Talking of wasted journeys, I must praise the much-maligned ARC. This is the company which owns the majority of the tracks we race on, including Bath where we went to last month, only for the meeting to be abandoned due to a flooded jockeys' changing room. It was a long and expensive journey for us to make and at the time ARC said they would compensate connections for their journeys. We're used to hearing this guff before but ARC fulfilled the promise and this week I received a cheque which covered the diesel and staff expenses for the day. It was a shame not to run Tiger's Home as she was in top form but this helps to soothe any hard feelings.
The turf season is now officially over so there are no worries of any flat meetings being rained off as we switch to the all-weather for the winter and we're making the most of it this week.
First up tomorrow is Omega Omega at Kempton. She has taken a long time to fill into her big frame but she is getting there now and her third place at Yarmouth last time was a career best. She will probably struggle to beat the hot favourite but the rest look beatable so I hope she can land a place.
On Tuesday we head up to Wolverhampton. I haven't had any runners there since the surface was replaced a few months ago as the jockeys said it wasn't very good ground but now it has settled down, I'm happy to return. We have two runners and both have great chances. Tiger's Home finally got her head in front last time and has been flying at home since so I hope she can continue her recent improvement.
Bethan will be accompanying her and making her handicap debut. She has shown promise in a trio of maidens and has been given a nice handicap. The step up in trip will suit her so she should fare better now providing she still isn't too inexperienced.
|Tiger's Home (Shelley)|
|Bethan (Graham) & Hamble (Danny)|
The horsebox won't be given much time to cool down as on Wednesday we're off to Lingfield with another two. Hamble has been running consistently on the turf and is in need of this step up to a mile. He hasn't been tried much on the all-weather before so that will be a bit of an unknown but he is jumping out of his skin at home.
Bestfootforward will be keeping him company and she too is in great order. The trip and track should be ideal for her and I'd love to win another race with her.
I'd also love to win a race with Attain who has proven very frustrating with many good runs but no wins. He has been pretty consistent recently and is in a bad race so fingers crossed it may be his day at last.
Entrance is also an elusive character to win with nowadays but she consented to put her head in front at Lingfield in the summer. She hasn't done a lot on turf since but I hope the return to her favoured track on Saturday will mean she puts in a good effort.
On the contrary, an unexposed horse who will be travelling with her down to Surrey is Believe In Me. A series of small problems have kept her off the track for most of the year but her comeback run was full of promise as she travelled well before getting very tired. She's a lot fitter now and the drop in trip will be a big bonus.
|Tolly McGuinness (Bruce) & Entrance (Norm)|
We don't have many jumpers in the yard nowadays but it's always nice when an ideal type comes along as we have had a few National Hunt winners in the past. No Such Number has always struck me as a candidate to go over the obstacles and he has had a few schooling sessions now and looked a natural. Up and coming jockey Trevor Whelan has been down to have a sit on him and was impressed with him. He'll still need a few more practice runs to fine tune his jumping but he'll be out soon and should be doing himself proud.
|No Such Number (Trevor)|
We have been without our apprentice jockey Shelley Birkett over the weekend as she has been out in Abu Dhabi. I'm sure she got plenty of sun bathing in but that wasn't the reason why she was out there as she had been chosen to ride in an international apprentice riders' race at the city's racetrack. We managed to find a dodgy internet feed of the race so saw it all. She finished in sixth after a bit of a troubled passage with a faller in the race early on. The race was won by a South African jockey who was riding for the same trainer for whom Shelley was riding for. She's back tomorrow evening and the experience will have done her some good.