Burrows hoping to banish blues amid challenging and frustrating campaign
August 2017 was probably the finest month of Owen Burrows' career, when he enjoyed a Group-race double with Massaat and Talaayeb, while Enjazaat struck at Listed level, but this month will be much quieter for the trainer, who admits the long, hot summer has contributed to by far his most challenging period with a licence.
Burrows, retained by Hamdan Al Maktoum, began training from Kingwood House in Lambourn in 2016, sending out 16 winners, which he bettered with 27 last term.
Overhauling that tally is in sight with 19 on the board this season, but prize-money will be down as Sir Michael Stoute's former assistant awaits a return to form with his string.
"I'd like to think I should beat last year's winners, but we're a bit quiet at the minute and they're not quite as healthy as I'd like," he revealed. "It won't be like last August, and I won't have too many runners in the next few weeks."
Asked to evaluate the campaign, Burrows replied: "Challenging. It's a bit of everything, the weather, the horses' health.
"We're going to have to be patient and hopefully in the next couple of weeks we can get back on track and have a busy end of season. By that time, hopefully there's a bit of juice in the ground.
"It's been a frustrating season. We've been fortunate in the two years I've been training that they've been pretty consistent and running to form, but this year they've been very up and down.
"I'll be busy until the end of the year. I think everyone will be because people will have loads of two-year-olds to run; those all-weather maidens are going to be busy and you could be coming up against anything. We're all in the same boat, those races won't be easy to win."
Everton fan Burrows hopes the blues will not last too much longer and is grateful of the support from his leading patron.
"I'd like to think I've got some nice horses to run still," the trainer continued. "We're just starting to move up with the two-year-olds now. It's early days, but we've just worked eight on the grass – the first time we've been on that for two and a half months probably.
"Then there's another batch behind them, which are probably another three weeks away, and there will be ones after that – maybe those who have had little niggles – we'll go into November/December with.
"I hope I can end the season on a high. The horses need to come back and be healthy but I'm still enjoying it. They seem fresh and well, but when push comes to shove there's sort of nothing there.
"Fair play to the boss, who understands. He's been in this a lot longer than I have and it wouldn't be the first time he's had a yard out of form. He's very understanding. I just hope we can get it back and get some winners on the board in the autumn."
Burrows, who rode as a conditional jumps jockey for Martin Pipe, suggested things had got to him, despite his positive outlook and approach.
He said: "Ask my wife. She said I've been a right miserable so and so! She's copped a lot of flak and I might seem all right now, but I am a miserable sod and I wouldn't want to live with myself the last couple of months!
"That's a trainer's life though. I was speaking to Eve Johnson Houghton at Salisbury this week and she said, 'If you're having a bad spell it means someone else is having a good spell and then you'll have a good spell and someone else will be having a bad spell'."
Four horses who could help Burrows end the season on a high
We'll look at Haydock, the Superior Mile, or the Fortune Stakes at Sandown. I would have been taking him out if we'd declared him for the Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury this week because of fast ground. Good ground is fine, but not anything softer. He's up to 110 after winning at York so I hope the handicapper is right. He's got solid handicap form, but he's ready to progress to the next stage now. I think a mile is his trip, We tried him in the Hampton Court, but Sheikh Hamdan said to drop him back to a mile and he was right. He's going the right way.
We did some tests after the Princess of Wales's and everything is as it should be. Nothing's come to light, so he's had a quiet few weeks. He's back cantering now and it'll be good to get him back working on the grass. We've mentioned what was the Arc trial at Newbury or the Cumberland Lodge, so September time and I think he'll appreciate a bit of ease in the ground, but I'm not saying he wants it soft.
He's definitely not one to give up on. The ground was very quick at Haydock for the Rose of Lancaster – far quicker than anything he's run on before. He didn't pick up for 20 yards at Haydock, but I think he's a horse with a lot of potential.
He came back quite jarred up after the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and it's not really been his summer unfortunately, but he's another we're starting to step up and get back into work before looking for something on easier ground and dropping back to six furlongs. Dane O'Neill thought he didn't quite get home over seven in the Jersey. We could look for a Listed race or a handicap.
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