Busy few days coming up for the Barbury squad
It has been a mixed week so far, but Midnight Glance came good in cheekpieces at Exeter on Monday and on the Flat the veteran Rainbow Dreamer bounced back to form at his beloved Kempton, where he has been successful on five of his six attempts on that polytrack surface.
Rainbow Dreamer will be 10 years old on New Year’s Day, so it only seems right that the official handicapper felt the time was prudent to lower his mark, which obviously played a part in the old boy winning his first race since January.
Had Rainbow Dreamer run disappointingly again at Kempton, Alan conceded that retirement would have been discussed, but that chat has now been put on hold and the gelding will be aimed at another fast-track qualifier, with Finals day at Newcastle on Good Friday the main objective.
We are looking for a big run from Betterforeveryone in the novice handicap hurdle at Ascot on Friday. He showed promise in two races over hurdles last season but improved on that form when stepping up in distance at Bangor, where he won in good style.
Betterforeveryone’s new mark is only 4lb higher, and as Bangor was his first race since last April he ought to progress again, so, hopefully, he will have a solid chance here.
We also have a couple of runners at Chepstow on Friday, Oman, who was with Ralph Beckett on the Flat, making his hurdling debut, while the switch to fences might be the making of Grandeur d’Ame, who will enjoy the easier ground in the novices handicap chase.
Saturday is going to be a busy day for all of us at Barbury, with eight runners spread between Ascot, Huntingdon and Wolverhampton.
Naturally, we hope the top of the bill will be Edwardstone, who carries top weight in the two-mile handicap at Ascot, having been withdrawn from Sunday’s Shloer Chase at Cheltenham because of the quick ground.
Alan said:”This week’s rain was much needed and enables us to give Edwardstone a run before the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown next month.
“Obviously, giving lumps of weight to his opponents at Ascot will be much harder than the small field that he would have encountered at Cheltenham. However, we did take him there on Sunday and he paraded before the race, so as to get his adrenaline up as he hadn’t been anywhere since Aintree in April.”
We’ll be taking four runners up to Huntingdon, including Wynn House, who won her fourth race over hurdles at Wincanton a fortnight ago. It has always been the plan to send Wynn House over fences sooner rather later, and Alan has opted to make the switch here in the mares novice chase qualifier.
In contrast, Klitschko makes his hurdling debut at Huntingdon. He won his bumper on that course last season, despite being a bit keen, but Alan hopes he might settle better now he has eight flights to negotiate.
Also at Huntingdon we have Vazir going in the handicap hurdle. He has been disappointing, especially as he looked a decent horse on the Flat in France.
But Vazir has enjoyed a good break and worked encouragingly since he returned from suffering a crack in his knee in the spring, so Alan is hoping for better on this comeback.
Finally at Huntingdon we have Dancing Brazil getting started in the junior bumper. He is a big, strong three-year-old, so it will be interesting to see how he shapes.
We have three runners on the tapeta surface at Wolverhampton, with Zodiac Star having his third run before he has the unkindest cut of them all at the vets.
Alan said:”Zodiac Star will be off on his winter break after being gelded, but he had a niggle after his promising debut at Salisbury in July but ran a good race here at Wolverhampton last month.”
Alan is hopeful of a good run at Dunstall Park from Loughville, who has come on from her debut, and also from This Ones For Fred, who is back on the Flat, having been seen over hurdles at Bangor in September.