A thermometer reading of -7 didn't dampen spirits at Uplands this morning because stable star Cole Harden looked a picture as he strode out on the gallops, and we are delighted with the shape that he is in as we gear up for another crack at the World Hurdle in March. I'm not worried at all by the fact that he's been beaten twice this year as the ground was against him on both occasions and, in the circumstances, I thought he actually ran with a good deal of credit both times. He doesn't need to have another race before the festival and I think we still go into the World Hurdle with a serious chance.
Reilly’s Minor will make his debut for us in the bumper at Newbury tomorrow and we are looking forward to getting this son of Westerner (same sire as Cole Harden) on the track. He would have won his sole start in points but for falling at the last fence and he’s been doing enough on the gallops to suggest that he’s ready to hit the track. The ground will be pretty testing but I think he’ll handle it and, given the race has cut up a fair bit, I’m fairly hopeful that he’ll run well.
Apache Pearl will run at Ludlow on Thursday where she will wear a tongue-tie as we are conscious of the fact that she’s had difficulty with her breathing in the past. It’s still early days for her and we are feeling our way a bit, but she’s definitely got ability and her form will improve at some stage.
We will probably only have one runner at the weekend but it could be a winning one because Bon Enfant is a progressive hurdler who has won three of his four starts. The grey gelding will be making his handicap debut at Fontwell on Sunday but an opening mark of 122 looks workable and he’s proven at the track and in the likely testing conditions. I’ll be disappointed if he isn’t very competitive.
All the best,