Unfortunately it didn't go well for us down at Ascot yesterday. When I walked the track in the morning I was disappointed the ground wasn't softer. They had so much rain due, I really thought we'd get Jonnie's ground but they got less than forecast and it ended up dead and barely even soft in places. If only there'd been a race at Haydock for him instead!
Down south in that company they really go a different gear and actually Jonnie was just about handling it, albeit at his top speed. I was fairly happy with his position as was Craig, but coming up the hill he missed a fence and he was off the bridle after that. Craig pulled him up before the last. A shame but he seems fine this morning and that's the main thing.
The difficulty is finding races for a horse with his rating.
Bigirononhiship also just struggled with that southern pace. Craig said he took a while to warm to it, but then his jumping did actually keep him in it for a bit, but in the end when the race started in earnest he just couldn't live with them. We'll lower our sights and find something up north, and hope to get him back to being competitive and in the mix.
It wasn't a bad day at Musselburgh on Friday. Style Nelson was running a good race before making a terrible mistake 3 out, Conor did well to cling on, but he stepped at the next and fell. A shame as he looked, and felt to Conor, like he would be there or there abouts. He's come out of it fine and it was probably just inexperience as it was only his 3rd hurdle.
We were pleased with Eagle de Guye's close 3rd. The tongue tie helped him finish much better. He's a big horse you'd never normally dream of running around Musselburgh but it's the only track we'll find half decent ground. In the spring we'll be able to get him onto bigger tracks and use his jumping and hopefully get to the winners enclosure. There's plenty to look forward to with him.
The weather could play havoc again this week, and Kelso are now inspecting ahead of Tuesday because of frost, but we have entries for Slanelough, Hitman Fred, Smugglers Stash & old Purcell's Bridge (re routed from the points), so hopefully we'll get some action somewhere.
Finally, in the hostel at Ascot we found this great picture from the Royal meeting - hopefully it won't be too long until there are scenes like this again!