I couldn’t be happier with the form of the horses as we enter the final month of another rewarding season.
A double at Ascot on Sunday provided by Present Man and San Benedeto took our score for the campaign 143.
I was also in the winner’s enclosure after the hunter chase at the end of the afternoon as part owner of Monsieur Gibraltar who has gained a new lease of life since joining Rose Loxton who is a key member of Team Dicheat.
24 hours earlier the consistent four year old Volpone Jelois was in the frame again at Doncaster on the opening day of the turf season.
Present Man and San Benedeto have now won nine races between them this season which is quite something. San Benedeto began by landing a minor novice chase at Sedgefield in May, is on a career high mark of 150 and is bound to go up again after his success in the £29,000 Ascot United FC Novices’ Handicap Chase. Both he and Present Man could well be out again before enjoying a well deserved summer holiday.
In the past week a series of solid results has seen Team Ditcheat eating into the lead held by Nicky Henderson in our duel for the trainers’ championship. A week ago he led by £120,00. Now the gap is down to around £76,000 and we have lots of horses left to run in the coming weeks.
Things will probably be decided one way or another at Liverpool’s three day meeting which ends on Saturday.
While I don’t have any aces for the Grade 1 races I will be sending plenty to Aintree with chances including five in the Grand National which carries serious prize money and two in both the Topham and the Foxhunters. Frodon, Politologue, and High Secret are all set to run there while Silviniaco Conti is an interesting contender on Thursday for the Betfred Bowl which he won in 2014 and 2015. Ptit Zig and Aux Ptits Soins are both pencilled in for the Liverpool Stayers Hurdle on Saturday while Zarkandar is more likely to go for a handicap ridden by one of my claiming jockeys.
Nicky is sending a powerful team to the meeting and if he lands a couple of Grade 1 races catching him is going to be extremely difficult.
Hopefully some of my National quintet will be in the money and I feel I will still be in with a chance if I come out of Aintree no more then £200,000 behind him. I’m encouraged that a year ago we left the Grand National meeting £180,000 behind the Mullins team yet still managed to edge ahead on the final day of the season at Sandown.