We have three runners heading to Kelso and Doncaster this Sunday bidding to keep up our good run of weekend winners over the last few months.
First up in the Borders will be TROOPER TURNBULL (1.25) who makes his hurdles debut after two very promising runs in bumpers. He was fourth at Newcastle on his debut last season, in a race which has thrown up a few winners since. He went back there last month and bettered that effort, finishing second.
Trooper is a horse we love at home and hope there is a bright future ahead of him. This will be a very competitive novice hurdle but we’re excited to get him going.
Next at Kelso is DO NOT DISTURB (2.35) who won a maiden hurdle at the track back in October before his trainer messed up by sending him to Sedgefield next time out! That didn’t work out at all for him, the track didn’t suit so we’re glad to be getting him back to a more galloping course we know he likes.
Brian Hughes will take the ride because Conor O’Farrell is going to Doncaster for us - so he’s not a bad guy to call upon!
Conor is heading down with SLANELOUGH (2.45) in what will be a very competitive handicap chase. He is a horse we have always felt was capable of winning some decent races and he’s got every right to be in this company.
The better ground will suit him because the holding surface at Newcastle wasn't in his favour last time and he didn’t jump out of it the way he can.
His form that day has taken a really big boost as well, with Lord Du Mesnil winning the Tommy Whittle at Haydock - so if our fella improves for the ground like we think he will, we’d hope to be competitive.
We didn’t manage to get a winner on Boxing Day, sadly, but there was encouragement from PERMISSION GRANTED, who struggled to lay up with them early on but stayed on well and will improve again from here.
LE GAVROCHE was one we knew would need the run, but he travelled really well before blowing up. He will come on from that run.
JONNIESOFA was the frustrating one of the day because he was far too keen and didn’t give himself a chance to win the race at Wetherby. We wanted to hold him up but he pulled himself to the front and you can’t run like that in good company at that level.
He was keen at Newcastle but he took it to another level the other day.
He finished a very tired horse because of the way he ran. He’s obviously on very good terms with himself and all the enthusiasm is clearly still there, but to land the kind of race we think he’s capable of we need to harness it properly.
He’s a very good horse but we need to get him properly anchored next time.