10th February 2017

The view from Sandhill Stables by Diana Hobbs

Recent winners

We were pleased to see VERNI back in the winner’s enclosure at Taunton on Sunday. This was his third win for us since joining Sandhill, but he is a delicate horse that we cannot run too often because he is not the soundest to train. On Tuesday LITTLE MISS POET made a long trip to Market Rasen worthwhile winning under Richard Johnson in the maiden hurdle at a short price of 2/5 on. The mare is owned by Mike & Norma Tuckey who owned Gunther McBride that won the Racing Post chase for us back in 2002!

At Ludlow races on Wednesday we were really looking forward to seeing PERSIAN SNOW start his new career Hunter chasing and he did not disappoint by winning by 13 lengths with ears pricked under his owner/ rider David Maxwell. The main aim with him this season is the Aintree Foxhunters in April. We were pleased to have a couple of seconds at Ludlow on the same day with MAJESTIC TOUCH in the maiden hurdle and PULL THE CHORD jumping better in the handicap chase.

Weekend runners

This weekend we have eight runners from Sandhill at three different meetings.

Exeter

At Exeter on Sunday we have 4 runners. MISTER BIG, under Richard Johnson, is well names and is a half brother to the brilliant ex-chaser Somersby. He was runner up on his hurdles debut and has had a bit of a break from his last run. He is in good form, so we hope he has a good chance in the novices hurdle.

BIG EASY (Tom O’Brien) and FINGAL BAY (Richard Johnson) both run in the Petemps Network Qualifier Handicap Hurdle. Big Easy won the Cesarewitch handicap at Newmarket on the flat for us in 2014, but unfortunately has been off with an injury for the last 18 months. However, he is has been back in work for a while now and is in good form at home. Fingal Bay, who is a past Cheltenham Festival winner and a stable favourite, ran a really promising race on New Year’s Day at Cheltenham, and we have kept him fresh since with this race in mind.

GALA BALL runs in the Novices Chase under Richard. He's rated 143 over fences and should have a decent chance.

Newbury

On Saturday we have three runners at Newbury’s Betfair day, all ridden by champion jockey Richard Johnson. MULTICULTURE, is a horse that came off the flat in Ireland and won well for us at the end of last month at Uttoxeter. He runs in the first race on the card - the Novices hurdle. WAIT FOR ME, who was third in the Champion bumper and fourth the following year in the County Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, runs in the highly competitive Betfair Hurdle and we hope has a good each way chance if the ground is not too soft for him. VIEUX LILLE is a horse who was successful last season over hurdles, but he has taken a while this season to get used to novice chasing. He runs tomorrow in the handicap chase and we hope he has a good chance.

Uttoxeter

There is a precautionary 7.30am inspection at Uttoxeter in the morning, because of the cold weather at present. However, the course is hopeful racing goes ahead. POPPY KAY is ridden by our conditional jockey Ciaran Gething’s who claims 5Ibs off top weight in the handicap hurdle.