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We began a busy week in the best possible manner with a double from our only two runners on Sunday 24 July.

First on the scoresheet was The Big Sting who stayed on stoutly at Uttoxeter to land a competitive handicap chase by half a length in a tight finish. Son of Red then completed a fine afternoon for the team with a cosy success in a £10,000 two mile handicap at Chelmsford.

The Big Sting is well named as he stands more than eighteen hands high. When he was first sent to us he was unsurprisingly weak and backward. While he showed a little promise from a few runs and earned a handicap mark of 90 we felt he would benefit from time in the calmer waters of a point-to-point yard.

It certainly worked as he won six of his eight starts while with my neighbour Chris Barber.
The Big Sting enjoys top of the ground and showed he is a confident, accurate jumper when he was an encouraging third on his first outing at Worcester after rejoining us this summer.

The plan was to ride him positively on Sunday but the pace was so furious from the start that Johnny Burke was happy to track the leaders. Switched wide after a circuit in search of more room The Big Sting gradually moved into contention over the last half mile, winged the last fence and kept on willingly to lead fifty yards from the winning post.

I thought the horse was very gutsy in the finish with Johnny at his best. The Big Sting was always going to be a chaser and showed that it might be worth looking at marathon trips in the future. I’ll see how he comes out of the race before making any plans.

Son of Red was sent to us earlier this summer by his owners Ian Gosden and Richard House. Although he has run with promise on two starts for us over hurdles I felt it was worth trying him back on the all-weather at Chelmsford where he travelled nicely just off the pace, before easing ahead a furlong out and beating Campese by three-quarters of a length. Son of Red was strong at the finish and should still be competitive once the handicapper has had his say.

We have two runners at Newton Abbot on Monday while Winterwatch spearheads out annual challenge at Galway in the evening in the £100,000 two mile handicap where he will be ridden by my sister in law Aine O’Connor.

Later in the week Last of a Legend runs at Bangor on Friday before Boothill tackles a valuable handicap hurdle at Galway on Saturday.

Photo Credit: Nigel Kirby

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