We enjoyed a successful weekend with two winners at Fakenham on Sunday afternoon, and both were impressive.
Owners Day is still very inexperienced but she is very gutsy, a factor that was in evidence as she made it 2-2 over timber in the mares’ novices hurdle. They went a very strong gallop so there was no hiding place, and with more improvement expected we could look for a listed race for her next time.
We were equally pleased with Soupy Soups as he won his 2nd race in the space of a week, and he continues to improve. He was up in trip this time in the handicap hurdle which he seemed to enjoy, and with James Best taking 7lbs off he won very well.
The Druids Nephew made a couple of mistakes on seasonal debut at Ascot on Saturday which took their toll at the back end of the Silver Cup, and we would hope to see him improve for the run next time.
The festive period is always extremely busy in horse racing and it something I look forward to both professionally and personally.
Like everyone else, I was delighted to read that Thistlecrack would be entered for the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day, and it is great for racing that we will get to see such a big clash. Cue Card has been a terrific horse for Colin and will be tough to beat, but Thistlecrack has done everything right and might just be something very special.
My parents will be coming over for Christmas to spend some time with us and to see our two boys, Patrick and Conor, so we will have a full house for lunch which will be great. I am very much a family man so to have everyone together at this time of year is very important.
The horses still need looking after, even on Christmas Day, so we will be very busy on that front as well. Half of our staff work Christmas Day and the other half work New Year’s Day, so there will be plenty to do, especially with so many horses entered up between now and the end of the month.
Speaking of which, we have a whole host of entries on Boxing Day, and we would like to think that we have the right horses in the right races.
Solomn Grundy is a good solid horse for us and he goes to Wetherby on Monday in the 2m5f handicap hurdle. He impressed when he won last time out at Newbury and has been in decent form at home, so it would be nice to think he can put in another strong performance.
Two of our bumper winners also take their chance on Monday with Solighoster heading to Huntingdon, and Cesar Et Rosalie making the short trip to Wincanton.
Solighoster won his bumper up at Newcastle in strong fashion on debut for us, with the 2nd that day franking the form since, and we hope the conditions at Huntingdon should suit him well.
Cesar Et Roaslie picked up his bumper win on the all-weather at Lingfield in good style last month, and we are hoping that reverting to the turf can bring further improvement at Wincanton.
We also send a couple to Fontwell and are hopeful that both Mrs Burbidge and Bishops Court can get in the frame. Mrs Burbidge has won her last two and we hope she can perform well again, whilst Bishops Court has been consistent for us this term, and Nick Scholfield will ride him in the handicap chase.
Moving on to Tuesday, we are really looking forward to the Welsh Grand National with two engaged for the Chepstow showpiece.
Carole’s Destrier has been in fine order since his Hennessy battle with Native River and we are expecting another hard race. The Welsh National is always a tough test but we hope there is some more improvement to come from our lad, so fingers crossed he can put in a strong display.
We also run Goulanes in the Chepstow marathon, and he too has been in good form at home ahead of his debut for us. It’s a big ask for him off a long lay-off but he is a Midlands National winner, and we are delighted to have secured the in-form Adrian Heskin to ride him.
I would like to sign off by wishing all the readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!