What a week!
After two winners last week, it was so nearly three at Bangor on Saturday. Tara Well - who by rights should not be with us after fracturing a pelvis badly a while ago, had run well to be fourth at Uttoxeter, but was still a little 'ring rusty', and we thought that she would improve for the run. Turning in at Bangor we thought for a second that she had improved a lot, but annoyingly got collared by one up the straight. Given a positive ride by James Nixon she did everything but win, and finished a gallant second. Nearly as good as a winner for us, after her months & months of box rest and a very long rehab.
I had not been to Bangor for a good while & was very pleasantly surprised at how they are looking after owners now. We were joined by Dave Jones (Some Finish - but absent for the win!), and Ruth Lancaster who runs a Facebook page for NH enthusiasts. Shame to waste the badges and very happy that they both had a good day out. Well done Bangor - we might suggest that a few other tracks take a leaf out of your book!
Happily Tara bounced out the next morning and should be out again over the Christmas period.
Vocaliser has been a frustrating horse for trainer & owners, The Songsters alike. an expensive purchase from Jim Bolger, and a winner on the flat, we had high hopes for him, but his form was very inconsistent, and although he had finished second over hurdles & fences he was not really seeing his races out. Back to the drawing board over the summer, a long break & a wind op & everything crossed at Leicester on Thursday. His patient owners had put up with a few false starts when projected races looked too hot/ground wrong etc etc. but were out in force at Leicester. The whole team feeling pretty nervous - not helped by the fact that the race set off at breakneck speed, which had Vocaliser being a bit guessy early on. He soon settled into it though and given a perfect ride by Charlie went to the front and won going away from his nearest rival. (especially satisfying to see those particular colours behind us!) Some very excited Songsters nearly carried horse & jockey into the winners enclosure, amid much cheering. A plan carried out!
Having one winner in a day is always great but two is a rare thing! Dontminddboys has been the 'nearly' horse and run so well in virtually all of his chase starts without managing to get his nose in front. Three out we were not feeling confident but a perfectly timed run by Jack Quinlan saw 'Caspar' break his duck and win tidily! Great for EPDS Racing for whom we have now won with all three of the horses that they have with us. Great for Caspar - can't think of a horse that deserved it more.
No BTOs as Leicester too mean to do them, which is a disgrace.
Great for the team at home who headed for The Huff Cap to celebrate a memorable double & thank you to both sets of owners who have stuck by their boys, believing they would get it right in the end!
Both horses fine the next day - Vocaliser have a squeal trotting up & Dontinddboys now thinking he is the kiddy, and very pleased with himself!
Cheers Delboy has pleased us immensely having arrived from Ireland in the summer, he headed to Sandown on Friday off a new mark of 113. He ran a very creditable race to finish 5th in good company. Only a four year old, he has a bright future. Terrible run back for the lorry & anyone heading back down the M40 - long queues, and Robin & Harriet T very pleased to finally come up the drive.
No runners over the weekend, but the arrival on Sunday, of the best part of a foot of snow. Made worse by strong winds which turned the dump of snow into some pretty impressive drifts! The horses has a rare duvet day & for the first time in forever, did not set foot outside the barns. It was a blizzard all day and most of the night so Monday morning was not met with a huge amount of enthusiasm! First job was to dig a way into the barns - second was to dig the lorry out and get Afterthisone off to Southwell. This achieved, and the gallop under three feet of drifts it was then a case of finding a safe place that we could get to and exercise in. Happily the snow was deep enough in the fields to canter on and it was cold enough that there was no balling in their feet, so everyone got out on both Monday & Tuesday. Wednesday trickier as the melt had started and it mad life very difficult with huge snow balls building up in feet.
The drive was safe though and plenty of work done trotting up the drive.
Afterthisone has not been the easiest character to deal with at the races & has disgraced himself on more than one occasion. However he has decided that he would behave better on both of his last two runs, and is now improving all the time. He didn't put a foot out of place at Southwell & ran a much improved race. Now he is giving himself a chance he will keep improving and will be better once he can go further too.
The snow is now nearly gone - just the drifts remaining and some fairly impressive ice sheets, which are very treacherous! A massive thank you to all of the team who have kept the show on the road with good humour, having had to clear walkers, drifts and ways out of the yard. They have ridden out in the freezing cold. and have still been smiling (it may have been a grimace??).
Happy Birthday to Harriet T for yesterday!
Not such good service from our feed suppliers yesterday who thought it was OK to send less than half an order as they had run out of one type of feed - 20 bags arriving instead of 45?? No phone call, no communication until we questioned the quality of their service. Very impressive Dodson & Horrell - what were we going to feed them - fresh air??? Luckily an alternative supplier was happy to deliver a much better service so no one will be going hungry!
Really not good enough from a company who we spend thousands with - now reviewing our feeding policy!
Warwick off today (could never see it being on), so may be a day to start some Christmas shopping!
Charlie & Tom O'Brian in to ride out - just hope the remaining white stuff clears off quickly now & does not hang around waiting for some more to join it.