Entries & Recent Form

The horses ran well over the weekend without getting their heads in front and good old Lough Derg ran yet another blinder at his beloved Ascot.  Unfortunately he fluffed the last, but for which he would have been even closer but he still managed a gallant third.  The problem is that he certainly won't earn any respite from the handicapper...can there be a more honest and game horse in training?

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It seems that the place to be on 1st August is Carlisle racecourse.  They are hosting a ladies night and for the highlight of the fixture they have booked X Factor winner Alexandra Burke to perform.  I keep seeing pictures of her with hardly any clothes on in this week's newspapers - maybe it should be a lad's night instead?!  I know quite a few burkes, but not many of them are as talented as Alexandra!  I also notice that Carlisle will be holding the first ever race for lady jockeys only.  It will be a world first...I won't be able to moan about lady jockey's in that race - they are ruining all my fun!

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It's good to have Tom Scu back in the saddle this afternoon following a couple of weeks on the sidelines after a nasty fall at Sandown left him with an injured kidney.  Tom has five booked rides at Ascot this afternoon and his return certainly helps with riding arrangements - we have plenty of runners this afternoon even allowing for the fact that Haydock has been abandoned due to the overnight frost.  It remains to be seen whether the course will make arrangements to save the Peter Marsh Chase that Madison du Berlais was due to participate in (remember we won the race last year with the now retired old favourite Our Vic).

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I was delighted to hear that Tom Scudamore has been cleared to ride tomorrow at Ascot following a two week spell on the sidelines after injuring a kidney in a fall at Sandown earlier in the month.  He will return to action with three rides, including old favourite Lough Derg - I am sure that will bring a tear to his eye!  "Douglas" is one of Tom's great favourites and I am sure that many of you will recall Tom bursting into tears after he had won the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell having looked well beaten.

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Sona Sasta made all to win by seven lengths with quite a bit in hand yesterday afternoon at Newbury under Danny Cook.  It will certainly be interesting to see what the handicapper makes of the performance as following a 20lbs rise for his chase debut success at Taunton, he was theoretically 13lbs "well-in" here.  It was a good bit of placing by David and the question has to be asked, would he have won with another 13lbs on his back?  I don't know, but things would certainly have been a lot tighter - even so, I don't envisage the official assessor taking any chances and I suppose another hike up the weights will be forthcoming.

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Following yesterday's piece about prize money levels in this country, I thought that I would add a bit of flesh to the bones.  I notice that during the nineteen days of racing they have over at Cagnes Sur Mer in the South of France, the average value of a race is £18,400.  With eight races on per meeting, it is hardly surprising that more and more trainers are taking their horses abroad in search of better prize money.  The drop in prize money in this country is scary - I was looking through some of the old statistics yesterday and I happened to notice that one of our runners won an ordinary Class H Exeter bumper just over five years ago (in late 2005) and picked up just over £2977, while on Monday Mamlook won a Class 3 chase and won only £3252.50 - that's less than £300 more!  Something needs to be done to arrest this slide (and quickly) before all our owners and trainers leave these shores.

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It was an excellent jumping performance from the stable's Mamlook at Fakenham yesterday when he made a successful chasing debut under Tony McCoy.  He jumped like an old hand on ground which would not have suited him and I am sure there will be further improvement on decent going.  He is a fantastically versatile performer who landed the Chester Cup on the flat for us last year, as well landing a Grade 2 Hurdle at Ascot last jumps season and he looks sure to go onto better things over fences.

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