Sandown – JLT Group Novices Handicap Hurdle
By BG Racing Syndicates On 9th December 2018
My Brother – 7th December 2018 – Finishing Position 6th of 8
Finally, we got the soft ground we were hoping for as Sandown offered heavy ground all the race conditions looked ideal. This was surely a great chance for My Brother to open his account, but sadly things did not go to plan.
Eleven owners made it to Sandown, Phil & Sarah were joined by Cliff, Glen, Geoff, Jamie, Darren, Nigel, John, Lawrence and Cathy for the afternoon with other shareholders watching the race on TV.
Our race was the last on the card at 3.30pm and this gave people plenty of opportunities to mingle and get to know each other and it was great to see everyone enjoying each other’s company. The BG Racing group based themselves in the owners and trainers bar walking out to the viewing steps to watch each race.
It had been a wet morning, but thankfully the weather relented at lunchtime to allow for a pleasant afternoon.
After the penultimate race, the group headed over to the pre-parade ring, but it quickly became clear that Neil had decided to saddle My Brother in the racecourse stables. The BG Racing shareholders headed to the paddock where they were joined by jockey Robbie Dunne and then by Neil and My Brother who were late into the parade ring.
The agreed plan was to settle in the rear and then bring My Brother through on the home turn to challenge.
We were soon underway and My Brother was keen again early on and had issues settling. He was pulling for his head approaching the first which led to a less than fluent jump and although less pronounced the same happened at the second. He was still pulling his head left passing the winning post, a sign that he wanted to get out to go a bit faster, but that all changed immediately they turned down the hill and started running down towards the back straight where the ground would have been softer as he stopped pulling which may have been a sign that he was more comfortable at that pace on that ground. He actually jumped the first two down the back quite well although a couple of lengths detached from the field, but it was very soft down the back straight and that probably led to one poor jump and one that was not as fast as it might have been. Robbie gave Bruv a couple of taps down the neck at this point to try to get him to move back into contention, which did generate a response and turning out of the back straight, the horse was right where he needed to be, but there had been signs that all was not well and so it proved.
Hitting the wetter ground right at the bottom of the hill at the start of the home turn, he was immediately struggling again, looking very noticeably unbalanced turning into the home straight.
He was at this point only 4-5 lengths off the lead, but it was clear that he was paddling when asked for an effort and the field just moved away from him. Robbie put his stick down on the way to the second last when it was clear that he was not going to be able to contend.
Robbie reported that My Brother had hated that ground and said that he felt even on the way to the start that he was not comfortable and not enjoying the conditions. Robbie felt that with those underfoot conditions, My Brother had actually run a really good race to finish where he did.
Obviously given his form on soft on the flat, we thought that he would like the conditions, but it should be noted that soft ground on the flat would only really be good to soft jumps ground and it was properly heavy jumps going at Sandown and we learned that it is unlikely to be a good idea to run the horse on such soft ground in the future.
The good news was that My Brother did not seem to have had suffered anything worse than a couple of bangs when hurdling poorly and hopefully he will be back on the racecourse soon.
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