Harry’s back – Gillian is a genius!

It was back on July 1 t2023 hat Blackhouse Harry last went to traps in race mode. He finished lame and last in the final of the RPGTV Derby Plate at Towcester.

Trainer Stuart Ray diagnosed a gracilis tear and sent the big black son of Confident Rankin to Newcastle vet Gillian Brown who operated on him.

Six and a half months later, Harry reappeared at Newcastle to attempt his first sprint solo. In the following two months he trialled on another seven occasions, stepping up to the 480 trip and then in mixed company.

Almost nine months after his injury, Harry went to traps competitively for his first race at Newcastle last night . . .

The seven and a half length victory in 28.45 was the fastest of the night’s three opens.

Stuart said: “I don’t know who was the most nervous, myself or Gillian. We are all absolutely buzzing after the race and Harry has come bouncing off his bed this morning.”

So how bad a gracilis injury was it?

“Let’s put it this way” said Stuart, “you could put your finger in the hole where it tore. But Gillian said she would give it a go and she has followed Harry every step of the way.

“But I’m not surprised. She must have started treating my dogs 25 years ago, and although she wasn’t involved for a while, I always knew how good she was. It isn’t the first time that she has saved a dog’s career. A few years ago I had a decent dog who had a foot problem.

“The original vet who treated him made a right mess of it and put the bandage on too tight. I was convinced he would never run again and although it took a while, she got him back in the end.

“Gillian told me to forget about doing any kind of work with Harry until after Christmas, and then it has been a slow build since.”

Harry will be four in August though Stuart thinks there is plenty  to come from a dog with a 28.12 solo on his card for Newcastle’s standard distance.

“I honestly think he could be as good as ever” says, Stuart, “in fact I plan to run him in the Derby.”

KSS with plenty on their Plate

On Saturday evening, King Memphis will go to traps for the first semi final of the ARC Plate at around the 1/3 mark. Queen Joni is currently trading at 4/6 to win the second semi, while King Capaldi (5/6), Queen Shakira (11/4) and Queen Georgia (7/1) go in the third.

Here are the thoughts of assistant trainer Rab McNair with opinions on the semi finalists, and also a general news update on the kennel.


Tonight: Romford

SaturdayCentral ParkDoncaster OxfordYarmouth

Sunday: CrayfordSheffield Towcester