AFTER a pretty grim few weeks of weather which has played havoc with the fixture list right across the country, we’re delighted Musselburgh is on and hopefully it passes the inspection on Sunday morning too.
We have one on the Saturday card, with BAKO DE LA SAULIE (1.29) lining up in the veterans’ chase. It’s a bit of a gamble running him at a tight track like Musselburgh but with the amount of rain they’ve had it will be soft enough for him so we thought we’d give it a go. We previously wouldn’t have entertained going there with him but the nature of the race and the trip will be good, so we’ll find out whether it’s too tight for him or not.
He travelled well enough last time but just didn’t finish his race off properly. Things will be a lot easier underfoot - it was very deep at Ayr - so hopefully that will help. He’s in good order at home and has just disappointed us a little bit on the track the last few times. His mark has slipped down quite nicely so we’d like to think he’ll be competitive off it, but a lot will depend on how he finds those bends!
On Sunday’s card we will run DO NOT DISTURB (1.25) who is going really well at home. It’s a competitive race but hopefully Musselburgh soft will be a bit easier than it was at Kelso and it’s a drop in grade from his last run at Kelso so hopefully he can run a decent race.
DEFINITE WISDOM (3.55) will run in the 0-120 over 3 miles which is a class above what he’s been running in. It might be too competitive for him but Musselburgh is the best ground we’ll encounter for a while yet and he loves the place so we thought we’d give it a shot.
We entered PERMISSION GRANTED (4.25) not knowing whether he’d get into the race or not but thankfully it cut up enough for him to get a run. He’s in great form here and won well at Musselburgh back in November, although it was far better ground that day that it will be this weekend. Hopefully he can replicate the form from his last two runs at the track.
We'll see what the ground is like at the end of play today before making a decision on whether he appears on Sunday.
As a back up in case it gets too heavy or fails the inspection, we have declared him at Newcastle in a jumpers' bumpers on Monday.
DREAM OVER will be our only runner at Carlisle if it beats the weather, she is a nice filly who won a couple of points, so we’re keen to get going with her. She was entered at Newcastle but with Carlisle still on at the moment, we'd prefer to send her there.
The races at Newcastle have been most welcome given the call-offs we’ve had over the last month or so and we’ve had a few encouraging runs on the all-weather. I think you need a good-ground horse to have a proper chance. Hitman Fred and Okavango Delta loved it, while Le Cheval Noir just couldn’t lengthen on it last week.
It’s not racing like we’re used to, it's a bit weird and it is a specialist type of horse you need, hence some of the funny results and how the form doesn’t stack up the way it should, but they have been brilliant for getting a run into someone you can’t find a race for. It’s good for owners as well, it gives us all a bit of welcome action during these dark winter months.
Hopefully the weather relents from now, we've had Purcell’s Bridge and Smugglers Stash declared five times lately and they still haven’t had a run! Hopefully once it clears and the forecast is better we’ll see some replacement fixtures being arranged up north so we can make up some of what's been lost.
We have some unfortunate news about Rath An Iuir, one of our most promising young horses this season. Sadly he’s fractured his pedal bone so had to be sent to Newmarket for surgery. Vet Ian Wright operated on him and it went well, so he’s back home and is recovering well.
As you can see from the photo above, he’s in good spirits with his friend Minky!