Exclusive Rights ran well

Exclusive Rights ran well to finish third yesterday at Market Rasen.  Up with the pace for much of the way, she stayed on after the last proving there is definitely a race to be won with her in these sort of conditions.  Hopefully we can find a similar type of contest for her.

Viva Rafa is declared at Uttoxeter tomorrow in the 2 ½ mile novice handicap chase.  He carries joint top weight with Tom Bellamy onboard.  Viva Rafa was going very well until two out at Southwell on his appearance before stepping at the second last.

He was due to run at Stratford but having investigated a heart murmur, he has now been given the all clear by the vets and let us hope he can finally get his head in front like the man he is named after, Mr Nadal.

An exciting Eclipse on Saturday with Happily looking as though she needs more cut in the ground.  The winner and the second are in my horses to follow lists and it looks as though there is more to come from them both before the season is out.

Sad to hear of the passing of John Dunlop. I once asked Henry Cecil who were the trainers he rated.  “The ones that have been there the longest” he said.  Dunlop, Hills and Stoute were the three names he came out with.

Training is very much a game of survival and to train at such a high level for so many years, was an extraordinary feat.  The Dunlop, Hutchinson combo of the seventies was one of my favourites.

Thanks to the Maktoum family, high-class horses kept on coming.

To be frank, when it comes to buying one off him, you did not expect a straight answer as he always believed his loyalties lay with his client.  However, he did much for charity and although his retirement was controversial, his problems lay in the fact that when it came to training and staff, he did it the old fashioned way with many of his team in place for decades with their housing and families and ever increasing cost.

The death of his son Tim, hit both he and his wife Sue hard – but in Ed and Harry the name will live on.

There will be no blog for the next three days as Jo is away from the office until Friday.