The thumping success of Dolos at Sandown on Saturday came as a timely tonic at the end of a challenging week after a mixture of frost and snow played havoc with our running plans.
Several meetings were lost including Wincanton where we had a hatful of chances and the two day card at Musselburgh which we were again targeting.
Team Ditcheat then worked overtime clearing the gallops and salting the roads around the village when the blizzard arrived late on Thursday.
I owe them all a huge thanks for making sure that we were able to canter all the horses from both yards on Friday morning despite the worst of the weather.
Things hadn’t gone the way of Dolos this season so far but he was very good on Saturday at a track which plays to his strengths as he came home clear of Gino Trail. He needs a fast run race, enjoys Sandown and two miles on soft ground is perfect for him. Dolos will definitely not be going to Cheltenham but as he didn’t have a hard race he might turn out again quickly at Newbury on Saturday in the Game Spirit Chase and then I’ll keep him fresh for the Celebration Chase at Sandown at the end of the season.
Copain De Classe wants much faster going while Le Prezien didn’t jump well out of the soft ground.
I was thrilled to see Give Me A Copper run a cracker to be fourth in the staying Chase after such a long lay off. He was giving plenty of weight to the first three, travelled strongly until tiring going to two out and his jumping was a joy to watch as he was foot perfect throughout. It was a brilliant effort on his third start over fences when you consider I had not been hard on him at home and he hadn’t been away for a gallop. I am thinking of running Give Me A Copper next in the Ultima Handicap Chase at Cheltenham before a crack at the Grand National which is a race I’ve always felt would be ideal for him. He’s nine now and though you could question his lack of experience over fences you couldn’t name any horse who jumped round Sandown better than him on Saturday. Sometimes it can be an advantage not having too much experience going to Aintree because they are not set in their ways.
Casko d’Airy will probably go back Novice hurdling after he finished fifth in the Heroes Handicap Hurdle. He ran into a bit of trouble and we will ride him handier next time.
With a positive weather forecast we have plenty to run this week, particularly at the weekend at Newbury where Clan Des Obeaux goes for the Denman Chase, Getaway Trump and Mont Des Avaloirs are both on course for the Betfair Hurdle and Ask For Glory and McFabulous take their chance in the bumper. In addition Quel Destin goes for the Listed Hurdle at Exeter on Sunday.
For the latest news on my weekend runners please turn to my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.