I visited Nick Gifford€™s yard in Findon on Wednesday morning to catch up with news of the four horses owned by the Core Strength syndicate of which Bert forms a third. The horses are all five year old geldings who were selected with a long term perspective and there has been little racecourse action from them as yet €“ Better Together being the only one to race under rules so far. Hopefully, there will be something to come from each of them in the coming months. They are :-
Big Paddy (IRE) – Priolo (USA) €“ Dark Hyacinth (IRE)
A pointing winner in Ireland, this one has been on the easy list after suffering tendon injuries in both forelegs earlier in the year. Nick said that he is really pleased with the way his tendons have recovered, following state of the art treatment by Tendon Works, but won€™t be rushing him. A Spring campaign is the target.
Theophrastus (IRE) – Overbury (IRE) €“ Over The Glen (IRE)
He€™s clearly very fondly regarded in the yard and goes by the nickname of Ollie. His progress has been interrupted by a rare stress fracture of the pelvis €“ the vet hadn€™t seen the like for 10 years. He is currently undergoing 6 weeks box rest at Nick€™s sister Tina€™s yard down the road (she€™s keeps show jumpers). Ollie looked a picture of health and athleticism. I was amused at the dexterity he showed in unzipping Nick€™s jacket pocket with his teeth, in search of mints !
Ours (FR) €“ Discover D€™Auteuil (FR) €“ Geographie (FR)
The name is pronounced Oors and, all being well, this one will be the first to see the track this season. A point to point winner on good to yielding ground in Ireland, he is around three week away from a run
Better Together (GB) €“ Spadoun (FR) €“ Persian Jewel (GB)
He worked upsides Ours on Wednesday but is further away from a run. Though he had a couple of outings last season, he remains a scopey animal who needs to grow into his frame. Josh Gifford likens him to a gangly teenager and he will be given time.
During my visit I was pleased to see Straw Bear looking in good order after his summer holiday. He is due to be sent chasing this season and is hopefully over the problem he experienced at the Cheltenham Festival.
Another of Nick€™s charges, Paul Beck owned Sobers, is being prepared for a valuable handicap hurdle at Chepstow on Saturday week but he is also booked for a switch to fences.