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Beaten by a whisker..


The turn in the temperature has brought a welcome turn of fortune for the yard recently.  Following our success with Sheila Nash last Thursday, we started off this week well with a number of placed efforts, all ridden very confidently by new conditional jockey, Alan Doyle. And with Cheltenham Festival now only 4 weeks away we'll be kicking on, hoping this good line of form continues - peaking at the right time...
Neverbeen to Paris showing his speed up Kingsdown Gallop with Harry
Gavin Sheehan & Saint Calvados
Warranty & George Edgedale
Gavin Sheehan & Juniper 
Lantiern made a swift return to action in a jumpers’ bumper at Lingfield on Monday having finished 2nd in a similar event at Kempton last week.  Beaten 1¾ lengths on that occasion, he was bid to go even closer here, agonisingly denied by a nose, again under a promising ride by Alan Doyle.  Dropped out last having raced freely at Kempton, it was pleasing to see how well he settled, and having made smooth headway, he was within striking distance entering the short home straight.  He typically edged to his left when initially asked to go in pursuit of the leader before knuckling down well inside the final furlong, just losing out in a head-bobbing finish.
See The Eagle Fly took her chance in the following race at Lingfield on Monday, in a contest confined to fillies and mares.  Off the course since December, she was given another patient ride by Alan Doyle, cutting through the field and running on well to take 3rd despite having to be switched for a run inside the final two furlongs.  This was a really encouraging performance to chase home a couple of higher-rated mares and we can look forward to going back over hurdles with her in the next few weeks.
Having been forced to miss a number of engagements lately with Poldark Cross due to the weather, it was a big relief when Carlisle passed their morning inspection ahead of Tuesday’s meeting.  Making his handicap debut, he was sent off a well-supported favourite and ran very creditably to finish 2nd.  Racing in a handy position tracking the leaders, he travelled strongly and jumped to the front two out.  Jumping the last he had 5 rivals hot on his heels, and despite battling on gamely, he was unable to withstand the late surge of the ultimate winner Apple Rock inside the last half furlong.  This was a cracking run from this likeable horse who will make a lovely staying chaser next season.  Before then hopefully we can pick up a race over hurdles before the end of the current campaign.
Calvario made his second start for the yard in the opening novice hurdle at Fontwell yesterday, looking to build on the promise of his 3rd at Chepstow in November.  Stepping up slightly in trip and refitted with a tongue tie, he was patiently ridden in the early stages, creeping into contention from halfway.  Taken wide in the back straight on the second circuit in search of better ground, he was on the heels of the leaders turning in when his wind cut out.  Gavin Sheehan quickly accepting the situation at that point and nursed him home thereafter.
A winner at Uttoxeter in the autumn, Sirobbie could return to action in the coming days with entries in staying handicap hurdles at Newbury on Sunday and Chepstow next Thursday, the last serving as a qualifier for the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham. He is already qualified for the final having finished 4th at Cheltenham back in October, but would likely need to go up in the weights to be assured of a run.
Irish recruit, Juniper has been off the track since September 2019, but is now ready to make her first start for the yard with options in mares’ races at Market Rasen, Taunton and Huntingdon in the coming week.  We are looking forward to getting her started.  Having missed the best part of 17 months and with just the one previous hurdles outing under her belt, she is sure to improve upon whatever she achieves on her stable debut.
Likewise entered for the same mares’ novice hurdles at Market Rasen and Taunton is Shore Shanty who was last seen finishing 4th at Wincanton on Boxing Day.  She found the ground a little too testing on that occasion, so we will be looking for conditions to dry out before we run her.  The form has worked out well from her previous start with the second and third winning subsequently, and we ideally want to get another run into her before the EBF Mares’ Final at Newbury which is her big Spring target.
Franigane made an encouraging hurdling debut when runner-up at Ffos Las back in November, chasing home a subsequent Listed winner, and could look to build on that at either Wetherby or Chepstow next week.
Brave Kingdom is a promising youngster who may make his rules debut in the bumper at Chepstow next Thursday.  He ran once in Irish points last season, finishing 3rd at Cragmore, 9½ lengths behind Brandy Love in a 2½m 4yo maiden.  A horse with a speedy pedigree in jumping terms, we’d like to think he’d prove competitive in this sphere.  The form of that point run now reads pretty well given Brandy Love has won and been Grade-Two-placed in two starts in bumper company for Willie Mullins.
Until next week...