Funny Old Week!

It’s been a funny old week to say the least!

Bank Holiday Monday was mostly spent with a leg in the air – if you haven’t read last weeks news – go back and catch up – there was a bit of an incident in Ireland! There is good news and bad news on that front – the bruising started to come out on Thursday – but with it, came a return of a bit of feeling – and the feeling was not nice – in fact it was painful! But I think it’s getting better. With a painful leg in the air – and a painful head due to a heavy week in Ireland – writing last weeks News was a long process – but we got there in the end!

            Tuesday – first things first, Greyval declared in Stratford on Thursday – she had run there a couple of weeks ago, and had been unlucky – Johnny Burke, riding her for the first time held her up in what turned out to be a slow run race, and when he attempted to make ground down the back, she made a slight mistake, putting the pair on the back foot and forcing them 4 wide around the home turn conceding an enormous amount of ground on the tight track in the process. Johnny had come back in and wished that he could ride the race again – and as luck would have it, the ‘Race Programme Gods’ had smiled on him, and there was the exact same 0-120 mares handicap hurdle race to run in on Thursday – having been unlucky last time out, it looked like the ideal chance to get her head back in front – she was in great order, and declared to run.

I had a chat with Donald McCain and have arranged to go up and see him next week – when myself and Debbie will be heading there to see Old Blue Eyes on the gallop, before popping round the corner to Micheal Owen’s Manor House Stable so that Debbie can catch up on a couple of horses there, after which we will head over to Peel Hall to see Ridin Solo and our 2 yr old half sister to Hidden Beauty that we have there. While there we will be filming the next of our ‘In Behind; features for the Red Sash Racing Club Members area, which will involve lots of outstanding National Hunt broodmares, and some beautifully bred foals. Donald is really happy with Old Blue Eyes – he was quite poorly when he returned to the yard after a break, but is back on song now, and Donald is keen to drive on with him and complete his education before a short summers break. We had hoped to get a run, or at least a racecourse gallop into him this spring, but circumstances have conspired against us doing so – but Donald did get a couple of bits of work into him in the autumn, and he very much liked what he saw, he is a young horse with enormous potential, and all of his little ailments this winter will only serve to strengthen his constitution in preparation for next term – and he is a horse we are all very much looking forward to running. There are just two shares remaining – get in touch – he’s a nice one!

In the evening, we spent a really fun night over at The Blue Orchid restaurant in Aspley Guise for a long overdue catch up with friends. The Blue Orchid serves both Thai and Indian Cuisine – we went with the Thai menu, which was nice, there was certainly plenty of it! It is worth a visit if you are in the area – I wouldn’t make a special trip to go there, if you want a proper Thai meal – Siam Heaven in Bedford is the only place to go – that is superb!

            Wednesday – Maguire sent through a couple of clips of Dino Bellagio and his 3 yr old half brother ‘Barry’ having a canter – good to see Dino back cantering, he has now completed the rehab he was undergoing after suffering a very rare hind cannon bone fracture in January. He has now headed out to the field for a summers grass, and will return to training in July.

‘Barry’ is in great order, and he is coming to the end of his ‘secondary school’ period, the culmination of which will be a trip down to Tom Georges gallop next week, where he will swing along upsides another horse – another step along the path to being a racehorse. With this done, he will head back to The Elms either later next week, or early the week after, and as he steps off of the lorry to enjoy the rest of the summer, two of our 2 yr olds, Floyd (ex Savingforvegas and Finbar (ex Molly Childers) will make the return trip to Ivy Lodge Farm to start their lives as racehorses. They will both spend 6 weeks there being broken in – before returning to The Elms until March next year.

It is always an exciting time of year when you start the youngsters – they have their whole life ahead of them – and with them – all of our hopes and dreams! As our 2 yr old by The Grey Gatsby is thriving this spring, and is carrying plenty of condition, he too will come in from the field at the same time and will do plenty of lungeing and long reining. We will look at him after a couple of weeks and decide which route to go with him – he is a gorgeous horse, and we are keen to see him on the racing team, but there is also the option of preparing him for a store sale in 2025 – a decision will be made in the next month or so.

            Thursday – Auditoria, who has had plenty of entries over the course of the last week, was entered in Perth, and as soon as Olly saw the declarations, he was on to say that it was her that he was hoping to run her, she did have an entry in Southwell this Tuesday – but he felt that Perth was a far more suitable race for her – he thinks she will run very well first time out and is trying very hard to find her the right opportunity. The only hutch was that the ground in Perth was Soft Heavy in Places – with a sketchy forecast – we would make a decision on Sunday morning, ahead of decs for Southwell on Tuesday – and if the ground looked too soft north of the border, she could always head to Southwell instead, where the ground was sure to be more suitable.

Louise headed down to Barbury Castle to collect Rockola, and return her to The Elms, where she would spend her summer holidays. It has simply been too cold to turn horses out until last week, but now with the temperatures rising, plenty of them can head to the fields.

Rockola (left) out with her pals at The Elms

 Another to do so was Intrepide Sud, who after running twice this spring has headed to the filed at Ravenswell Farm for some R&R. It was certainly not worth risking him on watered ground, and he will be back in the autumn – starting over hurdles before a quick switch to fences sooner rather than later – that is where is future lies for sure!

I caught up with Will Kinsey, who reported that Ridin Solo was now living out permanently and is enjoying his summers break – as mentioned we will be in there next week to see him and others.

In the afternoon I headed out to Stratford to see Greyval – and meet up with a huge number of her owners, who were all looking forward to what we hoped would be a successful evening. A glorious evening – warm sunshine, and lovely Good ground. As I said earlier, this was the ideal race for Greyval – having felt that she was unlucky the last day – to get exactly the same race conditions for her was a real stroke of good fortune, and with the previous race under her belt, and Johnny having got a feel for her – we all felt that it was going to be a good night. Sadly, it didn’t pan out that way – and having said that we would be fine as long as she didn’t have to come 4 wide into the straight, it was really disappointing to see her come the same route on Thursday – this time going down by 2 ½ lengths into third. Trying to give lumps of weight to the front two was tough – giving then ground as well – impossible. It was disappointing, and certainly not Johnnys finest hour – but that is sport – and we just have to move on to the next one. Johnny did say that he felt that the drying ground was just about quick enough for her, so although she didn’t get her head in front – she will now head off for a summer break as well – returning a very well handicapped filly in the autumn, where surely, she will get a clearer run through the winter months! She will summer with Fergal and Sally at their place close to Ravenswell.

Greyval in the paddock

Greyval post race

            Friday – Greyval OK after her run, a little sore on her off fore, where she had just caught an old overreach scar from a few weeks ago – she will be fine, and if she recovers in reasonable time, she will have a school over fences before heading out for her break. It will just give us a heads up as to which direction we go  next season, although she is sure to start over hurdles!

The vets were in at Ivy Lodge Farm as Tintagel Queen had come to the end of her period of 10 weeks on the walker after fracturing her tibia in January. She was x-rayed, and the vets were really happy with her. She will be ridden in the school for a few days and will then head out to the field for the summer. She will return to training in early July and having had just one start over hurdles last season – will follow the same exciting path that we had mapped out for her last winter. Another one that will be having a bit of a break is Fortune Forever, who having suffered a nasty little cut will now have a break to recover from an injury – she has been transferred to Connor Brace’s yard, and joins Maria’s Flame – who has now started her stint on the walker as part of the rehab from her pelvic injury – MF is on good terms with herself.

One that was due to be on his holidays by now is Cloud Dancer – but he has had a stubborn little foot abscess, and therefore his turnout has been delayed. We plan to run him down to Ben Brain on his way to his summers break, just to check his breathing after finishing slightly distressed after his last run on very heavy ground in Uttoxeter. After his overland scope, he will head to Ivy Lodge Farm to recuperate should he need any remedial treatment on his wind.

            Saturday and Fergal on early to chat about Mamoon Star’s declaration in Hereford tomorrow. MS has really lost his form since winning in Taunton last season. There are no obvious reasons for it – although soft ground may be not to his liking, so he was given a mid winter break, when he went to Ivy Lodge Farm, and also had a stint with Laura Collett, with the view to running him on better ground this summer. On Saturday morning we concluded the chat that I had initiated in Stratford on Thursday – the topic of the tongue tie – MS first sported the aid in Wincanton in the autumn, where he looked to not face it – never travelling in the race, before staying on between beaten horses to finish second. He failed to complete on his next two starts, and I was keen to remove the tongue tie this time – strip him back to basics and try to ‘rebuild him’ on better ground. Hopefully Monday in Hereford will be the first step on that path, and we get to see the old Mamoon Star back on the track!

            Hopefully next week isn’t quite as ‘painful’ as this one has been!!

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