Admiral’s Secret returned to his best form at Taunton on Thursday with a running on second in the 2m handicap chase. Last season he won a similar contest at Wincanton on Boxing Day and was on an upward profile but then seriously let himself down by refusing to start at Haydock, Newbury and Ludlow. Mentally he was in a bad place and it was a big mistake to take him to Ludlow on his last attempted start. The BHA were putting extreme pressure on me and threatening to warn him off. I knew at the time of Ludlow what the horse needed, a break from training and a change in routine which I had to explain to the BHA. I have seen horses before respond to this treatment which includes hunting regularly, trips to the beach and schooling sessions which he really enjoys. He also needs a rider who listens to instructions and rides on a long rein leaving his mouth alone, in every respect Alan Johns rode him brilliantly and the horse enjoyed the experience. On a day to day basis Lauren Milnes has worked very hard on the horse at home and he seems to have responded.
Last week we had good performances from Get Wishing and Bindon Lane to finish fourth and fifth in the same race at Exeter where Dancing Shadow disappointed to finish fifth in the staying chase. However I’m sure the ground was much heavier than stated as shown by the times and he has never been at his best under those conditions.
Today Haldon Hill runs for the first time over fences in a three runner novices chase. The favourite however is 1/10 and is much higher rated over hurdles but I’m hoping it will be a good introduction to chasing.