A winning Pat!

A winning Pat

We were delighted to get a win with Patroclus at Exeter on Tuesday and while it was pretty hard to see much of what happened, we were able to spot his nose touch the line in front which was the only thing we really needed to see, and to be honest after getting headed after the last Hurdle, the handsome son of Shirocco showed real guts and tenacity to deny David Pipe’s Astigar by ½ a length.

It’s a funny one, actually, because straight after his first race at Warwick, Nico de Boinville was very quick to suggest a step down in distance was required, and indeed his advice proved absolutely spot on, but judged on the way he seemed to get caught flat footed for a few strides before hitting top gear in the run up to the line, it was visibly noticeable that he may indeed be better for a step back up in trip and after chatting with Nicky Henderson, it’s highly likely he’ll have his next start over 2m4f which should be ideal and the plan is to stick to novice company rather than handicaps. To look at, Patroclus is a chaser through and through so whatever he does over timber is a bonus but it was great to get off the mark after a frustrating run of near misses for Potters Group and we are excited about what the future may hold.

Unfortunately things didn’t go to plan for Welsh Saint, or more to the point his jockey, who had absolutely no chance of staying aboard after the partnership came to an abrupt end at just the second fence when his mount appeared to take off much too early and quickly deposit Mr De Boinville out of the side door. Chasing hasn’t come naturally to him and he’d already been away to Henrietta Knight’s for some valuable jumping tuition so we were hoping that the education may have helped, perhaps it helped too much because he clearly wasn’t backing off the fence! But hopefully he’s learnt from that mistake and we can draw a line through it and move forward. He was a very smart hurdler and there’s no reason to suggest why he can’t be as good over the larger obstacles.

Who remembers the magnificent Marlborough many moons ago? It took him a fair while to get the knack of jumping fences but after lots of time with Yogi Breisner and plenty of Henderson magic the Sir Robert Ogden-owned son of Strong Gale ended up winning multiple races over the big ones, including at the Cheltenham Festival, so there’s plenty of time for dear old Welsh Saint to get the hang of things!

The final runner of the day at Exeter for Potter Group was Mot A Mot who made his racecourse debut in what looked a very good bumper. Again, visibility was very poor and racecourse commentator Richard Hoiles did a great job to distinguish who was who – mind you, who are we to question whether he was right because we couldn’t see anything either! However, on ground that was particularly churned up and hard work, the gallant grey ran a very sound race to finish fourth behind a smart recruit of Ben Pauling’s who had the advantage of valuable race experience having finished second at Carlisle in November, so there were plenty of positives to take out of the run and we’ve no doubt he has a bright future over obstacles.

On Thursday Miss Gold Den made her hurdles debut at Ludlow and despite being sent off 80/1, it’s fair to say she put up a very good effort to finish fifth after becoming very outpaced before plugging on well under David England. Her grand dam, Polly Puttens, is the mother of Denman and Grand National winner Silverburn as well as James and Jean Potter’s Potter’s Gale and Potter’s Bay so it’s fair to say Olly Murphy’s charge will be seen in a much better light over further and judged on her recent performance, I’d imagine she’ll be stepping up in distance sooner rather than later.

There’s an inspection at Hereford on Saturday afternoon ahead of Sunday’s meeting but if the fixture does get the all clear, Sam Thomas has declared La Reine Poutine in the Mares’ Maiden Hurdle at 3:20. She was slightly disappointing at Wincanton last time over two miles so steps back up to 2m3 ½f and with a bit of luck the extra yardage will help, but whatever happens she’ll be given a handicap mark after this anyway.

Baby Blues

There was much to celebrate this week when Lady Beaufort, owned by James and Jean Potter ltd, gave birth to a stunning filly foal by former Yorton Farm stallion Blue Bresil and we are happy to say both mother and daughter are doing very well. This is always a very exciting time of year and we’ll certainly keep you updated with the latest offspring who could be the next stars of the equine world.

Lady Beaufort with her Blue Bresil filly
Lady Beaufort with her Blue Bresil filly foal

Lockdown Lingers

As you will be aware current restrictions mean that owners are still unable to attend race meetings to see their horses compete which is an obvious shame and if the news is to be believed it’s not sounding very positive for things changing in the immediate future. Unfortunately this is the situation we are in and while we cannot wait to get back on the racecourse, we should at least be grateful that racing is able to continue and keep our beloved sport on the move. Cheltenham have already announced that the festival will pretty much go ahead behind closed doors and I’d say it’s wishful thinking to suggest it won’t be any different for the major spring festivals including Aintree’s Grand National meeting. Hopefully I’m wrong, and crowds will be welcomed back in some sort of capacity but until the dreaded Covid 19 is well and truly under control it’s a case of literally sitting (at home) and suffering.

Bad Press

The bad press that Newbury received for closing their vaccination hub on Wednesday to host a race meeting was particularly unfair, unnecessary and uncalled for. We all know how hard hit racecourses have been during this pandemic by not receiving any revenue whatsoever for ticket sales, hospitality and corporate events and at the moment finance from media rights are about all they have to help prop up their business so when you read shameful headlines condemning Newbury for actually doing their day job and doing what the track is actually there to do, it’s a sorry state of affairs and extremely sad that a racecourse spokesperson had to actually release a statement to justify staging a race meeting. One of just two of the 42 days which are currently open for vaccinations.

Social Media is a fickle old thing because I didn’t see one single comment or media outlet praising the Newbury management for, and I quote a tweet from @DownlandGP “bending over backwards to help run a smooth centre.”
What a shame that tweet didn’t make the BBC News...

Tomorrow’s tip: Hijack in the 2:05 at Haydock.😉🤞