Hexham has been a happy hunting ground for us over the past few years, and having won the award for top trainer at the track last season with seven winners, we recorded our second victory of the current campaign on Saturday when Speak of The Devil ran out a convincing winner of the 3m handicap chase. Bouncing off the good ground, Devil jumped superbly under a positive ride from Stephen to come home 8½ lengths clear and we may look to give him another outing over the summer whilst he is in this sort of form. Our second runner, Rapid Raider, once again ran well for a long way in the 2m4f handicap chase before failing to get home. He is set to drop back in trip next time.
Six horses took their chance at Perth on Sunday where we were doubly represented in the 2m4f handicap chase. Mint Gold fared best of our duo, proving himself fully effective over the trip by finishing a creditable fourth, whilst Boy’s On Tour was disappointing having produced an uncharacteristically poor round of jumping.
Two horses returning from lengthy absences excelled themselves in the sunshine, with The Compeller a close sixth in the 2m handicap hurdle following a 1079-day absence and Ash Hill going down on his sword when second on his chasing debut, beaten just a neck by a higher-rated rival after a 634-day layoff. Ain’t My Fault was another to run with credit, finishing eighth stepping up in trip in the feature Perth Gold Cup. We were also delighted by the run of Life Made Simple in the bumper. Understandably green on his debut, he made pleasing late headway to take sixth and there should be plenty of improvement to come.
This week has been rather quieter on the racing front, with Engles Rock on the Flat at Wetherby our sole runner. Sent off joint-favourite having finished a good second at Ayr last Wednesday, she proved keen under restraint and failed to pick up for pressure, her second run on fast ground in quick succession perhaps taking its toll.