We notched our 45th winner of the season last week and t’s all systems go at Folly House, with several inmates running over the next seven days.
Exod’ela was a lovely winner for us at Ludlow on his handicap debut off a mark of 118, under another good ride from Gavin Sheehan. He’s a horse we’ve always liked, having been placed in two bumpers and two novice hurdles this season, so it was pleasing to see him get his head in front in a handicap for the first time.
I think a fast-run handicap over 2 ½ miles will suit him well, although he will get further in time. We’ll look to find another class3 handicap towards the back end of March before going for a big handicap at either Sandown or Ayr at the end of April.
I was thrilled to see Anythingforlove winning her second bumper from as many starts under Page Fuller. It’s always tricky to win a bumper under a penalty, but her sex allowance negated her penalty and she improved on the back of her debut victory, and she looked quite impressive yesterday. She is a well-bred individual being a sister to a Gold Cup winner, and she certainly looks to have a bright future.
We travelled up to Doncaster with Early Morning Rain in the search of some Black Type. She ran a cracking race, finishing fourth. It was a real test on bottomless ground, and she was first off the bridle. However, she galloped on well and almost took 3rd which would have given her that ‘Black Type’, but we can’t complain as she has run really well. There are a couple more listed options for her this season at either Cheltenham or Perth in April.
Fortunate Fred was 3rd at Huntingdon on Sunday. He’s run to a similar level of form as his first bumper. I thought he would improve off the back of that first run, although it looks like we’ve run into a decent horse from David Pipe’s yard.
We will wait now for better ground and run him over hurdles in the spring.
Footloose will go to Wincanton to run in the novice handicap chase. He doesn’t exactly look like a winner waiting to happen, although he’s had relatively good form when placing throughout the season. He will find his level and get his head in front eventually, whether it’s on Wednesday or not remains to be seen.
Ga Law is entered at Stratford on Monday, where he would carry a penalty for his debut win in France. We like this horse a lot, but he will be twice the horse next season after a summer holiday. He jumps nicely, and his work has been good, so we’re looking forward to getting him out on the track.
Legends Ryde is entered up at Ffos Las on Friday. She was a very good bumper mare having won at Carlisle and finished 2nd at Cheltenham in a listed race.
I was ever so slightly disappointed with her run at Cheltenham, even though we finished second that day. She disappointed at Hexham on hurdling debut and afterwards we found that her wind was troubling her.
Since then, she has had a wind-op and then finished 2nd at Huntingdon a couple of weeks ago, so we go here hoping she can improve on that.
This is an EBF qualifier and she’s been given a mark of 118, so if we can qualify for the final at the end of March that would be great.
Kalahari Queen goes for the Grand Military on Saturday. These military races at Sandown stood me in good stead as a jockey when I was coming up through the ranks, having won the Grand Military and the Royal Artillery Gold Cup four times each.
It would be great to win it as a trainer. We’ve finished 2nd in it four times, so let’s hope Saturday takes us one step closer.
Kalahari Queen has had a wind-op since disappointing in December and if she can recapture her form from last year, she should have every chance.
Timcoda is entered in a few races over the weekend and into next week. He’s been a little bit frustrating as he’s threatened to win on a few occasions but hasn’t quite delivered. He ran a nice race when fell last time out. Three miles probably just stretched him on that heavy ground, so coming back in trip here might help him out.
We have been caught between a rock and a hard place with Kiltealy Briggs. He’s a lovely young horse having won twice this season over hurdles and was a very good 3rd in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham. He won a novice up at Kelso with a penalty last time out, beating a horse that happened to finish 2nd in a Grade 2 at Kelso on Saturday.
As a result of that, we’ve gone up a further 3Ibs, which is slightly frustrating. The added 3Ibs will take effect as of this Saturday, which happens to be the EBF final. However, if we can’t win an EBF final off 136 then we won’t win an Albert Bartlett, so the EBF final seems like the better option, despite carrying a lot of weight.
✅ Third in Grade Two company at Cheltenham last time out, Kiltealy Briggs scrambles home to record a second win under Rules for @jamiesnowden, @McNeill_Family & @adrianheskin, justifying odds-on favouritism @KelsoRacecourse
— Racing TV (@RacingTV) January 12, 2020
Battleofthesomme is entered on Sunday. When he arrived at Folly House in the summer, he was very well handicapped and subsequently went on and won over hurdles and fences earlier this season. He was then put up 14Ibs by the handicapper but is now finally coming down to a more lenient mark, so we’re hoping he’ll be winning again soon.
Hogan’s Height will run his Grand National prep over hurdles at some point over the next week or so. He’ll either go to Warwick on Sunday or Uttoxeter the following week to get a pipe opener before the big race. He’ll need this prep race, but it will bring him on perfectly prior to The Grand National in April.
Tractor Fred will go to Southwell. He’s been waiting to win, having just been touched off at Plumpton in December.
I’ve been desperate to get him a run, but the weather has put pay to several entries. He now looks set to go in this ladies’ jockeys’ race at Southwell on Sunday. He’s in great shape and goes there with every chance.
Alrightjack will also head to Southwell on Sunday for the lady riders meeting. He is in great form after a wind op, and he should have every chance here.
Miss Marmite is an unraced 5yo filly. She’s a nice mare and has a lovely stride on her, although may be a bit weak just now. Anything she does on the track will be a bonus before filling out over the summer.