Another busy weekend yielded four winners for Team Ditcheat with doubles at Kempton on Saturday and Fontwell on Sunday.
It is great to see the horses in such fine form with the Cheltenham Festival just over a fortnight away.
Southfield Stone was the star of the show at Kempton where he landed the Grade 2 Dovecote Hurdle gamely from the odds on favourite Angels Breath. While he has shown dramatic improvement this season I was a bit surprised to see him sailing along in front turning for home clearly going best ahead of some smart novices. He then made life difficult for himself by flattening the final flight before keeping on strongly to win by three quarters of a length. Southfield Stone loved the ground and track at Kempton and seemed suited by dropping back to two miles. Although I don’t have a plan for him yet he is very much going the right way, is well entered up and is going to make an awesome chaser.
Enrilo again impressed in gaining his second bumper success, keeping on under a penalty to win with something to spare. We will put him away now and look forward to running him over hurdles next season.
I thought Adrien Du Pont ran a cracker to be third in the 888 Chase. He finished best of all and if the cards had fallen more kindly he would have gone close to winning. He has to be dropped out in the rear to help him relax and settle and the gaps just didn’t open when he began to edge nearer turning for home. I’m sure there is a big race in Adrien, maybe the bet365 Gold Cup on the final day of the season.
Romain de Senam again ran well to be fourth, just behind Adrien Du Pont, while Modus seemed a bit below par.
I was very pleased with the hurdles debut of Red Force One who was fourth in the Adonis Hurdle. Noel Fehily liked him and felt we can make more use of him next time. We will find a suitable novice Hurdle before thinking about taking him to Aintree. Ecco also showed promise in the same race and will come on massively for the experience.
Secret Investor came up short in the Pendil Chase in which he was flat out the whole way on ground that was too quick for him. He wants three miles and softer going.
Another to disappoint was Vicente in the Eider Chase at Newcastle. He was travelling fine, jumping brilliantly, then made one mistake, lost his position and came down. The plan is to take him straight to Ayr to try to win the Scottish National for a third time.
At Chepstow a mistake at the last fence cost Capeland victory in the valuable two mile handicap chase. It was his first race since he had his soft palate cauterised and he may possibly take his chance in the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham where he would be suited by a strong gallop.
On Sunday Ostuni and Hugos Other Horse added to our weekend tally.
Although we have had a load of runners over the past ten days we will have plenty of entries for the coming weekend at Newbury, Kelso and Doncaster.
Dolos and Warriors Tale are two I am considering for the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury that we have won eight or nine times.
For all the latest news on all my Saturday runners please turn to my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.