In-form Ballybacka Lady should go very close in Group 3

The broken record just keeps on playing.

It hasn’t been a great week because of you know what and it’s not getting any better. In actual fact, it looks like getting worse, I’d say.

I am utterly fed up with the weather and the ground conditions. There has been absolutely no let-up throughout the entire summer and while there is talk that it might be drier in September, I wouldn’t be betting on it.

But unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about it. If there was, be assured it would be done by now.

And in case anyone thinks that it’s just me complaining, it’s not. If you look at the Futurity Stakes at the Curragh tomorrow, neither of the two favourites is running. That is reflective of what has been happening in all the Group races in this country, which have generally been reduced to smaller-than-ideal fields.

It affects the national hunt too, as horses would have been brought in and prepared with the summer in mind. If it’s soft ground for 12 months of the year, that is going to mean a lot of horses will not be racing, or will be unable to race at their best due to unsuitable conditions.

York on Thursday summed it up really. We had gotten over there for the Yorkshire Oaks, which had been the plan for Bible Belt all season, and just as the horses had gotten into the stalls there was an absolutely torrential downfall of rain, accompanied by thunder.

While that wouldn’t have affected the ground terribly, it wasn’t ideal and the race was run at nearly two seconds slower than the average for a mile and a half. To be fair, she didn’t run a bad race. Trying to give ten pounds to the good three-year-old fillies is very hard to do. You would love her to get one shot at running at her optimum conditions but you can’t and that’s it.

There are a number of races over here over a mile and a quarter that would suit, such as the Blandford Stakes, if it dries up any bit. But we’ll just have to wait and see.

Dane Street looked like she was going to run a big race in the Listed fillies’ race that Dermot Weld won with Pale Mimosa after the Yorkshire Oaks. Just as things were hotting up, she lost a shoe and with the ground gone very loose on top, started slipping and sliding around. So that was the end of that. We have to look for a race for her now.

As I compile this, the ground is on the slow side of good and if it stays like that, we will run our horses. But rain is forecast and if it gets softer, I will have to take them out. There is nothing else I can do.

My plan was to travel over this morning and then make a decision on whether we would take our chance or not when I see what the ground is like.

If it was good fast ground, they would have very good chances but really, I can’t say a whole lot because I don’t know what way it’s going to be.

Ballybacka Lady will be my only runner tomorrow in the Group 3 race and if she carries on the form of her two runs so far, she should go very close. She finished second in her first outing of the campaign to multiple Group winner, Famous Name before coming out at Leopardstown nine days ago and just getting touched off by Duntle in the Group 3 Desmond Stakes. I’m really looking forward to her.

We’ve got Dundalk on Monday thankfully, so half the yard will probably travel up because ground won’t be an issue. Not quite, but we’ll have quite a few runners. Raven’s Pass is a nice two-year-old that will be worth watching and Beyond Berlin could go well too.

We had only two runners last weekend, with Back Burner and Sister Rocks pleasing enough at Dundalk. Back Burner needed it and I was happy enough with Sister Rocks in the three-year-old maiden.

Gimli’s Rock got a bit stuck in the mud at Tramore on Monday when second in a conditions’ chase. He flew home but was just under three lengths shy of Glenstar, giving him seven pounds. Gimli’s is what he is. He is not exactly very trustworthy but he has clear ability.

Parramatta ran very well when second after being caught by Blackstairmountain over a mile and a half at Bellewstown on Wednesday. Nina [Carberry] was a bit cross afterwards, feeling that if she had waited a bit longer she might have done even better.

Empress Of Tara was beaten just two lengths into third in a three-year-old maiden the previous day. She wandered around a bit, apparently after seeing the horse that hadn’t loaded up in the chute and deciding she might want to provide it with a bit of company. It was a bit unfortunate but she ran well.


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