Racing round-up...and Kelso


WE were thrilled with Le Cheval Noir’s win at Newcastle on Saturday and he confirmed that we’ve got a lovely young horse to look forward to next season. He got up to win very well giving away weight to two rivals he’s faced already this season. We rode him a bit handier because of the drying ground but he still needed every yard of it.


He looks a proper stayer with a similar profile to Rath An Iuir, so it’s exciting to think we might have another nice one coming through for the novice chasing division. He had a hard enough race yesterday so we’ll see how he is and my gut feeling is that Ayr will come too soon, so a more realistic target is the 3m novice hurdle at Perth the following week.


Seeing him win and do it like that was a great boost for dad, who hasn’t been feeling great lately but that really cheered him up.


Okavango Delta also ran a solid race to be third in the bumper and Brian Hughes was very complimentary about him afterwards. He’s had four runs this season and we have been encouraged by every one of them, so he’ll be roughed off now before coming back for a novice hurdling campaign.


He’s still a frame of a horse, really, so there’s plenty of bulking up to be done in the months ahead so if he fills out the way we expect him to, he could be a nice one for his owners next season.


Slanelough was our only runner at Doncaster last week and we went there to try something different. Conor held him up instead of bowling along but it didn’t really work, although he reckons he’ll have learned a lot from it and having to listen to his jockey! He didn’t get to use his jumping to full effect so we’ll return to more familiar tactics next time. If ever a horse deserved to win a race it’s him, so we’ll keep looking for the right assignment.


HITMAN FRED (5.10) is another who falls into that category and we’d love to get a win for his owners the Friday Lions. He made a pleasing debut over fences at Sedgefield last month and will have learned plenty from that experience. The drying ground won’t be a problem for him as long as it doesn’t get too quick by the time the last comes around.


Our other runner at Kelso will be CAILIN DEARG (3.10) who has her second start for us since arriving from Ireland. We are still learning about her and she steps back in trip to 2m this week.