It has been a fruitful period whilst the editor has been taking a holiday. 3 winners and several placed horses have kept the scoreboard ticking over. TRANSACTION’S win at Newmarket was a great relief and pleasant surprise to James as Newmarket has not been a happy hunting ground. He won nicely and can hopefully improve further from this run. WELCOME STRANGER is enjoying a purple patch and won well at Kempton only 4 days after his good effort at Ascot. The following week he probably ran his best race to date when he was second, again at Kempton, to a Godolphin trained horse. He is clearly still on the upgrade. The third winner was FINAL DIVIDEND and this provided Jo Rees with her first success since she became a mother. It was the sixth race the partnership have enjoyed together.
There were some other good performances to report over the last 2 ½ weeks. The best being RUBY WINE’S fine second in a good maiden race at Newbury last Friday. This filly has a real stamina laden pedigree so anything she achieves at 2 years old is a real bonus. James did not imagine that he would ever run her over 6 furlongs but she had been working nicely at home and there was a lack of suitable races on decent tracks. Frankie Dettori was initially booked to ride the filly but failed to turn up in time so Richard Thomas rode her and proved to be a very able substitute and couldn’t have given her a better introduction. It will not be the last ride he has for James judging on this performance. It was a particularly exciting day for the owner Mrs Rachel Wilson as she also bred the filly. Hopefully there is a lot to look forward to in the future with her. LAST APPOINTMENT also ran a good race in defeat. He finished third at Lingfield but the race was not run to suit him. He had a poor draw and was forced to make the running which seems to be very hard to do on the Polytrack for some reason. Hopefully he will be winning soon.
The week ahead is mainly centred around the big meeting at York. TRANSACTION runs in the Nursery there tomorrow and should have a big chance despite being raised 5 pounds by the handicapper for his Newmarket win. James feels the ground will suit him better tomorrow but it is a more competitive race than last time. On Wednesday the action moves to Kempton where BLUE PATRICK and LAST APPOINTMENT could possible run in the same race, a 7 furlong handicap. LAST APPOINTMENT will only run if the ground is fast. BLUE PATRICK has come back after a short lay off and seems in good form at home so hopefully will run well.
On Thursday WELCOME STRANGER and ARIODANTE run at York. WELCOME STRANGER is in the form of his life but the slight worry is the ground. He has run well on soft ground as a 2 year old but all his best form since then has been on a fast surface. ARIODANTE has bee dropped to 80 after his Ascot run but everything was against him that day. It was a falsely run race that day but he should get a good gallop on Thursday which will suit him a lot better. Again the ground is a bit of an unknown quantity and he probably won’t run if the ground becomes very soft. He has an alternative engagement at Sandown on Saturday if this is the case. BLUE PATRICK has an entry at Folkestone on Sunday but is more likely to run at Kempton and will only run in both if he wins on Wednesday.