In the News
Hope you’ve all had a great Christmas and enjoyed the racing in the week following the celebrations. It’s been very busy around the country and we’ve had a few runners (although a few intended ones fell foul of the weather Gods). There’s been plenty of surprises as well, especially over in Ireland, but that just adds to the charm of the game. But we’ve also seen the dark side of racing this week, with a few horses sadly not coming home. It’s always sad when you have to go home with an empty box and our thoughts are with the connections of Nicols Canyon, Zabana and Cottersrock (and any others I may have forgotten).
Looking ahead, we’ve got a big runner still ahead of us in 2017 before we celebrate the turn of the year. Dame Rose steps up in trip for the Challow Hurdle at Newbury, a Grade One contest against geldings. She’s worthy of her place in the field and getting seven lbs from the competition could well be crucial.
Unfortunately, Ramonex suffered a bruised foot ahead of his trip to Newbury, so he was unable to take up any of his entries two weeks ago. He’s not had much luck elsewhere either, with Doncaster the latest meeting to fall foul of the weather when he’s had an entry.
That left us with just one runner before Christmas, at Ffos Las where Echo Watt made his stable debut in fine style. Given a positive ride by Charlie Hammond, he loved the heavy underfoot conditions and galloped the opposition into submission. He’s only a three year old, but he looks a proper galloper and made the most of a featherweight to claim the spoils.
On Boxing Day, Shantou Flyer ran in the Grade Three Rowland Meyrick handicap chase. James Reveley was over from France to take the ride, which was lucky for us because with seven UK jumps meetings, jockey’s were in short supply. Shantou travelled well for a long way and was with the leading group of four when they turned into the straight, but he stopped very quickly on the home turn and James pulled him up. He appeared to have a breathing issue, so we’ll have to see what we can do about that. If he does have an op, he’ll be off for about four weeks afterwards.
On the 27th, James took the reins again, this time on Going Gold in a Novice Hurdle at the same venue. We were hoping for a big run after the promise in his bumper at Catterick and the third franking the form next time out. He travelled prominently, briefly hitting the front four out and still in with every chance at the next, but he couldn’t go with the leaders on the run in and finished a beaten fourth. He wasn’t hard pushed
This week’s runners
A raft of entries this week, but the most important one is Dame Rose entered in the Grade One Challow Hurdle at Newbury. Stepping up to 2m4f for the first time, she has already proven her ability at the track over shorter and is bred for this sort of trip. She’ll probably get even further in time, but getting seven lbs here in heavy ground could be all the difference. It’s perhaps not the strongest renewal of the race, but she still has two Grade Two winners in Poetic Rhythm and Kilbricken Storm to deal with. We think the world of her and she’s certainly capable of winning graded races, hopefully, she can get one on the board here. With Dickie Johnson out with injury, Harry Skelton takes over in the saddle.
Elsewhere, Ramonex has two entries, firstly back at Catterick on New Year’s Day where he was a non-runner earlier in the week in a handicap chase, while he also has an entry in the Novice Handicap over at Musselburgh two days later. Both races are over the intermediate trip of two mile four and hopefully, we can finally get him back on track.
Shantou Flyer is entered up at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day, in the race he won last year when trained by Rebecca Curtis. We may yet run him, as this seems to be more his trip and perhaps the wind issue won’t crop up when he’s taking in this shorter distance. He shaped really well barring the last half mile at Wetherby, so perhaps this sort of test will suit him better. Hopefully, we can a claimer to get some of the weight off him too, perhaps someone like Jamie Bargary.
Echo Watt has an entry at Ffos Las, where he hopes to repeat his debut victory. With Charlie Hammond booked again to take seven lbs off and more deep ground, he can hopefully pull off a repeat in conditions that suit him.
Etoo Sport will hope to improve on his debut run when he goes to Ludlow on the third of January. Charlie Hammond will partner up with him this time, claiming a valuable seven lbs off. Hopefully, he’ll handle the turns a bit better this time, because he struggled a bit last time at Market Rasen.
The last one with an entry is Going Gold on the same card, stepping up in trip to 2m6 in a maiden hurdle which should suit him. He shaped like a staying type in his bumper second. We think he’ll be a useful hurdler, so hopefully, he’ll step up from his debut over hurdles last week.
From all of us at Richard Hobson Racing & RH Bloodstock, have a great New Year and we hope for plenty more winners in 2018!