20 Sep Dancer’s Diary – Week 31
We have been having quite the weekend here, and the yard has done itself proud: with a little bit of luck I could be bringing you news of a near clean sweep! I am very proud of all our horses, and love to see Ben’s training methods paying off as we have a bunch of sound, well horses to go to war with late on in the year. Indeed, even our brilliant physio Marike commented on what a pleasure it was to treat such loose, happy horses at this time of year!
Anyway, we have had lots to cheer about, with Dursey (Dursey Sound) (left) kicking things off for us on Friday at Hexham in the 3 mile chase. Talented, he has had a few niggles throughout his career, but we were hopeful that we had him in a really good state of mind going into the race, and so it proved! As always, we were thrilled to have the wonder-man Richie McLernon on board, and he once again won himself many plaudits with the patient ride he gave Dursey. Creeping along near the back, he filled the lad with confidence at each fence, slowly getting himself into contention by the last, where in true Dursey fashion he promptly tried to fall on his head. Luckily, disaster was averted and they picked themselves up to claim a thrilling victory. It was wonderful to see him add to our jumpers fine strike rate for the year, as he put us on 45% for the season – not bad going! It is also such a pleasure to be able to send out winners for owner J.P. McManus, whose support is so very appreciated here at Castle Hill.
Saturday saw a short trip down the road to Catterick, where we were crossing our fingers for George (Epeius), as the going was reported good after heavy rain the day before. Alas, it was not to be, and by his race the ground had cut up horribly, and with it most of our hopes as he is well proven to not like anything with soft in the description. However, he ran a gallant race to finish 4th for Lynn Douglas, Gary Walker and John and Carol Aldridge, staying on well over the 7 furlongs after not quite handling the bend. This was by far the best hes ran in that ground, but we are getting frustrated as we know he is very capable of winning races, so a trip to the all-weather is next on the agenda: surely they can’t make that soft!
Sunday was another jumps meeting, this time at Uttoxeter, where Moonie (Moon Over Rio) (right) was heading back over hurdles and Charles (Saint Charles) was taking on the chase fences. Moonie was, once again, so gallant, and ran an absolute blinder for Richie, taking the race by the scruff of the neck. She is absolutely dynamite over a hurdle, and you don’t find many that jump as well as her. We were screaming for her on the run in, but she got collared by a very well handicapped horse to finish 2nd. We were delighted for her owners, The Blue Lion Syndicate, and she has run her heart out for them all year. Hopefully we will get her in that winners spot soon after two 3rds and a 2nd – getting closer!
Charles was up next, and was subjected to rather a muddling race with a stop start pace, which doesn’t suit such a long-striding horse. He can get keen, but luckily Richie managed to keep him well settled in amongst the troubles they were facing, and he finished his race very well to come 3rd. He has loads of talent, and will be seen to much better effect when he has a better gallop to aim at.
A trip to Scotland was due on Monday, when Nelly (Shesnotforturning) and Op (Operateur) headed to Hamilton. Op was hit by the Racing Post curse, and after a lovely article about his chances, he failed to fire, but reasons have come to light and he will have a short break now. Nelly, however, decided to keep our flag flying. Always rather underestimated as she is such a sweet, quiet filly, she shot to the front here under Tom Eaves, and ran as fast as possible over the 6 furlongs, fighting off all challengers – until the line!! Heartbreak commenced as she lost the race by a whisker in a photofinish (left, if you can bear it!): she had her head in front both before and after the line, but it was not to be! We were devestated, but still delighted with her incredible effort. She has not had a hard year, and will head back to Hamilton next week where you would hope she would have a decent chance of getting revenge.
Tomorrow sees Cassie (Castle Hill Cassie) head to Redcar for her debut over 7 furlongs. A very beautiful 2 year old filly owned by Ontoawinner, James Pak, Lynn Douglas and Gary Walker, we have been pleased with her at home. However, looking at her sires stats, they seem to improve hugely for racing, but we are hoping she can make a nice start to her career. She is one who has next year very much in mind, but is very ready for a run as she is getting to that stage where she thinks she knows everything, when the reality is she doesn’t! She is a little cracker, and always keeps me well entertained out on the Moor!
Until next time,