The Christmas presents kept coming over the holiday period with the brilliant victory of Clan Des Obeaux in the King George V1 Chase the highlight of a stunning sequence of results for Team Ditcheat.
We’ve now won this great mid season chase ten times, a record which we will be hoping to extend in years to come.
Clan Des Obeaux justified my faith in him with a fluent round of jumping before moving into contention on the final bend and readily drawing clear of Thistlecrack on the flat. To win races like this one is what it is all about. It means everything to me.
It was a wonderful result, too, for my landlord and great friend Paul Barber, enjoying his third success in the race, his wife Marianne and their co owners Sir Alex Ferguson and Ged Mason. Ged is a great enthusiast who sponsors the yard and entered into the spirit of the day by coming back to Ditcheat to join in the celebrations at the Manor Inn.
A word, too, for Harry Cobden who had no hesitation in choosing Clan from my two and rode a flawless race on him. The horse will head for the Gold Cup in March and if he runs before then it will not be against Native River at Newbury as I don’t want to get into a scrap with him.
Politologue just lost out on third place in the King George after tiring late on. He will come back in trip for the Ascot Chase and then the Ryanair Chase but I would not be against trying him again over three miles at some point.
Topofthegame ran a blinder to be second to the fine mare La Bague Au Roi in the Kauto Star. I was massively pleased with him because he ran a bit green and still has a lot to learn. There is so much improvement to come from Topofthegame who probably goes next for the Reynoldstown at Ascot then the RSA.
Others to shine on Boxing Day were Posh Trish and Flic Ou Voyou, both successful at Wincanton.
We then enjoyed a four timer the next day with the hardy juvenile Quel Destin showing admirable determination to land the Grade 1 Coral Finale Hurdle at Chepstow where Ask For Glory landed the bumper in the style of a smart prospect. I’m very proud of Quel Destin who continues to progress and will have one more run before the Triumph Hurdle.
At Kempton Dynamite Dollars excelled again in winning the Grade 2 Wayward Lad Chase before Adrien Du Pont sailed home in the three mile handicap chase under top weight with the help of a confident, patient ride by Harry Cobden. On a wonderful afternoon for Team Ditcheat Diego Du Charmil was also an honourable second to Altior in the Desert Orchid Chase. Dollars is improving rapidly and in my opinion should be favourite for the Arkle while Adrien is pencilled in for the Betdaq Handicap Chase at Kempton.
A rewarding few days over Christmas left me holding a lead of almost £200,000 over Dan Skelton and Nicky Henderson in the trainers’ table though I am well aware I will need to have my wits about me to stay there. While we will keep ticking over trying our best the New Year always signals a slightly quieter month for the team in January with the horses having their winter flu jabs.
This week we should have some interesting runners at Cheltenham on Tuesday while Southfield Stone and Capeland are on course for Sandown on Saturday.
For the latest news on my weekend runners please turn to my Betfair column which goes live at 5 pm on Friday.