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Countdown to Christmas


It's been a mixed week for the team with some good and not so good news to report as we hurtle towards Christmas.  We were delighted to see Rouge Vif put in such a brave performance to pick up a close 3rd in the Grade 1 Tingle Creek on Saturday.  However amongst some other decent performances on an otherwise busy day and week there were a few slight disappointments.  So we have now decided to take stock for a week or 2 and pause with our runners having found a few slightly murky trachwashes this week.  Hopefully we can get on top of things right away and then kick on at Christmas into the New Year. Onwards and upwards again soon...
Oliver Watson & Shantou Vow
Harry & Rouge Vif
Hannah Spear & Artistic Language
Give Us A Swig made the trip down to Exeter on Friday for his second start over hurdles.  Having shaped with promise on debut the form of the race was working out very well and we were looking forward to running him again.  Unfortunately there was no pace on and he got a little bit lit up for the first half mile.  As soon as Jonjo was able to drop him in behind the lead horse he settled nicely.  Turning for home he just got caught one paced but, galloped on to finish 3rd.  He should certainly be winning races in handicaps and up in trip and will now have 3 or 4 weeks before running again.
She’soneofourown took the long trip up to Sedgefield on Friday for what looked a nice opportunity on ground conditions that should suit her.  She was ridden in a handy position and there was plenty of pace on.  She travelled and jumped really well until the top of the hill, by then the late rain, that had started before the race became very heavy.  So she found it hard work to get home in the conditions and finished 6th.  She should be better suited in handicaps and back on a sounder surface.
Rouge Vif lined up at Sandown on Saturday in the Grade 1 Tingle Creek,  having blown a handicap field apart at Cheltenham in October.  It was a shame the rain came at the last minute, but the ground wasn’t too bad and it was worth having a go.  He travelled in a handy position throughout and jumped with his normal vest.  Politologue was always going to take a bit of pegging back in those conditions but as gusty as he is, Rouge put up a brave performance to finish 3rd by 7 lengths.  He has now proven that he can mix it up with the big boys, on the big stage and in his conditions, hopefully he can take the glory in one of these races one day.
Dargiannini was very impressive on debut in his bumper and we were looking forward to him starting over hurdles at Aintree on Saturday.  He had been schooling well at home and this looked a nice opportunity in a small field around a quality track to get him started.  Ground conditions were given as soft but unfortunately it didn't turn out to be that way and it was very testing.  There was no pace on so we had to make the running and he bowled along in front.  He couldn't really jump out of the ground and it was very hard work.  Unfortunately there was one that handled the conditions better than him and he came home in 2nd.  This was not his running so we will freshen him up now before finding some better ground to run him on again next time. 
Bigmatre was another who lined up at Aintree on Saturday.  He had been off for a little while since finding conditions too quick at Ludlow.  On this occasion he jumped and travelled in a very handy position with his old zest.  Ground conditions were against him however, and turning in he just couldn’t hold his position and he came home at the one pace.  We will look to find some better ground before running him again.
See The Eagle Fly was another runner at Aintree on Saturday, having her first start in a Listed race.  The form of her first run was working out really well, with the second horse running very well at Cheltenham and we felt she had earned her chance to run in this event.  She had been in good form at home and we were looking forward to running her.  There was plenty of pace on and she jumped and travelled well throughout.  Turning for home she looked to have every chance but then weakened and without the hurdles in the home straight, she just came home at the one pace.  We will most likely freshen her up now and look to run her again in a month’s time in a normal juvenile hurdle under a penalty.
Captain Tommy had been shaping really well in Class 2’s off light weights so we felt that conditions should suit him well to run at Chepstow on Saturday.  He settled and jumped beautifully throughout.  He probably got there a bit too soon turning in and just got tired in the run in.  We will look to freshen him up before potentially running him in the Welsh National.
Docpickedme had shaped with promise on debut and was lining up in similar conditions at Chepstow on Saturday.  The ground might have been a bit more testing, but the race looked like a nice opportunity for him to further his experience.  He jumped and travelled great throughout and when they quickened up on the final straight he just got caught for tow and galloped on at the same pace to finish 5th.  He is a very nice horse who is working towards a handicap mark.  Two and a half miles is his game for now and he will improve for a trip later in the season.
Breaking Waves was unfortunate to slip up at Newbury last time out but we were delighted with the way he was shaping in the race.  It is all about getting his confidence back over fences and we were hopeful that the conditions at Wetherby on Saturday would suit him, to give him every chance.  Jack Quinlan got him into a lovely rhythm and he was happy to bowl along up there with the other front runner for much of the way.  He got in tight to one or two but kept attacking his fences.  The ground was very very testing and he just found it hard work to get home.  We can take plenty of positives from the run though and hopefully next time out in wetter conditions he can take another step forward.
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Until next week...