Two winners on Thursday, five winners over the weekend and plenty of placed horses confirmed that Team Ditcheat is firing on all cylinders again after our usual quiet January.
We enjoyed four winners at Musselburgh over the two days but the one that pleased me the most was the victory of the giant Topofthegame in the £100,000 Betfred Heroes Handicap Hurdle at Sandown. It was a massive pot for a seriously promising horse who has bounced back brilliantly from a fall at Newbury over fences in November which left him with sore knee. Having missed a few weeks with him we decided to switch him back to hurdles for the rest of the season to gain more experience of racing. He ran well at Kempton where he jumped slowly at times before taking a big step forward at Sandown, staying on strongly to seal the win despite again looking green. He is still a big baby who can only get better with practise. I’m not in a hurry to run Topofthegame again and haven’t any firm plans. I’d be disappointed if he doesn’t have a big future over fences.
Dolos and Cyrname both came close to adding to our score at Sandown. I was thrilled with the run of Dolos on his third start over fences in the two mile handicap chase against far experienced rivals. He jumped very well apart from stumbling on landing two out which cost him the race and was beaten only half a length by Gino Trail. A big strong horse Dolos is improving rapidly, is a novice until the end of the season, wants better ground and looks one for the Grand Annual at the Cheltenham Festival.
Cyrname has come on in leaps and bounds since he won a novice handicap chase at Huntingdon earlier in the season. He jumped superbly the whole way in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles and came tantalisingly close to catching Terrefort on the final. I couldn’t be prouder of Cyrname who was giving the winner 3 lbs. They are both talented horses.
I was ticked pink to see Marracudja back to winning ways at Musselburgh in the Scottish Champion Chase with the help of a fine ride by Bryony Frost. He used to be rapid but he’s more relaxed now and wanting a trip and was staying on stoutly at the finish.
Wonderful Charm won in style and goes straight to the Foxhunters’ at Cheltenham and Coup De Pinceau was also well on top at the finish and will go down the handicap route now.
In addition Peter The Mayo Man was travelling oh so well when he fell three out. There should be more races in him.
Act Of Valour ran very nicely in the Juvenile Hurdle yesterday and will run next in The Fred Winter at Cheltenham.
This weekend we have loads of horses to run at Newbury and a few at Warwick. Saphir Du Rheu is ready to go in the Denman Chase, Politologue is on course for the Betfair Exchange Chase, Ibis Du Rheu tackles the three mile novice handicap chase, and I run a nice prospect Danny Kirwin in the bumper and on Sunday a nice new addition to the team, Djingle, runs in the Listed Novice Hurdle. Diego Du Charmil is among those under consideration to run at Warwick if we have a dry week.
For all the latest news on my runners on Saturday please be sure to turn to my Betfair column late on Friday afternoon.