Andrew Balding: Delighted to start another season with Betway
The Betway ambassador previews the exciting season ahead, starting with his six runners at Meydan, Kempton and Doncaster on Saturday.
I’m delighted to be continuing as a brand ambassador for Betway, where I’ll be writing these regular columns giving my thoughts on our runners.
As it has been for many people, it’s been a long winter and not just with the bad weather we’ve had. The hardships we’ve all faced have applied pressure to lots of people and made life a little less enjoyable than we’ve known it.
I have to say, I’m incredibly honoured to have such a hard working team of staff, most of whom have been deprived of seeing their families since Christmas, and it’s been a real test, especially for some of the younger members of the team.
There is now light at the end of the tunnel and we’re just all very glad to have had racing on throughout the winter. We’ve been lucky enough to have a few successes too.
We’re really looking forward to get this season started. We’re very strong numerically and we’ve got strength in depth. I’m particularly excited by our crop of two-year-olds, not just on their pedigrees, but how they’re shaping and progressing at home.
It’s also a great privilege to welcome new owners into the yard this season. We’ve had some very nice horses sent to us, adding to the list of horses we’ve already got in here at Park House Stables.
It’s a hugely exciting time of year and we’re hopeful of enjoying success with all of our owners, both old and new.
We have two runners at Meydan on Saturday.
The first is Spanish Mission (12:50) who thrilled us with his run in Saudi last time. He’s travelled over well and has seemingly come on for that run. We’re happy with him from a fitness point of view and we think he has a live chance.
We also run Berkshire Rocco (16:10), who ran very well last time despite not being ideally suited by the sharp track that he ran on. He’ll much prefer Meydan and although this is a much deeper race with some of the world’s best older horses in training, he always gives his best and could run into some of the fantastic prize money they have on offer.
A little closer to home, Auriferous (13:15) looks to shed his maiden tag in the opener at Kempton. He’s done quite well over the winter, so we’re looking forward to getting him started. He was gelded in the winter, too.
A filly I really like is Bounce The Blues (14:00). She’s one of our better older prospects for the year. I think she’ll have a great year and whatever she does at Doncaster, she’ll improve from. It’s tough for fillies at this stage of the season, she’s yet to properly come in her coat, but her work has been excellent, so we’ll just see how she gets on.
There is a good programme for her throughout the season, so there will be other good days ahead.
I’d like to think Arctic Vega (14:35) will run well in the Mile contest. We’ve had this race in mind for him for a while as a strongly run mile should suit him well. He should be doing his best work at the business end of the race. He’ll probably want further in time, too.
It’s a nice ride for the talented Will Carver who is excellent value for his 5lb claim.
Will also takes the ride on Grove Ferry (15:10) in the Lincoln. I’m delighted we managed to get a run into him prior to this and it was a good performance that day. His fitness levels are good and although he has to improve again, he may have a nice each way squeak.
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