We enjoyed a fabulous few days at Cheltenham with Frodon And Topofthegame both delivering at the highest level.
Several more of our horses also shone including Politologue who has always been campaigned against the best and achieved a career best in running Altior close in the the Queen Mother Champion Chase.
You always want to be involved in the big races at the major meetings and after a quiet couple of years for Team Ditcheat it is so exciting that we now have a core of smart, improving chasers challenging for the top prizes. Further ahead we have no end of talented young hurdlers who will be going chasing next season.
On a personal note it was good to end the Cheltenham Festival with a lead of more than £400,000 over Nicky Henderson in our duel for the trainers’ title which is a handy advantage at this late stage of the season. I have plenty to run in the remaining six weeks and you can sure I will be doing my best to bring an eleventh championship home to Ditcheat.
Bryony Frost deservedly stole all the headlines on Thursday after her superb winning ride in the Ryanair Chase on Frodon who is a legend of a horse. Harry Cobden was equally good in riding a patient waiting race in the RSA Chase before delivering a thrilling late victory charge on Topofthegame who is the tallest horse I’ve ever trained.
My inclination is to draw stumps with Frodon who has had a busy and brilliant season. But Topofthegame has run only three times and could well go to Aintree for the Mildmay Novices’ Chase. Politologue could also be heading to Aintree for another crack at the Melling Chase which he won last April though we have the option of switching him to Sandown on the last day of the season.
Clan Des Obeaux ran a cracker in the Gold Cup. He was bang there challenging for the lead at the second last before fading into fifth place on the hill on rain softened ground. He is only seven, has been a great flag-bearer for the yard and I am already looking forward to taking him back to Kempton next Christmas to defend his crown in the King George V1 Chase. I’ll see how Clan comes out of the race before deciding whether to send him to Aintree for the Betway Bowl in which he was third last year.
I was well pleased with the runs of Brio Conti in the Coral Cup and Brelan d’As in the Grand Annual in which Magic Saint failed to show his true form. He is only five and may be better on a flat track so he is another who could run at Aintree.
We have retired Pacha Du Polder after he was pulled up in the Foxhunters Chase, a race he has made his own these past few years. He is twelve now, has won the race twice, and given Bryony Frost, Harriet Tucker and Victoria Pendleton days at Cheltenham they will never forget.
Pacha is enjoying a well earned break and we have already had a few offers from people keen to give a nice home.
We have had so many runners over the past month or so that we will be quieter than usual over next few days before things pick up again at the weekend at Newbury and Kelso. Then, as usual, we will be targeting Aintree, Ayr, Perth and Sandown in the final weeks of the campaign.
For the up to the minute news in my runners on Saturday please be sure to turn to my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.