Mid-June is a time of mixed emotions for me. On the one hand I breathe a sigh of relief at spending less time in the car dashing from the Midlands to the West Country in the pursuit of winners, but on the other it will be several months until I can get the buzz of race-riding again. A few Sunday roasts will ease the pain.
I keep my eye on the National Hunt entries at this time of year as you find a plethora of pointing horses switching codes to “under Rules”, and this year is no different. Normally it is a mix of horses utilising existing handicap marks, and upcoming sorts going for maiden or novice hurdles. Both are worth watching as they offer the chance to evaluate form. Already Carrigkerry, Gustave Mahler and On Alberts Head have translated a level of ability from one sphere to the other and proven the competitiveness of UK pointing.
The authorities continue to entice new blood, and I think that most changes implemented this season have been positive. Further subtle changes are set to occur ahead of next year, such as novice rider claims in open races, while new initiatives such as the Barbury International Racing Club meeting scheduled for January 2017 will provide added interest.
We face challenges, but overall I think we can reflect positively on the past season — I look forward to 2016/17. Until then, I wish you all a great summer.
Ref: Horse & Hound; 16 June 2016