Doubles at Chepstow on Saturday and Sunday completed a highly rewarding week for Team Ditcheat.
I’m pleased to say the horses are flying as the season proper gets under way.
Moabit set the ball rolling a week ago with an excellent victory on the flat at Salisbury ridden by my daughter Megan.
Two days later I was thrilled with the way Braqueur D’Or demolished a competitive field in a £13,500 handicap chase at Ludlow.
He has done nothing but improve since he joined us a few months ago. We will see how the handicapper reacts but he could go to Ascot next for the £100,000 Sodexo Gold Cup on November 4 or to Cheltenham a week earlier.
Coastal Tiep was the next on the scoresheet on Thursday at Exeter with the help of an energetic ride by Sam Twiston-Davies. He tends to race lazily and looked in trouble on the final bend but Sam kept pushing and shoving and gained his reward when Coastal Tiep stayed on stoutly to catch and pass the favourite Wotzizname.
We headed back to Devon on Friday to Newton Abbot for the stylish success of Black Corton who is on a roll and made light work of winning the valuable Intermediate Chase in which he was well treated by the conditions. He has done nothing but improve since he switched to fences and was given a good ride by Bryony Frost who gets on so well with him. He remains a novice for the rest of the season so we can pick and choose where we go with him now.
The way we peppered the pin on both days at Chepstow confirmed that our horses are in top form at just the right time of the year. Dynamite Dollars and If You Say Run both won their novice hurdles well on Saturday and should go on from this point and Alcala looked set to land the featured novice chase until coming down on the final bend when full of running. It was shocking bad luck for his long winning sequence to end in such a manner because he was full of running at the time and jumping for fun. The winner Finian’s Oscar was some way behind when Alcala departed and would have needed to sprout wings to catch him. I’m pleased and relieved to report that Alcala was fine afterwards. He is only a novice for another couple of weeks, so could go for a novice chase at Cheltenham at the end of the month.
Dolos then ran a cracker under a big weight in the four year old Hurdle. He goes chasing now. Peak to Peak completed a terrific day for the team in finishing a close third in the Silver Trophy with Old Guard showing plenty of promise a couple of lengths back on his first run since an op to help his breathing.
I can’t let Saturday pass without giving a big pat on the back to 66 year old Sandy May who came tantalisingly close to landing the Jump Legends charity race for us on Brahms de Clermont. Sandy is a lovely guy who has made a spirited recovery from two bouts of cancer which is why he set his heart on riding in this race which raised funds for the Bob Champion Cancer Trust. He has been riding at home in Cornwall all summer before moving up close to DItcheat over the past few weeks so that he could come in and ride three lots each morning. He also had a few sessions on the Equicizer under the watchful eye of jockey coach Rodi Greene. All his hard work looked like paying off as he produced Brahms de Clermont with a perfectly timed run that sent them into the lead with half a furlong to run. But they were caught in the last couple of strides by Maoi Chinn Tire ridden by Sam Thomas who is over thirty years younger than Sandy. He was distraught to be beaten but he should be proud of his own efforts in single handedly raising almost £4,000 for the Bob Champion Cancer Trust. I will try to find another decent mount for him next year.
Back at Chepstow on Sunday Romain de Senam put a smile on all our faces with a highly impressive victory in the John Ayres Memorial Chase. He was too keen last season but is getting his act together now and as he is only five I plan to be take my time with him. Mont Des Avaloirs then completed a tremendous week for Team Ditcheat by landing the second division of the bumper. An imposing half brother to Le Prezien, he is a really nice prospect who will make a lovely chaser in time. Earlier the ex French filly Malaya shaped with much promise in finishing second to the odds on favourite Gumball in the juvenile Hurdle and Amour de Nuit was beaten only half a length in the Persian War Hurdle. He could be out again at Kempton on Sunday while his long term target is the Greatwood Hurdle.
I always think that this race meeting at Chepstow marks the start of the season proper. Results over the two days suggest that we have much to look forward to over the coming months.