With jump racing in Britain taking a brief hiatus following the season-ending Bet365 Gold Cup fixture at Sandown, it has been a flat-orientated week for the yard thus far. First up was a trip to Ayr for two runners on Monday with Aone Ally and Book of Invasions contesting a competitive 1m maiden.
Making his first start of the campaign and only the third of his career, Aone Ally ran a pleasing race to finish sixth. A scopey sort, he is the type who will continue to improve with racing in handicaps and may even transition to juvenile hurdling at some stage this summer. Having been 2m chasing, Book of Invasions found the drop back in trip rather a shock to his system on his Flat debut, finding himself outpaced having been slowly away. However, he galloped through the line with Conner having a job to pull him up and will appreciate staying trips on the Flat once handicapped.
On Thursday Paul and Steven ventured to Newmarket for the latest round of the Breeze-Up Sales. Having scoured the grounds looking for a horse with the potential to develop into a smart-stayer on the Flat before progressing to hurdling, they ultimately came away empty handed but with their eyes tuned to the type we are hoping to buy in future, possibly at the yearling sales this autumn.
The Flat show rolls on to Musselburgh on Friday where we have two runners. Gripper is being kept busy and isn’t the easiest to predict, but he certainly has the ability to run well and will provide Conner with further valuable experience. Our second runner is Engles Rock who bids to go one better having finished a close second on her reappearance at Doncaster. The race has attracted a competitive field, but she ran her best race of last season at Musselburgh and we are hopeful of another big run.
Saturday sees our first runners of the new jumps season with Speak of The Devil and Charmix bidding to get us off to a winning start at Hexham. Successful over course and distance back in October and a good fourth last time, the track clearly suits Speak of The Devil well, and although back up in grade, he has a solid each-way chance with the forecast ground very much in his favour. Charmix needs to bounce back to form, but he has enjoyed a nice break since his last run and is another who will have conditions to suit.