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Winter 2008 Update

Posted : January 1st, 2009

Once again, the winter months have been spent preparing for the season ahead, rather than focusing on the All-Weather; since the end of the turf season in November, we have had just 18 runners on the flat, with wins for Banknote and Set The Trend, both at Lingfield. Banknote was ending a small losing run during which he had run with great credit in defeat, so it was very pleasing to see him win again. Although he has yet to taste success in Dubai in two runs this year, he has shown he retains a good proportion of his ability and could well be in for another profitable year. Set The Trend’s win was franked by the second recording an easy maiden victory on his next start, and he could well be contesting some much better races once the turf season gets underway.

The jumpers started off in fine style this season, with Albinus winning in style at Huntingdon, and Show Winner and Briareus (the latter on his return from a long absence) notching a memorable double at Kempton Park. Though Albinus and Show Winner failed to shine in two subsequent outings apiece, both had demonstrated a tremendous aptitude for the winter game and will hopefully register further successes in that sphere.

Briareus, in giving weight and a beating to I’msingingtheblues (third favourite for the Arkle at the time of writing) showed himself to be better than ever after his absence, but his subsequent task, in taking on the likes of Kauto Star and Voy Pur Ustedes in the King George over three miles, could have been considered daunting. In finishing fourth, beaten only by a trio of Cheltenham Festival winners, he showed himself to be top-class over fences, and a trip to Cheltenham in March awaits, with the Queen Mother Champion Chase (back over two miles) the target.

The recent bad weather did hold the horses up for a few days, but things are back to normal again now, and fingers crossed for a warm summer!