05 Jul Dancer’s Diary – Week 24
We had a very busy Saturday evening, and I was quite exhausted from cheering our boys and girls on, earning myself a very well deserved lie-in on Sunday morning. First up at Nottingham was fellow ‘man of experience’ (or as those irritating 2 year old colts say, age!) Op (Operateur) (left), who was looking to get his form back on track in the Amateur Ladies Race. Still rather inclined to rest on the laurels of his four race winning sequence, I had to remind him that that was, now, 2 seasons ago, and his waistline wasn’t quite looking what it once did! Whilst some may call this a bullying approach, I like to call it motivational, and indeed it certainly seemed to have the desired effect. Armed with super jockey Becky Smith, stolen from Micky Hammond’s yard for the evening, he went into the race the rank outsider, but proved the doubters wrong to come a good 3rd, staying on well in the final stages on the soft going. Definitely a step back in the right direction, he is confident he will be back in that winner’s enclosure soon, and rather blushed when Becky proclaimed him a ‘legend’ on the Moor – strong words if you ask me, there’s only one horse in this yard deserving of that title after all!
Next on stage at Nottingham was our rather lovely Breeze-Up filly, Dandy (Quiet Moment) (right), who I was keen to see in action. She had been giving us plenty of positive signs at home (beating a couple of the boys up the grass, much to their discontent), and we were all crossing our hooves that she would put two and two together on the racecourse. Adding to the stress was the relentless rain, as soft ground wouldn’t be ideal for her, but eventually I declared that at least it was a safe surface for her to start on – after all, she has to learn sometime! Also the outsider of the field, this meant little to her as she doesn’t quite understand betting odds yet, but she more then lived up to expectations! Joey Haynes gave her a peach of a ride, and she jumped well. Her draw unfortunately meant she was stuck on her own in No-Mans Land on the outside, and she was very green throughout, before the penny dropped and she made up some impressive ground to come 2nd. Which now means that all three of our 2 year old’s to have raced have come 2nd – always good to know they are running well, but inevitably a little frustrating at the same time! Anyway, it is lovely to think and hope that we might just have a nice filly on our hands for the brilliant syndicate Ontawinner, as well as her joint-owners Spee Fox-Andrews, Lynn Douglas and Gary Walker. She has a bit further to go to live up to her namesake, but she hasn’t made a bad start!
Meanwhile at Carlisle, we had more worry about the rain softened conditions for Henry (Vaux), and unfortunately this time were proved right. Anyway, you have to try these things, but the pretty boy reckoned mud was for going up and down rather then along in, though he did take nearly 7 furlongs to actually pull up, suggesting the race didn’t take much out of him… On the positives, he managed to behave himself in the preliminaries, and an extra furlong on good ground, like he had at Ripon when finishing runner-up, should see a return of Mr Enthusiastic being back to his best. He may well have a chance to redeem himself on Saturday, as he holds an entry at York in the 6 furlong nursery. Pray for dry weather!
Toby (Bourbonisto) (left) also has an entry in the same race, and is in much better form at home now, after deciding to time his latest growth spurt with his run at Hamilton! With all his energy going into going upwards for a couple of weeks, we could have sent him to the local pony club he was so laid back, but luckily he is back bouncing again, causing plenty of entertainment with his endless squealing on the Moor. He looks a million dollars now (don’t tell him I said that!) and we are looking forward to getting him back out for owners Daniel Shapiro and David Clifford.
Also possibly heading for York, this time for a debut run, is the absolute monster that is Percy (Prancing Oscar) (right). Possibly the most intimidating colt in the yard (and it takes a bit to intimidate me, I assure you!), he hasn’t stopped progressing in the last month or so. Always a bit lanky, he has really filled out now and must be nearly 16.2hh. He has been doing some very nice pieces of work at home, but may well be a little green first time out. However, he is a real horse to go to war with, and anything he does on debut will be a bonus for the future. Owned by Middleham Park Racing and Spee Fox-Andrews, I will be cheering that large engine he has on loudly in the 6 furlong 2 year old maiden!
Finally for the week, new boy Saint Charles holds an entry at Southwell in a 2 mile Novice Chase. He has settled in really well here, and has quickly bonded with our other new boy, Andrew Williams, who we were delighted to welcome to the Castle Hill team last week. Their French and Welsh accents make an interesting combination, but they certainly seem to be having a lovely time together up the 7 furlong canter every day! He looks a real athlete, and if we can find the key to settling him on the course, should prove a real asset here.
Until next time