Heavenly River was due to run at Redcar on Monday but due to the drying ground she was declared a non-runner, there will be plenty of other days for her.
Abi Scarlet was due to run at Southwell on Tuesday but Scott felt she wasn’t over the hard race she had the previous week so she was also declared a non-runner.
On Wednesday both Sakhee’s Return and Little Lady Katie went to Ripon and both ran in the one mile handicap. Duran Fentiman rode Sakhee’s Return and Jordan Vaughan rode Little Lady Katie, taking five pounds off. It’s never ideal to have two runners in the same race but both trainers were keen to have a go in this valuable race. From the off unfortunately Little Lady Katie managed to knock her head as she left the starting stalls but she soon regained her composure and settled in third place against the rail whilst Sakhee’s Return was in the last two runners also against the running rail. As the field turned into the home straight with over half a mile to travel Duran was just getting Sakhee’s Return interested, whilst LLK was still travelling nicely. Just over three furlongs from the finish Jordan angled LLK off the rail to the outside of the two horses that had been at the head of the race form the start, Duran kept Sakhee’s next to the rail and they too began to make progress as the pace of the race lifted. Two furlongs from home Jordan gave LLK a crack with the whip for her to move closer and Duran also was at work on Sakhee’s. LLK at this seemed to blow up and couldn’t go through with her effort whilst Sakhee’s was the opposite and he continued to make progress on the leaders. Inside the final furlong Sakhee’s couldn’t get any closer and at the line finished a very respectably third place beaten just over two lengths by the two horses that had led from start to finish, whilst LLK stayed on at the same pace and finished in sixth place. Unsaddling Jordan stated that LLK just didn’t pick up when asked, whilst Duran was delighted with the run of Sakhee’s , he stated that he hit one of the undulations which set them back a bit as the horse got unbalanced but the horse had ran really well and had just got a little tried at the finish.
Hail The Brave went to Southwell on Friday night and ran in the two mile four furlong novice’s handicap hurdle with Adam Nicol riding taking three pounds off. Phil had been worried about the ground at Southwell but they assured him they had watered plenty and although the stable had been quiet with winners, a winner earlier in the week hopefully showed that the yard was coming back into some kind of form. From the off Adam had Hail The Brave at the front of the pack jumping well on most occasions, although on the odd occasion he got in tight to a couple of hurdles but fiddled his way over them without making any semblance of a mistake. Going out with a circuit to go the field were all together and Hail The Brave was still appearing to enjoy himself at the front. As the field made their way down the back straight Hail The Brave was joined by another couple of runners but good jumps at two flights of hurdles saw him back in front and as they jumped the last flight of hurdles on the far side of the course HTB was joined on both sides. Adam gave HTB a crack with his whip to try and push on again but very much like at Wetherby, as soon as he was passed and put under pressure there was no response and he rapidly dropped back through the field and as the rest of the field made their way down the home straight Adam wisely allowed HTB to walk back in with something clearly still amiss with the horse. The horse clearly has ability and there is a possibility he is swallowing his tongue when he comes under pressure. He will be worked in a tongue strap next week to see if this can solve that problem.
Blue Maisey went to Thirsk on Saturday in the seven furlong handicap and Joe Doyle rode taking five pounds off. Drawn in stall eight the draw was ok and having run so poorly last time out this was a fact finding mission. From the stalls opening the pace of the race was frantic and Maisey having been slightly slowly away found herself towards the rear of the field and Joe tucked her in towards the rail. Down the back straight the field were well strung out and as the field hit the sharp turn into the home straight there was a good fifteen lengths first to last and Maisey was still in the rear. As the field straightened for home and charged down the straight Joe was trying to get a clear run for Maisey but was denied several times until near the end of the race she made some modest headway and finished in the rear of the field. Although beaten some way there was some slight promise over a distance that is short of her best with her still being a bit high in the handicap.
Saturday also saw the return of Toocoolforschool when he went down to Newbury to line up in the Group 3 Greenham Stakes over seven furlongs and Silvestre De Sousa rode. The field was probably the strongest there has ever been for a Greenham which is a Guineas trial and with five out of the top eight in the betting for the race lining up this race could easily have been a Group 1. The ground was very quick and as he field broke from the stalls Silvestre allowed TCFS to stride on at the front of affairs with the second favourite for company and as they strode down the straight TCFS was enjoying himself out in front but was being constantly pestered by the other horses. The complexion of the race didn’t change with all jockeys happy with their own positions until the field hit the three furlong from home marker when a few jockeys in behind TCFS began to get to work on their mounts with Silvestre still siting motionless. Two furlong from home Silvestre began to get serious with TCFS and he was quickly passed by fast finishing rivals. He kept going to the line but finished 5th in the end. A fantastic run from TCFS who led a very strong field for a long way on ground that was very quick. He will come on for the run. The winner broke the track record.
Sunday saw Element Quartet finish the week’s runners when she went to Wincanton to run in the two mile four furlong novice hurdle and Brendan Powell Jnr rode. With only five runners due to run the quickening ground forced two trainers to pull their horses from the race which left EQ facing two rivals, the favourite being a 1-10. With the favourite wanting to lead but being very reluctant to set off Brendan allowed EQ to set off in second place and after jumping the first hurdle the favourite pulled up sharply and was out of the race. This allowed EQ to stride on in front at a very steady pace with Brendan allowing her to pop over the hurdles in a polished fashion. The only other runner was travelling nicely in behind EQ and as they both cleared the hurdles in good style down the back straight it was always going to develop into a sprint finish up the home straight. As they turned into the home straight the other horse made its move and overtook EQ on the approach to the second last hurdle. Try as she might EQ could not respond and Brendan allowed her to jump the last in her own time and they finished in second place. With a confident round of jumping and some place money as well, it was a good effort.