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Winner Winner


The beast from the east continued to make her presence felt this week bringing a flurry of snow, freezing temperatures and abandoned meetings across the country. As with all sports good fortune can be just around the corner after a spell of frustration.  Sheila Nash was a welcome victory yesterday providing our first winner after an unfortunate cold spell, proving that patience, hard work and determination pays off in the end.  Not to mention a key lesson in life that you can always rely on your Granny to get you out of trouble! (Sheila Nash is of course named after Harry's grandmother, owned by his Uncle Chris Nash and runs in the Nash family silks - a real family affair.) She was ridden to victory under a strong and confident ride from our new Conditional, Alan Doyle who also steered Lantiern through a smashing run at Kempton earlier in the week. Hopefully the winds of change have arrived and we can now kick on into the Spring...
Harry on Rouge Vif leading the charge up Kingsdown
Saint Calvados
Gemma Quintin riding Juniper
Warranty made the journey up to Catterick last Friday to contest the juvenile hurdle which opened the card, a race in which visibility was markedly reduced due to the fog.  Hopes were high that he could build on his promising 3rd at Sandown, but having tracked the leaders and been within striking distance exiting the back straight, he weakened rather disappointingly into 5th.  His flat form would suggest that getting him on some better ground in the Spring will really play to his strengths.
Torigni made the even longer journey up to Musselburgh on Saturday for the Scottish County Hurdle where he acquitted himself well once more, battling gamely to claim the bronze medal position for the third time in as many starts for the yard.  It was a race run at a strong gallop from the outset and he needed to be ridden along early to find his stride before settling in mid-field.  Off the bridle from the fourth last, he kept responding for pressure, moving into 3rd at the top of the home straight and galloping on resolutely to the line.  A thoroughly likeable individual, who should prove capable of getting his head in front before the end of the season, particularly once the ground dries out.  A step up in trip is also another avenue to explore at some point.
Saint Calvados stayed closer to home on Saturday as he headed to Sandown where they staged the re-arranged Cotswold Chase.  He took his chance in a strong field of six up against the likes of Bristol de Mai, Santini and the 2018 Gold Cup winner Native River.  Following a fine 4th in the King George on his reappearance, our aim was to find out whether he was truly a Gold Cup contender.  Unfortunately the race did not provide the concrete answers we were looking for, as having settled well under a patient ride, he was just beginning to creep into contention when unfortunately knuckling on landing and unseating Gavin Sheehan at seven out.  Thankfully he galloped away unscathed and has come home safe and sound.  Future plans are currently up in the air as we plot the path that will give him the best chance of success at Cheltenham in March.
We had our first runner in a jumpers’ bumper this season when Lantiern lined up at Kempton on Tuesday.  Winner of both his previous starts on the all-weather surface, including a similar event at Wolverhampton last February, we were optimistic of a good performance and he duly delivered with a creditable 2nd.  Returning to the track for the first time since September, he was very keen initially in a steadily-run affair.  He soon began to settle better once jockey Alan Doyle allowed him to stride on with just over a circuit to race.  Asked to up the tempo with half a mile to run, he was just inclined to hang left under pressure and was headed by the eventual winner a furlong out.  He kept on well to maintain 2nd once straightened up, beaten a mere 1¾ lengths at the line.  This run hopefully will provide a springboard to a good end to the season back over obstacles.
Our second jumpers’ bumper runner of the season swiftly followed with Sheila Nash making the most of the additional opportunities at Kempton yesterday after her unfortunate incident at Wincanton last week.  Fortunately there was no drama at the start on this occasion as she jumped away on terms, tracking the two pace-setters.  Ridden along as the tempo increased four furlongs out, she responded gamely to go on in pursuit of last-time-out winner Ballybough Mary off the home turn, grinding her way to the front inside the final furlong under the capable hands of yard conditional Alan Doyle, providing the yard with a much-needed winner.  It has been a long hard winter on the number of fronts, but this is a just reward for the huge efforts of the team at home and is a massive confidence boost as we head into the Spring and the big festivals at Cheltenham and Aintree.  What a difference a week makes!
Sirobbie holds a choice of upcoming entries.  A winner at Uttoxeter back in the Autumn, he will appreciate a big galloping track at these venues, although having been off the course since the end of November, he is sure to improve with an outing under his belt.
Captain Tommy has been declared at Newbury tomorrow which is currently pending an inspection this morning.  He is set to line up in the novice handicap chase over three miles.  Twice runner-up from seven starts over fences, he hasn’t been at his best on his last couple of outings, latterly at Newbury over Christmas, and it remains to be seen whether he takes his chance against what looks set to be a strong field.  
Poldark Cross is perhaps the horse of ours that has been most affected by the weather in recent weeks, missing a number of engagements due to late abandonments.  Carlisle on Tuesday offers the next opportunity to get him back on course.  Hopefully the meeting will go ahead as we look to take advantage of what we believe to be a fair opening handicap mark.
Calvario made a promising debut for the yard when 3rd in a novice hurdle at Chepstow back in November, and with the form of that run reading well, we are looking forward to his next racecourse appearance.  That may come next week with entries at Lingfield and Fontwell, though with those courses both having lost fixtures in recent weeks we’ll just have to keep our fingers firmly crossed and see what the weather brings.
See The Eagle Fly made a winning start for us when scoring on hurdling debut at Fontwell in October and may return to that particular venue next Thursday for another juvenile hurdle.  Off the track since finishing 6th in a Listed event at Aintree a couple of months ago, she ideally wouldn’t want the ground as testing as it is likely to be next week, but we know she likes the course so it could be a good opportunity to get her back up and running.
Emily Shepherd is improving all the time and showing a positive attitude. She is also keeping the lads well fed with her weekly bakes! Well done Emily! Keep up the good work and the baking!
Until next week...