With a strike rate of around 33 per cent I couldn’t be happier with the form of our horses at this stage of the season.
Now all we need is some more rain which would allow me to have plenty more runners before the end of the month. For us to have seven winners from ten runners over the past three days reflects very well on everyone involved in Team Ditcheat.
We enjoyed five winners from six runners on Friday when I felt that Lou Vert, the one that got away, was one of our best chances! Cliffs of Dover, Present Man and Rouge Devils all won well at Wincanton and Pilansberg and Keltus were on the mark at Fakenham. While Sam Twiston-Davies has been on the sidelines our excellent team of jockeys have readily stepped up to the mark with Nick Scholfield, Sean Bowen, Harry Cobden and Jack Sherwood all seen to good effect.
John Cotton, the owner of Cliffs of Dover, told me the horse wasn’t much on the flat but he is a slick jumper and has improved no end since joining us. I didn’t plan to turn him out again so quickly at Kempton on Sunday as I had another race in mind for him at Newton Abbot this week. But with the ground likely to be soft there I’m glad I changed my mind as he hacked up at Kempton. All options are open for Cliffs of Dover with a tilt at a boys race at Cheltenham on Friday undeniably tempting though I could keep him for Wetherby on October 28.
Fluent jumping won the day for Present Man who is likely to be back at Wincanton for the Listed Badger Ales Trophy on November 5, not least because his owner Mark Woodhouse’s company sponsor the race. Pilansberg had to dig deep at Fakenham where Keltus travelled supremely well until briefly deciding he had done enough after cruising into the lead two out. He then found more when challenged on the flat. Keltus has been a decent money spinner for his owners over the summer and autumn and has earned a break when the ground goes against him.
Black Corton provided the second leg of our double on Sunday at Kempton with a decisive triumph in the Listed Novice Hurdle. He has thrived on our training programme, is improving all the time and is another who could be out again quickly as he holds an entry at Cheltenham. Black Corton is only a novice over hurdles until the end of the month and is going to be a decent chaser.
Plans this week depend on the ground but one who is definitely heading to Cheltenham is Marracudja for Ditcheat Thoroughbreds in the Class 2 novice chase on Friday.