It was a windy day at Wetherby yesterday (but isn’t it always?!) when One In A Row lined up in a field of 11 runners for the 2m3f handicap hurdle just 8 days after his 4th place at Ayr on heavy ground.
Despite being dry and bright, the West Yorkshire track had to pass an early inspection following heavy snow washed away by a deluge of rain in the preceding days. Although not an issue for One In A Row (as the hurdles were all present and correct) the omission of three of the four chase fences in the back straight resulted in the novel concept of what could be described as a “Flat Chase” for the two races on the card over the bigger obstacles. Nevertheless Jonjo & his team had done exceptionally well to get racing on.
Running out of the handicap, and with jockey Ross Chapman’s claim only partially redressing the weight differential, One In A Row showed no lasting effects from last week’s brave run and held his position well throughout the race.
Foot perfect over his hurdles out of the heavy ground, Ross asked him to go on three out when the previously steady pace lifted entering the home straight. Although he didn’t quite have the toe to match the front two, he stayed on strongly for 3rd beaten only 7 1/2 lengths.
It was especially lovely that all his connections were in attendance and having enjoyed the new Owners & Trainers facility at Wetherby, they were then delighted to welcome the horse back into the winners enclosure.
Belying his 11 years and status as a maiden, One In A Row has now posted three places from his five runs since joining the yard and is clearly loving his racing. It would be a proud moment indeed for all concerned if he managed to get that deserved first career win before too long.
Definitely the ground for wellies Danny!
Come on Kev, time to take me for a well earned shower!
Having managed to get the horsebox out of Middleham with More Madness & Stags Leap on board when just the previous day had seen vehicles abandoned in the snow, the Scottish weather warnings and course inspections held no fear for Julia & Ali on their quest to get to Musselburgh yesterday.
With the 8am inspection deferred to 10am the journey north continued and thankfully racing was confirmed as going ahead, albeit on ground given as (officially) soft but with (unofficially) late leaving frost in places making it safe to run on but quite testing.
More Madness was first up in the 3m handicap chase in the colours of the Brough Farm Racing Partnership. With a bit of mutual appreciation clearly going on between Madness and Brian Hughes, he was most delighted when his “favourite” jockey was legged up. Despite being pushed wide throughout the race he jumped brilliantly for Brian and always held his position amongst the leaders. Although the track proved a bit sharp and the ground tough work for him, Madness entered into his own private battle for the 3rd/4th places and we were delighted that he came out on top – as was he!
He’s not managed 3rd for us before so that was a new number in his places – the elusive number 1 still evades him but comes ever closer??
(More Madness – number 5)
Next up was yard stalwart Stags Leap in the feature 2m handicap hurdle. Owned by Julia’s father and Uncle (John & Billy Platts), ridden out every day by Julia, led up by Danny and with Henry on board – this was a proper family affair.
Running in a higher grade of race than he had ever contested, Staggy belied both his 11 years and 16 months off the track to run with huge credit under Henry (Brooke). He was prominent throughout the race, and hurdled fluently, finally just tiring on the home straight.
He returned safe and sound, and just as importantly showed that he retains his zest and enthusiasm for racing.
(Watching Danny & Staggy in the parade ring)
In nothing less than attritional conditions, One In A Row ran arguably his best race since joining the yard last Monday at Ayr in the 2m4f handicap hurdle to finish a brave 4th, beaten just two and half lengths.
On a day when many horses were being pulled up or finishing very tired, One In A Row coped admirably with the heaviest ground he had ever raced on and was prominent throughout under regular jockey John Kington.
Hurdling fluently, he took the lead three from home, was headed briefly two out but regained the ascendency before being chased down on the run in when he just had no more to give.
Given his bravery it was heart-breaking to see him beaten in the last few yards when it seemed he would finally lose his maiden tag but on that performance there’s surely going to be a day in sun (metaphorically – or wishfully?? – speaking at this time of year!) for this lovely horse.