The decisive success of Dolos at Sandown was a welcome boost at a time when many of our horses have been running below par.
If we’d been in form he would have been 4-1 not 10-1. He is an amazing horse but I can’t say I was confident because he hadn’t shown much in three previous starts this season.
Dolos tends to come alive in the spring and was winning the Class 2 Two mile handicap Chase at the track for the third time. He has also finished second in it twice.
On the same day Pic D’Orhy was struggling after a mistake in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Chase and faded in the closing stages on rain softened ground. I’ll be keeping him to flatter tracks on better ground in the future. Harry reported that he choked .
Frodon and Greaneteen both came up short at Leopardstown on ground that had been watered over several weeks before the rain came. They both probably had harder races than I thought over Christmas and were not at their best and did not enjoy the ground . They will be back in the spring . The same applies to Highland Hunter at Musselburgh I think he needs to be very fit and very fresh . He will go to Ayr or Aintree.
The fact is that a lot of ours have run disappointingly in the past fortnight or so, some have run ok and a few were not good enough. Despite all our combined experience my head lad Clifford Baker and I can’t find anything wrong with the horses.
There is no sign of sickness or coughing or dirty noses in any of the three yards and all the tests we’ve taken have come back clear, even the ones on those that have run below par.
The horses look great in their coats and continue to work well, eat well and none of them have had a temperature.
We haven’t seen a single warning sign that would normally tell us not to run them and I can’t believe the problem has been caused by the annual mid winter flu jabs they get in the last week of December because that has never been an issue in the past.
But something is not right somewhere and we are now checking out the hay and feed. I do remember that we ran some tests in 2015-2016 after only three winners in January and discovered that the hay was low in potassium and calcium and quickly put that right . We are all over it trying to get the answer.
At some stage every sportsman, team or racehorse trainer is bound to have a little bit of a quiet period when things don’t go to plan. That is the nature of racing and sport. Then things come right and normal service is resumed.
I’ve decided not to run anything in the first part of this week and have yet to make up my mind about Stage Star and Cap du Mathan at Huntingdon in Thursday.
We worked a group of horses on Saturday morning and they all went beautifully so unless something comes to light this week then the plan is to run them at Newbury on Saturday.
They include Clan Des Obeaux or Bravemansgame in the Betfair Denman Chase with the latter also having an entry in the Novice Chase. Hitman goes for the Game Spirit, Knappers Hill in the Betfair Hurdle and Timeforatune in the bumper.
For all the up to the minute news in my Saturday runners please be sure to check out my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.