There are plenty of ups and downs in racing, and with 43 winners this season, we’ve had our fair share of ups. Unfortunately, over the past week we’ve had a couple of downs, however. It goes with the territory and we’ll now dust ourselves off and go again.
Thebannerkingrebel was disappointing at Newbury on Saturday in the Betfair Hurdle. He looked to have the right profile going into the race, and held every chance jumping the last but folded inside the final furlong. Unfortunately, his wind has caught him out again, and he’s had that tinkered with this afternoon.
He has had wind issues before but it has risen its ugly head at the wrong point of the season as far as The Cheltenham Festival is concerned. We’ll have to see where we are in the next 10 days before deciding on a plan going forward with him.
Pacify has won 5 of his 6 starts over hurdles this season over 2 miles and was 2nd in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham in November. After a mid-winter break, I was looking forward to stepping him up in trip this spring where we thought we might be able to unlock some more improvement.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be the case as he was beaten into 4th in the Sydney Banks Listed Novice hurdle at Huntingdon last week. So, it’s back to the drawing board with him.
We’ll have a chat with the owners before deciding where we might go this season, but one thing is for certain and that is he is an exciting novice chaser for next season.
Early Morning Rain went in the search of some Black Type at Warwick but ended up finishing 6th. It was a decent race and in fairness she has ran to her handicap mark. She should benefit from going back into handicap company, and we’ll now look to get her qualified for the Mares’ final at Newbury.
Timcoda looked the winner most of the way when he fell at the second last at Uttoxeter. He got quite tired and may fare better on 2 1/2 miles on heavy ground rather than over 3 miles on good. It was unfortunate again and it’s just one of these things that didn’t quite work out for us.
We’ve got Tractor Fred entered in a few races over the coming days. He’s in good order and should have every chance on a more conventional track than he was on his previous outing at Sedgefield.
He ran well when just touched off at Plumpton in December, so if he runs to a similar standard, he should have a great chance off this handicap mark.
Legends Ryde has had a wind-op since last seen at Hexham. She won nicely at Carlisle in her bumper before going on to finish 2nd in a listed race at Cheltenham.
Since then, she was slightly disappointing on hurdling debut at Hexham, however. Afterwards we found that her wind was troubling her, so we’re hoping she runs a better race now that has all been resolved. With the weather the way it is, there’s a chance she could end up at Lingfield or Huntingdon next week.
Alrightjack is set to go for the Challenger Stayers Hurdle Series Final Qualifier at Ascot on Saturday. He was a good 4th in the Silver Trophy at Chepstow back in October. The plan was to get him qualified for the Pertemps at The Festival, but we probably left it a little bit late to get his handicap mark to where it needs to be in time for that.
We’ll now look at going for the Challengers Series Final at Haydock. He’s had a wind-op since his run at Doncaster, so we’re ready to go to Ascot and get qualified for Haydock.
Kiltealy Briggs is entered in the Grade 2 Prestige Novices’ Hurdle at Haydock on Saturday but whether we go there or not is yet to be decided.
We’ve got two potential targets for him going forward; he could go for the Albert Bartlett at The Festival or we could opt for the EBF Final on the Saturday beforehand.
Grand National Weights
We’ve been allotted a weight of 10 stone off a mark of 146 for Hogan’s Height. In all known history, a mark of 146 should get you into the Grand National.
The top weight, Tiger Roll, is off a mark of 170 and interestingly, there are only five horses in the weights that have won over the National fences, with Hogan’s Height being one of them.
It’s a huge advantage that we know he will take to the fences and provided we can get him there fighting fit and in one piece, he should have every chance off that mark. The dream is alive…