On Friday, I wrote that Ian Williams' horses were coming into form. It's a funny thing, but success breeds success. The wellness of a string isn't solely about physical well-being. Horses being communicative animals, I'm sure success communicates through a yard 's horses in the same way the staff will have an additional spring to their step after a winner or two.
And so it proved. Ian sent six horses to Doncaster and three to Newbury on Saturday and two won at handsome odds. First up, Always Resolute, a 10 year old gelding completed his 10th start since July, but his first win this season over Jumps, the other win having been over 1m6f on the flat.
The listed Mares Novices Hurdle at Doncaster allowed Dragon Bones to assert at a splendidly priced 40-1. Expect to see her at Aintree. and to cap it all, the Doncaster feature fell to Red Infantry, who, after wandering around 2 out, was headed on the run-in, rallied and won dourly. He has entries in the Ultima, Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir and the Midlands Grand National next week, but this looked a hard race.
It was back to business as usual today with a Southwell card that appeared to be put on solely for the Skelton stable. A four-timer for the Skelton brothers will give them great heart that the string can perform to its best next week and over the intervening 8 weeks to the end of the season. Whilst 3 of thee were odds-on favourites, they still have to jump round to win. I suspect the horses at Skelton's are as communicative as those at Ian Williams. It sure helps the stable confidence to know your chum next door is holding up the reputation of the yard.
Meantime, summer jumping course Stratford, is girding up to welcome horses back for the first time in 4 months when its 19 fixture calendar starts again on Monday. And Worcester, a course that spent more than its fair share of the 2018-19 winter under water, will resurface for a new summer season as well under new direction from my former colleague Rebecca Davies.