Five winners over the weekend at Musselburgh put a spring in my step after the cards did not roll our way at Sandown on Saturday.
It took our score for the season to 114 with almost three months still to run.
Genuinely good going is hard to find at this time of year but that is we got at Musselburgh and our horses clearly relished the conditions.
That wasn’t the case at Sandown where several of our runners were found out by the heavy ground after overnight rain.
Neither Le Prezien nor Clan Des Obeaux jumped well enough in the Scilly Isles Chase. I’ll make a plan for Le Prezien while Clan Des Obeaux is likely to miss Cheltenham and have a confidence booster at a flat track on better ground in six weeks before we raise his sights again at maybe Aintree or Ayr.
Irving was another who had an off day at Sandown but Irish Saint ran really well despite the ground. With a bit of respite from the handicapper he can find a nice staying handicap, possibly at Kempton.
The news was much more positive North of the Border where Diego Du Charmil and Wonderful Charm recorded a double on Saturday before Frodon, San Benedeto and El Bandit completed the five timer yesterday.
Top marks to Harry Cobden who rode out his claim after the 75th success of his career on Diego Du Charmil in the £50,000 Scottish Champion Hurdle. He has done extremely well to reach that landmark so quickly for one so young and nothing will change now that he is unable to claim an allowance. Harry will continue to ride plenty of horses for Team Ditcheat as he joins our roster of talented senior jockeys.
Diego Du Charmil will have an entry in the County Hurdle at the Festival but he is ground dependent and wouldn’t be going to Cheltenham if the going turns soft. Another option might be the Scottish Champion Hurdle.
It was good to see Wonderful Charm get his head in front in the Hunter Chase for the first time in a while. We will try to qualify him for the Foxhunters in the next three weeks but he, too, needs good ground. Frodon is enjoying a tremendous season with five wins already this winter. He has done so well for a young horse and while he is in the JLT Chase at Cheltenham I might look for other opportunities for him including the Pendil Chase at Kempton.
San Benedeto excelled himself back in trip on a flat track on good ground in the Scottish Champion Chase. Although I’ll enter him in the Grand Annual it will probably be too soft for him at Cheltenham.
I was surprised and thrilled to see El Bandit land the Pertemps Qualifier as he wasn’t fully wound up after a break of 72 days. I am sure there is improvement to come from this prolific horse who is proving to be a rare money spinner for his three owners and is now qualified for the Pertemps Final.
This weekend we are likely to have two runners Movewiththetimes and Zubayr in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury where Le Mercurey is set to start in the Denman Chase.
For all the up to the minute news on my runners next Saturday please turn to my Betfair column late on Friday afternoon.