The horses continue in fantastic form and we were over the moon with the victory of Haute Estime in the listed mares’ novices’ hurdle at Haydock yesterday. Under a brilliant tactical ride from Derek, she jumped superbly throughout and was ultra-game on the run-in, getting up close home in a thrilling finish. Still only a four-year-old with plenty of developing to do, she rates a most exciting long-term prospect and will make a fabulous chaser when the time comes.
We were out of luck with our three runners at Newcastle, with Royal Reserve and West End Lady perhaps not over recent exertions and Snow Joeking in need of the experience against speedier/sharper types in the junior bumper. There will be other days for all three.
It’s off to Musselburgh tomorrow where we have three runners, kicking off with Gemologist in the 2m mares’ handicap hurdle. Runner-up in this race last year, this has been earmarked as her target for quite a while and she is certainly handicapped to go one better with Conner taking 10lb off her back. Her owners, the Musselburgh Lunch Club are sure to be out in force, and it would be a truly wonderful Christmas present if she could gain her first career success at the 38th attempt.
Conner also rides Emirat de Catana in the 3m conditional jockeys’ handicap hurdle. Similar to Gemologist, this race has been a long-term plan and we have deliberately kept him back for this as he tends to run his best races when fresh. He must have a good each-way chance.
Rapid Raider has been a revelation since undergoing wind surgery and bids to complete a hat-trick in the 3m handicap chase. He is stepping up in trip following wins over 2m and 2½m and Musselburgh provides a very different test to what he faced at Ayr last time, but provided he can cope sufficiently, he should go very close to making it three in a row.
Lucinda Russell Racing