WELCOME STRANGER is running today at York in the Hambleton Handicap, a Listed race. The extremely wet conditions at York have led to the rather unusual circumstances of the racing being changed in distance. The race should be run over a mile but the mile start is too wet so the trainers of the entered horses were actually asked whether they would like the race changed to 7 furlongs or 9 furlongs, 7 furlongs seems to have got the vote. James Eustace wants to try WELCOME STRANGER on this ground as his best form as a 2 year old was on soft ground. The only times he has tried it since has been on his first run of the season and over a mile. He feels that he may not stay the mile on soft ground so is willing to try him over 7 furlongs. As there aren't many other options for the horse at the moment it seems worth a try. The horse is in good form and will be ridden by his usual pilot Luke Fletcher.
ARIODANTE heads for Nottingham on Friday for a mile handicap. At Newbury last time out the mile appeared too far for him but James Eustace feels that it was the soft ground rather than the trip that found him out that day. All his best form is on fast ground and the Nottingham ground should be to his liking if the rain stays away
ELM'S SCHOOL BOY is entered in an apprentice maiden handicap at Nottingham on Saturday but there are 77 entries and only 17 can run! He needs a lot of horses to come out for him to get a run unfortunately. If he does run he will be ridden by Holly Hall.
WESTER LODGE has a choice of engagements, he is entered at York on Friday but is more likely to run at Ripon on Sunday. The ground at York is still soft but he needs good or good/firm ground which he is more likely to get at Ripon. As he is being tried over 12 furlongs for the first time he will not want the ground to be too testing.