Hitting the road again

THERE'S another meeting at Perth today, just 12 days after their last one. And given how quickly HITMAN FRED (4.15) appears to have built up a love affair with Britain's most northerly course, we're wheeling out the horsebox once more to take him back there in the hope of a fourth win over fences from seven starts. I made no secret of how much I thought of Fred as a young horse. For whatever reason, he just never fulfilled his potential over hurdles. But the switch to fences has worked wonders and everything finally seems to be clicking into place with him now. His win over today's course-and-distance last time was emphatic, much more so than his previous victory at Perth, which came on softer ground and from a 5lb lower mark. I was pretty confident he'd win the last time as he was in terrific form going to Cartmel the time before, only to compromise his chance with a few iffy errors. The trouble is he won even more easily than I hoped here last time - and the handicapper was clearly watching on too, as he's hammered Fred with a 10lbs rise for that 14-length win. Today's race is technically a small drop in grade, but it looks a much more competitive contest than last time, with the likes of For Jim, who's on a hat-trick, and More Buck's in opposition. It will take an improved performance from Fred to defy top-weight and win again, but he's been in great form at home since then and I'm hopeful he will at least run his race once more. Things are about to get busier back here at Hazelrigg as we start to bring back some of the horses into training. Neil Leach, our head lad, has been working away with a couple of the store horses we bought and they should be ready for some of the lads to start riding once they come back next week. Permission Granted is already back with us and is likely to be one of the first horses we see back on the track once things start to ramp up again. Our three summer runners - Fred, Do Not Disturb and Slanelough - have done us proud, winning five times between them. That gives us a nice platform to take into the autumn, but it will be even better if Fred can make that six today. Here's hoping...


The photo below is of some of our mares enjoying their summer break