Saturday was a very good end to a tough month. We had seen some promise, some disappointment and a lot of cold and wet weather, so it was great to see everyone's hard work pay off right at the end of the month. Capla Crusader has thrived at Albert House and seemed to gain a lot of confidence from an encouraging run back at the start of the month under Thore Hammer Hansen. Unfortunately Thore was claimed by his Boss Richard Hannon to ride at Kempton but Darragh Keenan proved a very able deputy. We knew if he jumped on terms then he had claims on his last run. Darragh made up his mind and took a gap that opened up to get to the front, dictating things perfectly and then kicking clear and never looking like getting beaten. Chris has done an immense job getting him fresh and well and if Capla Crusader continues in this heart then he should be one that can win again.
It was lovely to see Global Prospector run a race as a lot of work has gone into him. He is a horse that everyone in the yard loves, his stable is by the feedroom and he loves to be fussed, he is extremely chilled but when it comes to exercise, his mind suddenly clicks into overdrive. We are only able to get one canter into him a day, coming down and trying to go again would cause issues and so Chris and Josh have got him into a daily routine that works but being unable to gallop him, it meant that he was by no means fully tuned yesterday, he was as fit as we could get him within the routine he has. We were therefore delighted that he was only beaten one and three quarter lengths, we would have been even more delighted if he won, it has given us hope that the hard work put into him will reap rewards in the future. He is likely to drop back to 5f next time as he showed plenty of natural speed.
Everyone at Albert House was pretty annoyed on Wednesday when Matt Chapman was questioning Chris' tactics with Sir Oliver before backtracking a little. He was right in a way that it was an opportunity missed but if he read our blog last week then he would have seen that this was a bit of an afterthought for a horse who has been babyish mentally and it was very much a starting point. We entered at 11:50am when it looked like a small field as he was ready to have a run and we were hopeful he had a chance at declaration stage but also knew that he would come on for the run. He is not a horse you can gallop hard at home, it knocks him backwards and therefore you have to use the racecourse to bring him forward. Tyler was told to jump and see where he found himself but to not mess with the horse as he had been very keen on previous occasions and we wanted him to learn to relax. Two on the inside jumped well enough to mean he did not lead and get striding in front, a split second opportunity to get cover two deep was missed and mindful of not tugging him back or rushing him forward, we were trapped out in no mans land. Given a lot went wrong it was nice to see him stick on up the straight when he could have folded and we think we have a lot to look forward to. The original plan was to have him as our flagship horse for this Winter on the all-weather but plans change, touch wood he is a sound horse and if we look after him and get him enjoying himself, hopefully he will be with us for a few years to come. Thankfully he appears to have taken the race well and it is onwards and upwards, all being well he will be back out in early March.
On to trainer and jockey watch and kudos to James Ferguson who has been leading from the front, we watched in admiration as the superglue held well on Friday, deciding to ride a very difficult two-year old himself. Roger Varian was not phased by the British Winter and took to his hack two Saturdays ago on the worst morning of the year so far, it was bad enough standing on Warren Hill for ten minutes. Kevin Phillipart De Foy continues to fly with his last three runners all winning, with two emerging stars in the saddle, Benois de la Sayette and Laura Pearson booting them home. Big shout out to Jonny Peate who rode a winner on his first ride for his Boss Mark Johnston, he kept his mount balanced and it was a very impressive first ride. He must have taken tips off of Charlie Johnston as he was very confident in front of the cameras, it was a surprise he did not slip some sunglasses on. The Johnston team have been on fire with 20 plus winners on the board already in January at a strike rate above 40%.
February looks like being a quiet month for us but Global Warning and London Eye are our most likely runners during the month. We took some inspiration from John Berry and headed off to the schooling grounds with London Eye. He is the one horse that has been frustrating us and getting off the ground might just freshen his mind.