I’d like to kick off this week by singing the praises of a member of my team.
Still only 19 years of age, groom and work rider Annie James has been with me pretty much from the start, joining the operation after a nine week spell at the Racing School around two and a half years ago.
In that that time she’s become an integral part of our set-up at Southgate Stables, both as an excellent rider but also as a trusted face at the races and on the yard.
For those reasons, I was chuffed to see her win the ‘best turned out’ award when leading up Stevie Smith at Catterick this week. It was just reward for a long journey and her continuing hard work.
— Catterick Racecourse (@CatterickRaces) July 10, 2019
Annie also featured last week in a short film made by Racing Welfare and FansBet, celebrating the unsung heroes of our sport in a series of showcase behind the scenes type vidoes, all part of a successful ‘Racing Staff Week’.
She came across really well. Here it is if you haven’t seen it yet:
I should stress, Annie’s contribution is part of a much wider team effort from our staff, none of whom I could do without. They all play a vital role, one which I’m always grateful for, keeping the show on the road in all weathers.
Perhaps in future FansBet blog updates I’ll be able to introduce you to more of them – we’ve got some great characters who aren’t short of a story!
On the subject of camera crews, we’ve been getting acclimatised to them of late, because not only have we have FansBet and Racing Welfare at the yard, but this week the BBC paid a visit.
They were here trying to capture the mood in Newmarket as the town builds up to this week’s always enjoyable July Meeting.
Looking back briefly, we’ve had a busy spell on the runners front, with a whole host of horses running well and being placed.
Of our jumpers, Really Super put in a lovely comeback run after a break, not beaten far at all when third at Market Rasen.
It was pleasing to show her ability in a Class 2 race, especially given the couple of niggles she’s had. With those in mind it really pleased me to see her home and back in her box, fit as a fiddle and having enjoyed the experience. She flew home in her race and will be sharper next time.
Of the Flat string, a couple of the two year olds definitely deserve a mention, notably Nirodha and Breath Of Joy.
Nirodha is still raw and a million miles from the finished article, but she put in an excellent effort at Wolverhampton after finding a tiny bit of trouble in-running. She hit the front under Tom Marquand and didn’t quite know what to do, but in finishing second it was a run which still rated as an excellent debut.
Similar comments apply to Breath Of Joy after her first try which came on Wednesday at Kempton.
To do as well as she did in beating all but the winner from an unfavourable draw in stall 11 over six furlongs at Kempton was a cracking effort.
Looking ahead, the busy spell continues.
Keep an eye out for Just Later in the last race Chepstow on Friday night (9.10pm). He has to prove he can handle fast ground and an undulating track, but if he does then we must have a chance.
Lastly, Saturday sees Rock On Baileys return to Chester to try and repeat last year’s victory in the corresponding race (2.35pm).
We’ve got to try and give a lot of weight away but Chester is a track where course form is a massive plus so fingers crossed.
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