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Ruth’s Blog

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A quiet month on the runners front. With the ground conditions predominantly bottomless a few of the horses had a little break to freshen them up for the end of the season, although the ground has yet to dry up. Hashtag Boum ran a cracking race in tacky ground at Haydock to finish fourth. The hurdles were omitted in the straight due to the low sun and the race was ran at a crawl then a sprint which doesn’t really suit her as she prefers to lengthen off a stronger gallop. We had schooled her over fences and she jumped noticeably better. Miss Contoversia ran a nice enough race in ground she would not like to be a well beaten fourth at Newcastle. She needs to travel better rather than being on and off the bridle but we are hoipeful that she will improve for better ground. She now has a handicap rating and is having a short break to freshen her up for a spring/summer campaign.

We had to make the sad decision to have Flint Hill euthanised. He had been a shrewd enough buy and had been quite consistent until last season. He had started to have a few chronic issues with his feet and coupled with secondary problems we had struggled to keep him sound since his return to training following his holiday last October/November. It is never an easy decision and yet we felt it was the best one in the circumstances. He will be missed.

Not the busiest of months racing wise but some good runs amongst those that did have a go.

Hashtag Boum got the month off to a good start with a well deserved win on her second attempt at 3m. Given a good ride by Henry Brooke she showed a typically game attitude to prevail. Her jumping was not as slick as normal and we plan to school her over fences to remind her to respect her obstacles.

Lavida Adiva put up another good performance at Market Rasen stepping back up in trip again. I also had her dropped in to see how she settled and to see how she picked up at the end of the race. She ran a little in snatches and stayed going without picking up at the end. Diva is qualified for the Go North Herring Queen novices final at Kelso in April and that may be an option for her.

Roebuck Bay ran another solid race despite being beaten further than I had hoped. She lost a shoe and didn’t love the tacky ground. Having been placed in two out of three of her bumpers she will now switch to hurdles.

Swedish Icon confirmed what we had suspected – he has absolutely no interest in being a racehorse. He has headed off to a new home with my vet. He will be based on a livery yard and will do pleasure rides this summer before trying his hand at hunting.

Sounds Russian made his belated seasonal debut at Haydock. Reverting to hurdles he ably demonstrated why I was quick to put him over fences! To be fair to him I believe he would have travelled and jumped better on either softer or quicker ground rather than the tacky ground he encountered. I have no immediate plans for him however he will stay over hurdles for the remainder of the season.

Miss Controversia finished a well beaten fourth on just her second start over hurdles. Her jumping tends to improve as the race progresses and she should improve for racing as she is still rather green.

Not a bad month, truth be told. Kerryhill stepped up from a good run at Cheltenham in December by routing a nice field in the Grade 2 River Don Novice’s Hurdle at Doncaster at the end of the month. Given a good ride by Brian Hughes he was travelling strongly turning for home and despite still looking green under pressure he quickened away to win by 7 lengths. It was great for his owners, the aptly named They Are Never At Home Partnership as well as everyone at home.

Autumn Return ran twice in fairly quick succession and had two solid runs with a second over 2m at Market Rasen and a third at Catterick over 2m 3f. She is now qualified for the Go North Lady Buttons race at Musselburgh in April and we hope to find her an opportunity around the beginning of March to keep her ticking over.

Lavida Adiva is looking a shrewd purchase as she followed up her win with a close third against the boys back up in trip. She didn’t fully dictate matters either but she battled back strongly despite looking beaten before entering the straight. She is learning as she goes and thriving on racing at the moment so we will keep taking up opportunities as they come.

Southern Babylon was the only fly in the ointment with a disappointing run at Sedgefield. This followed a poor run at Haydock and although this run was marginally better I still was not happy. We will step her up in trp and I hope to avoid tacky ground if I can as thats all her two disappointing runs have in common.

A slightly later than anticipated review of December. I’m blaming the VAT return needing done just after the Christmas and New Year period. Hopefully everyone enjoyed the festivites!

Swedish Icon was well beaten on his hurdling debut but it was encouraging to see him jump as well as he did as he had lacked a bit of confidence at home when practicing. He idled once the others has gotten away from him but he is sure to have come on for the experience. Jamie described him as babyish so hopefully he will progress with racing. Roebuck Bay ran another cracking race in defeat and having lost ground being outpaced she stayed on strongly to be a close up 4th. It would be lovely to find a mares bumper for her as she is not the biggest but she has progressed from her first run to her second and seems to thrive on racing.

We threw Kerryhill into a hotter race on his second run for us and he performed with credit. He did not get the run of the race and was shuffled to the back with a circuit of Cheltenham to go but he jumped superbly along the back straight to get into a better position at the top of the hill. Despite being the last off the bridle he got a touch tired coming into the last before getting his second wind to run on up the hill. He looked a one point like he was going to fade out a bit but to be fair he was beaten 7l by the favourite and two much more experienced rivals. He had a blow and he is sure to have learnt a bit from that run.

Southern Babylon stepped up in class and down in trip at Haydock to try her luck ion a mares novice event. She did not perform at all and Richie reported she ran flat. She was quiet for a week afterwards at home too but nothing else has come to light so i’ll do the trainers trick of putting a line through it and carrying on! She is bouncing again now and will be out soon.

We had a good couple of days following on from Christmas with a debut Boxing Day winner at Sedgefield. Sagonige is a home bred by Blue Bresil out of Oleohneh who had also won a Sedgefield bumper – Oleohneh’s sister Mcgregor’s Cottage also made a winning debut at Sedgefield – so I was confident she would handle the track! She was well behaved on the day and trotted away quietly to the start. We covered her up early and she travelled nicely before having to make her move around the bend to get into contention. She was a little green down the hill but despite it being her first experience of a racecourse and a race she knew enough to get her head in front. She showed a good attitude to beat more experienced rivals.

Lavida Adiva was delighted with herself after getting her head in front at Catterick. She is not entirely straightforward at home so she simply does her day to day work and runs, hence, it has taken me three runs to deduce her best trip on soft ground! She seemed to settle away in front and jumped lovely. One horse came to battle before falling at the last, and it was impossible to know if it would have gotten past her, but Jamie felt she still had plenty to give and she didn’t blow following the race. She is maturing mentally with racing and we hope she continues to as she looks like a horse that will giver her connections plenty of fun.

Hashtag Boum then had the pressure of making it three winners form three runners that week but the heavy rain at Kelso turned the race into a different event and it wasn’t to be. Still, she ran with credit to be second and she has been the most consistent of horses. Hopefully we will get a win under her belt this season as she deserves it.

Not a bad month to be honest; not least because it’s my birthday in November. We had three nice winners starting with Southern Babylon at Market Rasen under Richie McLernon for owner Lynne McLennan. A fast finishing second at Sedgefield on her first start for us over an inadequate trip, we knew the extra 1/2 mile would suit. It was a strong little race on paper but she most things well; not least staying on strongly down the straight to stretch the field apart. Her jumping going a stride quicker was very accurate. All in all a pleasing win. This was fallowed by a cosy win from Kerryhill on his rules debut (Brian Hughes/They Are Never At Home Partnership). He travelled nicely and bar one mistake jumped well to hold on from a fast finishing Caldwell at Kelso. He was due to run in the “French Furze” Novice hurdle at Newcastle but with that abandoned we will have to re-route elsewhere. Finally, Autumn Return (Brian Hughes/Drew & Ailsa Russell) made heavy weather of winning at Musselburgh but despite not looking happy in the second half of the race she put her head down and toughed it out to get her head in front again – making it 4 of 9 for us and 5 of 10 overall. If only every horse had that kind of strike rate! Her jumping in the early part of the race was accurate but went to pieces a bit. She will have a pop over fences shortly and we may go chasing.

Two good seconds came from Hashtag Boum and Lavida Adiva. Hashtag Boum made her belated seasonal debut at Sedgefield over her absolute bare minimum trip of 2m 3f (on much needed heavy ground). She travelled and jumped great but got beat on the line by a horse carrying 5lbs less. Still, she ran a cracker and I’ll start to scout out other options for her. Lavida Adiva finished third on her first run over 2m 5f (Kelso) and I was keen to bring her back in trip a bit. I thought 2m 3f at Musselbrugh would be right up her street. She settled and jumped well in front and rallied when needed but she will come back in trip again to 2m next time out as she doesn’t yet finished her races strongly – both times she has been outstayed.

I was particularly pleased with Roebuck Bay’s racecourse debut at Kelso in a bumper. We had done as much as we could at home with her and she was physically ready but I was not 100% convinced she was mentally up for it. She proved me wrong and was very professional in the preliminaries but very green during the race itself. A slow early pace probably helped her and she was educated on the way around by Harry Bannister; by the time she needed to gallop out she knew what was expected of her and she was beaten less than 5l into 5th. The first four had all either ran or had a racecourse gallop but this was her first experience of it and they pulled clear of the rest. She has thrived since and will be out again shortly.

On Saturday we head to Aintree with Sounds Russian who runs in typically competitive Many Clouds Chase. He is taking on Graded winners and even last years Grand national winner. Officially he has 4lb to find with Ahoy Senior but at this level 4lb is more like 8lb! A wet forecast would have been nice as he has proven form on heavy but he doesn’t seem ground dependent; it may have inconvenienced some of the others.

Sounds Russian on the sand gallop at Newstead

Autumn Return didn’t perform at Newbury. I don’t think it was as simple as being purely outclassed as she seemed unhappy about something. I am not convinced she liked the ground there – a mixture of watered and rained on. We will find a little handicap for her now. Switch Partner cut out quickly at Doncaster and Callum reported she made a noise when the pace quickened. We will do an overground scope to see if her pallet is flipping or if there is another wind issue. All other tests came back perfect. Sir Jim made a mistake at the first and never got into the race thereafter. That paragraph sums up how frustrating it is to be a racehorse trainer!

A good day at Kelso with Sounds Russian winning the big race on the day. He has gone up 7lb and may find life tougher but we don’t really know how good he is. Edmond Dantes ran a good race and was not beaten far. Silver Coin had a tough time in a rough race but this was a better performance.

Tomorrow we head to Newmarket with Flint Hill in a tough looking handicap. If the ground dries up further it would suit him. Newmarket is a tough track, albeit not as tough as Pontefract, and hopefully he will put up a bold show. Autumn Return runs at Wetherby on Saturday. Her mares allowance negates the penalty for winning and the track, trip and ground should suit.

I was pleased with Fetch It Yourself’s debut at Carlisle. She was green which can be expected as she had never had a racecourse gallop prior to running but she swung into the straight like a racehorse before weakening out of things later on. She was beaten by three horses all a year older that had each ran more than once in point to points giving them plenty of experience which showed in the later stages. She may now go hurdling.

Silver Coin

We go to Kelso on Saturday hoping they have had a shower of rain or two! Sounds Russian runs in the big race of the day. There are no easy races when you are rated 150 and this race has a mix of second season chasers and strong handicappers. It will be interesting to see how he gets on. Callum Bewley takes the ride. Edmond Dantes is next. He is dropping back in trip as he is a strong traveller who doesn’t quite see out his races as well as you would expect. He is stepping up in grade at the same time. Brian Hughes rides Ed. Silver Coin completes the trio as she makes her handicap debut. She should be suited by the trip but may not want the day to be a wash out (though the other two wouldn’t be inconvenienced). Her schooling has improved at home so hopefully she will put in na nice performance. Alan Doyle rides.

Tomorrow we head to Carlisle with just the one runner from three entries! Fetch It Yourself, a homebred Mount Nelson filly out of Retrieve The Stick makes her racecourse debut in the bumper. Bumpers are always hard to weigh up with various form on offer as well as no form and only pedigrees to give an indication of ability! There’s horses to like in it and this family doesn’t throw up many bumper winners but she is a nice, big mare with a lot of scope. Generally well balanced I would expect her to handle the track and being only four and a filly she runs off a light weight.

Fetch It Yourself

We were delighted with Thermusa at Sedgefield as despite looking like she had never ran before or seen many hurdles she won going away and with plenty in hand. She is dynamite over hurdles at home so i’m not sure why she was careful at the races but she will improve with time. She will most likely go back to Sedgefield for another mare’s novice hurdle next month. Switch Partner had to make the running as well and looked happy enough out in front. I was pleased with her jumping as Callum and I (to a lesser extent – I watch) have done a lot of work to get her to make a better shape. She now has a handicap mark and will probably step up in trip next time.

Thermusa at the sales in May

It was great for Flint Hill to get his head in front at Pontefract yesterday after a couple of near misses at the track this summer. He loves Pontefract as he isn’t the quickest and just keeps going! I do not think Paul (Hanagan) got the credit he deserved after finishing second on him last time under a great ride and I think Flint was full of confidence going into it yesterday. Graham (Lee) always has first refusal on the ride as he has won on him and it was their third win together in two seasons.

Flint Hill (Yellow colours) with Graham Lee

We have two runners tomorrow at Sedgefield. I’m not sure how much rain either of them will want but both will take their chance for different reasons. Switch Partner was supposed to go to Sedgefield’s last meeting but knocked a joint. She is in great form at home and worked beautifully last week. We have worked on her jumping as much as we can and hopefully she will show an improvement on her last runs. Either way she will qualify for a handicap mark. Callum Bewley rides. Thermusa cost a lot after winning her only point to point – as most winning point to pointers do! She is laid back in her work but a very enthusiastic jumper and seems fairly straight. Being by Kayf Tara out of a Presenting mare she may or may not handle softer going but she is a big mare with large enough feet that you would hope she is versatile regarding ground.

Thermusa with Callum
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