It’s been a good week so far – and it’s not over yet!
Going into Friday’s racing we already had three winners and five places in the bag this week, so all is well at Barbury with the horses continuing to run well under both codes.
Smith’s Bay, who had already won his bumper, made owner-breeder Kim Franklin’s day at Warwick when winning his first novice hurdle.
“I used to part own Halcon Generlardais with Ian Payne and he gave us that wonderful day at Chepstow when he won the 2006 Welsh Grand National, ” said Kim, adding “If anything, this is even more special as we bred Smith’s Bay and I have been looking at him from day one.
“He knows he’s good and has a bit of attitude, so he can be a bit of pain when he comes home for his summer holidays” – but Alan said afterwards that he can see Smith’s Bay making up into a novice novice chaser further down the line.
Sixty’s Belle (Newton Abbot) and Hotter than Hell (Worcester) both won mares hurdles in style, so, hopefully, we can finish off the week-end in the same sort of vein.
Looking ahead to Saturday, Alan said:”The handicapper somewhat forced our hand with Dino Velvet, who climbed up the ratings after wins at Market Rasen and Stratford, so we stepped him up in class for the Grade 2 Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr and he produced a career-best performance to finish second to Verdana Blue.
“We won’t have too many summer jumpers, but the Swinton Hurdle is a valuable handicap hurdle and it would be great if Dino Velvet could get the ball rolling up at Haydock.
“Fibonacci, who had some decent form in France, ran his best race since joining Alan when finishing third in the Queen’s Prize at Kempton, so fingers crossed he can build on that when he joins Dino Velvet in the box for the mixed meeting at Haydock. His target is the staying handicap.
“Wilde Blue Yonder did not quite stay the three miles at Newbury last time so the drop in trip here should suit him when he joins the team for Haydock.”
“Manor Park has been waiting for some soft ground so this week’s rain has been a bonus for him and he heads off to Nottingham. He won at Windsor last season and has had a wind operation in the winter, so we hope he can improve still further.”
We also have three at Warwick’s jumping card, Arkyn, who switches from bumpers to make his hurdling debut, Potterman, who ran so well to finish second at Ayr last month, and The Jigger, a newcomer of JP McManus’s who starts off in the bumper. He is a Jeremy gelding who comes from a good jumping family.