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Franigane on Form


Another week and another welcome winner for the yard, this time in the form of Franigane who sailed to victory up at Wetherby on Tuesday, under a brilliant ride by Gavin Sheehan.  We're back in the winners enclosure and the results are consistently improving which is great to see, a real boost for the hard working team. And with plenty of positive news being announced this week it's very much onwards and upwards all round!
Cozzy & Saint Calvados
There was a top-class card at Newbury on Sunday as the Berkshire course staged their rearranged Betfair Hurdle fixture.  Our representative on the day was Sirobbie, who had his first start since November in a competitive three-mile handicap hurdle.  Held up towards the rear of mid-division, he didn’t jump as well as he can and that contributed to him losing his place down the back straight on the final circuit, Adrian Heskin not hard on him as the leaders got away and allowing him to come home in his own time thereafter.  This was a little disappointing, but it does get him back up and running and there will be other days for him as we head into the spring and summer.
That same afternoon, Shore Shanty headed off to Market Rasen to contest a mares’ novice hurdle in search of some slightly better ground.  Unfortunately, conditions were still on the soft side and she wasn’t seen to best effect, finding herself hampered at a crucial stage before finishing 4th.  Settled on the rail in behind the leader, she was short of room exiting the back straight, and despite trying to rally, she couldn’t pick up sufficiently, narrowly losing the battle for 3rd close home.   A winner on good ground at Ludlow earlier in the season, we should see an improved performer when the ground eventually dries up.  This run qualifies her for next month’s EBF Mares’ Final at Newbury which is very much an option. 
We had just the one runner on Tuesday and it proved to be a winning one with Franigane impressing in taking the opening novice hurdle at Wetherby.  Off the course since chasing home a subsequent Listed winner on his hurdling debut back in November, he tracked the leading pair before quickening to the front approaching three out.  Asked to assert after jumping the next, he soon put the race to bed, producing another fluent leap at the last and easing clear to record an 11-length success.  A strapping son of Coastal Path, this was a taking performance, the manner of victory suggesting there is plenty more to come.
Juniper made her debut for the yard at Huntingdon yesterday where she lined up in the 2½m mares’ maiden hurdle.  Having been off the course for 524 days, we were hopeful rather than confident in what was a decent race of it's type, but she excelled herself in finishing a close 2nd.  Settled in touch just behind the leading contingent, she moved smoothly into contention, travelling best of all turning into the straight and jumping upsides the two market leaders at the second last.  Lady of The Night, the second favourite, was the first to crack, leaving just Juniper and the even-money shot Fable locked together jumping the last.  Although she battled on gamely, she was just unable to match the race-fit winner close home, this is a fantastic run after such a long absence, and we're delighted with the performance.  Sure to improve, she shouldn’t be long in going one better.  
Anemoi may bid to get back on track at Fontwell on Sunday or Ludlow next Thursday.  After disappointing on good going at Newbury’s Ladbrokes Trophy meeting, he was a winner on his first two starts this season, the latter his chasing debut at Chepstow.  He may appreciate getting back on some softer ground and we look forward to running him again soon.
Another with a choice of entries in the coming days is Docpickedme.  An Irish point winner, he ran two promising races for the yard back in the autumn and would be fancied to give a good account if taking up one of his engagements with novice hurdles at Fontwell or Newbury as possible options.
Brave Kingdom is a nice young prospect who has been closing in on a run for the past couple of weeks.  Third in a 2½m Irish point last February, he could make his rules debut in a bumper at either Fontwell on Sunday or Plumpton on Monday.  He should be capable of making his mark at either venue.
Holding an entry in the fillies’ juvenile maiden hurdle at Hereford on Sunday is Raffles Gitane, a French recruit who has the benefit of a couple of hurdles runs under her belt having finished 4th at Auteuil in October and 5th at Compiegne a month later.  The first foal of the Grade-1 winning chaser Gitane du Berlais, she sets the standard based on her French form and we look forward to her making her debut for the yard.
Sergeant O’Leary needed the experience when finishing down the field at Exeter on last month’s hurdling debut.  Although he should improve for the run, it is likely to be in handicaps over longer trips that he really starts to show his true potential.  An outing at Plumpton next week is a possible stepping stone.
A winner on debut at Market Rasen in November, Qualismart is ready to run again soon.  He may head to Ludlow next Thursday, but we will take a view next week.  He is a horse we rate quite highly.
Alan Doyle has shown a great attitude since joining the team and has become a big hit with the ladies in the team. He's also responsible for getting us off the cold list with an impressive win on Sheila Nash! Well done Alan, keep up the good work
Until next week...