The stirring victory of Frodon in the Grade 2 Old Roan Chase at Aintree on Sunday capped another fine week for Team Ditcheat.
It came 24 hours after Modus rallied bravely to land the valuable Class 2 Randox Health Chase in a tight finish at Cheltenham.
While Modus is still relatively inexperienced over fences Frodon, although only six, is a marvel, a hardy campaigner who is a great jumper and continues to shine as his handicap mark edges ever higher. On his first start of the season, conceding weight to all but one of his rivals, he was given a typically positive ride by Bryony Frost who gets on so well with him. They were always handy on Sunday, took up the running over a mile from home and never looked likely to be caught before winning by one and a quarter lengths from Javert. He was racing off a mark of 158 at Aintree so will see what the handicapper does before making a plan though it is fair to say that up to now Frodon has come up a little short in Grade 1 races.
Modus has now won four times over fences from seven starts. Like many of mine he doesn’t want the ground too testing which explains why he was below par at Cheltenham and Aintree in the Spring. Back on better ground on Saturday he bounced back to form and it was good to see the way he buckled down on the final hill to catch Duke of Navan in the final few strides. His jumping was still a bit novicey at times but he is relaxing and growing up and probably wants further than two miles now. He will be well entered up in handicaps but we will see how he comes out of the race before making a plan.
We have a lovely bunch of young horses for the future and are getting them out when we can if the ground is suitable. Two of our nice four year olds Enrilo and Dr Sanderson both won well at Worcester in midweek and Amour de Nuit jumped fluently at Ludlow on Thursday on his way to victory in a match in a novices limited handicap Chase.
After hardly having any runners in the late summer and autumn we lay 22nd in the trainers’ table fifteen days ago. Now after a sustained run of good results we are up to fourth. But to keep up the momentum we need plenty more rain to run more of our team and I will have an anxious eye on the weather forecast before I can finalise running plans at Wetherby and Ascot at the weekend. The lack of suitable ground as we head into November is a big worry. All I can do at the moment is make loads of entries and hope and pray that the rain comes.
or the latest news on my weekend runners please turn to my Betfair column which goes live at 5 pm on Friday.