The super-charged victory of Frodon in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday deservedly stole all the headlines.
The big pre Christmas crowd at the course were badly in need of something to raise the temperature on the bleakest of winter afternoons.
And they got it with a heartwarming performance by Frodon in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup (his 2nd win in this race and our 5th after Poquelin twice & Unioniste). He jumped for fun as he defied the handicapper with a spirited triumph from the front under top weight. Frodon is a proper, tough, genuine horse, only six and has got stronger and better each season with us. While he is not that big he has the heart and the engine, is very athletic and the most superb jumper. That counts for so much.
I loved every moment of his race because if you are a trainer then winning the major prizes is what it is about and he was so awesome on Saturday everyone at the track seemed lifted by his performance.
He got into a brilliant rhythm with Bryony Frost from the start, serving it up to Baron Alco who couldn’t match him this time. He gained lengths in the air at some fences, and though Cepage, in receipt of 21 lbs, briefly threatened going to the second last, Frodon landed clear again after another soaring leap. He was never going to be caught from that point and kept on up the final hill to win by one and a half lengths with Guitar Pete fully fifteen lengths away third.
Frodon is a marvel and by winning this competitive handicap for the second time off a mark of a career high mark of 164 he is going to have to tackle Grade 1 races now starting with the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham. I’ve taken him out of this year’s King George but that race could well be in his agenda next year.
Frodon was the star turn of our treble on Saturday which took Team Ditcheat very close to being top of the trainers’ table.
Amour de Nuit won nicely at Doncaster before Quel Destin extended his winning sequence in the juvenile hurdle. He will have a short break after the Grade 1 Hurdle at Chepstow at Xmas and looks an interesting one for the Triumph Hurdle in March.
Coup De Pinceau, who was a bit flat at Doncaster, is another who has earned a little holiday while Ibis Du Rheudidn’t run up to form when beaten by a very good prospect at Cheltenham on Friday. He might be better in a race with plenty of runners when they go flat out and he can pass horses late on.
The progressive Southfield Stone looked very smart at Taunton where Birds of Prey would surely have won, too, if he had jumped a bit better. There are definitely races in him over hurdles.
This weekend we will be busy at Ascot with plenty to run. Grand Sancy and Mont Des Avaloirs are in the £150,000 Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle while Art Mauresque and Favorito Buck’s are likely to run in the £100,000 Silver Cup.
Wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas and for the latest news on my Saturday runners please turn to my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.