Four runners across two meetings today so a busy day ahead. Borderline is our first runner of the day at Taunton in the 12.40am in the Conditional Jockey’s Handicap Hurdle for Mike & Mella Wright. Mike & Mella have a Box at Taunton today as they have a share in our other runner, Dreamsundermyfeet, and an interest in a couple of others so an exciting day for them. Fergus Gillard has ridden Borderline before and comes in regularly so he’ll hopefully run a nice race.
As mentioned, Dreamsundermyfeet also runs at Taunton after a couple of months off the track. He’s partnered by Adam Wedge who rode him last time but there is a weather warning for him as he won’t be risked if the forecast rain does materialise as he has to have decent ground.
Over at Market Rasen Brianna Rose runs in the competitive looking Novices’ Chase and has already had two starts over fences winning her first chase and finishing 2nd in her next chase. Matthew Baker’s lovely mare returns from a four month break but seems in good form and will be partnered by Sean Bowen today.
At 2.50pm Oliver Ryan’s Found On bids to gain that all important black type in the Listed 3m Rhino.bet Bud Booth Mares’ Chase under Sean Bowen who gave her such an incredible ride when they won at Rasen on her seasonal debut 7 weeks ago. A small but select field go to post this afternoon and Dan Skelton’s Galia Des Liteaux, who was so impressive last season and beat Found On at Bangor – their only previous meeting, will be hard to beat. I’m pleased with her at home though so everything crossed.
On Monday Wide To West made his chasing debut in the mud at Lingfield under James Best. Although he finished 5th of 5 runners, he was only beaten 8 lengths and it was a solid start over fences and he probably needs a marathon test to see the best of him. Not quite a birthday winner for part owner Leigh Powell but the party sounded to have started when I rang him with James’ debrief!
At Huntingdon the ground was softer than ideal for Mr Mafia but it was the best ground we were going to get for him where there was a race suitable and he ran a belter for a long way in the Veteran’s Chase under Adam Wedge. We knew it was going to be his swansong and, despite fading to finish 5th of 5 finishers, he certainly looks like he still has fire in his belly. Therefore, although he’s been retired from professional racing, he’ll have a holiday and wait for sunshine and good ground and will be perfect as a schoolmaster for Freddie who turns 16 on Leap Day.
We had a lovely day with Peter & Jane Boggis and Mafia has given us so many special days over the years, not only on the racecourse but he’s a lovely horse to have around. Belinda, who has ridden him every day for the last 3 1/2 years has loved every moment and also enjoyed taking him to visit the residents at Newlands of Stow which they’ve really enjoyed too. He’s wintered each season with Peter & Jane and Jane has done his pre-training with the help of her 18 month old granddaughter who Mafia has happily allowed to sit on him and lead him out to the field too. Not many horses who have won 14 races, nearly £109,000 in prize money yet are kind and calm with young children and older people too. He really is one in a million.
Last night we had a fabulous evening, on what has become an annual occasion, with Nigel McAllen and Paul Davis at The Old Butchers in Stow on the Wold. Great company and delicious food in one of our favourite restaurants – thanks very much Nigel.
Cheltenham tomorrow with four runners – Pinnacle Peak, Debden Bank, Back On The Lash and Redbridge Rambler – more about them tomorrow but another exciting day ahead.