Slick jumping Politologue was the star of the show at Ascot on Saturday at the end of another uplifting week for Team Ditcheat.
The winners continue to flow with Favorito Buck’s success at Ascot on Friday coming 24 hours after a double at Wincanton.
I couldn’t be happier with the way the horses are looking and running at the moment and as usual I am learning about them every day. The mood in the yard is upbeat and we enjoyed several highlights on Saturday with Grand Sancy first to strike at Haydock despite being outpaced early in the straight. He then stayed on strongly to land the Read Paul Nicholls Exclusively At Betfair Novice Hurdle. That is three out of four for Grand Sancy who is improving all the time and stays well.
Magic Saint made a fine debut for us, jumping brilliantly before finishing second in a Class 2 Graduation Chase over a trip a shade too far for him. I’ll drop him back in distance next time.
The stage was then set at Ascot for Politologue to produce an electrifying performance in the Grade 2 Christy 1965 Chase. His jumping was flamboyant and he travelled beautifully through the race with the result that he led three out sooner than Sam Twiston-Davies planned.
This horse tends to idle in front and did so again at Ascot but he was always doing enough to hold the challenge of Charbel. It was great to see him return in such sparkling form and he now heads straight to Kempton on Boxing Day for the King George where the right handed, flat track over a bare three miles should be ideal and he can get a nice tow for longer. It looks the perfect race for him. John Hales and I have agreed Politologue will not be entered in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham late in January because he wouldn’t be suited by a slog in the mud. He is likely to go for the Ascot Chase in February and will be entered in the Gold Cup.
I was chuffed with Clan Des Obeaux who ran an awesome race in the Betfair Chase against the best chasers around. He coped very well with the big fences and defied his rating to finish fourth just behind Thistlecrack. The first two were not that far in front of them and he will have learned an awful lot from taking on the big guns. There is more to come from Clan Des Obeaux most likely the other way round as he tended to jump a little right handed at his fences. I know we can improve him mentally and though I’m not sure where we take him next he holds an entry in the King George.
Others to run very well on a hectic Saturday were Old Guard, who gave the favourite If The Cap Fits 6lbs and a run for his money in the Grade 2 Coral Hurdle at Ascot and San Benedeto who ran his usual honest race to finish fourth at Ascot from his lofty mark of 152.
Another to note was Trevelyn’s Corn, a lovely prospect who needed the experience and will come on a bundle from his debut for us at Ascot where he finished a highly promising fourth. Modus disappointed behind San Benedeto while Cyrname was flat out over two miles and needs stepping up in trip.
Looking ahead we have numerous entries at Newbury on Friday and Saturday and with plenty of rain forecast I have yet to finalise plans though Black Corton definitely runs in the Ladbrokes Trophy.
For all the latest news on my Saturday runners please turn to my Betfair column late on Friday afternoon.