The Inside Track – November 2023
This month’s edition of The Inside Track leaps into gear as the season picks up momentum. It’s been a great month for Nicky Richards Racing, with eight winners. Here’s our racing industry expert’s November recap, and their ‘star performer’.
The Inside Track – November 2023
November started as October finished, with another venture north of the border and another winning day which paved the way for an excellent month for the Greystoke team.
Florida Dreams began the month for the team at Ayr with his hurdles debut in a race that couldn’t have played less to his strengths. The slow pace on good ground meant a sprint for home and both he and Olly Murphy’s Indeevar Bleu will surely show the result of the race to a false one over time. He is likely to take high rank in the novice division this season and will thrive on much stronger run races.
Am Still Here took in the second division of the novices’ hurdle as well as appearing at Catterick later in the month. He’ll have gained a lot for those experiences and will likely have plenty to offer as he goes handicapping from a mark of 84.
Both Caius Marcius and Glinger Flame represented the yard in a good quality handicap hurdle, and it was the latter who came from a tricky position to nab those who seemed to have got away for a third victory of the year. He is in the form of his life as approaches his twelfth birthday and should feature in the shake-up again prior to Christmas.
On a card that was to throw up two Betfair Chase Day winners, Famous Bridge gave notice that he is ready to feature in some of this season’s more valuable staying handicap chases when an unlucky fourth over a bare minimum trip for him. Fast forward to Haydock at the end of the month, the seven-year-old showed the benefit of that seasonal reappearance by powering away from a quality field for a big TV success for the yard. Given a brilliant ride by Sean Quinlan, he should be on the shortlist for any bettor wherever he goes next.
From one horse now reaching the peak of his powers over fences to another just getting going, Parisencore made an excellent start over the bigger obstacles when an excellent second to Marble Sands in the novice handicap chase. The winner likely steps into Graded company after this, with Parisencore now well set-up for a fruitful winter after travelling well and jumping most assuredly.
The following day saw Houston Texas and Glittering Love contest the notable Cumberland Handicap Chase taken by the former last year. Proving himself to be better than ever, it was he who made it 4-4 at Carlisle and again powered up the hill to score. A trip over the Aintree fences in the Becher Chase now seems on the agenda.
Back up in Scotland, Rickety Gate made a highly encouraging return after five months off in a very strongly run and competitive Musselburgh handicap. Under optimal conditions, a strong finishing third was then backed up going one better at the end of the month, a determined runner up to runaway winner Sanosuke.
Sharing the horsebox for the same two trips was The Kalooki Kid, who first time round made a promising hurdling debut having run well in bumpers last season. He shaped like he’d appreciate a step up in trip and proved that to be the case when running out an impressive winner returned to the Edinburgh track at the end of the month. Accounting for a short priced Irish raider in decisive fashion, there will be plenty of options open now.
On a rare disappointing venture for the yard this month, Findthetime decided Sedgefield wasn’t the place for him after 9 months off on his chasing debut, jumping a little slowly and eventually being pulled up. Roll on a few days later at Wetherby however, thanks to the fitting of some earplugs he proved himself a totally different proposition to account for stablemate Nells Son and others. The latter ran a little flat after such a taking win at Carlisle last month but will surely be back winning himself soon, possibly needing a bigger field to help him along.
Another who will surely prove his previous run to be all wrong is One Step Up who didn’t quite get going at Hexham and as a very lightly raced five-year-old has plenty of time on his side to progress. In the same race however, Serious Ego obviously read last month’s blog and decided it was time to correct his winning record by bagging the first of two course and distance wins in the month. His first saw him to great effect under Conor Rabbit who is great value for his claim, coming through steadily in a race run at a very strong gallop. A mere twelve days later he repeated the trick, no such pace help this time but more impressive – easily accounting for his rivals to win by over 8 lengths.
Clovis Island was another Hexham runner who aimed to back-up his May bumper win there in the maiden hurdle. In tough conditions he made a satisfactory start to finish fourth, with the winner and eventual winner making it a punishing gallop for such inexperienced horses. Clovis Island will have learned plenty and will be sure to put that to good use during the season.
Aintree on Grand Sefton Day was the venue at which Universal Folly attempted to bring up a four timer, running from out of the weights against the very exciting Lucinda Russell trained Giovinco. On a day badly impacted by low sun, only 10 of the 19 fences were jumped but nevertheless Universally Folly battled well for an excellent second.
Another streak looking to be maintained was that of No Regrets who has been a model of consistency since getting back in the groove after a long absence. Pulling 14 lengths clear of the field with winner Gentleman De Mai, the Presenting gelding has been in the top 3 on his last 7 runs and will surely gain compensation before long.
Millie of Mayo also featured in a close finish at Kelso on the same day, getting back on track in first time cheekpieces and value for a little extra having come from well back. If the headgear has the same effect next time, she’ll be another who could contribute to December’s winning total.
Two horses that had featured in Kelso novice hurdles during October returned to the track in the second half of the month to make their second starts over obstacles. Coniston George may have not fully got over his win from three weeks earlier as he didn’t quite manage to get involved in what will likely turn out to be a hot race. The same could be said of Wainwright, who again learned plenty in what were very attritional Hexham conditions.
One Coniston who enjoyed his November was Coniston Clouds, who as a chasing type lived to his billing over the bigger obstacles – jumping brilliantly and earned a smooth success under Danny McMenamin. He shaped like he could be even better over further and is yet another in for a highly productive winter.
Down at Ascot on the same day as Famous Bridge’s heroics, Miss Milano represented the yard in a valuable mares handicap hurdle. It sadly wasn’t to be her day, but she showed plenty of encouragement on her seasonal reappearance at Wetherby to suggest her time will come again soon.
With The Kalooki Kid’s Musselbugh success taking the tally up to 8 for the month, it has been one that the Greystoke team to remember and it’d take a brave bettor to lay against December being an even better one.
Star Performer: Famous Bridge – Followed up an encouraging seasonal reappearance with an emphatic win in front of the ITV cameras. He will be highly competitive in the top staying handicap chases this season, with the Grand National possibly on the agenda.
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