07 Mar Dancer’s Diary – Week 42
As we approach the start of the flat season, things have been warming up here at Castle Hill, and we had a busy end to last week with a couple of trips to Newcastle for a piece of their all-weather action. Friday saw Bertie (Skellig Michael) trying to fit his inflated ego in the same box as Cloudy (Violet Mist), which was just about achieved!
First up was Cloudy (left) in the 5 furlong maiden, and both us and owner’s Ontoawinner had our fingers firmly crossed that she would show us more than last year, which was to not put too fine a point on it, not a lot! She looked to the eye to have strengthened up over the winter, and we were just praying this wasn’t an optical illusion! Cloudy also clearly thought she had a point to prove, and was out of the stalls like a shot, challenging for the lead with all her might! Coming into the final furlong, she was trying her heart out in third, and just faded a little to finish 5th. This was a huge step forward in what looked a reasonably warm maiden, and she should now find herself more competitive in the handicapping sphere. Her jockey Graham Lee was hugely impressed by her attitude, as she really does try, and hopefully this will be enough to get her head in front this year.
Bertie (right) was showing off like mad around the parade ring, giving Andy quite a battle as he tried to let the entire crowd now that he was a last time out winner! This race looked a little deeper, but I still couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw he was 16/1! Bertie was also very offended, and determinedly sprung out of the stalls. He ran an absolute cracker to finish 2nd, and even had a blow at the end of the race which must be a first for what can be rather an idle little horse at times! He is certainly getting the hang of this racing lark now, and looks like he will give owners James Pak, Trojan Horse and Nickie Welingham plenty of fun on the turf this year!
Saturday night saw Loopy (Rey Loopy) also heading down the well beaten path to Newcastle, where we hoped he would put up a nice show in his first handicap. A really big, backwards horse, he came out of the stalls green and was only getting the hang of things right at the end, when he ran on nicely to take 4th. We have a lot of time for this horse at home, and once he grows into himself properly, will surely be giving owners Daniel Shapiro, David Clifford and the Woods plenty to shout about.
We look like having a quiet week ahead on the course, but rest assured there will be plenty going on at home! I am particularly excited at the imminent prospect of Cheltenham, and will hopefully have a couple ideas of what I think will be winning next week for you!
Until next time