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Onwards and upwards


THIS WEEK With the lack of rain we've had to pull out a number of horses from their races in the past week which has of course been a frustration for all.  We have however managed to get three runners out, and although none of them have gone according to plan there are genuine reasons for each which we have carefully considered.  So on we go as we move onwards and upwards into the season with plenty of interesting entries coming up... REPORTS Hoke Colburn finished down the field on hurdling debut at Market Rasen on Saturday.  He won a bumper on his previous start and his schooling had been excellent, so we were expecting a good run.  Unfortunately, Hoke didn’t jump like we know he can and found himself on the back foot from a very early stage.  He was outpaced turning for home and was never able to land a blow, eventually finishing 8th.  We will step Hoke up in trip on his next start, which should help his jumping.  He is a very tough horse who will improve with experience. Pink Play was pulled up on her return to the track on the same card at Market Rasen.  Gavin jumped her off in a handy position but she didn’t look happy from an early stage.  She didn’t travel or jump how we know she can, lost her position on the home bend and was pulled up before 2 out.  She suffered a setback during the race and will now be retired to stud, where her owner/breeder is considering sending her to increasingly popular stallion Sageburg.  She is an incredibly tough mare who gave connections some great days on the track. Affaire D’Honneur finished 5th at Fontwell on Wednesday.  It looked a competitive race on paper and it proved just that.  There was very little pace in the race so he had to make the running, which was far from ideal.  Affaire was on and off the bridle throughout the contest and that didn’t help his jumping.  The field quickened down the back straight, he lost his position and was never able to get back on terms with the leaders, eventually finishing 5th.  It may well prove that it was a very difficult task to give 7lb to a couple of potentially smart rivals.  We will now go back down the handicap route, where the big field and strong pace seems to suit him better. ENTRIES Flower Ball holds several bumper entries over the coming days, but his most likely engagement is Cheltenham tomorrow.  He has matured physically since we purchased him in May, he shows an excellent attitude in his work and he is still only a 4yo so deserves a crack at a bumper or 2 before going hurdling.  Flower is a good moving horse, so the better ground and galloping track at Cheltenham should suit.  If he doesn’t get into tomorrow's race he has entries at Bangor and Fakenham the following week.  He is an exciting prospect for The Rollerball Partnership. Star Tackle will hold multiple entries over the next couple of weeks and the first of those is at Chepstow on Tuesday.  As mentioned previously he is an Irish point to point winner and an embryo chaser but this season he will stick to hurdles.  He has been working nicely and the 2m 3f trip around a galloping track is a nice starting point for him.  Although he’s a heavy ground point to point winner he isn’t short of speed. Vinnie Lewis will also hold multiple entries over the coming days, with the first of those being the same race as Star Tackle at Chepstow on Tuesday.  Vinnie is a dual Irish point to point winner who also has placed form in bumpers and although he has some form on soft ground we feel he will be a better horse on better ground.  He is another horse who will end up chasing but we are really looking forward to getting him started over hurdles first.  He is an excellent jumper and very professional. Jack Bear is entered in a novice hurdle at Bangor on Tuesday.  He has come out of his Salisbury run well and has done lots of schooling since his hurdle debut.  If this race comes too soon for him he has a couple of options next week.  Jack is a talented individual who will make a nice hurdler, but after his unseat at Newton Abbot we need to get a clear round in and get his confidence back. Salto Chisco is entered in a 0-115 handicap chase at Fakenham on Wednesday.  He ran well on debut for the yard at Huntingdon and should step up on what he showed there.  He is a course and distance winner and the slight drop in class should suit.  If there isn’t too much rain, we are hopeful of a good run. Charlie Papa Lima holds bumper entries at Bangor and Fakenham next week and where he will hopefully make his debut for The Lead the Way Syndicate.  He is another Irish point to point winner, who’s shown a likeable attitude since joining the yard in August and is now ready to get started.  By starting him off in a bumper we should learn some more about him, before taking him over hurdles.  He is another good moving horse, so we want to start him off on better ground. Fouburg is a new recruit to Hill Barn and will be entered in a novices handicap chase at Stratford on Thursday.  He had some smart juvenile hurdle form last year but wasn’t able to get his head in front.  He has been a free going type and would often pull too hard in his races.  We are working on settling him at home on the round gallop and so far he's show he is clearly very talented and if he relaxes he could be very exciting.  He is very forward mentally, has a huge stride and is extremely athletic.  A sharp 2 miles should be a good starting point for him. WEEKLY VIDEO Until next week...