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Keighley and George both post doubles

24-November-2021 18:59
in General
by Peter McNeile

Sometimes, when Lady Luck is riding with you, things go right when you've no expectation that they should. The law of averages tells us that it'll be our turn soon, but the flip side of that coin is another law - Murphy's - that says that anything that can go wrong, will. 

Over the past 18 months, the Keighleys, based in a yard at Condicote, where both Belinda and Martin cut their teeth with mentor David Nicholson many moons ago, have experienced both sides of this coin. 

Last season ranked their worst since the early days in 2008-9, when expectations were considerably lower. Just 9 winners all season spoke of a yard at sea. Yet this time around, and this month in particular, everything they touch turns to gold. A double on Tuesday at Southwell, followed by another at Hereford this afternoon, bring up their highest ever monthky tally, and the best performance since October 2007. 

Sean Bowen is the rider capitalizing on this run of form, indeed in perhaps shaping it, as he makes himself into one of the Go-To men of the Weighing Room. The sense of momentum around the yard clearly energized Ben Buie, winning his first ever race at the thirteenth attempt in the Novices Handicap Chase by a comfortable 2l. There's no doubt that self-belief is an attribute that horses can communicate to each other just as well as humans.

Mozzaro, another winning for the first time yesterday at Southwell, had Keighley in front of the stewards for the apparent improvement in form, whilst a drop in the weights seems to have provided Ten Past Midnight added zip. His Novices Handocap Hurdle win by a length was his third on the trot.

They say that class is permanent, but form is temporary. Team Keighley will be the first to admit none of these are headed for the very top flight, but they certainly are keeping the stable in the public eye.

Another running into some form looks to be Tom George, who has taken advantage of the poor chase fields to land 3 chase winners since Sunday. 

At Exeter, the 2m Handicap Chase proved to be virtually a flat race with four of the eight fences omitted. French-bred Casa Tall was brought through smoothly to lead at the last and didn't look troubled to win by 1 1/4l.

At Wetherby this afternoon, a bizarre race of just 5 runners saw  Oscar Robertson justify 6/5 favouritism in the Sixt Car Hire Handicap Chase, where he was left in the lead 3 out and subsequently never saw another horse. Given the secoind was nealy 100 lengths behind, I suspect he never saw himn in the Winner's Enclosure either. The other three contenders now have P, F and UR after theur name. 

An hour later, equally bemusing scenes as three cantered to post for the This Friday Handicap Chase. What had been due to be a 5 runner field was diminished by two ground withdrawals, whilst Some Reign was withdrawn at the start. It left a straightforward task for Darling du Large to run up a hat-trick in an excellent five months in which six races have resulted oin four wins, a second and third. Now that's a horse I'd like to own.

And one more local winner. Jennifer Mason trains a few pointers and chasers at Ablington, near Bibury. She's another not complaining about small fields as husband Pete rode Wick Green to a 1/4l victory in the 3m handicap chase at Hereford. As Clerk of the VWH Point-to-Point at Siddington, I was talking to Pete not 24 hours earlier to share resources around Siddington and Andoversford. 

If that isn't Serendipity, then tell me what is.

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