HARRY WHITTINGTON BLOG: Harry Whittington, Grade One-winning trainer and ambassador for market-leading betting exchange BETDAQ, writes about his delight that racing is back in what will be a busy few days for his yard.
Great to be back racing again
It’s fantastic that everything is back to normal and we’re racing again. We were quite lucky in the fact we didn’t have any runners on the days where the exposed yards did so it didn’t affect us quite as much as others.
We are able to run horses from Friday thanks mainly to my wife Alice, who last Friday said we had to get the horses vaccinated which obviously turned out to be a master stroke with the new regulations now in place.
In terms of the way the BHA handled the whole situation, it’s very tricky because you’re damned if you do and dammed if you don’t, so I think they were in a no-win situation. The welfare of the horses is paramount and they didn’t know the extent of the problem so in the grand scheme of things, missing a few days racing probably wasn’t the end of the world.
I do however think they should have told all trainers last Thursday that all horses had to be vaccinated if they hadn’t been done in the last six months. The way it was done meant that a number of trainers have been caught out and haven’t been able to run their horses. Transparency is so important throughout the sport, so in my opinion, slightly better communication would have made the whole thing much smoother.
We were, in truth, a bit disappointed by the way Saint Calvados ran in the Dublin Chase at Leopardstown. Gavin [Sheehan] thought it rode quicker than it walked, which probably didn’t suit my horse.
The main thing is that he’s come back in one piece and we live to fight another day. At the end of the day, he didn’t jump with his usual fluency, but we won’t give up and it’s still all systems go for the Champion Chase.
Busy few days
Khage gets things underway in the novices’ hurdle at Fakenham (2.45pm) on Friday. He’s been in good form since his win at Taunton and while this a pretty strong renewal, he should go there with a good chance.
We’ve always seen him as a chaser in the making, so everything he does over hurdles will be a bonus. The track and trip should suit him and we’re looking forward to getting him out again. He needs to take another step forward, but he’s probably my best chance of a winner over the next few days.
Later on the card, in the closing bumper (4.55pm), we run Parkin, who is having just his second start for us. He was very green on his debut at Ludlow and I think the occasion got a bit much for him. He’s shown us enough at home though to suggest he’s got some ability and I think he might be quite well suited to a summer jumping campaign.
At the moment, we are leaning towards running Bigmartre at Wincanton on Saturday over two miles (1.45pm). He could run over 2m4f next week, but depending on the declarations, we’ll probably take our chance on Saturday. The run at Ludlow was a step in the right direction, but he’s still not quite hitting the heights of last season. Hopefully he can bounce back and run a nice ran. We all know he is capable.
On Monday, Lantiern runs on the all-weather at Lingfield (1.45pm). The last day was very disappointing and he’s had a desperately needed wind-op since. His work since has been well above average so I’m pretty hopeful of him running a big race. He could just surprise a few.
Over at Carlisle (5.10pm), I’m really looking forward to running Young Bull again. Lewis Gregory will claim off the penalty for his win at Chepstow. He came and sat on him on Thursday and got on well with him. He’s in really good form and the track should suit so I’m expecting him to run another nice race.
Anemoi won’t run at Ascot on Saturday and will instead line up in the open handicap hurdle at Taunton on Tuesday (4.15pm). It looks a nice opportunity for him to get some more experience, which he’ll need if he is to run in the Supreme at Cheltenham. He’s very talented and I think a lot of him, so let’s hope he can go well again.