The stylish success of Malaya at Ascot on Sunday was the highlight of a quiet week for the team following the Cheltenham Festival.
It could well have been a double at Ascot as Diego Du Charmil jumped brilliantly and looked all over the winner of the valuable novice handicap chase until an unlucky fall in front at the third last.
I was thrilled with Malaya who readily defied top weight with a slick performance in the £25,000 juvenile handicap hurdle. She has learned to relax with racing, is improving and could go to Cheltenham for a decent Mares’ race next month while the Scottish Champion Hurdle is another possibility.
We have the option of switching Malaya to fences next season but she is progressing so well it is more likely that she will stay over hurdles for another year.
Diego Du Charmil was fine after his tumble and is likely to be back again before the end of the season. He looks smart and could go to Aintree for the Grade 1 race won by San Benedeto last season.
Adrien Du Pont was too keen for his own good in the novice Chase at Ascot but he jumped soundly bar one mistake at the eleventh before finishing a close second to Happy Diva. He bled afterwards so we will monitor him for a few days before making any plans.
Earlier in the week Cliffs of Dover doubled his score on the all-weather at Lingfield. He is a handy dual purpose horse and will be given entries at Aintree while we continue to look for further opportunities for him on the flat. Others we will be campaigning on the flat this spring include Moabit, Birds of Prey and Volpone Jelois, who runs at Newcastle tomorrow.
We also have five two year olds in training at Ditcheat for the first time which is an interesting development. They are coming on well but were never going to be ready for the Brocklesby at Doncaster on the opening day of the turf season.
For all the up to date news on my runners next weekend please turn to my regular Betfair column late on Friday afternoon.