#startracking Saturday January 23rd 12noon

Looking forward to a busy days racing. Quality and quantity!

#startracking thoughtsfortheday

A going stick of 2.7 at Haydock today, must be the lowest I’ve ever seen, the word “bottomless” springs to mind. Paul Brierley ‏@PB_jockeyagent  · 8am Sat. 

Dan Skelton on Coral Stable Talk

I was a little bit disappointed with Born Survivor last weekend. I watched it a couple of times again during the week and it looked to me like he couldn’t get out of the ground. He’s just turned five and when a horse goes hard out in front as it did on Saturday it’s going to make it really hard work for a baby, so that’s just how it ended up. Yes, it was a bit disappointing but at the end of the day he is still a very nice horse. Now, we’ll get him right, give him a couple of runs in the spring and then go chasing next year.

2.40 Haydock – Fou Et Sage

He ran a lot better last time at Haydock. I was quite hard on him after Cheltenham to get him to where I wanted him at Haydock. I’ve left him alone since then and he’s really fresh and well. He’s got a bit to find with a couple of the principles but in France these were his perfect conditions – left handed, flat track, heavy ground. He still has to find something after his first two runs but he’s in good form.

Skeltons thoughts on winter ground!

Other than that we are just waiting on better weather and better ground for many of the horses. I see Jonjo O’Neill has had just 12 runners this year so far, and we’re in a similar position. I think many jump horses these days just don’t want heavy winter ground any more. I found that out in my first year training when we didn’t have a winner in January. A lot of these horses are bred in such a way that they are less able to perform on winter ground than they were, say a decade or two ago. So when a horse runs below par on this type of ground, it’s not that much of a surprise. If you put it into a human context, who likes working in this weather? Nobody does. I think horses are a little bit the same. So yes, we are all waiting for better ground but I don’t think that’s unique to this year, I just think more of the jump horses bred these days want better ground, and don’t want winter going. So I think increasingly you will see trainers not running their horses in January as much as they used to so that they can wait for the better ground.” Don’t know if Kerry Lee, Venetia Williams, Emma Lavelle et al. would agree?


Paul Nicholls on Betfair

14:25 Ascot – Monsieur Gibraltar I was really pleased with the way he ran at Kempton over Xmas under top weight when he loomed up looking a big threat between the last two flights before tiring in the closing stages. That race probably came a bit too quickly for Monsieur Gibraltar following an operation to sort out his wind. He is altogether a lot sharper now, and has definitely improved massively. The longer trip at Ascot will suit him well. While I am not sure he wants really testing ground it is encouraging that he did win on heavy and soft in France.

15:20 TauntonSome Buckle Ran very well over hurdles at Cheltenham last time on his first start for us when he needed the run as we hadn’t had him long. Some Buckle is a lot sharper now, jumps fences well at home and should have a decent chance here under top weight.


Norm’s Notebook at Market Rasen

“Ballyalton chased him home and it was a decent showing over a trip that looks on the sharp side and on ground that would have been too soft. I’d strongly fancy him to reverse the form on better ground. What a lovely big horse he is and wouldn’t look out of place at Cheltenham. While I’m more wary then ever of horses returning from a long break, he may just be one to keep an eye on if they go for one of the staying handicaps at the Festival.” OR140ch 146h


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