We’ll kick-off this week a look back at Kempton on Saturday, where we were pleased with Kalondra’s performance in the Lanzarote Hurdle.
Possibly he may have preferred slightly better ground, but nonetheless he ran a solid race to finish 5th in what looked a decent renewal. The best news is that he has come out of the race in fine fettle, and although there is no firm plan for him at this stage, the Martin Pipe race at the Festival could be an option.
It wasn’t all good news at Kempton as Activial unseated Richard Johnson at the 3rd on his debut for us in the listed chase. He came home in good order which was excellent, and he has schooled well at home this week so we will look for another race for him soon.
We did manage to get into winners’ enclosure on Saturday as Maverik won under Adam Kirby on the all-weather at Lingfield. Adam is a superb rider and it was great that he was available with Maverik making his debut for us, the pair of them produced a super display. As I have said before in this column, we see our Flat string as a vital part of the operation.
I was at Fairyhouse on Sunday to see Baltimore Rock have a bad day at the office in the Dan Moore Memorial Chase. He never got into the race before being pulled up, but thankfully he has come out of it without a scratch on him, and we will hope to see a big improvement in the near future.
We were delighted to see James King ride out his 7lb claim at Market Rasen on Wednesday, with Highbury High claiming the handicap chase. It was a terrific ride from James to maintain his position at the top of the amateur title race, and we will be doing our best to help him pick up the crown.
Bishops Court produced a lovely round of jumping at Wincanton on Thursday to claim his 3rd win on the bounce. We will wait to see what the handicapper does before deciding where he goes next, but a three-timer with any horse is always a cause for celebration.
The weights for the Betfair Hurdle were released this week with Peter The Mayo Man awarded 10st 13lbs for the contest next month. He’s had a bit of a mid-season break but we will see how he gets on over the next few weeks before deciding whether he will head to Newbury.
The cold weather has really taken a grip over the last couple of days and one of my owners, Richard Hutchinson, has already told me that Taunton is 1/3 to be off on Saturday!
If the meeting does survive the frosty conditions, we will be sending Stealing Mix and Molly Carew to the Somerset venue. Stealing Mix ran well last time at the same course and hopefully he can put in another solid display in what looks like a good contest. Molly Carew ran an improved race last time out and she will have Sean Corby taking a valuable 3lbs off in the mares’ novices’ hurdle.
We have three entered for Fontwell on Sunday and all would have good chances if the meeting survives the weather. We have had more winners than any other trainer at the track this season so it has always been a lucky course.
Johns Luck goes in the handicap chase, having won his last two races, and despite a slightly higher mark we are hopeful he can be in the frame. Similar comments apply to Soupy Soups, who has also won his last two contests, and he is entered in the handicap hurdle.
To round off the weekend, we run Tikkanbar in the bumper. Owned by my father, he was unlucky to get beaten on racecourse debut at Ffos Las last month so hopefully he can put in another strong display.