Sunday, 9 March 2014

Baking in the sun

It has been great to see how many entries we've had for this season's Three to Follow competition with just under 100 entered including some names which are new to me so it's encouraging to see we have some fans out there! All of you who chose No Such Number have one point on the board already after his third at Southwell last week and I'm confident that won't be the only point he collects this year.
After he won first time out over hurdles in December, we have been waiting for some decent ground to run Number over the obstacles again but, after the wettest winter in record, that ideal ground never came. However, with the sun now shining and a healthy weather forecast, it looks like he'll be back jumping again on Saturday at Kempton. He's been kept fit by running on the flat and hopefully all the good horses will have run at Cheltenham during the week so he should go there with a great chance.

One horse who wouldn't mind a wet summer as she loves heavy ground is Bethan. She has been enjoying the surface at Southwell recently so we're heading back there on Tuesday with her. She is still learning with every run but put in a really good piece of work on Wednesday so maybe she is still improving.
Bethan (Adam) & Meddling (Ross)
The following day at Kempton we have Meddling. She really thrived on the step up in trip last time and, given a decent pace, she could have won. She has come out of that race in good order and it won't be long before she loses her maiden tag as I think she is well handicapped.

It took Attain 23 runs to finally get his head in front and then when he did, the handicapper decided to put him up 8lbs in the weights so life was obviously going to be tough for him. He seemed to run very flat last time so I hope a little break has freshened him up. He worked well on Saturday and has won at Wolverhampton where he heads to on Friday.
Going with him will be Previous Acclaim. She was desperately unlucky not to win last time and I'm keen to get her out again whilst the races in her grade are quite weak. She is no superstar but tries her heart out and that is half the battle with racehorses.
Attain (Graham)
Candesta is a horse I'm really excited about this season. He has shown promise in three maidens, two of them for us, and I think he is the type to excel when switching to the turf. There's a nice race for him on the opening meeting of the season at Doncaster at the end of the month so I'll keep him fresh for then. He is a real galloper and will thrive over longer trips plus a bit of cut in the ground wouldn't hurt him.
Candesta (Danny)
The horses who had a break over the winter are really stepping up their work now and a couple of them did a steady gallop on Saturday.
Silver Alliance had a great time of it last year with three wins and he has thrived over the winter. He looks a lot stronger now and we know what his likes and dislikes are so hopefully he'll be in for another successful season.
Handheld (Danny) & Silver Alliance (Reno)
The Ducking Stool has plenty of fans and she is looking good for her comeback. She loves Yarmouth with five wins there and, if all goes to plan, she'll be making her reappearance there in early April. She is a pleasure to train and our apprentice jockey Shelley Birkett gets on really well with her so I'm hoping they can get another hat-trick of victories again in 2014.
The Ducking Stool (Ryan)
Our staff like to get competitive over anything, whether it be over who can run the fastest or who can guess how a horse will run the best, and this week their attentions turned to seeing who could bake the best.
The Great Feilden Bake Off commenced on Monday with a top-notch rainbow cake from Shelley. She said it took her three hours to make and it certainly looked the part but was let down by being a bit sickly. She scored well though and set a high benchmark for the others.
On Tuesday, Reno baked his first ever cake. The sob story seemed to worked as he scored pretty well considering, but it was a decent cake, nicely presented.

The following day, Danny too lost his baking maiden tag with a tasty chocolate cake. Maybe some tactical voting cost him as it didn't really get the points it deserved but he scored enough to tie with Reno.
And finally, Ross pulled out all the stops with his topical Cheltenham cake. The presentation certainly caught everyone's eye and the judges seemed to be impressed with the taste too as he topped the leader board and walked away with the bake off title. It is still unclear whether the threat of redundancy to the rest of the staff caused this high marking. The stewards' enquiry is still on going!

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