Slightly improving weather today with some clouds and brief spells of sunshine but still an annoying wind that makes it feel like spring or autumn, not summer.  Just the three rides each today as it was a heavily balloted day despite being mid week so no rider could ride more than three in total.

Jonelle got done by early afternoon with her three novices, J’Orange (Daisy), Faerie Good Golly ( Golly) and Illico de l’Esques (Nico). They have all had some moments in this, their second season, which had a delayed start and then has been a bit sporadic with various international events putting them behind schedule but the last few weeks have been more consistent and today was kind of important as it would mark the end of their spring season and a little break before they started again after the Olympics.

Jonelle was delighted to say that for the first time this year she felt she had got all three on the same page! Although she did qualify that by saying that Daisy was a little annoying on the flat ( nothing like a feisty chestnut mare!) for a 35 although that was a fairly high scoring section.  Daisy then jumped an immaculate double clear  to put herself right back into the good books and earn some down time.  Nico is genuinely stepping up too after his win last time and he seems to have dropped the “teenage kid’ attitude to be right on the game and up at at it early doors for a 32 and a really solid double clear.

Golly had a slightly inexplicable big E at her last run at Chepstow where she downed tools at a skinny in emphatic style.  Events have intervened since and Jonelle didn’t get to take her schooling until Monday where she fronted up with a skinny at fence 3 and Golly never hesitated.  Today she answered all the questions with her usual gusto with a 30.5 on the flat and an assured double clear for 6th spot.  Situation normal….who knows what  Golly saw at the Shields at Chepstow but it seems to be a distant memory!

As Jonelle headed back home to Otis and Abel Tim was just finishing his sole novice ride at Upton, Faerie Usain (Maude) as his other two got balloted out.  Maude has shown her opinions to be fairly strident this year but today she was also on side with a 31.8, an annoying rail on a track where she otherwise jumped a super round and a lovely confident clear cross country.  It seems an age since she dumped Tim head first in a ditch at West Wilts but she has really earnt her summer holiday now!

Afternoon intermediates for opposite ends of the spectrum for Tim with Sean Duffy’s Kinsale Oltaire ( Phoebe) having her first intermediate start with Tim and Coup de Coeur Dudevin ( Joker) having an HC run as his final start before travelling to Paris as Tim’s direct reserve.  Both Falco and Joker were due to run in the advanced class at Aston le Walls on Sunday which had a special class running the Olympic Test but when they withdrew the option of the Olympic test Tim was left with little choice but to re route to Upton, with thanks to Garcon’s ( Tibo’s ) owner Joe and Alex  Giannamore and Happy Boy’s owners Therese Miller and Susan Lamb for dropping their horses entries to make this happen.

Joker duly did a great test for a 28.2 and cruised a super easy double clear with the brakes firmly realigned after Luhmuhlen.  It was a great run and came in perfect time as should Joker’s services not be required in Paris it sets him up nicely for his Autumn campaign.

Phoebe was possibly a tad harshly marked for a 35 on the flat but made up for that with a confident double clear and another tick in the box in her career.  She is a lovely, kind and very careful and bold mare who had some superb results with Sean at 3 star last autumn and she is finding her form again after she was one of the very few horses over the years who didn’t find the Sunshine Tour to her liking!

Just three 100 horses stand between Tim’s last competitive outing and Paris Olympics. I can’t actually believe I am writing this as it seems to have been forever coming and also zoomed around.  Here’s hoping Indy du Loir ( Indy), Monbeg Crystal Clear ( Kris) and Spotless ( Spot) come up trumps tomorrow and give Tim an easy day!