What a day… it may seem very exciting to the racing world that we have 2 runners in Graded races within 20 minutes of each other but Phil, myself and our team will beyond nervous watching our much loved stable stars as they set off in their respective big races. Win lose or draw, our biggest hope is that they and our other three runners come back safely.
Lady Buttons takes on 6 runners in the Yorkshire Rose Mares Hurdle at 2.40 and she is second favourite behind the southern raider, the talented 5 year old novice ‘Floressa’ from Nicky Henderson’s yard. Giving her 5 years and 6 lbs, at 10 years old Lady B has a huge task on her hands but she continues to amaze us, and her performance last time here was undoubtedly a career high, running to a mark of 150. Sean Quinlan takes over the reins with Tommy on board Ben at Cheltenham, and he came in and had a school on her a couple of days ago, Sean was impressed with how enthusiastic she was!
There will no doubt be a sea of purple & white scarves out tomorrow at Doncaster and we would like to thank everyone again for their kind good luck messages – if good will could carry her home she would win by a mile. As it is it will be up to her & Sean as they set off on their 2 mile journey of speed tomorrow, and expect her to be played late again as she bids for back to back victories.
By the time Buttons runs we will already have watched our star staying chaser ‘Top Ville Ben’ lay down the gauntlet to the top boys in the ‘Gold Cup trial,’ the Cotswold Chase over 3 1/4 miles. Tommy has lots of faith in his Rowland Meyrick winner and his green hooded head will be easy to spot in the race as he bids to take a major southern prize back up North. It’s a small but high class field with the exceptional grey ‘Bristol de Mai’ favourite, and today should tell us if Ben can compete at the very highest level or wether we are going to have to tough it out in big handicaps. He’s being taken by Victor & Jennie while Phil heads to Doncaster. Ben is a former Henderson horse and despite being a pound higher in the ratings, he is a lot bigger price than the Henderson trained ‘Santini’ who is clear second favourite and has top course form. Most of Ben’s wins have been on flat tracks but remember how well he coped round the stiff and undulating Hexham when he won on his chasing debut….he is priced around the 7-1 mark, and that seems about fair. Best of luck to his Owners who are all going to watch him.
Suggestion is another horse we now get particularly nervous watching, and no wonder as he has sadly lost an eye due to a tumour a couple of months ago. Had he not schooled well at home we would have retired him but he is happy in his work and has done all his jumping at home ( and on his comeback at Wetherby) with his usual fluency so while he still enjoys being a racehorse he can bring his Owners, Red Cap Racing, lots of pleasure. Ross Chapman gets the leg up with Adam being on the sidelines and Tommy at Cheltenham. He’s had a sit on him at home and all seems positive. He is still high enough in the weights though and may need some respite before resuming winning ways…this afternoon should be telling if he can compete off a career high mark.
Fille d’Avignon is our third runner of the day at Doncaster and she is having her second career start in the mares bumper. Out of a Listed winner by Getaway, this well bred mare should make a lovely hurdler and we hope to see improvement from her first start when she travelled well but got extremely tired late on in the heavy ground at Wetherby. Given plenty of time to recover, this better ground should help.
Finally to the good looking ‘En Meme Temps’ pictured above – he runs in the handicap hurdle at Cheltenham for Owners, Hope Eden Racing and he made an exciting start to this season with a good 2nd at Carlisle. Meme has had a couple of niggles holding him up but it’s all Systems go now , and although he may find the 2 mile on the sharp side, he will enjoy the good gallop and stiff finish.
Some further photos from the yard and the races yesterday …