Fiddlers Bow and Weapon Of Choice returned to the track at Cartmel yesterday to make their first appearance for the yard, and after a racing absence of 239 days & 321 days respectively.
Field mates, and often work mates at home too, the pair travelled up well and seemed none too fazed on arrival by the carnival atmosphere that constitutes a typical Bank Holiday race meeting at this unique course.
Running for Mervyn & Jen Buckley (in Mervyn’s colours) and the Brough Farm Racing Partnership, Fiddlers was the first one in action in the 3m1f handicap chase.
Having been advised by Kev when they left the stable yard for the long lead-up across the course to the parade ring that he should simply think of it as a “busy point to point” he maintained his composure admirably past the packed in-field of happy picnickers and full size fun fair.
Henry (Brooke) bounced Fiddlers out handily in 3rd and he showed what a scopey horse he is from the outset, with some prodigious jumps, and making up lengths on his rivals on some occasions, throughout the 18 fences.
Henry let him go on to lead four out and although he was headed at the second last, he was upsides for the lead again at the final fence. Having not gone in excess of three miles since his two point to point runs four years ago, and returning from a considerable break, Fiddlers was perfectly entitled to tire on the long 3f run-in but although the front two had pulled ahead he kept on easily for 3rd place, some 11 lengths clear of the fourth horse.
Although not all of the Brough Farm Racing Partnership were in attendance, they were definitely there in spirit, and everyone was absolutely delighted with the performance. Mervyn & Jen and Chris & Catherine, who were able to make the trip, enjoyed hearing Henry’s de-brief and plans for this big horse who shows such class & presence. The biggest dilemma was who got the Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding which was awarded to the connections of each of the placed horses…..
Next up in the last race of the day (a 2m1f “hands and heels” handicap hurdle for Conditional & Amateur jockeys) was Weapon Of Choice – a lovely horse who rivals Copt Hill to be the apple of Kev’s eye! Having had his issues when he first arrived, the 10 year old has been given plenty of time before being asked to show what he can produce and the patience was rewarded with a fine run under amateur rider Danny McMenamin. A decent pace had the nine runners fairly strung out but Danny had Weapon in touch just behind the leading group and the pair made good headway before two out. Although slightly outpaced thereafter against race-fit rivals, he nonetheless stayed on gamely for a clear 4th place, only seven lengths off the winner, and showing everyone that he is definitely still a racehorse.
As Weapon is owned by Julia, Fiddlers’ connections were able to enjoy lending their support and having made the winners enclosure, it at least ended the Sticky Toffee Pudding dilemma when one was awarded for the second time that day!
Fiddlers Bow enjoying a chill out this morning
We were pleased to support Perth’s sell-out summer meeting yesterday, with Henry riding all three of our runners on his return from injury and the owners all being present to support their horses.
The boys (Short Flight, Globetrotter, Danny & Kev) left Middleham on Friday afternoon to make the long trip northwards, and it proved fortunate that they had chosen to do an overnight after enduring six hours on the road.
The girls (Dear Dora, Julia & Ali), whilst having an early start on the Saturday, had a much less arduous journey crossing the border and arriving at the course in just over four hours. Whether that says more for the respective traffic conditions or female drivers is open for debate…..
Short Flight was first up in the opening race, division 1 of the 0-105 Handicap Hurdle, and stepping up to 3 miles for the first time since his point to point in Ireland two years ago. Running in arguably the tougher of the two divisions of the race, Henry jumped Short Flight out positively and dictated the pace for much of the way before being pressured and headed after three out. Thereafter he kept galloping but was ultimately beaten into fifth, unfortunately not able on this occasion to follow up his win at Cartmel the previous month but running a solid race nonetheless.
Globetrotter followed in the second race, making his debut over hurdles in the 2m Maiden Hurdle. Despite there being just five runners this was a strong looking race. With no initial pace on, Henry kept the four year old held up at the back allowing him time to see and measure his hurdles which he did superbly in the main. Despite just not being terribly fluent at the third last as the pace lifted, Globetrotter then went through the gears and made significant headway to force a photo on the line for second place, just over a length behind the winner – itself a very smart dual bumper winner from the mighty Gordon Elliott yard. Despite the judge finally deeming Globetrotter to have finished third by a whisker (officially a nose) everyone was absolutely delighted and already excited to see where this lovely big chestnut runs next.
Globetrotter was equally pleased with himself and although he barely had a blow post-race, the excitement of all that he’d experienced and the sun in the stable yard soon had him yawning…..but a quick nap and he was back to his belligerent self, having a nip at anyone that came within range to tell him how brilliant he had been!
Last up in the final race of the day was Dear Dora in the Mares Standard Open Bumper – again a hot looking contest on paper and so it proved to be. Having only her second start after making a promising debut at Southwell last month, the filly behaved impeccably in the preliminaries and going to post. Once they jumped off Henry had Dora well placed in midfield and she travelled smoothly until coming under pressure as they entered the final half mile and eventually weakening 2f out. It was a slightly disappointing run that possibly raised more questions than it provided answers for, but time will be taken to consider her next outing.
With both horseboxes setting off for home at virtually at the same time and despite the girls somehow taking an unscheduled detour via Edinburgh over the new (and very beautiful) Forth Road Bridge, Dear Dora arrived back at the yard ahead of Globetrotter and Short Flight. This time with equally clear road conditions perhaps that clarifies the earlier debate about girls v boys driving…..?!