A MIXED WEEK
THIS WEEK It’s been a very mixed week on the track with the highs and lows that are all too common in this great game. The 2 highlights have to be seeing Sirobbie notch up his 4th consecutive victory at his beloved Uttoxeter, followed the following day by Rouge Vif flying to victory in fine style in his first run over fences. So with plenty more rain around it is encouraging for the ground conditions and the seasons’ first meeting at Cheltenham which gets underway today. And with a possibility of 3 runners there tomorrow, the yard will be well represented on this top stage. Onwards and into the weekend we go... REPORTS SIROBBIE Sirobbie's love affair with Uttoxeter continued on Friday when winning the Weatherbys Racing Bank Handicap Hurdle over 2m 7f at his favourite track. On this occasion he was tackling soft ground for the first time in handicap company, so the big question was whether he would handle the conditions. The race looked a good one on paper with lots of winter horses having their first run back. Initially there was plenty of pace on so jockey, Gavin Sheehan was able to drop him in where he travelled really nicely. His hurdling was slick and as the race started to unfold he was making up ground and going well. Having jumped 3 out he looked to be going the best and as he hit the front he pricked his ears at the sight of the familiar winning post he is so fond of. From there on in he had the race at his mercy and went on to just do enough and win by his usual 2 lengths. It was his best performance to date and a huge positive to see that he handled the softer conditions. ROUGE VIF The following afternoon saw another successful performance for the team with Rouge Vif winning the Download The App At Virgin Bet Novices' Chase at Maket Rasen over 2m 1f. This was his first run over fences and having schooled extremely well at home we were looking forward to getting him started. It was a strong renewal with plenty of good hurdlers from last season in the race. Since there was another confirmed front runner we decided to jump him off in second position, but having been off the track for a while Rouge was keen to get on with things in the early stages. He soon got into a fantastic rhythm with his jumping and once they turned to go down the back straight he took up the running. At the top of the hill his 2 main rivals were keen to take him on but Gavin didn’t panic and as he soon jumped his way back into contention he took control of the race, accelerating clear to win by an impressive 7 lengths. VINNIE LEWIS Vinnie Lewis made the long journey up to Sedgefield on Sunday to run in the Durham National. This was his first run back after a break and returning to a track where he had been successful before. The race cut up nicely and conditions suited him well so we were confident things would be in his favour. The pace of the race however was very sedate for much of the way round which meant that they sprinted home from 4 out. Sadly this didn’t suit him but we were delighted with the run none the less, as he jumped superbly and ran on to finish 6th. His next target will be the London National at Sandown in December where the trip and conditions should suit him even better. SERGEANT O'LEARY Sergeant O'Leary headed to Exeter on Tuesday to make his debut in the Junior Bumper. He is a hugely likeable, strong type but was in need of the run mentally. This showed in the early stages of the race where he was very green. Turning in he was making up ground before he got bumped on the bend. He then had plenty of ground to make up but as Gavin eventually got him rolling he stuck his head out and tried all the way to the line to finish 5th. We were delighted with the run and he should come on a huge amount for it. SPARKLEANDSHINE Sparkleandshine made his debut over fences at Ludlow yesterday in the Novice Chase over 2 miles. He had been schooling extremely well at home and it looked a good opportunity on paper, with the perfect track and trip for him. There was a lot of pace set early on so we decided to track the leaders were he settled beautifully in behind. As they turned into the home straight to approach the first fence he suddenly put in a short stride, got in tight and didn’t get his landing gear out in time so sadly parted company with Gavin. An unfortunate blunder for his first start over the bigger obstacles but the main thing is he is absolutely fine and trotted away sound. We will have a look at further options for him over hurdles and fences but continue to school him over the bigger obstacles. THE KINGS BABY The Harry Whittington Racing Club's The Kings Baby finished a solid 2nd at Southwell yesterday in the Bloomfields Horse Boxes Mares' Handicap Hurdle over 2m4f. It was a competitive handicap hurdle on paper but she certainly had a chance. We decided to make the running which is what she enjoys most and bar a tearaway in the first half mile she generally bossed the race. Turning in she had every chance but unfortunately just ran into a better handicapped horse on the day. She ran an absolute cracker to finish 2nd and we will now look at going back over fences. She is a very likeable mare who should continue to give our racing club many more great days this season. ARCADIAN SPRING Arcadian Spring ran at Southwell yesterday in the Maiden Open National Hunt Flat Race over 2 miles. This was his second run having unfortunately slipped up on his debut around the home bend at Warwick. It looked a good bumper on paper but he had shown enough promise last time out to think that he would be competitive. However being by Arcadio the softer ground was likely not to suit him. Down the back straight he looked to have every chance, but turning in he lost his position and stopped very quickly. He finished very distressed, blowing very hard and so we will run some tests to find out what is wrong. He is horse with ability at home so hopefully something will come to light. ENTRIES SAINT CALVADOS Saint Calvados has been declared to make his seasonal reappearance in The Randox Health Handicap Chase over 1m7f at Cheltenham tomorrow afternoon. We have been watching the forecast carefully to see where he is likely to get the softer ground and this looks like the best option for him. He has been in good form at home and his schooling last week was very satisfactory. We are extremely excited about getting him back out. NEVERBEEN TO PARIS Neverbeen To Paris has also been declared to run on the same card at Cheltenham tomorrow in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle over 2m 7f. He ran a cracker on debut at Stratford at the beginning of month and he has been in good form since. He is entitled to go for a better race like this and he should improve for the step up in trip. We are looking forward to seeing how he gets on. Bryony Frost has been booked to ride. CAPTAIN TOMMY Captain Tommy has been declared to run in the same race at Cheltenham tomorrow. He will be making his reappearance after a summer break having finished last seasons' campaign running a blinder in a Listed race up at Perth. He is now off a mark of 135 so has earned his right to have a go at a race of this calibre. He is a progressive young horse and we are looking forward to seeing how he gets on. HENRIETTA BELL Henrietta Bell has been declared to run at Aintree on Sunday in the Premier League Betting At Virgin Bet Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle over 3 miles. She has won 3 races this season which now makes life more difficult for her off her higher handicap mark. We are still learning about her and we will adopt different tactics for this run. Hopefully she can improve for the trip and the different way we ride her. BIGMARTRE Bigmartre has also been declared to run at Aintree on Sunday in the Old Roan Limited Handicap Chase over 2m 3f. He is in fantastic shape at home and is running in the biggest race of his career. He carries a feather weight of 10-3 plus Page Fuller claims an extra 3lb which is extremely useful. A formidable partnership we saw when winning up at Perth in April. It is a very hot race on paper but we feel now is the time to have a go. PARKIN Parkin holds a few entries in the next couple of weeks, the first of which is at Chepstow on Tuesday. It will depend on opposition and going as to where we run. The handicapper has given him a chance and hopefully now he has dropped into handicap company he can be competitive. He still has lots to learn but is going the right way and we are looking forward to running him in a handicap. MY FRIENDLY COUSIN My Friendly Cousin is likely to make his debut in a bumper at Chepstow on Tuesday where the track should suit him well. He is out of a very tough mare who won plenty of races and hopefully he can follow in her footsteps. He is a galloping type that would improve for a bit of time so he will most likely need the experience. He shows a good attitude at home and we are looking forward to running him. ARIA ROSE Aria Rose holds an entry at Taunton on Wednesday in the Taunton Racecourse Business Club Maiden Hurdle over 2m. This will be his third run over hurdles since showing plenty of promise in this new discipline so far. He doesn't want the ground to be too soft therefore he will have a break through the depths of the winter and come back for handicaps in the Spring. IN OTHER NEWS... HWR STAFF PROFILES TONY LEADER - GALLOP MAN Tony joined HWR in September last year taking on the role of gallop man. His duties are full care of both the all-weather gallop and the deep sand gallop. He is also head of general maintenance work and a cracking handyman to have around the place. Originally from Bracknell, Tony has spent the majority of his working life doing active jobs mainly in the building and tyre trade. He spent a lot of his weekends riding out for trainers in the Lambourn area including Barry Hills and Tim Thompson-Jones, as well as some time travelling horses for Michael Blanchard. Nowadays Tony enjoys watching these top class National Hunt horses from his trusty tractor in the perfect peaceful setting up at Hill Barn! Tony's favourite horse in the yard is Stick With Bill he quotes "He is a lovely, well mannered horse and is an exciting hurdling prospect for the season." Away from the yard Tony enjoys spending time on his canal boat with wife Maria. He also enjoys Saturday mornings in the winter picking up at his local shoot with his trusted dog Charlie.