Mild & quiet today but due to turn much colder again tomorrow night.  Our first venture further South for a while tomorrow with four runners at Haydock set to leave here in the early hours, ground there is soft and bits of rain about so will hopefully stay that way…  We kick off with Niceandeasy in the 12.40, Bruce rides and we were delighted with his recent comeback run at Carlisle three weeks ago, providing he doesn’t “bounce” on his second run after such a long lay-off he shouldn’t be far away, he certainly appears to be have thrived at home – 10 run and Bruce rides.

Niceandeasy

Then in the 1.15 we run Ned Tanner, again we were pleased with his Carlisle run and he seems to have come on nicely for it, he is bred to stay the 3 miles so hopefully he can progress – 9 run and Conor O’Farrell rides.

Ned Tanner (Hannah)

A pause for lunch (could well be the first turkey of the season!) before saddling two runners in the reasonably valuable Veterans Chase at 2.50 – Lake View Lad (Sean Quinlan) and Up Helly Aa King (Danny McMeniman) at opposite ends of the weights.  Hmm, we had been very tempted to take LVL back to Aintree for the Many Clouds Chase on Saturday but the presence of Al Boum Photo and Champ among others along with the prospect of goodish ground has sent us here instead for a lesser prize but hopefully a better chance of winning it!  He races off 12lb lower than the rating he was awarded this time last year so if he’s anywhere near his best he ought to be well-handicapped despite being top weight.

Lake View Lad (Mhairi)

He seems in good order at home, has had a much more straightforward preparation this time round and runs well fresh so hopes are high, let’s hope he is lucky.  For a Veteran Up Helly is relatively unexposed, especially at 3 miles and I do think there will be more to come from him this winter, he was perhaps a little disappointing on debut this season but should have come on for that and has a lovely low weight – I actually own a leg in him so can’t really believe we are running him against a horse we owe so much – all going to be very traumatic, let’s just hope that they both have the run of the race and can show us what they can do.

Up Helly Aa King (Charlotte)

I’ll settle for that after being thoroughly traumatised at Ayr yesterday when three of our seven runners returned home “roughed up” to one extent or another and none of the others troubled the judge – I won’t bore you with details other than to say we have had better days and will do again!  Finding opportunites for our horses has been particularly difficult so far this season thanks to the dry weather and whilst I do try to look through the prism of each individual horse I do dislike running our horses against each other, especially our best ones and after tomorrow’s unfortunate clash there is a severe danger Clan Legend and Elvis Mail may have to take each other on at Aintree on Saturday.

It is happening at every level at the moment and whilst some horses seem to have umpteen options others have very few, this can lead to running horses in the wrong races (twice yesterday), this frustration is particularly highlighted when trying to find horses to enter at Musselburgh on Monday where the card appears to have been crafted to create as small field sizes as possible.  A 2m introductory juvenile hurdle (can have run a in a max of one hurdle), a 2m handicap for 4yo only,  the only chases being an overlapping 2m 6f 0-105 novice and a 3m 0-110, novice hurdle restricted to those that haven’t run on the flat… the only races that have filled are the two we actually have entries in… they are putting on good prize money but are overly restricting the race conditions and will end up with poor fields and then wonder why, surely there must be a better way of doing this so we have decent field sizes for the public and opportunities for our horses?