It has been a week of ups and downs with some promising efforts at Ayr and Kelso overshadowed by the fatal fall of Mannochmore at Ayr. Only a six-year-old, he was just starting to show his true potential and looked set to follow up his recent win at Kelso when falling awkwardly at the second last and breaking his hind leg. It was devastating for the yard and for his owners Distillery Racing Club, a group that includes his breeders Robert and Margaret Robinson. He is pictured winning at Kelso last month.
In the same race, Well Above Par failed to find his jumping rhythm and was pulled up; his way of telling us he’s in need of a summer holiday. Also at Ayr, Rivabodiva ran well for a long way to finish sixth in the 3m handicap hurdle, just lacking the speed to go with the leaders up the straight on ground that wasn’t quite as soft as she’d like. She is another now on holiday, as too is Haute Estime, who shaped with a great deal of encouragement for the future when third in the second division of the bumper. A substantial four-year-old filly, she is sure to improve plenty over the summer and is an exciting prospect for hurdling for her new owners Brahms &.Liszt.
The ground was good at Kelso on Wednesday, conditions that were a little too quick for Slainte Mhor who could only finish fourth in the novice handicap chase. Still, it was encouraging to see him gallop all the way to the line and he is sure to appreciate longer trips when he is stronger and more mature. Shanroe Street continues to hold his form remarkably well and ran with great credit to finish third in the 3m4f handicap chase. Our two runners in the 2m1f handicap chase, Ain’t My Fault and Mint Gold finished fourth and fifth respectively with Ain’t staying on in the closing stages and Mint just fading up the straight having made most of the running. We will look to step both up in trip next time. Domandlouis made his racecourse debut in the bumper and showed promise amidst greenness, the experience sure to benefit him in the long term.
We are set to have three runners on Saturday, with Derek heading to Haydock to ride Grand Morning in a competitive 17-runner handicap hurdle. A winner at Ayr last time on his favoured testing ground, Grand Morning will need Haydock to receive all of the forecast rain if he is to take his chance, but he should be open to further improvement if conditions suit. Stephen rides both Vengeur de Guye and Prince Dundee at Hexham with the pair holding solid place claims. Dundee loves the track having won twice over course and distance in the past, and whilst Vengeur is having his first run at the track, he is potentially well handicapped on the pick of his recent form.