Seventy-two days since we last saw Hit the Bottle in action at Stratford, a culmination of patient schooling over hurdles and the search for softer ground the reason for the break. In the end the rain didn't fall quite as much as needed but in need of a run we kept our entry.
We knew that we'd see the 5yo mare in a better light over obstacles, she has been schooling well and is the type to see out a trip without a turn of pace. We were keen to hear Fergus'(Gregory) feedback post race to formulate future plans and while our odds reflected our chances, we wanted to see her more relaxed in the preliminaries, being on her toes at Stratford put pay to any chances there.
"towards rear, mistake 3rd, well beaten from 4th"
Contrary to her Stratford run we also decided to try and drop her in rather than lead from the front and while we looked at risk of becoming detached with a circuit to go we were pleased with her tenacity to stay on throughout, eventually finishing 7th of 10 and seeing out the 2m5f well. An early mistake over the 3rd but on the whole a solid round of jumping in what was her first race over hurdles.
There's not much we're not positive about here but we outrun our odds once again, 9th in the betting, 7th in the race, horses markedly shorter in the market coming in behind us. Oh and we're almost positive there's not a team in the country with a better 'best turned out' strike rate, all credit to Gina and team.
It could be that we give our mare another wind op, she has come back safe and sound but was blowing on her return to the ring, then there's the softer ground and maybe a different trip. Lots to ponder but it's a puzzle we're looking forward to solving.
Fontwell, 3rd October. Follow the Paint / Storm Arcadio