The jumps season proper is just starting to get going with more fixtures in the racing calendar throughout October. My preparations are going to plan with the many reference materials I purchase every year on the bookshelf and already well read. I am waiting to have a look at the declarations for Sedgefield tomorrow as there is one horse in particular I know is very progressive and if fit enough first time out is worth a closer look. We need rain for Romany Ryme and the forecast is for more rain over the next two weeks so we can start to firm up entry plans.
Well Perth on Thursday was an experience for everyone concerned. Dark Caviar tried his best (and succeeded) to be disruptive giving his trainer, jockey and owners several anxious moments. For those that have not seen the race it is worth watching the video recording of the race to see what happened. First of all Dark Caviar really looked the part, he moved like a real racehorse, has the physical attributes of a horse with great stature and has a lovely free going action. At the races several people commented on what a looker he is and how impressive he moves and they are right. In the parade ring the horses immaturity and keeness to get on with the business of running began to cause problems. After two laps of the parade ring he decided he had seen enough, stamped his feet a few times and wanted to get on with it. DC then tried his best to unseat Jonathon who needed to dismount to refit his saddle before getting back on and cantering down to the start which they did quite nicely. At the start DC decided he wanted to get going straight away and tried his best to start early with Jonathon holding onto him tight waiting for the off. After the off DC pulled very hard and wanted to get on with it which in a two mile bumper race is not the best of tactics! Jonathon held on tight and did really well to hold him at the back for the first mile of the race before DC eventually pulled all the life out of his arms and began to win the physical battle to show how fast he can run. DC went from last to first in a matter of strides and gradually went clear of the field........the writing was on the wall at this point as this move was about 7 furlongs earlier than planned. The rest is predictable as the horse lifted the pace of the race and had most of the other runners off the bridle down the far side before leading around the home turn then slowly running out of gas in the home straight. All that bucking, pulling and fighting for his head and then racing to the front a mile from home had emptied the tank for the last 2 furlongs of the race and the horse ended up finishing a respectable 8th beaten 22 lengths. Well what did we learn...........he certainly looks and moves like a racehorse......he can accelerate quickly.......he goes fine on the good to soft ground.......he would have stayed the trip and been a lot closer if he had settled in his race. The initial pace of the race was a little slow which did not help DC to settle in behind. There was some very good horses in the race and one or two expensive ones finished just in front of ours despite DC using up a lot of his energies in the wrong way. DC is still a young five year old foaled in June 2008 and as such is entitled to show some immaturity.........how long will it take for him to learn to settle and to race within himself at a sensible racing pace and then the big question........what is the best way of achieving that? We all really like him, especially George and Jonathon who are convinced of his abilities which at home have become a 'talking point' for everyone. In summary we still firmly believe we have a potentially very good racehorse who needs to gradually learn his trade and settle in his races. This the challenge for our trainer and jockey in order to come up with the key as to how best to achieve this. This will determine how the horse performs over time and hopefully see him fulfill his considerable potential. Hopefully DC will have learnt from his racing experience. The journey continues.............possibly to Kelso for another bumper race for DC next Sunday.
The good news is that we are declared and running in the 6:05pm at Perth tomorrow but what a hot race it looks with several very decent previous winners running. This must be the most competitive bumper race so far in the new 2013/14 jumps season by a mile! The going has gone softer than we were expecting and DC has not been out on this ground before therefore it is a bit of a leap into the unknown tomorrow. Based on the quality of horses entered in the race it looks like at least 8 of the 12 runners are in with a chance of running well. A very good outcome would be a top six finish following a promising run leaving us with something to build on for the future. Good luck DC and Jonathon!
All roads lead to Perth for hopefully, our first ever Martin Gray Racing runner on Thursday, where Dark Caviar is entered up for the 6.05pm, 2M National Hunt Flat Race, or the 'Bumper' race as it is better known. This assumes all goes well at home this week with Dark Caviar's preparatons and also that a sufficient number of the current 25 declarations are withdrawn at the overnight stage. I hope so as it would be great to see the horse on the racecourse and to gauge how he handles the whole 'going racing' experience. Whatever happens, racecourse experience is exactly what he needs right now. George and Jonathon seem happy enough with the horse at home and they think he will 'come on' for the run. At the moment there are a lot of good horses entered including several that have already won as well as newcomers from top stables such as the Twiston Davies and Lucinda Russell yards. Then there is the usual Irish raiders and an impressive bumper winner from the Jefferson stable to consider to! So at the moment it does not look the easiest of races, so my aim of keeping myself in the best of company and my horses in the worst is already looking suspect! However at this time of year there are not many Bumper races to choose from, so all being well we will run. I hope to be up and running with regular blog entries later this week, on Tuesday I am being 'trained up' on how to upload text and images and of course keep you up to date through my blog! The website has been designed by Jameson and Paul from Pulse Creative Marketing (www.pulsecreativemarketing.co.uk) who are based at the Business and Innovation Centre on the Sunderland Enterprise Park. I hope you like the new website and so far feedback has been positive with a common requirement being requests for more pictures and less text. It is very much work in progress and I am sure over time it will evolve and improve. Talking about photographs......I must thank Dennis Penny from www.pennypictures.co.uk, for kindly permitting us to choose images from his catalogue of photographs, without which we would have really struggled for high quality images to use, so many thanks Dennis. More blog entries to follow soon!