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Quiet times as weather bites.

Byline: lawney hill trainer's diary www.lawneyhill.co.uk

WE ONLY had one runner last week, Mr Valentino, and he didn't run anywhere near his best.

The ground was very good at Leicester and the race should have suited him, but he made a couple of mistakes, and despite the best efforts of David Bass, he never got involved.

He did return quite distressed after the race though. That's to say he was blowing a lot afterwards, his eye membranes were quite red and he was sluggish when he came back in.

We'll do a thorough investigation on him now and see if it turns up anything.

It might have been his wind, but whatever was ailing him, that wasn't his true running so let's hope something gets discovered. Then we can get it treated and we'll be back in business.

? Free Falling was due to go to Fontwell on Wednesday, but that has now been cancelled, so the back up plan is to go to Towcester on Saturday for a 3m, 0-100 handicap hurdle.

He could lock horns there with Overlay, our little star mare who will be chasing a four-timer.

Our best chance of a winner, though, could come at Kempton on Wednesday via Royal Etiquette who is reunited with Leonna Mayor in Division 1 of the 1m2f hanidcap.

? Frontier Dancer was a horse who did well for us last season, winning at Ffos Las and finishing second at Kempton on Boxing Day behind Knight Pass.

He was never the most consistent, however, and would follow up a good display with a not-so-good one.

Therefore, we decided to operate on his wind over the summer which will hopefully make a difference to him this season.

I can report that the horse is coming along well in his work and isn't too far away, possibly as little as a couple of weeks, from a run. He needs a good trip these days and will probably mix hurdling and chasing, as he did last season.

? Being a racehorse trainer is an all-consuming job these days, but that doesn't mean I'm not allowed to switch off from time to time, particularly in the evenings.

Fortunately, I am able to do that and catch up with a bit of television, and it's important that I do.

Modern technology means I'm able to keep owners informed of their horses through a text message or email, and now I've got an iPad, I'm always able to send something out during my normal working hours.

I try to keep phonecalls to a minimum after 7pm, but annoyingly I can still find myself stressing about a horse at 4am in the morning when I should be sleeping!

? I feel terribly sorry for Noel Meade and his team after the loss of Go Native last week.

Losing horses is part and parcel of the job, unfortunately, but it must have been a tremendous shock to him and those present when it just happened in a routine canter.

We've had it happen to us before both at home and on the racetrack - Mad Jack Duncan went wrong after jumping the water jump at Cheltenham a couple of years ago and had to be put down.

It's not easy, but you just have to accept when you work with fragile animals that sometimes, rarely thank goodness, they don't come back or they damage themselves irreparably. It's a tough game at times.

entered this week royal etiquette Wednesday 4.30 Kempton. free falling/overlay Saturday 2.10 Towcester.

? Lawney Hill and Sorin Mihai were speaking to Nick Watts BROWNIE POINTS THE award this week goes to Brough Academy, who seems to have come out of his recent run at Southwell in top shape.

I know that personally as I rode him last week, and he felt very fresh and well. There's nothing for him this week, but such was the feel he gave me, I'll be looking for a suitable race very soon.

You're never quite sure how a horse will come on from his opening race of the season, but in Brough Academy's case he's taken it very well and should be competitive wherever he goes next.

His form figures are admirably consistent - five places from seven starts - and if I can find the right race the sequence will, hopefully, be continued.

? If any readers would like to ask a specific question, drop me a line at rfo@rfoutlook.co.uk You can also follow me on Twitter @lawneyhill
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Nov 27, 2012
Words:750
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