Graham dealing with dual challenges north of the border

Suspension of racing being balanced with keeping a racing yard ticking over.

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Clerk of the course and racehorse trainer Harriet Graham is dealing with challenges brought by the stoppage of racing and restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Graham is responsible for Musselburgh and Hamilton as well – as being in charge of her yard in Roxburghshire.

Meetings are scheduled at both her courses at the beginning of May, and though it seems unlikely at present, Graham has to ensure the tracks are ready to resume when they are given the go-ahead.

“These are interesting times,” she said.

“We have to plan to race at Musselburgh on May 1 and on May 3 at Hamilton, which are the two courses I’m involved with at the moment,” she said.

“We have to plan, but we know it probably is not going to be happening. We don’t know that for sure, so we have a very skeleton staff at the course. Everyone else is working from home.

“Obviously, grass cannot be done remotely so certain key members of the staff are going in and cutting grass and just maintaining it. If we got the go-ahead we’d be given a bit of lead-in time and be ready to race when we’re told we can race.

“It’s a big industry to stop and we are very determined at both courses – and very aware – to have everything ready to go when we can as well, as being aware of keeping our staff safe at home when we can as well.”

Graham is keeping her string ticking over and Aye Right did her proud when finishing fifth to Champ in the RSA Insurance Novices’ Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

“He ran really well. He made a few mistakes, but we were well pleased with him,” she said.

“If luck had gone our way we would have been in a place, but we’re happy with the way he ran.

“We had been going to run him at the Scottish National meeting at Ayr – there’s a novice handicap chase there, but obviously that’s not happening.

“It’s an early holiday for him basically and he’s a very nice prospect.”

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