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Ruth’s Blog

Saturday was a good day with Autumn Return winning the mares novice hurdle at Market Rasen. Bought after winning her third point to point by Bobby O’Ryan she won her bumper for us in April. That was a gritty display and she showed a willing attitude, which was again on display on Saturday. We gave her a bit of cover this time which helped her settle but she showed speed when needed. Her jumping was ok and will become slicker in time.

Inca Prince was beaten further than I would have liked and came back minus two shoes. He didn’t go haring off quite as fast as he has in the past but his jumping wasn’t as slick as it has been. He had not had the chance to school over white painted, conventional hurdles this season with the ground being so firm and he should improve in the future. It was also his first run against older horses and I think he was the only horse coming into the race off a break, the rest having ran through summer. He will come on for the run.

Tomorrow Silver Coin makes her handicap debut at Southwell, also stepping up in trip. Ideally the ground will be good and well watered which Southwell usually achieve. Conor Rabbitt who rides for Nicky Richards takes 5lb off. Returning from a break she may need the run and she will come on for the experience.

Two runners tomorrow at Market Rasen both returning from a break. First up is Autumn Return in the mare’s novice hurdle. There are not many runners but it is a trappy affair. Autumn was purchased following a win in her third point to point and won on her first start for the yard in a bumper at Ayr. She has schooled well and has experience from her pointing days. Autumn is bred to be a 2 miler but we will learn more about her tomorrow.

Second up is Inca Prince. An enthusiastic front runner (!) we gave him a holiday after trying him on the flat. Last year he won three juvenile hurdles after joining the yard and this will be his first race against older horses. He is not a straight forward ride and a lot will depend on how well Callum gets on with him. Being an enthusiastic type at home he should be pretty straight fitness wise.

We are starting to make plans for some of the horses with Autumn Return on schedule for Market Rasen on the 24th of September. Thermusa is also pencilled in for the beginning of October. The young horses are about to start working away from home and with no major injuries – only a niggle here or there we are hopeful of a good season ahead.

We are delighted that both Cyrus Keep and Lemon T have been successfully re-homed. We wish both their new owners much happiness together going forward.

Flint Hill was our last runner and for probably the first time he ran no sort of race and never looked happy. A veterinary investigation found that concussion in his hoofs the most likely cause. He has been much happier for being given some bute! He will probably have corticosteroids injected into his coffin joints to provide a more long lasting solution.

The rest of the string are either having a brief break or still in the early stages of fitness. We have quite a few un-raced horses this year that will hopefully make the track and do the job!

We have one runner at Worcester tomorrow with Mourne Lass dropping back to two and a half miles. We stepped her up to three miles as generally the feedback from jockeys was that she wanted a trip; however it was obvious she didn’t stay so we have dropped her back in trip. She has had her pallet fired since her last run as in many of her races she hasn’t quite seen it out to the line which we are hoping will help work the oracle.

Kim Bailey’s horse is the obvious form choice and the one to beat but we hope Mourne Lass will bounce back to her previous form. Brian Hughes takes the ride.

Just the one runner this weekend with Flint Hill running at York in the John Smiths Stayers Handicap. He finished third in this race last year beaten a length and providing he gets a strong gallop to aim at he should put up a bold show. Callum has ridden hi in the past when not trained by me so he knows what to expect!

Flint at home

The winter horses have returned and most have started their road work. They do two weeks on the roads to harden their bones back up before they start cantering on the sand gallop. Once they are doing two miles quietly everyday they will begin to go up to Langton Wold gallops where they can stride out; initially over 6f and then over 10f split into two hill canters.

We have had a few runners in the last few days. Cyrus Keep pulled up and it looks likely he needs his pallet re-firing. However, given his age, rating and current form I have decided instead to retire him from racing and he will be sold as a riding horse. He would make a cracking ROR horse. Silver Coin ran better without troubling a very easy winner and she should improve again. She looks like she needs a handicap to be seen at her best. Flint Hill ran a cracker and looks back to his best. He gave 11lb to the winner and was beaten a neck. He will head to York next and then back to Pontefract.

Flint Hill at Pontefract last year.

Switch Partner ran a better race than she had in a long time despite looking green at times and a sloppy jump at the last cost her momentum towards the end of the race. Lemon T probably ran back too soon but he is another heading into retirement. Mauritian Bolt jumped and travelled better in cheekpieces but his best trip remains a mystery!

The three runners at Uttoxeter through up mixed results. Mauritian Bolt may need headgear as he is a bit too chilled through his races and he also spends a lot of time in the air. Cheekpieces will be applied and he will have one more run over hurdles before going chasing. He is becoming frustrating. Switch Partner ran far too keen and never gave herself a chance though she did jump better than I was anticipating following her schooling at home. Silver Coin ran well though beaten a long way but she raced behind the bridle and a bit green. Her jumping improved and she will need a trip but she will come on for the experience and has come out of the race well.

Cyrus Keep with Lee after winning at Hexham last season

Looking ahead, Cyrus Keep returns to Hexham in the race he won last year. He hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory since and he needs to show a bit more this time. At least we know he likes the track; his blinkers have been reapplied and Danny McMenamin rides (he ran well for Danny at Southwell once). Which Cyrus shows up remains to be seen. On Monday we are at Southwell with Lemon T and Pontefract with Flint Hill. Both are course and distance winners. Flint Hill won this race last year and a return to a stiff course like Pontefract should suit him. He ran better than the bare result at York in a stop start race and he came out of that race well. Graham Lee rides. Lemon T pulled up with atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heart rhythm) last time and has been given time to recover from what I hope was a one off. Blinkers will replace his cheekpieces as he is starting to relax a bit too much again.

Coco (grazing) with George and Finbar (last year when yearlings)

The two year olds have been ridden away and are now relaxing in the field. All three have different personalities and have generally being good to break. All three were very relaxed about about being ridden so after three days of trotting around the lunge ring they have been finished. They will go off to grass to grow a bit more now and will be back in at Christmas to do the next stage of their education – riding on the gallops.

We have three runners at Uttoxeter on Sunday starting with Mauritian Bolt in the novice handicap hurdle. He was running a nice race at Hexham before a mistake at the second last cost him his momentum at the bottom of the hill. He is a little inconsistent but shows glimmers of promise on occasion.

Switch Partner

The two mares follow in the next race, both making their hurdling debuts. Switch Partner is from a nice family and it looks like a step up to two and a half miles should suit her. She may need the experience as her jumping is not a fluent as I would like to see at home. Silver Coin ran very green on her bumper debut – which did not come as a surprise – and I would expect her to be a little green again on Sunday. Her jumping at home is very good and she will be suited by the step up in trip.

Silver Coin

Tomorrow Flint Hill heads to York for the Sunday Series Staying Race over 2 miles. He is a horse that needs every yard of the trip so a large field competitive handicap should suit him. His race at Doncaster developed into a sprint when the obvious pace horse was withdrawn which would not suit him. Hopefully he can build on that run and put up a bold show. He ran well at York last year.

Flint Hill winning at Pontefract under Graham Lee

On Tuesday Secret Eagle runs at Newcastle over 6 furlongs. No one has quite worked out his best trip so its more likely dependent on how the race is ran rather than the trip itself. He has been consistent this season so I would hope to get his head in front at some point this season.

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