Thursday December 8

No frost and precious little rain about with midday temperatures creeping back up into double figures. You’d be forgiven for thinking that we were in September rather than December, but that’s how crazy the British weather has been through 2016.

Inevitably, it makes race-planning difficult, but these things are sent to try us (well Alan anyway) and we remain busier enough with our own Magnificent Seven heading off to three meetings tomorrow.

Alan said:”We have three going up to Doncaster and a couple each to Cheltenham and Bangor. Winner Massagot runs in the novices chase at Town Moor. He needs another run to blow away the cobwebs as he was a bit ring-rusty at Newbury recently.

“We are also hoping for better from Big Chief Benny in the handicap hurdle. He was disappointing at Market Rasen and I wasn’t sure whether it was the softish ground or whether I had left him a bit short. However, he has worked well since and he ought to get drier ground at Doncaster, where he has won before.

“Our other runner up there is Midnight Cowboy in the novices’ handicap hurdle. He has been admirably consistent but we need to get his head in front and, having been forced to miss Wincanton when it was abandoned last week, it will be good to get him rolling again.

“At Cheltenham we have Label des Obeaux in the opening novice chase. He made an encouraging start over fences at Exeter last month. We also run Midnight Maestro there in the EBF Novice Hurdle Qualifier. He won well at Warwick, having looked as if he might get squeezed out at the last, and he’ll come on for that first run.

“Up at Bangor, Willoughby Hedge makes his comeback in the three-mile handicap chase. He fractured his pelvis in the build up to Cheltenham last season but is back in very good form and ready to start, though obviously he’ll improve on whatever he does here.

“We also run Kayf Mariner in the bumper. He is a lovely Kayf Tara who has a good attitude and has thrived for being able to do a few bits of work on the grass recently. We like him and had planned to start him off last week, but he had a rash so had to be pulled out, but all seems well again now and we are looking forward to it.”