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The week just gone by was a quiet one with just a couple of runners. Both performed creditably however with Ballard Down and Malangen finishing second in their races and showing more than enough to suggest they should be winning under their respective codes. Of course, it would have been nice to have a winner but at least it shows that the horses remain in good form. Indeed, every horse to have run from the stable during the past fortnight has reached the frame with the exception of the one faller (who was going well at the time). 

Busy Start To The Week

It is looking altogether much busier this week with four runners at Newton Abbot this afternoon as well as a runner on the level tonight at Ffos Las. Tough as teak four year old Teaser bids to extend his unbeaten record over fences to two in the novices’ handicap chase where he will be joined by stablemate Delface who is making his chase debut.

Ourmullion runs in the 2m1f handicap hurdle at 4.15pm. A course and distance winner at the last meeting, he will run under a penalty but is due to go up more in future handicaps so he must have solid claims once again under David Noonan.

Our final runner on the card is Noel’s Boy who contests the concluding bumper at 5.15pm. He ran an excellent first race for us when runner-up over course and distance a couple of weeks ago and has learned from the experience. This does look a tougher race but he should go well once again.

Over at Ffos Las, old favourite Dell’ Arca (pictured above) returns from his summer break to run on the flat at Ffos Las. A tremendously versatile campaigner, he has won on the flat, over hurdles and over fences since joining us from France. He will be ridden by Tom Marquand and wouldn’t be without a chance.

We venture further afield tomorrow when we run El Terremoto at Perth on Tuesday. He ran a sound race when fourth in the Summer Plate on his debut for the stable and goes for the 3m handicap chase at the Scottish track. While he has stamina to conclusively prove, he shapes as though he will stay and this does look to be a good opportunity for him. The remainder of the week is looking a little quiet. We may have a runner or two, although the weather will dictate who runs and where.

Soaring Temperatures

Talking of the weather, we were set to have a couple of runners at Southwell last Thursday but the meeting had to be abandoned part-way through when temperatures soared on the hottest July day since records began. Southwell should be commended on the measures they took up until that point; they had designated shaded areas for the horses, cold hoses on hand, did not insist on parading the runners before the races and had buckets of cold water for them immediately after running. Of course, this is nothing more than should have been done, with the welfare of the horses of paramount importance.

Even so, I have to question the wisdom of bringing the racing forward to an 11.25am start. Surely if this meeting were ever going to succeed racing we should have taken a leaf out of the French book and started much earlier to avoid the hottest part of the day which is supposedly around 3pm.

Sensational Enable

What a tremendous race for the King George at Ascot on Saturday and of course it was the best possible result for racing when Enable and Frankie Dettori prevailed in a thrilling finish from Crystal Ocean. The pair were locked in battle for the final two furlongs with the wonder mare just getting the better of the argument. The Arc is a couple of months away but she looks like she will take some beating in her attempt for an unprecedented third victory at Longchamp.

Top Of The World

You may recall reading a few weeks ago about my intrepid assistant; Ali Galliers-Pratt who was going to embark on an expedition up Mont Blanc. Well, Ali managed to reach the 4,810m summit (almost three miles) last week as you can see from the fabulous pictures. Congratulations Ali on a fantastic achievement. I understand more climbs are on the horizon, although it was back down to earth with a bump when she returned to work on Saturday!


A Bit Of Craic

Finally, I was delighted to attend my great friend Gordon Elliott’s Grand National party at the Knightsbrook Hotel and Golf Club in Trim at the weekend to celebrate the sensational victory of Tiger Roll in the Aintree centrepiece back in April. We had a great time but that is not to say I won’t be doing my very best to stop him completing the hat-trick in the race next year!


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