Richard Fahey: Heartbeat to shine
As this is my final column of the year I'll reflect on the season and in the end we have to be satisfied. We passed the £2million total prize-money mark the other day which is no mean achievement.
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We're down a little on winners but at the start of the year I'd have taken where we've got to. There have been plenty of highlights along the way. Mayson has been fantastic all season and his win in the July Cup was very special and Barefoot Lady winning in Canada was a great day too.
Thoughts now turn to next year and we've plenty of reason for optimism with the two-year-olds doing very well this season, some of them should go on and improve again at three.
The yearling sales have been tough so far, it's been very hard to buy at the top end, but we've got 60 which is similar to this stage last year. Let's hope there's another Mayson or Barefoot Lady among them.
Here are my thoughts on the team heading to Doncaster on Saturday:
Colbyor has been a fraction disappointing but the better ground in division one of the Betfred 'Bigger And Better' Goals Galore Apprentice Handicap could help. The problem for these horses is they've been running on very testing going all year and have been getting bogged down. He has to get the trip here but if he does he'd have a squeak.
It's a different scenario for She's A Character in division two as the seven furlongs trip is short enough for her, her best form is at a mile. She is in good form though and is another with a small chance.
Paul (Hangan) was very keen to run Bridle Belle in the Betfred November Handicap. She's going to the mares' sale and we have nothing to lose and she gets the trip well. I'd have preferred a lower draw but it's no disaster for a horse who will be dropped in and I hope she has an each-way claim.
Johannes isn't getting any younger and has a bit to find in the Betfred 'Bonus King Bingo' Wentworth Stakes but it's worth a punt. He's high enough in the handicap right now and could be in claimers at this time next year so we'll have a crack at this now.
Finally we have two runners in the closing Betfred The Bonus King Handicap. Tom Queally said earlier in the year that El Viento wants seven furlongs and we'll give it a try here. He needs everything to drop right and went too quick at York last time but needs to get the trip.
Irish Heartbeat is in good form at home. He had a small issue with a foot which is why he he hasn't run for a while but he's very fit and very well. It's a tough day to try and find a Sky Bet charity bet but I'll put this fellow up each-way and hope he can end the year on a high.
Finally, I'd just like to say thanks to all of you readers who have followed my sportinglife.com column once again this season. Enjoy your jumps racing over the winter months and I'll look forward to seeing you on the racecourse in the spring!