First of all I’d like to welcome you to our new website and wish everyone a very happy Christmas.
The festivities will be going on here at Hazelrigg but with horses to look after and so much racing on Boxing Day and beyond, work doesn’t grind to a halt.
The staff are all fantastic at making the sacrifices necessary in a racing yard and everyone will be going about their work with a smile on their face.
As ever, we are grateful to them for their efforts and it would be super to get a winner or two over the festive season to make everything feel worthwhile.
We have four runners declared for December 26, one at Sedgefield and three at Wetherby.
Starting in the north-east, PERMISSION GRANTED will run in the 11.50 handicap hurdle with Lucy Alexander aboard.
He hasn’t run since Perth in April so will be entitled to come on for the run, but we have him in good shape at home.
Luck hasn’t really been on his side, a few things haven’t gone his way over the years and he was one of the horses below par last season after showing a decent bit of promise first time up at Kelso.
We are pretty certain from his work at home that he’s way better than what we’ve seen on the track, so we’ve always thought he’s up to winning races. Hopefully this season he will go on to prove us right!
Initially we were not going to run anything at Sedgefield because the ground was so atrocious last time but they have opened up some fresh ground, we are in the first race so hopefully the conditions will be fine.
DEFINITE WISDOM is next up in the 12.30 at Wetherby and he is one we are excited about after such an encouraging effort last time over course and distance. He took a nice step forward from his seasonal reappearance and it didn’t surprise us because we have always held him in decent regard.
The only surprise the last time was how poorly he jumped initially because he has been superb when we’ve schooled him at home, so I couldn’t believe my eyes to begin with when he was so scruffy.
But Conor got him going he improved as the race went on and that gives us added encouragement.
You can never say for sure, but we feel he would have won if the horse in front of him at the last had stood up because it checked his momentum and that proved crucial.
He has only gone up a pound for that effort and with the track, trip and ground all fine (assuming we don’t get too much rain) we can be hopeful of a big run.
LE GAVROCHE is next up at 1.00 and having been off the track for a year we’ll see how he gets on. Bill Shanahan will ride. He is a horse we have always really liked. His two runs last season came at a time when we were struggling so we put him away with this season in mind and hopefully this will be a good starting point for him.
He falls into the same category as Permission Granted in that we have seen enough from him at home to tell us some decent days lie ahead.
And last but not least, JONNIESOFA will tackle a high-class field in the Rowland Meyrick at 2.10. We were thrilled by his run in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle last time out and he faces a few of the same rivals again here. It’s a Rowland Meyrick so it’s always a quality race, with the likes of Top Ville Ben, Lake View Lad, Guitar Pete, Benny’s King and several other lovely horses in the field.
At Newcastle we were with Philip Kirby’s horse for a long way and then stayed on really well after the third last, so we know we can be competitive in this company.
Jonnie has every right to be there, he’s in bouncing form at home, and we will see what happens.
Once again, Merry Christmas!