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  • Writer's pictureIzzie Marshall

"We Hit the Cross-Bar, We Hit the Post, but We Didn't Score"

It was a case of almost-but-not-quite's last weekend, at both Horseheath and Garthorpe. We had 5 runners over the course of the weekend, all of whom completed and got into the winners enclosure, but not quite with their head's in front.

First to perform was Allie Beag on her 5th outing of the season, in the 6 runner conditions race. The going was officially good to firm which suits the mare, who jumped well for this. Dale Peters was on board, who gave her a great ride, and despite her making a mistake at 6 out whilst sat in a great position, he got her back into contention to challenge over the final 3 fences. Unfortunately she was just beaten having met a horse that reacted better on the ground and ran well on the day. We will head to the closing meeting at Kingston Blount at the end of the month with her.

Dale Peters stretches Allie Beag out for 2nd

Next to run was schoolmaster Brian's Well in the novice riders, with 3 fellow competitors declared. Noah Brazg jumped off in a held up position and the experienced gelding jumped well, however never got into a challenging position in the race, finishing 3rd. More experience gained for Noah and the horse will keep running whilst the ground is like this!

Brian and Noah approaching the final fence

Returning to the track after 12 months off was pocket rocket Sharp Suit, under Izzie Marshall in the ladies open. The gelding jumped off hot favourite and was given an excellent ride by Izzie, who jumped him out and got the horse popping his fences, enjoying his race. He wore blinkers which definitely helped him focus on the job on hand; he is known to be a little quirky! When challenged at the top of the hill on the final circuit he lost his position slightly, but was driven down the hill to quickly make up the lost ground and stayed on well under a strong ride to just be beaten for the win! It was great to see the horse so happy to be back racing and responding well to Izzie's strong riding. We will look for another ladies on a right-handed course on this ground in the near future.

Ned and Izzie front-running, approaching the final fence with a circuit to go

Our final runner at Horseheath was Breakdown Cover, whose main aim was to get a number in his form and not a letter! Archie Wright was on board and he jumped off in the rear to settle the gelding, avoiding the bustle and rush of the race to just relax him and get him jumping. He winged the two downhill fences which filled him with confidence, with the aid of blinkers to help him focus. The horse was put into the race and looked like he had a chance of challenging, sat in 2nd coming around the final bend, but tired in the closing stages to finish 4th. He achieved what we set for him so connections were happy and we will aim for the maiden at Kingston Blount in a fortnight.

Our final runner of the weekend was Desert Retreat at Garthorpe in a 6 runner maiden under Gina Andrews. He was hot favourite on the soft going and he jumped off sat handy, up the inner under the experienced jockey. After a few spooky and dramatic jumps the gelding settled and got into a better rhythm, appearing more confident, allowing him to quicken along the back straight but never challenging. He finished 4th and Gina reported he made a noise during the race; the trainer stated the displacing of his soft palate was audible in the enclosure following the race. He has gone for an overland scope this week and will hopefully have surgery to remedy this before heading to the final Kingston Blount meeting.

To sum up the weekend trainer Alan said "we hit the cross-bar, we hit the post, but we didn't score". However we were lucky to bring all horses back safe and sound, all finished in the first four and yet again it was proved that they are all fit and healthy having run fair races. Fingers crossed for Friday!

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