The emphatic success of Modus at Kempton on Friday was the high spot of a frustrating weekend for Team Ditcheat when most of our runners were unsuited by racing in the extremely testing ground.
It’s been frustrating waiting for the ground to dry up but unfortunately there is no sign of it happening just yet. There’s no doubt that most of ours simply don’t operate as well in the mud which is so exasperating when they are in such good form at home at the moment.
I was thrilled with the way Modus jumped and travelled at Kempton where the going was fine just as it was at Musselburgh the previous weekend where we enjoyed four winners. The obvious race for Modus at the Festival is the JLT though I’ve yet to discuss plans for him with his owner JP McManus and his racing manager Frank Berry.
Politologue did best of ours at Newbury on Saturday but had no answer when Altior came past him after the last fence in the Betfair Exchange Chase. There is no point in making any excuses as we were beaten by a better horse on the day. While Politologue could have done with a lead he still ran very well but the winner was impressive. It is going to be hard to turn the form round at Cheltenham but we will give it a go.
Saphir Du Rheu ran a fair race to three out in the Betfair Denman Chase before tiring given that he was still heavy despite loads of work over the past few months. He came back in late after sustaining an injury in the Grand National and I warned everyone that he badly needed the run. He is a big horse who takes an age to get fit. He will definitely come forward for the outing and next time in the Gold Cup on better ground I’d expect him to improve massively.
With my remaining runners Newbury all at sea on ground that became softer by the minute I pulled Danny Kirwan out of the bumper. His is a name to remember for the future.
I thought Diego Du Charmil ran a cracker in finishing second to the smart novice Saint Calvados at Warwick on his first outing for four months. He is going the right way and will be one to note in handicaps once the ground dries up.
Next weekend the prolific Frodon will spearhead our team at Ascot in the £150,000 Betfair Ascot Chase. He is one of a handful of mine that can handle heavy ground. Black Corton is also under consideration for the Reynoldstown Chase.
For the latest news on my runners at Ascot and elsewhere on Saturday please be sure to turn to my Betfair column late on Friday afternoon.