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Category Archives: Latest News

December 3, 2018

A double at Newbury on Saturday maintained the fine form of Team Ditcheat and we have plenty more to look forward to in the weeks ahead now that the rain has finally come.

I was thrilled with the way Posh Trish jumped at Newbury in the Listed Mares Novice Hurdle as she turned the tables on Lust For Glory in style on more favourable terms than their first meeting on much quicker ground. I was confident she would do so on the easier going this time and she was always in command under a confident ride from Harry Cobden before sealing victory with a fluent jump at the final flight.
We have plenty of options for this classy mare who could race against her own sex again, maybe at Taunton, or take on the boys getting a useful weight allowance. She is learning all the time, stays well and is improving.

Kapcorse then ran out a decisive winner of the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase from stable companion Brelan D’As who should win a nice novice chase this season. Both wore the colours of JP McManus who was delighted to land the race named after his great friend.

Kapcorse was given a brilliant ride by Bryony Frost who also won on him at Bangor in April. He is a promising young horse who is getting the hang of things now with more experience over fences. His career is slowly building but we don’t have any firm plans for him at this stage as he wants minding.

Mont Des Avaloirs was another of ours to excel in finishing a close third, beaten less than a length by Global Citizen in the Listed Intermediate Hurdle. Given that he jumped well and stayed on strongly I’d say that was one of the best races of his life.
We will keep him to hurdles this winter and give him an entry in the Ascot Handicap Hurdle just before Xmas and will then crack on with him over fences next season.

Once the rain came at Newbury I feared that Black Corton might struggle under top weight in the softening ground and unfortunately that proved to be the case. He is not the biggest to be carrying the steadier of 11st 12lbs in such conditions and Bryony looked after him once it was clear he was struggling. He has been the most marvellous horse over the past eighteen months but it is not going to be easy to place from now on so we will take stock before making plans.

We will be busy at the weekend with a number of interesting runners. Topofthegame will be back over fences on Friday at Exeter where I also run Greaneteen. The same day I am looking forward to seeing how our French recruit My Way gets on in the Grade 2 Novice Hurdle at Sandown where Deniliquin also makes his debut for us in the juvenile hurdle. On Saturday I will have runners at Sandown, Chepstow and Aintree with Present Man and Warriors Tale both racing over the National fences.

For all the up to date news on my weekend runners please turn to my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.


November 26, 2018

Slick jumping Politologue was the star of the show at Ascot on Saturday at the end of another uplifting week for Team Ditcheat.

The winners continue to flow with Favorito Buck’s success at Ascot on Friday coming 24 hours after a double at Wincanton.
I couldn’t be happier with the way the horses are looking and running at the moment and as usual I am learning about them every day. The mood in the yard is upbeat and we enjoyed several highlights on Saturday with Grand Sancy first to strike at Haydock despite being outpaced early in the straight. He then stayed on strongly to land the Read Paul Nicholls Exclusively At Betfair Novice Hurdle. That is three out of four for Grand Sancy who is improving all the time and stays well.

Magic Saint made a fine debut for us, jumping brilliantly before finishing second in a Class 2 Graduation Chase over a trip a shade too far for him. I’ll drop him back in distance next time.

The stage was then set at Ascot for Politologue to produce an electrifying performance in the Grade 2 Christy 1965 Chase. His jumping was flamboyant and he travelled beautifully through the race with the result that he led three out sooner than Sam Twiston-Davies planned.
This horse tends to idle in front and did so again at Ascot but he was always doing enough to hold the challenge of Charbel. It was great to see him return in such sparkling form and he now heads straight to Kempton on Boxing Day for the King George where the right handed, flat track over a bare three miles should be ideal and he can get a nice tow for longer. It looks the perfect race for him. John Hales and I have agreed Politologue will not be entered in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham late in January because he wouldn’t be suited by a slog in the mud. He is likely to go for the Ascot Chase in February and will be entered in the Gold Cup.

I was chuffed with Clan Des Obeaux who ran an awesome race in the Betfair Chase against the best chasers around. He coped very well with the big fences and defied his rating to finish fourth just behind Thistlecrack. The first two were not that far in front of them and he will have learned an awful lot from taking on the big guns. There is more to come from Clan Des Obeaux most likely the other way round as he tended to jump a little right handed at his fences. I know we can improve him mentally and though I’m not sure where we take him next he holds an entry in the King George.

Others to run very well on a hectic Saturday were Old Guard, who gave the favourite If The Cap Fits 6lbs and a run for his money in the Grade 2 Coral Hurdle at Ascot and San Benedeto who ran his usual honest race to finish fourth at Ascot from his lofty mark of 152.

Another to note was Trevelyn’s Corn, a lovely prospect who needed the experience and will come on a bundle from his debut for us at Ascot where he finished a highly promising fourth. Modus disappointed behind San Benedeto while Cyrname was flat out over two miles and needs stepping up in trip.

Looking ahead we have numerous entries at Newbury on Friday and Saturday and with plenty of rain forecast I have yet to finalise plans though Black Corton definitely runs in the Ladbrokes Trophy.

For all the latest news on my Saturday runners please turn to my Betfair column late on Friday afternoon.


November 20, 2018

Quel Destin and Ibis Du Rheu gave us a fabulous start at Cheltenham on Saturday with several more horses, notably Frodon and Old Guard, performing with great credit over the next 24 hours at a meeting I always like to target.

I am thrilled with the progress made by Quel Destin since he joined us from France in the summer. He is improving rapidly and is tough too, as he showed by buckling down and staying on strongly to beat Cracker Factory by a length and a quarter in the Grade 2 Triumph Hurdle Trial. I can’t wait to run him on softer ground which will bring his stamina more into play. Next up for him could be the Summit Hurdle at Doncaster.

Ibis Du Rheu then completed a quick double for Team Ditcheat with a fluent round of jumping on his way to winning the Class 2 Novice Chase over three miles. I’ve struggled to get him right over the past year or more with niggling little issues holding him back though he did run a decent fifth at the Festival behind Mr Whitaker. Although he has taken his time to win over fences I am hoping he can kick on now and show his true colours. I had him as well as I’ve had him for ages on Saturday. He looked great in the paddock, travelled like the smart horse we know he is and beat some classy opponents. As Ibis Du Rheu jumps and stays so well my immediate reaction was that he is an ideal type for the four mile chase at the Festival.

Harry Cobden excelled on both our winners before it was the turn of Bryony Frost to get another tremendous tune out of Frodon who covered himself in glory in the BetVictor Gold Cup. Running off a career high mark of 161 he was the only one to lay down a serious challenge to the all the way winner Baron Alco who was getting over a stone in weight from him. Frodon is so genuine and was keeping on stoutly at the finish which had me wondering if I should give him another crack at three miles at some point. One tempting option for him is the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.

On Sunday Dynamite Dollars again jumped very well in finishing second to the highly impressive Lalor in the Arkle Trophy Trial, a race we’ve won ten times in the past. We would not have dreamed of taking on Lalor over hurdles so this was a big step forward for Dollars who stayed on and probably wants further.

Next it was the turn of Old Guard who stayed on willingly be third in the Greatwood Hurdle. It was a brilliant effort from such a consistent horse who is hard to place these days off a mark of 152.

I was expecting a good run from McFabulous in the bumper but the ground was a bit too lively for his liking with the result that he didn’t act in the track and was a little bit sore afterwards. I’ll give him a break now before one more run in the spring.

We will be busy again on Saturday with some interesting runners at Haydock and Ascot. Clan Des Obeaux is on course for the Betfair Chase and Captain Cattistock is an intended runner in the Betfair Exchange Stayers Handicap Hurdle while Politologue goes for the Grade 2 Christy 1965 Chase at Ascot.

For all the latest news on my Saturday plans please turn to my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon,