Results didn’t quite go our way on Saturday and by the end of the afternoon I felt a bit like a football manager whose team kept hitting the crossbar.
That’s the way it goes sometimes but the the horses continue to look and run well.
Black Corton, Old Guard and Art Mauresque all went tantalisingly close in valuable races on Saturday and others from Team Ditcheat who performed with credit included Adrien Du Pont and Zyon.
Full credit to Bryony Frost for surviving an early blunder from Black Corton in the Charlie Hall Chase that shot her out of the saddle. All those mornings riding bareback on the moors in Devon with her dad Jimmy and brother Hadden paid off as she somehow staying on his back when all hope seemed lost. It was the most amazing recovery you will ever see. Horse and rider were soon back in a nice rhythm and when they come to challenge Definitely Red at the second last it looked for a moment as they might go on and win. But Definitely Red is rated 11lbs higher than our horse and held on by two lengths. It was probably a career best by Black Corton who gave him a race and is highly likely to run next in the Ladbroke Trophy at Newbury on December 1.
Old Guard found the going a little too fast for his liking in finishing a narrow second to Nautical Nitwit in the Grade 2 bet365 Hurdle. Although he didn’t really let himself down on the ground he stayed on willingly to challenge on the run in. While a 6lbs penalty didn’t help his cause on this occasion he always gives his best and should have his turn at some point this season.
Art Mauresque ran a cracker at Ascot in the £56,000 Sodexo Gold Cup. He looked sure to win after winging the last two fences but three miles is just about at the limit of his stamina and he failed by half a length to hold the late charge of Traffic Fluide. It was a tremendous run from a horse who hasn’t won for over two years. Five lengths behind him Adrien Du Pont stayed on well to finish fourth despite stumbling after a mistake at the final fence. He had travelled keenly at the rear of the field and was just easing into contention when he made a blunder at the third last. You would have to think he would not have been far away but for those mistakes. With any normal luck there is a decent race in both horses though Art Mauresque remains handicapped to the hilt and I would be mortified if he goes up after this latest solid effort.
Zyon ran with great promise in the closing bumper to finish a close third after leading to the final furlong. It was a huge improvement from his debut at Wincanton in the Spring. Zyon is one of a batch of really nice four year olds who should give us loads of fun in the years ahead.
We ended the weekend with Cyrname finishing an honourable third to the progressive Mister Whitaker in the Listed Intermediate Chase at Carlisle on Sunday. He was giving weight all round, jumped soundly and kept on steadily on the final hill.
We are still doing a rain dance at Ditcheat, hoping the forecast for wet weather later in the week is correct. But conditions are still unseasonably quick at Exeter tomorrow where I plan to run Diego Du Charmil and San Benedeto in the Haldon Gold Cup.
Further ahead I am hoping to run last year’s winner Present Man and El Bandit in the Badger Ales Chase at Wincanton on Saturday and have Dynamite Dollars and maybe Secret Investor pencilled in for the Rising Stars Chase.
It all depends on the ground so for the latest news on my weekend runners please turn to my Betfair column which goes live on Friday at 5pm.