slightly different tactic next time out will make him very hard to beat! It was a very good performance to split two flat recruits with far more racecourse experience. To jump and travel like he did, on just his second start, over a trip which on Good to Soft ground would be plenty sharp enough for him was a very good start for both him and the Red Sash Members! He looks like he will be a horse that will continue to improve with more racing and as he steps up in trip, and could well rack up a sequence as he stays ahead of the handicapper – what more could you want for £100??
Ridin Solo in the parade ring
Returning to unsaddle - A very creditable second on just his second ever start! Lots of fun to be had with him!
In Market Rasen, Hidden Beauty stepped up in trip on her second start of the season. She had needed her debut run in Huntingdon and was sure to be better for it. With Liam Harrison booting home two winners already on the afternoon, she had an in form jockey – and he was confident that she would put up a good show. HB travelled and jumped well in the main, her only mistake was at 2 out which cost her a bit of momentum, but it was good to see her put her head down and run right through the line to finish a close third. We have options with her, including a switch to fences, or a step up in trip – we will put our heads together and come up with a plan.
Hidden Beauty looking a picture in the paddock
Returning to unsaddle
Hidden Beauty and a smiling Kev!
Both horses have come out of their races fine and will be out again in January. Also on Boxing Day, Greyval got an entry in Newbury on Saturday and Tintagel Queen was put in a mares’ novice hurdle in Warwick on Sunday.
On Wednesday it was back to the office, and a chance to get a whole load of Red Sash Racing welcome packs out to new members. It was clear that Ridin Solo’s run had not gone unnoticed, and there were plenty to get in the post! On Wednesday morning Auditoria was entered in a mares chase in Fakenham on Jan 2nd. She had suffered a nasty cut while schooling a few weeks ago and been forced to miss a couple of weeks work while it healed, which in fairness was the best result, as she had been lucky not to do herself more damage. Two weeks was nothing in the end!
Thursday and another day in the office, bills paid, and admin done for the month. Good to get an update from Jason Maguire – On Sunday - Old Blue Eyes had been given the green light to be ridden again – and he had been out in the arena under Ryan during the week. It is safe to say he was a bit fresh to start with, but he soon settled back into a routine and is going away nicely. His work load will be stepped up gradually, and hopefully he will soon be back to Donald McCains. Judging by the number of the jockeys in there that have asked after him – it looks like they like him for sure and are all looking forward to getting him back. In fairness I do know that he is held in high regard up there, and it is a shame that he suffered this slight setback, but it will probably do him no harm in the long run, and he may even benefit for the additional time he has had to strengthen and mature. He is a horse we like a lot, and we will not rush him.
One that will need a little longer as well is Tintagel Queen – Olly called on Thursday to say that her engagement in Warwick on Sunday would come a week too soon, she is back cantering after missing out in Uttoxeter last week, but he felt it was not the right thing to do to run her, so she will wait and run early in the New Year.
Greyval declared in Newbury, who’s ground remained Good to Soft which was quite a surprise after plenty of rain on Wednesday. Liam Harrison booked to ride – she has had a stop start season so far – she missed her intended seasonal debut in Chepstow, and instead ran in a very hot Ascot Handicap, where she ran well, just tiring in the home straight. We then targeted a race in Ludlow for her, only for her to be withdrawn on the morning of the race, when her bloods were not quite right. That was a shame, as it looked like the perfect race for her, but she is back on song now and we are looking forward to seeing her out again.
Friday – Newbury very helpful with Owners Badges and Lunch Vouchers – a good turn out of Greyval owners heading to Newbury.
Good to catch up with Donald McCain – who when he called me was in Chester, returning Christmas presents! Bah Humbug!! He gave a very good update on both the horses he has – Ridin Solo has come out of his race in great order, and he had schooled Dino Bellagio before he loaded the car with all his presents and headed to Chester! He was delighted with Dino and in his words ‘we are not far off going racing again’ It has not been easy with Dino – we know how much ability he has; he just needs to out it all together. A single share has come available in him if anyone is interested in getting involved in our dual bumper winner, who could be very good over hurdles – he was after all Brain Hughes’ Novice hurdler to follow for the season before his less-than-ideal debut!! Get in touch to grab it! 07909 518902
We always try and keep up to date with how our ‘Old Boys and Girls’ are doing – and it was really good to hear from Emily that has Mattaking. Matty was always a very good looking horse, who won three races for us – and is still enjoying an active life, and looking fantastic at 21 years old!!
Saturday and we headed off early to Newbury – Greyval in the first, and we were very much hoping that the forecast rain would stay away until after she lined up at 12.05pm – the forecast had the rain arriving after racing, so the heart sank as we hit a decent amount of rain around Oxford. We had been there just before Christmas, when Maria’s Flame had ‘sunk’ in the very soft ground that day – so were were reasonably surprised that they were giving the ground as Good to Soft in the morning – as despite a couple of drying days – there had been plenty of rain of the Christmas period too. Greyval would be fine on Good to Soft, but soft ground would be a problem for her. When Newbury goes soft, it goes very soft as Maria had found out – and with Greyval being just a 4 yr old filly taking on a host of older and stronger mares, any softening of the ground would not be in her favour. Sadly the rain persisted all afternoon and by the time she lined up, the ground had already gone to soft. In the end, she didn’t perform, and eventually finished sixth. No clear reason after the race, and she is fin this morning, but it is interesting to not that all 3 of the 4 yr olds in the field failed to shine, and it is my opinion that they were at a significant disadvantage due to their age – their counterparts being that little but older and stronger and able to handle to conditions better.
Pauls face sums it up - we don't want this rain!!
Greyval pre parade with Dragos
News form Ivy Lodge – and Old Blue Eyes and Reflexion Faite are making full use of the facilities there taking their turns on the water treadmill. Sessions on the treadmill will strengthen them while they are pre training, and will be particularly useful to Old Blue Eyes, given the injury he suffered. Jason has the best facilities down there, and we make full use of them! I caught up with a very spritely Alan King in Newbury, and he reported Rockola to be A1, she has had a break since her run in Doncaster, but will resume ridden work next week, and be aimed at a third bumper in a few weeks time. He thinks that she is capable of winning a bumper before switching to National Hunt Juvenile Hurdles for a couple of starts in the spring. It is great to see her sire Jukebox Jury doing so well – another very impressive bumper winner yesterday – and there is still a share for sale in Rockola – unbelievable!! All the details on the For Sale Page – have a look and get in touch – she is unbelievable value!
Sunday – Warwick and Uttoxeter abandoned – Auditoria declared in Fakenham on Tuesday. A 3m Mares handicap Chase, she is in good order, and it will be good to see her out again. Fortune Forever had a school in the morning and is entered in Huntingdon on Wednesday. She is in great form and will be stepping up to 2m4f for the first time on her handicap debut. Auditoria has come out of her race in good order, not a bother on her, and we will hunt for some better ground for her!
Around the rest of the team Blue Bikini is in great order and has come out of her Catterick run really well. She will have entries in a couple of weeks – a possible option is Newbury – she may not be going there – she really doesn’t like soft ground! Maria’s Flame is well, and just on tick over for a few weeks, she is another one that can’t handle very testing conditions at this stage of her career, so we will be patient with her. Intrepide Sud is building up to full fitness, and we are looking forward to seeing him jump a hurdle for the first time – he is the most natural jumper you will ever see! Mamoon Star has headed to Ivy Lodge Farm and will spend around a month there on tick over – doing some dressage and making full use of the facilities. He will be back when the better ground is more prevalent. Volkovka is still at Ravenswell but has been retired. The vet is still into her every other day. She was given an internal examination earlier in the week to confirm that all her ‘parts’ were in the right place and in good working order, and when she is able to travel, and doesn’t need further regular veterinary checks – she will move to a new home and start her career as a broodmare. We wish her new owners the very best of luck with her. She couldn’t be going to a better home, and we will be able to stay in touch and get regular updates regarding her progress in her new career.
Cloud Dancer has resumed cantering with Gary Moore and given a clear run should be back on track in a few weeks. Another one by Jukebox Jury, he looks to have a very bright future indeed!
Olly is thrilled with Itchy Feet, he swerved a possible entry over Christmas as Sean Bowen would not be at the meeting to ride him, and we think that Sean is very important to his performance, sadly we the pair will have to wait to be reunited as Sean will be off games for a while with knee ligament damage sustained in a fall in Aintree on Boxing Day.
That rounds up Christmas week – a couple of very promising runs – one disappointment, but that’s racing! Very pleased and just a little bit excited by the performance of Ridin Solo – he will be lots of fun – grab yourself a share – not only do you own a share in a really bright young prospect, you will get access to the Members Area of the website, where you will get all the updates, and also see our new ‘In Behind’ feature that will begin in January – a behind the scenes look at the Racing and Bloodstock Industries, which should be both entertaining and educational – just like this weekly news update!!
It just remains for me to wish you all a very Happy New Year – thanks again for all of you trust and support over the last 12 months – we couldn’t do it without you! Here’s to many more winners in 2024!!