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A great start to the new year....Raffles Gitane wins in style at Huntingdon and the following day Docpickedme dominates at Uttoxeter once again.  We have now set the precursor for the remainder of the season and hope to finish in style...
Raffles Gitane and Sean
Shore Shanty and Cozzy
Raffles Gitane travelled back to Huntingdon on Friday for a 2m handicap chase after pulling up there on her last visit on Boxing Day.  The conditions were very testing on that occasion so we were hopeful that she would fair better on a sounder surface and a step back in trip.  Ben Bromley, claiming a useful 7lb, jumped her off in a handy position just behind the leaders.  He got her into a lovely rhythm throughout and she jumped superbly.  Turning in, she still had a bit to do, but she was very game and when push came to shove she put her head down and galloped through the line to win nicely.  We will now look to freshen her up and run her in another chase again soon.
Poldark Cross lined up in his third chase of the season at Uttoxeter on Saturday having fared well last time out to finish a close 2nd at Sedgefield on Boxing Day.  The drying conditions were a bit of a worry but we'd hoped that he would handle the dead, tacky ground.  Jack Quinlan had him in a lovely position throughout but when the pace quickened he struggled to go with the field.   Jack reported that he was changing legs and wasn't handling the conditions at all well, so we will look to run him again as soon as we get some softer ground where he can hopefully bounce back to form.
Docpickedme headed back to Uttoxeter on Saturday to line up in a 3m2f handicap chase, having won last time out at the same venue on New Years Eve.  He has been in fantastic form at home since, so we were looking forward to running him again and felt the step up in trip would also suit him.  Jack Quinlan jumped him off in a positive fashion and he led from pillar to post.  Turning out the back, he looked to have them all in trouble and he went on to do it in style winning by 8 lengths.  He seems to be very versatile in terms of ground and we will look to run him again soon in similar conditions. 
Calidad made his chase debut on Sunday up at Sedgefield in a 4-runner field.  He has been schooling very well over the bigger obstacles so we were looking forward to this switch to fences.  Adrian Heskin bounced him out to make the running, which he seems to prefer and he got into a lovely rhythm out in front.  He jumped beautifully for most of the race and he looked to have the race by the scruff of the neck.  At the top of the hill, his main rival came to put him under pressure and he found very little from there on in, coming home at the same pace to finish 4th.  We will check him out to see if something is stopping him before we run him again.  He goes through his races so well, so we are determined to get it right with him.
We had been waiting for an opportunity to get Torigni back in a small field Novices' Handicap Chase and we got that at Hereford on Monday.  This looked to be a great little opportunity for him to line up in and he jumped and travelled well under James Bowen.  He looked to have every chance three out, but eventual winner Orisdale had the rub of the green and managed to keep quickening all the way so wasn't for catching.  Torigni still ran well to finish a solid 3rd and we will look for another opportunity for him in similar conditions soon, perhaps at a track with a longer home straight. 
Sheila Nash made her handicap debut up at Newcastle on Tuesday having run 3 times over hurdles.  There was a furious pace on from flag-fall and she was settled in the rear.  As the race developed out of the  back straight she struggled to land a blow and was pulled up before two out.  She will be freshened up now for another handicap when the Spring weather arrives.
Juniper heads to Chepstow today for her second run over fences.  It didn't work out for her last time and she pulled up lame, having pulled a shoe off.  She's been in good knick at home since and the track, trip and ground should suit her so we are looking forward to seeing what she can do over the bigger obstacles. 
Seddon will travel up to Musselburgh on Sunday for the Pertemps qualifier.  He is 1lb higher than his last victory at Lingfield in November.  He is stepping up in trip to three miles for the first time over hurdles but it’s a sharp track.  He schooled well this week and has been in good form so we’re looking forward to running him.
Faire Part Sivola has been in good form of recent and will likely line up at Doncaster next Thursday.  Conditions didn't suit him last time out but the good ground is more favourable this time, especially as he will be heading up in trip to 3 miles.  The race is a Challenger Stayers Series qualifier so the plan will be to get him eligible for the final in April.  We feel the step up in trip will not be a problem to him on this ground and he enjoyed Doncaster last time out.
Until next week...