Entries & Recent Form

Above: Umbrigado holds entries at Newbury this weekend

Last week was a frustrating one for the stable with a number of runners reaching the frame without quite getting their heads in front.  That trend continued today with What A Moment just touched off in a photo finish at Plumpton.  Even so, with only a fortnight to go until the Cheltenham Festival I am satisfied that the horses continue to run well.

Sexy Second

Sexy Lot was just touched off at Wetherby on her first try at 2m5½f on Tuesday.  She has proven to be a progressive mare this season, winning twice and finishing runner-up on her last three starts from higher marks.  She seemed to run a little bit in snatches on this occasion but stayed on very well in the closing stages to almost snatch victory on the line.  She saw the longer trip out well and shaped as though she would stay further again.  She may be worth trying in some headgear in future to help her travel more comfortably through her races.

Eamon An Cnoic also finished runner-up at Chepstow on Thursday in the 2m conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle.  He travelled strongly throughout and battled on well when headed approaching the last.  I was pleased that he was able to produce a third consecutive good run.  However, he is due to go up 11lbs in future handicaps which will certainly make life more difficult, especially as he could not convert from this lower mark.  At the age of ten, he is not improving so let’s hope that the handicapper reconsiders his previous rise.

Peaks Promise

Later on the Chepstow card Barrier Peaks continued our run of placings when runner-up in the closing bumper.  He acquitted himself nicely on his first racecourse appearance, staying on well all the way to the line.  He will certainly have learned plenty for this and he showed more than enough to suggest he is capable of winning something similar, although his future undoubtedly lies over obstacles.

There were good performances too from Red Lion Lad who finished third in the 2m3½f maiden hurdle at Chepstow.  Having looked in trouble in the straight, he was doing all of his best work in the closing stages.  He is a strapping big sort who needs a bit of time and will make a smashing staying chaser in time.  Poker Play also ran well at Chepstow, finishing third and backing up his recent good run with another decent effort.

Panic Attack also finished third in the mares’ handicap hurdle at Exeter on Friday but she didn’t enjoy the holding ground and will be seen to better effect on a sounder surface.

Lion Out Of Luck

The David Pipe Racing Club was out of luck on Saturday when Little Red Lion fell on the final circuit of the Eider Chase.  He was just creeping into contention with Ben Jones when making a mistake and falling at the 18th.  He had given members a great thrill until that point.  Fortunately, he seems okay and we will keep an eye on him over the coming days.  He does hold an entry in the Midlands National although he would need a lot of those above him in the entries to come out before he would get in.

The Week Ahead

Looking to this week and we were just touched off this afternoon (Monday) with What A Moment in the conditional jockeys’ staying handicap chase at Plumpton.  He did everything right, looking the likeliest winner heading into the straight but didn’t meet the last on a good stride which just cost him valuable momentum.  He rallied on the run-in to go down by just a short head under Fergus Gillard.  This was his best run for some time and our eleven year old deserves to get his head in front once again.

Our next runners now will not come until Thursday at the earliest where we have a few entries at Taunton.  Paricolor is a likely runner having done very well in this grade so far this term, winning on four occasions, including at the track.  Bumpy Johnson is a possible for the 2m4½f novices’ hurdle at Newbury on Friday.

We confirmed Night Edition at the latest stage for the valuable Morebattle Hurdle at Kelso on Saturday, which also carries a handsome bonus for any horse winning this race and following-up at the Cheltenham Festival.  Meanwhile, we entered Iron Heart, Major Robinson and Umbrigado at Newbury on the same afternoon.

Umbrigado (pictured top) has a choice of engagements at Newbury – he is in the 2m4f Grade 3 Greatwood Gold Cup or the novices’ chase over the same trip.  There are some other nice prizes away from the Cheltenham Festival so we will take a look at all the opportunities for him and try to make the best decision.  Of course, everyone wants to win at Cheltenham - it represents the pinnacle of our sport but it is not the be all and end all and if better prospects present themselves elsewhere, it would be foolish to dismiss them out of hand.

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