Proceed with caution
NB: This post comes with a dashed off quickly warning.
The jumps comes back today at Kempton and also at Huntingdon (after passing a second inspection). This recent inconvenient weather will have interrupted exercise regimes for some horses. I know that some trainers, who are near the coast, have been taking horses down to the beach for gallops and we can be sure that those horses are probably going to have a fitness edge on their more land-locked rivals. Obviously some trainers will have better facilities to cope than others, and some will have been harder hit and for longer, so rather like the weather forecast it is going to be pretty difficult to predict. Without the benefit of paddock-side view I will just pass on the information that Ferdy Murphy, Evan Williams (entries tomorrow @ Ffos Las) and Victor Dartnall (entries next week) have been using the beach. There will be more, but you are going to have to work those out for yourselves!
I also read that Lucy Wadham has been using Godolphin’s facilities at Newmarket and was rewarded for her efforts with a winner at Southwell this week in the all-bumper card run on the fibresand. Nicky Henderson had a good few winners that day too, so we can surmise (no surprise there though) that his facilities are pretty much up to scratch in the big freeze.
I have looked at the Lanzarote Hurdle today and Henderson’s Tasheba is currently just shading favouritism from Venetia William’s Aachen. I think Aachen might go off favourite. I am not convinced about the step-up in trip for Tasheba where it is obvious that it will be right up Aachen’s street. We will see. I will also be testing the “off a break” theory in this race, combined with different fitness regimes mentioned above. I am aware I am stretching my own credulity a bit with this each way selection – Fenix, trained by Lucy Wadham and off the track for 819 days! I have popped this one in a speculative Lucky 15 with the two Johnston horses I expect to win the 6f and 1m maiden races at Lingfield as well as Bridge of Gold at 15.40.
I am expecting some favourites to get turned over today on the NH cards and I am feeling quite chipper about Aachen, my only niggle is how they’ve got on in the weather up in Herefordshire as he’s making his seasonal debut. Anyway good luck, I think we will need it!