Black Corton and Posh Trish were the headline acts for Team Ditcheat at Cheltenham’s three day meeting with several more of our horses running really well in defeat.
It was good to end the week back on top of the trainers’ table with 60 winners at a decent strike rate of 28 per cent with almost £800,000 in prize money. It means that we are currently on course to meet the targets set by my head lad Clifford Baker and myself at the start of the season.
I admit to being astonished by the improvement shown by Black Corton since he won his first chase at Fontwell back in June.
He just gets better and better and after his latest brilliant success on Saturday, beating two highly rated horses, he will be raised to a mark close to 160 which is higher than Denman in his days as a novice chaser. When Black Corton started over fences I never thought he’d achieve as much as he has but he has forged a great partnership with Bryony Frost and keeps surprising me. She is a very talented and hard working rider who keeps things simple and he jumps for fun, is still improving and looks fabulous for a horse who has been on the go for so long.
I’ve always felt that when a horse is in form and on a roll then there is no point in putting them away. Black Corton has now earned his place in the Kauto Star Novice Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day and can have a break after that before being trained for the RSA at the Festival.
I was thrilled with Posh Trish who justified my faith in her with a decisive victory in the mares’ bumper on Saturday.
There is so much to like about Posh Trish who won her only point-to-point in Ireland and has the size, scope and attitude to do well over hurdles and fences. At this stage I’m not sure whether to keep her to bumpers or switch her to novice hurdles as she has always schooled smartly at home. It’s a nice dilemma to have.
On Friday Movewiththetimes again shaped with great promise over fences in finishing a close second to the highly-rated Finian’s Oscar. There is much more to come from him.
A day later Vicente came tantalisingly close to winning the long distance chase on ground that he has never enjoyed. A little mistake at the last probably cost him the race but he was flying at the finish and would have caught Perfect Candidate in a couple more strides.
Le Prezien was another to shine in finishing third in the BetVictor Gold Cup. A mistake at the first fence rather put him on the back foot but he warmed to the task and was keeping on well at the line. With any luck Le Prezien should be winning a decent prize this winter.
Romain de Senam, who finished tired in fifth, failed to get home in the extremely testing conditions. I will freshen him up and bring him back to Cheltenham next month for the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup which is usually run on much better ground on the New course.
I don’t have too much to send to Haydock next weekend but San Benedeto and Marracudja could run in the valuable handicap chase at Ascot on Saturday and I could also take Dolos and Frodon to Ascot.
For all the up to date news on my runners on Saturday please be sure to check out my regular Betfair column early on Friday evening.