Welcome to the Inside Track
Monthly insights from an experienced figure in the horse racing world
Welcome to Greystoke Galloper’s new monthly roundup of all the track action – brought to you by an experienced figure in the racing world. Our guest columnist brings all their years of knowledge to the blog, and shares their insights on how Nicky’s horses have performed.
We hope you enjoy this new addition to the Galloper, and you can look forward to hearing from our expert over the following months as the season unfolds – the true ‘Inside Track’.
The Inside Track – October 2023
October saw the first wave of the stables’ returning winter horses, with plenty to be excited about as the weather draws in.
She’s A Rocca started the month off with a bang at Southwell showing a terrific attitude under Sean Quinlan to collar the long-time leader Heross Du Seuil, who had looked home and hosed and traded at the minimum price on Betfair in running (1/100 – the equivalent of 99% certain to win!).
Later on the card No Regrets ran in a creditable third just behind a couple of younger well handicapped horses. Now back up and running after his summer break his admirable consistency will stand him in good stead throughout the season.
Over at Sedgefield on the same day, Kajaki took in the same race that he won a year ago though didn’t quite get into his normal rhythm. The winner Imperial Data went on to complete the hattrick later on in the month so it was a decent contest and hopefully the son of Mastercraftsman is back on the up soon, undoubtedly now well handicapped.
The same certainly also applies to Big Bad Bear, who might just have needed the run after 7 months off and after a quiet end to last season will hopefully have a much more fruitful campaign.
On the first of two stable expeditions across the border to Kelso in the month, it didn’t quite happen for Summergrounds but following a recent wind-op he’ll hopefully have more confidence to see out his races when next seen.
Hexham was the scene for the next yard success, as Universal Folly completed his hattrick after 4 month off to add to an excellent record of 6 wins (plus 5 placed efforts) from his last 13 starts. He was well on top at the line under another fine Quinlan ride and there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about him adding to his record in the coming months.
At the same meeting, One Step Up made his return after 6 months off and again showed he was learning his craft. As a half-brother to the high-class chaser Dunvegan it’ll be exciting to see him progress as he gets more experience.
The hard luck story of the month was Miss Milano who having been successful on 3 of her 5 starts last season, shaped better than the result after 6 months off. She was likely to have finished second but for a significant late error which cost her several lengths and is another to look out for this season.
Carlisle welcomed back the jumps mid-month which allowed the yard to send 5 runners to the local track. The obvious highlight was the success of Nells Son under Danny McMenamin, put back over hurdles after meeting with defeat on his first 2 starts over fences last autumn to gain a bit more experience. After some brilliant efforts in competitive hurdle events in the spring, he built on those efforts with a smooth success after 6 months off. He has the scope to be competing in some of the top end races this season.
The two divisions of the maiden hurdle allowed for the first of the month’s two newcomers Am Still Here and the once raced Nab Wood to get their campaigns off and running. Both showed plenty of ability and will no doubt improve as they get more racing under their belts.
Court Dreaming was another horse looking to defend his crown and ran well returning from 4 months off in a stronger renewal than that he’d landed from the same mark last year. The winner Guetapan Collonges had been placed in premier staying chases last season so the form of this race is likely to stack up well.
Serious Ego ran into a very respectable fifth after his summer break and is yet another from the yard set for a prosperous winter. Only one win since joining the stable back in 2019 doesn’t tell an accurate story, with several closely placed finishes and his time will hopefully come again soon.
Finally, the second trip to Kelso of the month saw Coniston George do brilliantly in making a successful debut over hurdles, conceding experience and a little in track position as well to a well-backed pointer who also had the probable benefit of the near rail in their head-to-head. As a horse who will likely enjoy a step up to 2½m, a sprint finish after a relative crawl did him no favours and for him to get his head in front under another great Danny McMenamin ride was a fantastic starting point.
Wainwright took in the second division of the maiden hurdle later in the day, acquitting himself well against horses with more experience from bumpers or points. He’s hopefully yet another one from the yard to look forward to as he gets used to the raceday experience.
Star Performer: Nells Son – made an excellent return to fences, setting himself up for a campaign in some of the better races this season.
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