Friday November 5

Like all trainers, Alan has been “walking his box” these last couple of weeks, wondering if it will ever rain again. It makes declaration a time a nightmare – happily we have a few who are delighted that the wet stuff stays “upstairs”, including yesterday’s impressive Newbury winner Dusky Legend – so, while we could have runners this week-end at Wincanton, Aintree and Sandown, several are on a “weather watch”.

Alan pulled out Mia’s Storm from Fontwell today and has re-routed her to Wincanton tomorrow for the mares handicap hurdle. There was virtually no rain overnight on the Sussex track, but 4mm fell in Somerset with possibly more showers to follow later today, prompting the decision-change for the in-form Mia’s Storm, who finds herself with top weight.

Alan said:”Mia’s Storm lost her way last winter, but she bounced back to win two in the spring and, though she might ultimately go novice chasing, she’ll stay hurdling for the time being. She doesn’t want bad ground, but equally I would not risk her on firm, so the bit of rain they had at Wincanton on Thursday night brought about the rethink.

“We also have Ziga Boy going for the £60,000 Badger Ales Trophy down there. He appreciated finding some good ground at Doncaster last season, winning twice there, and while this is a good prize in its own right, we are also using it a prep for the Becher Chase at Aintree as that race (Dec 3) should give us an idea whether he might be a Grand National horse.

“The overnight rain has encouraged us to declare Sceau Royal for the Grade 2 Elite Hurdle. He was impressive at Cheltenham a fortnight ago and he is a horse who has plenty of speed, but I would always be wary of running him on fast ground and while I was delighted with that comeback run, I won’t be getting carried away just yet.

“We have declared David Cricket for the bumper at Wincanton even though he is also in at Fontwell today. We’ll monitor the ground in Sussex this afternoon before deciding whether to run in their finale, but he could be re-routed to Wincanton. He’s the last foal of that smart racemare Lady Cricket and showed promise when second at Warwick on his only run last year. He has been schooling great at home, but another run in a bumper will be good experience for him.

The Tourard Man‘s long-term target is the Pertemps Final at Cheltenham, so he runs in the qualifier at Aintree before having a winter break as he does not enjoy winter ground.

Elgin also heads up the M6, though we did confirm one of his entries earlier in the week because of the ground so we will see what the weather does overnight. They are watering so, hopefully, he’ll be able to run, but he is a heavy-topped horse who would always be better with a bit of cut. I’m keen to give him one more run before we go hurdling.

“On Sunday we have Azzerti in the maiden hurdle and Paddy’s Runner in the handicap hurdle. Azzerti ran really well to finish second on his jumping debut at Fontwell a couple of weeks ago so, hopefully, will be competitive here, while Paddy’s Runner also made a pleasing comeback at Market Rasen, running well until tiring up the straight. He had been off since April so will come on for that run.”