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    Kingston Queen (IRE) 
 

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   Tuxedo Junction (GB) 

Exciting Dual Purpose Prospect
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Today we just have the one runner at Wetherby, Sizing Pottsie in the 3.25pm handicap hurdle over two miles and Jack Tudor rides.  He last ran in the Grand Annual chase at the Cheltenham Festival where he pulled up but this will be an easier opportunity for him this afternoon.  After a good start to the season it is fair to say things have not entirely gone to plan and he has been disappointing in recent runs over fences.  In fairness to the horse he has faced some tough tasks on ground that was not soft enough so we are hoping for a confidence boosting on ground that is described as soft by the Wetherby clerk of the course.  Any further rain falling at the track will only help his chances.  The handicapper is giving him a chance and hopefully he can put his best foot forwards and be involved in the finish.  He is about an 8/1 chance for today.

Wetherby is the only jumps meeting on in Britain today but there are three all-weather meetings at Lingfield, Southwell and Newcastle.  In Ireland they have some jumps racing at Wexford and an all-weather fixture at Dundalk.

Yesterday at Taunton the heavens opened and the track looked nearly unraceable at the beginning! Jilaijone did not mind the testing conditions, in fact Philip Armson said he much preferred this wetter going yesterday than at Exeter on his previous start when it was very sticky.  He got a good jump at the last hurdle and battle on all the way to the line, only losing by a neck to the favourite.  While a little frustrating to get yet another second it was good for our little horse to bounce back to form and hopefully he can get his head in front next time.  In the same race, Only Fools ran okay on her hurdling debut but finished fifth.  The first two horses pulled well clear of the rest but jockey Jack Tudor was happy enough as while she handled the ground okay she did not really enjoy it and she may be more of a long term prospect.  Hammer Dan competed in his first hurdle race and Mr Tambourine Man ran okay on his first run in nearly a year, finishing a respectable third and he can hopefully build on that and have a good Summer ahead.

David and Mr and Mrs Pipe went to Taunton yesterday and had the pleasure of having lunch with Princess Anne.  I saw her visit to our county town made the TV news as she officially opened the Injured Jockeys Fund new facility at Taunton ruby club.  It was also an honour for our very own Rosie Clarke who was racing with our horses at Taunton yesterday as her horse was officially judged the best turned out and was awarded the prize by Princess Anne.  She got to have a chat with her in the paddock in between the rain showers!

I see there has been a few small tweaks the whip rules for the jockeys.  Jockeys who repeatedly break the rules with technical offences will now be referred to the Independent panel after five breaches (such as using it above shoulder height) rather than three in six months as it was.  Jockeys faced a minimum of a 28 days ban if previously falling foul of this rule and Harry Cobden is an example of a jockey who was in risk of breaking this rule for totting up offences but can now breathe a bit easier! The referral committee will now meet twice a week, rather than once.  On a Tuesday it will now address issues from racing the previous Thursday to Sunday and on a Friday it will now look at races Monday to Wednesday.  Jockeys also have the option of starting a ban 14 days from when the offence occurred, rather than waiting for the panel, should they choose not to appeal any ban.  It appears that officials are working with the jockeys and these do seem a little positive steps in the right direction.  The new rules for the flat jockeys only started on Monday this week so it will be interesting to see what happens to any flat jockeys later today.  It could be like it was for the jumps jockeys when first introduced when the bans in the first couple of weeks were at their highest while they were getting used to the changes.  Watch this space!

How does the moon cut his hair?  Eclipse it!  Happy Friday!