AFTER a snowy and stunning few days here, it’s good to be back racing with meetings on at Carlisle and Catterick today.
The snowy weather is great for photos and videos, but less so for training horses - although as you’ll see, we were still able to get the team out and working and it’s a huge credit to the staff here for keeping things going in freezing cold conditions.
Overall, we haven’t missed much work - a few bits of the fast stuff - but we’ve kept all the horses tipping away, using the main gallop in the snow and doing long, steady canters in the covered ride. There were not many days where we didn’t get up the gallops, it was just you couldn’t do the real quick stuff on it. So hopefully we’re in good shape for this afternoon and who knows, maybe a little break from the normal routine will have done them good.
WILD POLLY (1.45) will go in Catterick’s mares’ novice hurdle. We earmarked this race a while ago for her. She’s one that missed a little bit of work but sometimes that isn’t a bad thing with fillies.
She couldn’t have done it any better at Ayr the day she won and the penalty just held her back a bit at Kelso next time, where we thought she ran a blinder. Hopefully she runs well today because she’s qualified for the Mares Final at Newbury later in the season and that would be a nice target to have when spring comes. Craig Nichol rides.
SMUGGLERS STASH (2.35) is our first up at Carlisle in a 16-runner handicap chase over 3m2f. The field size is bigger than you’d normally expect here but given the call offs we’ve all had to endure, everyone has stables packed with horses ready to run so I think we’ll be racing in big numbers for a while now. It just means things are going to be ultra-competitive.
Smugglers, who's in the rear in the video above, has won at Carlisle before, he’s dropped down to a nice mark and only has 10-1 on his back with Conor O’Farrell riding. The ground won’t be an issue. We have been waiting for ages to get him a run, he’s been entered at several meetings which went off, so we’re looking forward to getting him back on track.
Although I mentioned the field size, that’s not an issue for him beyond how competitive it’s going to be, as he won round Carlisle with ten in the race before so it’s not as though he needs a small field. It will be a bit of a cavalry charge but hopefully he’ll cope with it.
We then run DREAM OVER (4.05) in the bumper and we’re glad to get going with her. She’s a lovely mare who won a couple of point-to-points for the McKie family at Alnwick before joining us. We will find out today whether she’s a bumper horse, it’s a bit of a fact-finding mission. She had been entered over hurdles but we’ve decided to go down this route this afternoon and we’ll know more about her afterwards.
The plan with her had been to keep in points but with them being cancelled this year, she’s come here to run under rules. She’s a lovely mare, well-bred from the family of Lady Cricket and Swing Bowler, so it will be good to see how she gets on.