BetVictor Brand Ambassador Jamie Snowden takes us through his runners over the festive period, looks forward to his upcoming entries and gives us a fascinating insight into how trainers and horses manage the flu vaccine.
Irska hadn’t really appreciated the good ground through the back end of the summer and early autumn, but because of that we ended up with a handicap mark we could work with. He showed a little bit more upped in trip on softer ground with the tongue tie on, and under Ben Hicks ran on nicely to finish a close 3rd at Hereford.
I think a further step up in trip is only going to see him in better light and that’s where we’ll go next, but he should certainly be winning before long.
College Oak won a bumper earlier on this season for us and finished 2nd first time out over hurdles. He was 4th at Wetherby (Dec 27th) which on the face of it might look a slight backward step but actually on official figures he probably improved on what he did at Ffos Las when he finished 2nd.
He’ll have a short break now and be back in the spring.
Alrightjack ran at Doncaster on the 29th, we quite fancied him that day but unfortunately he choked, he gurgled. The plan we had for the Pertemps at The Festival has probably gone out of the window on the back of that. He’s now had a wind op and we’ll have him back ready to go probably in about 6-8 weeks’ time, and we might look to the Challenger Series at Haydock in April.
So next up was Fact Of The Matter, who pulled up on soft ground at Haydock (Dec 30th).
He’s a cross-country horse, but there are no cross–country races at this time of year. I wanted to get the handicapper to split his mark to give him a cross–country mark, and a conventional chase mark.
The handicapper thought he was improving at the age of 10 and wanted to leave us on our cross–country mark in a conventional handicap chase. I think the result proved that he does need to revise his conventional chase mark for him to be competitive.
The banks race at the Punchestown Festival is very much the plan now, but how we get there and what we do in the meantime is yet to be decided.
Battleofthesomme won his first two starts for us over fences and hurdles off a mark of 81. The handicapper fairly crucified him for those two wins, but he finished a decent 3rd at Warwick on new year’s eve. With a little bit of help from the handicapper he should hopefully win again before long.
This week’s entries
Coole Well will probably go to Taunton on Tuesday in a novice handicap chase. He’s finished 2nd on his two novice chase starts so far this season and he can hopefully go well again. He wouldn’t be the most straightforward individual but hopefully he can go well.
We’ve got The Honeydipper entered in a couple of races but he’ll probably need a handicap mark to be seen to best effect.
Lemon Hill is entered at Lingfield on Tuesday. She’s a mare who ran in a few Irish point to points and in one of those she unseated her rider when looked booked for 2nd behind Winter Getaway, who’s gone on to win a couple for Phillip Hobbs. She goes ok at home so it’ll be nice to see her out and this’ll be a chance to learn a bit more about her.
And then we’ve got Timcoda entered in a couple of handicap chases. He finished 2nd first time out this season but disappointed the last day. He’s on a bit of a retrieval mission and hopefully he can get back on track.
Something I hope you may find interesting is how we at Folly House manage our horses with their flu vaccines.
Since the outbreak of equine flu last winter, the new BHA ruling is that every horse has to be vaccinated every eight months when they’re racing.
In the old days it was an annual vaccination, but now it’s every eight months. We have decided to do it every six months, because otherwise we get out of kilter in the lead up to some of the spring festivals. So now we’re vaccinating our horses in January and July.
When we give them their vaccinations, although they won’t get a day off we will be easier with them for a week after their vac, as their immune systems will be a little bit low.
So we’ll probably be quiet enough through January on the back of the flu vaccinations.
Some will be in early January and others in late January, depending on the races we’re targeting for each horse.
So horses like Thebannerkingrebel who will be going for the Rossington Main, and Thomas Macdonagh going for the River Don, will both be done late January, after they’ve run those races.
It’s all a case of balancing everything out and working out when they all need doing.