With 26 winners already this month you can understand why I don’t really want October to end.
But as always I am looking forward for the targets ahead and with hardly any rain in sight this week I will need to be careful what I choose to run while the ground is so quick at some tracks. So the horses that need soft ground may be marking time a little bit longer which is frustrating as there are some big meetings around the corner.
Trainers around the country are all in the same boat desperate for rain and plenty of it.
Team Ditcheat has enjoyed a marvellous run of results recently and it continued with a treble at Cheltenham on Friday bringing up our half century in double quick time. While I can’t say for sure I think that is the fastest fifty we have ever achieved which is great for everyone involved. The success of Brahms De Clermont at Cheltenham on Saturday moved our total on to 51 before another treble at Wincanton on Sunday took us onto 54 for the season. Happy days.
There were so many pleasing results with the impressive victory of As De Mee at Fontwell in midweek on his first run back after a wind op offering hope that he can now fulfil his considerable potential over fences this winter. EL Bandit defied a slow early pace at Cheltenham on Friday to stretch his winning run to five. He has earned a break now and we’ll see how the handicapper reacts. Marracudja was electrifying from the front in the novice chase the same afternoon before finding more on the hill when he was challenged late on at a track that does not play to his strengths. He is set to appear next at Sandown, then Kempton at Christmas while long term I think that he could be mustard when fresh over two miles round Aintree’s sharp, flat track at the Grand National meeting.
Cliffs of Dover then completed the treble in the conditional handicap hurdle in a manner which left me lamenting that you can’t enter three year olds in the Greatwood Hurdle. He is improving hand over fist which is quite something when you realise he had a rating of only 64 on the flat before joining us. Although he has had a busy time lately he could be out again at Wetherby on Friday but I will leave the decision until the last minute. I will have to raise my sights with future entries for him.
Plans for Brahms de Clermont are more clear-cut as he will return to Cheltenham next month for the valuable listed bumper at the Open meeting where he escapes a penalty.
Adrien Du Pont is on course for a valuable Grade 1 hurdle at Auteuil in November after his comeback run at Cheltenham on Saturday. He wasn’t fully wound up, jumped really well, will definitely improve and will also appreciate softer ground.
On Sunday I was pleased with Vibrato Valtat finishing third in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree. He is so consistent and two fences out looked like winning until he tired jumping the last. He will be stepping up to three miles at some point this season.
Not all results went our way at the weekend. Brio Conti over jumped and fell at the first flight of hurdles on Saturday at Kelso where Warriors Tale was seriously disappointing in the novice chase as he could not have been better and fitter at home. That is the second time he has failed to perform after a long journey north from Ditcheat. We will check him out and see what we can find.
For all the latest news on my runners next weekend please turn to my Betfair column late on Friday afternoon.