A very busy morning but the sun is shining and it was great to see Matthew Harrison before he goes to cheer on Witness Protection as part of the Foxtrot Racing Syndicate that own him. Matthew has been very keen to visit us for quite some months so it was lovely the sun shone for him and he is taking some of the boys’ eggs home with him too! Paul Davis also in but strange that now he’s in the country and not based in Switzerland that he can’t attend Cheltenham due to the current restrictions – I don’t think he missed a meeting when he had to commute from Switzerland!
Witness Protection is our first runner and he ran too freely and keenly in the Coral Cup to give himself a chance of getting home. Hopefully he’ll settle more today and Ernie, who looks after him and rides him out, is thrilled with how he feels so we are hoping for a big run.
Back On The Lash is the only runner live on ITV Racing and he’s had different niggles since his very promising chasing debut in the autumn and he’s back over hurdles at the place he last won at when he was so gutsy on Festival Trials Day. James Best partners both our first tow runners and whilst he knows Witness well from riding him regularly at the races, he’s ridden Lash and schooled him at home so he’s familiar with him too. Beth Whittle has been awake since 2am as she adores Lash having looked after him and ridden him since she’s been with us.
Reve runs in the Nicholson Holman Cup, a very special race should we be lucky enough to win it as it’s in memory of David Nicholson’s family. Reve won well over fences at Southwell earlier in the season and Paddy, who rides him at home and looks after him, has done really well switching him off and getting him settled. He seems in good form but it’s a competitive race so he’ll need to be at his best under Sean Bowen who was his successful Southwell partner.
Finally Sarasota Star runs in the Pony Racing Graduates race, the finale today, under Rex Dingle. He ran a very good race in defeat last time at Fakenham where the track didn’t really suit. He was disappointing last time at Cheltenham after two Carlisle wins but that wasn’t his running and he seems to be in top form at home so I’m hopeful of a big run from him. Rex won on him at Carlisle and so knows him well.
Yesterday on the bare results may not have looked a successful day at Southwell but we were actually not disappointed and all have come back safe and sound. Mr Mafia always does need his first run, however much you do at home, and he jumped and travelled very well until 3 out where indeed he blew up as I thought may happen. He’s also still far too high in the handicap so let’s hope now he’s 12 years old the Handicapper may give him a bit more of a chance as he’s not getting any younger, like the rest of us!
Mozzaro is a big baby, as I mentioned yesterday, and will take time but needs his runs to educate him and the aim of yesterday was for him to enjoy himself and gallop all the way to the line. He jumped well in the main and James Best said he has a very likeable attitude – we know he is going to take time and looks every inch a chaser. Indeed he’s been schooled over fences already and jumps well.
City Never Sleeps ran a blinder and really did give the Racing Club something to shout about. He loved his return to hurdles and the visor almost lit him up a bit too much. He really is the model of consistence and a perfect Racing Club horse and it was great to add another 3rd placing to his CV. We’d love him to go two better over hurdles soon!
Ten Past Midnight ran a solid enough race probably doing a bit too much early on so we’ll ride him with more patience next time and he will undoubtedly improve for stepping up to 2 miles 4 furlongs next time.
Good luck to all our team at Cheltenham later today!