Hexham was a bit of a non-runner day as we had entered a number of soft ground horses, and when the going was good we ended up with just the two runners. Prince Dundee made a most satisfactory return to the track to be third, jumping boldly and loving being back racing. He had a stress fracture to his cannon in August, but having had two screws inserted he has made a full recovery. Our other runner, Otello Moor was running a good race until stopping coming down the hill and we will check him over to sort any issue.
While Scu walked the track and worried over the runners and non runners at Hexham, I was at Newmarket with Paul and Steven where we were looking to buy a flat horse and a form national hunt horse. The ones we had earmarked for the flat did not come up to expectation but we were delighted when our patience paid off with a last lot purchase of Green Vault a five year old son of Shirocco who won a bumper a fortnight previously. He is a most likable athletic strong type and should be a super addition to the team.
Yesterday we had three runners; Mint Gold stunned us with his enthusiastic jumping and tried hard, coming a brave second in the two mile handicap chase. He is a resilient youngster who has a most professional and tough attitude. Your Place ran in her first handicap and looks harshly treated judging by her placing; she tries hard but is struggling. Mint is pictured back home after his race.
Meanwhile, on the flat at Musselburgh, Ballyare showed his toughness again by coming fourth in the big field sprint. He has improved this winter and should be able to continue to do so.
I suppose that Richard Johnson was going to retire sometime, but his announcement yesterday still came as a shock and it feels like the end of an era. Richard rode for us when I first started training back in teh late 90's, winning on Mr Cavallo, and many others and notching up thirty winners for us. From 203 rides he was also placed second twenty six times and third forty seven times meaning a fifteen percent strike rate for the yard. Most of all he is a total gentleman and top role model for all jockeys, with an incredible work ethic and charm with it. I love this piece by Philip Hobbs about Richard, read it HERE