The Cheltenham Festival was magnificent with high class racing and an incredible time in our Edinburgh Gin hospitality box. We are delighted to offer this facility to all of our owners and Edinburgh Gin is extremely generous in providing it.
Big River made the first day a cause for celebration; he jumped with fluency and stayed on up the hill to be beaten just three lengths into a close up fifth. With his sleeker jumping and his love for extreme distances, the Scottish National is firmly on the agenda. He is pictured just after the line; oh so close.
The Cheltenham week is a bubble of horseracing but even those attending were talking about the Coronavirus and the forthcoming implications. As of this evening, it looks a little brighter for racing with the prospect of following the Irish model and racing behind closed doors. Of course, this is a disappointment for spectators who want to be at the races and for the tracks whose turnover will be badly affected, however it gives our industry a chance to continue and for prizemoney and betting turnover to continue. Maybe those bored in isolation will be heartened to watch our sport.
The team had a bit of a false start on Thursday with Hexham being called off due to high winds, but had two runners on Saturday at Newcastle and Uttoxeter.
Rising Marienbard ran a super race to be third at Newcastle, his jumping is excellent and while soft and heavy ground is not ideal for him this was a brave effort. He should have ample opportunities this spring.
Looks Like Murt was given a tactical ride by Blair who waited off a furious pace in the three mile novice handicap at Uttoxeter. On the heavy ground, it looked like his tactic was going to pay off as Murt cruised up to the leaders, but he got tired before the last and finished fifth. He should stay in time but today it was a little far for him.
At Carlisle today Lucky Flight was running a super race until slowing markedly two hurdles out. This is not his running and an increased heart rate points to an issue which we will look to uncover and correct.
We are heading to Kelso tomorrow, behind closed doors but relieved to be able to continue racing. We have three runners.
Cockle Bay was fourth last time and is gradually coming to himself over hurdles. A horse with low mileage he still needs to become slicker through his race, and he will likely be chasing sometime soon.
Island Heights takes on the multiple winning Skyhill, and on his second run after a break, he should be straighter than last time. He will love the heavy going and we are hoping for a big run.
Finally, Calle Malva makes a quick return to the track; she was fresh this morning and the track and distance should suit her. She is a mare who will continue to improve with time and racing.