Pats Dream (far side) having a pop under Craig Nichol
IT’S the Go North weekend again, with three days of really competitive racing at Musselburgh, Kelso and Carlisle.
We didn’t have any runners yesterday in Edinburgh, but will be represented with two in the Borders this afternoon and one at Carlisle tomorrow.
The plan had been to run three today, with OKOVANGO DELTA taking his place in the two-and-a-half mile hurdle final at 1.50. But frustratingly, he got kicked on Thursday so won’t travel - which is hugely infuriating.
The ironic thing is that it was LIMERICK LEADER (1.50), our other runner, who booted him so we think he must have seen the decs and wanted to take out the opposition! It’s really frustrating as both were ready to go, but we’re down to just a duo now.
We sent Limerick Leader to Ayr for the qualifier earlier this month hoping he’d take a step forward again after a few indifferent runs and he ran a blinder to show we were definitely right to keep the faith, only going down by a length into second place.
That was very encouraging ahead of going back to Kelso, where he won a novice hurdle this time last year, so we know he likes the track and despite going up 3lbs from the last run we’d like to think there’s still more to come from that mark. We have decided to put cheekpieces on for the first time to give him a bit of a surprise and hopefully they will eke out some more improvement. It doesn’t sound as though there has been too much rain overnight and we’re the first race so it shouldn’t be cut up, which is good for our chances.
PATS DREAM (4.10) made his debut for the yard back in October, finishing fourth in a novice hurdle at Ayr. He had a small setback after that race but has been in training again for a little while now and is ready to return. He is bred to get further and will probably need the run after five months off the track, but he’s a horse we really like and we’re hoping for a positive performance this afternoon.
On Sunday the show rolls on to Carlisle, where CAPTAIN QUINT (3.35) will take his place in the final of the Monet’s Garden chase series. Obviously Monet’s Garden was a horse Dobbs knew well from his riding days so it would be great for us to win the race named after him.
Everyone knows the regard we have held Quint in since he first won that novice hurdle at Hexham a couple of years ago. Always a chaser in the making, we expected him to be an out-and-out stayer, but he’s not short of gears and he’s shown us that two-and-a-half on soft/heavy ground is fine for him at the moment. He’ll get further in time, I’m sure, but he’s only seven so there’s no need to rush him and this looks the perfect way to go for now.
He’s a lovely laid-back big horse who is more than capable of winning a nice pot like this so hopefully he keeps progressing and builds on the win last time.