With our other two other runners at the track finishing second there is no doubt that our horses are in rampant form.
A glance at the statistics in the Racing Post this morning tells the story.
With 42 winners from 123 runners at a strike rate of 34 per cent we are closing on our half century. Our current strike rate of 42 per cent with our chases is really pleasing with 30 winners from 72 runners. So, too, is the figure of 29 per cent success by horses racing for the first time this season. While the competition will get stronger in the weeks ahead I couldn’t be happier with the way things are going.
My head lad Clifford Baker and I are always looking for ways to improve results and we have tweaked a few things since the horses came back in including switching to racehorse feed supplied by Dodson & Horrell. Of all our winners over the weekend the one that excites me the most is five year old Capitaine who looked awesome in landing a decent novice chase at Market Rasen. In tearing the race apart and beating the 133 rated Western Miller by twenty two lengths he reminded me very much of Call Equiname who ended up winning the Champion Chase. The difference is that he is a much sounder horse than Call Equiname who had legs of glass. Capitaine jumps so well I am thinking of running him next in the Henry V111 Chase at Sandown.
Romain De Senam just managed to defy a 6lbs penalty in a valuable handicap at Stratford. I was guilty of running him a bit too quickly under the penalty after his fine success at Chepstow simply because he is bound to go up a lot more than 6lbs. He will have a nice break of four or five weeks now before possibly running in the BetVictor Gold Cup at Cheltenham while the progressive Amour De Nuit is on course for the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham after his latest victory at Kempton yesterday.
Second thoughts proved best following my decision to enter Old Guard and San Benedeto in the Listed Hurdle at Kempton when the race was re-opened. It seemed an ideal opportunity to give them match practice and earn useful prize money ahead of future engagements and worked out perfectly with them finishing first and second. It was really good to see Old Guard bounce back after a tough campaign last winter. He could go for the Greatwood or maybe the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton while San Benedeto, who just needed the run, heads for the Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.
A terrific day on Sunday ended with Present Man winning the novice Hurdle a shade cosily. That should put him spot on for the Badger Ales Chase where he will again be ridden by Bryony Frost.
I can’t let last week pass without a big pat on the back for young Henry Morshead who was successful on Orbasa at Wincanton on his first ride for us as a conditional. Henry, who joined us in the summer, was the inaugural winner of our new award for stable employee of the month in September. A red letter day for Henry on Friday was made even better by the sight of his dad Sam cheering him on and greeting him warmly in the winner’s enclosure. Sam has not been well these past couple of years and watching his son shine for his new boss will have been a perfect tonic for him.
We look like being busy next weekend with runners at Cheltenham’s two day meeting and at Aintree and Wincanton on Sunday where Amy Derham and Melissa Townsend will be riding in the charity race.
For all the up to the minute news on my runners next weekend please be sure to read my Betfair column on Friday evening.