The team had a busy weekend racing with some mixed results but lots of positives to be taken from the runs.
At Haydock One For Arthur was running a solid race until unseating Derek four out. Despite muttering from some quarters that Arthur had not been travelling through the race, we were not surprised to see him outpaced and were very hopeful as he came into the home straight passing the tail enders, and starting to stay on. My only worry was his jumping out to the left; a habit that he has had since a novice chaser, but it was more marked on Saturday. We will have him checked over, and despite David Orton's comments in the Racing Post, he will be back left handed next time.
We were all very heartened by Highland Hunter's run in the three mile handicap; an enthusiastic young horse, pictured, his excitement overcame him and he managed to pull for nearly all of the race. It was an incredible effort to quicken in the final few furlongs, and going down by a couple of lengths to be third was worthy: He will be ridden dropped in further next time to persuade him to settle. In the same race, Sammy B made a belated comeback to the track and ran a good race until tiring up the home straight. It is good to have Geoff Brown's homebred back on the track and he should go on from here.
Earlier Ain't My Fault found the two mile pace mid race too quick and he will be over further next time, while Vengeur De Guye blundered badly but regained his momentum to be sixth in a competitive chase.
At Ascot, Kelpies Myth looked very dangerous until the longer trip sapped his stamina and he is another one who will be at a different trip next time.
Then today at Ayr we had some good performances. The novice hurdler Speak Of The Devil was third on ground that was a bit lively for him, but he shapes as a true staying chase type for the future. OrionInverness and Present Flight both battled to be fourth; they are running so consistently now and both of their jumping is spot on; OrionInverness just making a small blunder at the last which probably cost him a place or two. Poor Well Above Par did not gallop or jump with his usual enthusiasm and there must be an issue with him, we will get to the bottom of this underperformance.
Timesawaiting and Exit To Where are both learning their trade and I particularly liked the way that Exit stuck to his task in the closing stages; he will probably stay further in time. Devito'sgoldengirl ran well until the home straight when she looked one paced; fences beckon for her.
So overall it was a fairly constructive weekend although no winners. It was also a superb team effort from everyone to travel the horses throughout the country and to work all of the horses at home as usual; as it says on our home page, the race is won or lost far from the crowds.