In the line of Duty
Second-itis struck again for the Brough Farm horses yesterday but to be fair both were very pleasing runs in testing conditions.
With the weather recently having hampered more than one race plan, Fiddlers Bow & Danny packed a haynet & sandwiches (respectively!) and set off on the long journey south to Huntingdon for a 2m4f, 0-115 handicap chase.
With the ground initially described as “soft, good to soft in places, heavy on the stable bend” all bases were covered but by post time it had become simply “heavy” with five fences in total also being omitted.
Henry was otherwise engaged so Ross Chapman resumed his partnership with Fiddlers and at times looked like he had his work cut out having to niggle him along on ground that he clearly wasn’t enjoying. Nevertheless, jumping has always been Fiddlers’ forte and he measured each obstacle really well. Seemingly outpaced three out and dropping briefly to 5th, he then rallied before two out and moved up into second place.
Thereafter he ran on strongly and whilst on the day he was no match for the winner (and favourite) he kept galloping to the line and finished well clear of the third placed horse, with the remaining finishers strung out behind. Running off a mark of 117 Fiddlers was carrying top weight and having shouldered 12st 1lb it was a gutsy performance from the 11 year old.
Twenty minutes later Duty Girl lined up at Sedgefield in the 0-100 handicap hurdle over a trip of 3m3f in heavy ground. Joe Colliver was in the saddle and he had her positioned prominently but wide for much of the race to allow her plenty of daylight. Her passage was not without drama however…….
Coming down the hill to what would be the last hurdle in a circuit’s time, Joe was very aware of a loose horse and had made sure he switched Duty Girl out of its way. As she then led the field out on their final circuit the loose horse appeared to have moved well out of the way but as they rounded the bend to the bottom of the track and came closer together again, it suddenly jinked against the outside running rail and in the process hampered Duty Girl. Joe did brilliantly to sit the unexpected sideways movement and quickly regained forward momentum to lead once again jumping five from the finish. The pair soon moved back into a three length advantage climbing the hill on the far side of the course and still held the lead jumping the second last as they ran back down the hill in the home straight.
Narrowly ahead at the last Duty Girl summoned a big leap but stumbled slightly on landing. Nonetheless she battled on valiantly with the front two pulling well clear in the final half furlong, only to be held a length by the winner at the line.
Duty Girl (yellow & black colours) at the last
It had been an eventful race for Duty Girl, who is only a dot of a thing, so to produce a performance of that nature in such testing conditions, was a testament to her will and the size of her heart. Her win will come…..