Rising star Emitom has a couple of entries early next week and trainer Warren Greatrex brings us up to speed with everything from his yard in Lambourn.
Lovenormoney – 2nd, Lingfield, January 4
He seemed to get a little bit scared at the first and probably lost the race there as he was playing catch up. He warmed up as he went though and he's a horse for next year really as he stays all day. It's been an incredible season as he needs bottomless ground. Who knows - we'll probably get a wet spring now so he'll get his chance to win I'm sure.
Sandhurst Lad – 3rd, Chepstow, January 7
He’s a horse I like but he is what he is. He’ll win his races but he just needs things to fall right for him. We might just change the headgear with him next time to try and eke out a bit more.
North Star Oscar – 7th, Chepstow, January 7
This was a bit of a funny race as they went quite quickly. He’s possibly a three miler in the making and first time over hurdles he clearly struggled. He's had three fairly quick runs now so we will freshen him up as he’s better than he showed at Chepstow. We’ll step him up in trip wherever we go next.
Trio For Rio – 2nd, Bangor, January 8
I'm chuffed to bits with my horse and it was by far his best run. I know Kim Bailey thinks a lot of the winner so they are hopefully two nice horses and they pulled well clear of the third, who is no mug either. I'll look to go for a race over 2m7f at Chepstow on February 1 as he's strong stayer and Bangor probably didn't play to those strengths. Richard (Johnson) rode him for the first time and was very complimentary so there's plenty to look forward to.
The week ahead…
Bodes Well - 12.25 Catterick, Thursday
He is what he is. He ran on the Flat the other day and was up against it - it just didn’t pan out. We've schooled him in blinkers and in truth he was a different horse in them so we're hopeful. Catterick is a good front-runner's track and I think the experience he's got will stand him in good stead around there.
Mythical Prince - 2.10 Catterick, Thursday & 2.20 Sedgefield, Friday
He’s been quite hard to train, but he has got ability. He seems as well as I’ve had him going into a race. The other two in there have shown more but it wouldn't surprise me at all if he won.
Evron - 1.00 Huntingdon, Friday & 3.05 Ffos Las, Monday
He’s got options and I’ll look to see which is best. He’s had a wind operation since his last run and seems to be going well. Since coming over from France he has regressed rather than progressed but his homework suggests he should be competitive off his mark. Until he shows me, we won't really know as he hasn’t performed but some French recruits can take a bit of time. It might be a bit softer at Ffos Las which would be more suitable.
Bailarico - 12.55 Kempton, Saturday
He's an intended runner in the 3m novices' hurdle at Kempton at the weekend and has come out of the race at Leicester well. Three runners there probably wasn't ideal and the step up to 3m will suit him.
Star Of Lanka - 2.40 Kempton, Saturday
The horse that was second to him at Hereford has franked the form by winning at Lingfield and he seems to be progressing with racing. He’s getting better and I was thinking about a big step up in grade but with a mark of 128 this valuable handicap is too good to pass up. He needs to step up now so this kind of race picks itself really and if you're going to run in a handicap then you might as well go in a good one. He will learn plenty whatever happens and he seems a hardy horse, ready to cope with a big, competitive field. It’ll be good ground but he can go on most types of conditions.
Keeper Hill - 3.35 Warwick, Saturday
They put him up 3lb for the good run when second at Cheltenham but he came out of it really well. I might claim 5lb off him with Harry Teal but I've been very pleased with him in his work. It's a shame there's not been much rain but this is a qualifier for the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham in March so hopefully he'll finish inside the first six. That was his first proper run for a while at Cheltenham last month so I can see him going well.
Ritual Of Senses - 3.35 Warwick, Saturday
I'd like to run him, he's been off a while and he had a leg injury. He’s a half-brother to one for One For Arthur and he’s a proper staying type. It looks a fair enough mark and I want to get him qualified for the Final too if at all possible.
Ector - 2.20 Sedgefield, Friday & 12.55 Kempton, Saturday & 12.30 Kelso, Sunday
He’ll go to Kempton at the weekend I think. He’s in the sales so needs to pull his socks up a bit to be honest. He's well bred and looks the part at home but needs to start showing more when he gets back out on the track.
Top Of the Charts - 2.20 Sedgefield, Friday & 12.30 Kelso, Sunday & 2.55 Fontwell, Monday
The favourite option looks to be Kelso on Sunday. The way he works, he shows he has lots of ability but hasn’t shown me anything in his two starts over hurdles. He's also in the sales. Physically, he seems fine, I don’t like those morning glory horses who are flashy but he's not like that, he's quite laid-back and hopefully we can find the key to him. It’s a step up in trip and we may throw on some headgear to help him concentrate.
Encore Champs - 1.00 Kelso, Sunday
I like this horse a lot and it was a farce of a race at Ascot. This just looked a good opportunity for him to leave that last run behind him and get some confidence. He’s none the worse for Ascot and if all goes well here then we could look to step him up to 2m4f in February. We can make a plan anyway if he goes and wins nicely here.
Groundunderrepair - 3.10 Kelso, Sunday
He’s come on nicely for the run at Uttoxeter, where the trip was too sharp and it was also a really good race. We ran Lovenormoney in it too and he's come out and finished second after being a good way behind Groundunderrepair. He wouldn't mind what the ground is like.
Emitom - 2.05 Ffos Las, Monday & Lingfield, Tuesday
We've done a few tests and everything came back positive which is great news. He will also be entered at Ffos Las on Monday and Lingfield next Tuesday and we'll pick which is best for him at the time of declaration. We're obviously keen to get him up and running after the minor setback and then we can start to make a plan. He seems fine and I can’t wait to run him. I'm very happy with him. He worked this morning (Wednesday) and worked nicely. All being well we are heading towards going to Lingfield for the two-mile novice hurdle. Dropping back from two and a half miles to two won't be a problem, as he is versatile. He is not slow, but he also stays very well. We will look at something better towards the end of the month or early February, while he will have entries in a couple of the novice races at the Cheltenham Festival. If all goes well there is a two-and-a-half-mile Grade Two race at Cheltenham on trials day and a Listed race over two and a quarter miles at Exeter in February, with the Sidney Banks at Huntingdon another option before the Festival.