Mick and I went down to Lambourn early on Thursday to catch up with a few trainers.
We started with Tom Dascombe, and watched all four horses in light work. Conservation has recovered from the gelding operation and also from an accident he had on the horse walker – he’s still a while away from a run though. Master of the Race is in good heart and comes out in a couple of days. He’s been a bit disappointing but his form is improving and he has a nice handicap mark – we’ll be looking for a win from him. Baldovina is looking better than she was when I claimed her, but she hasn’t grown or filled out much which is a bit disappointing. I’m hoping she’ll do better over longer distances – she’ll come out around June time. Shawhill hasn’t been in the yard for long and Tom’s just kept her ticking over – we’ll find out a bit more about her on Monday. I had a good chat with Tom. I watched Bold Diktator work – Tom quite fancied him for Saturday with AP on board.
Next stop was Barry Hills, although he was away at an auction. I had my first look at Effingham, and I was really taken by him. He’s a real bull of a horse with a bulky physique and as thick a neck as I’ve seen on a young horse. He is also well behaved and friendly, which is a big plus – unfortunately he has a sore shin and won’t be out for a while. He should make a 2yo though. I had a good look around the Hills yard – well run and tidy.
On to Whatcombe and Paul Cole. The whole Cole family were there and I stuck around for a while. I had a look at Ollie Fliptrik – a nice looking horse by Essence of Dubai. He’s a short while away from a run – I don’t know a lot about him at the moment. I looked at a few other horses and we went into the house to watch some racing. I had a bet on News of the Day, a horse running at Beverley that had finished second to my horse, Shawhill. He was narrowly beaten. We then watched a claimer from Longchamp – I rang my man on the course, and after a bit of debate we put a claim in for the horse that came second. I bid a fair bit above the minimum but I was outbid.
I headed back to the office to get some work in – in the evening I went up to town to captain the Betfair team in the Moorcroft sports quiz at the Landmark hotel. We were the holders and we scraped home again, just beating the Racing Post team. I stuck around gossiping until late and didn’t get home until the early hours.
I had a busy day on Friday, packing as much work as I could into the early part of the day before heading off to Sandown to meet with a few people. I backed Yeaman’s Hall, a tip Andrew Balding gave out at the poker night a week ago, and that won at a decent price. I was busy all day Saturday and I realised later I had missed a couple of opportunities – Bold Diktator which Tom had fancied and New Seeker which Alex Cole had told me was working well. I spent time going through the French claimers but still no joy there.
I have a lot of entries this week, and there should be winners there. Shawhill goes tomorrow night and I’ll find out a bit about her. Tuesday marks the beginning of the new jumps year, and any horse that was worried about losing its novice status can come out again. A couple of my novice hurdlers may line up at Wincanton – Master of the Race and possibly King’s Head. Both should have decent chances. Thunderbolt Jaxon goes to Southwell, and a decent run is expected there – he’s improved since his last run. On Wednesday Major Eazy may go at Ascot, and he should be a lot better for his first run – we will find out how good he is. On Friday we may see the long awaited return of our group winning horse Captain Hurricane. I’ll feel quite emotional to see him on the course again – he probably won’t be one to have a bet on for now. There are other entries, including some for Mon Michel and Prince Ary. It should be an interesting week.