Another fruitful weekend left us closing fast on the £1 million mark for our owners this season.
With the horses continuing to look great in their coats and running really well on the track I’m hopeful we can pass that important landmark in the coming days.
Old Guard led the way at Newbury on Saturday with a decisive success in the £26,000 Ladbroke Handicap Hurdle with the help of a positive ride from Bryony Frost. She was riding at Newbury for the first time but you would not have known it as she also finished second in tight finishes on the super consistent Black Corton and Warriors Tale.
Old Guard clearly appreciated the step up to two and a half miles after his fine run in the Greatwood where he finished so strongly. In beating a competitive field of handicappers off a mark of 149 he was winning his seventh race since joining us as a juvenile and has earned almost £250,000 in prize money.
Black Corton came within a whisker of making it six in a row over fences in the John Francome a Novices’ Chase when a more fluent jump at the last fence might have made the difference. Warriors Tale, too, was only just denied by a neck at a track which seems to suit him so well.
Of all my runners on Saturday I was probably most pleased by Braqueur d’Or who is only six and took another big step forward by finishing fourth in the Ladbrokes Trophy. He joined us in the spring on a mark of 109 and was promptly beaten over hurdles! He is now up to a mark of 139 and his excellent show on Saturday had me looking ahead to races like the Scottish National and the Bet365 Gold Cup.
Present Man didn’t get the trip in the Ladbroke Trophy but there will be other days for him.
Our two runners at Newcastle excelled with Irving finishing second to the Champion Buveur d’Air in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle, a race in which he always seems to run well. He was in robust form at home ahead of his trip North and second place was arguably the best we could have expected at level weights.
Earlier on the card our debutante Act of Valour impressed with his fluent jumping on his way to landing the juvenile hurdle despite not enjoying the testing ground. He is the first horse we have trained for Max McNeill and his family and they look to own a good one. We have around a dozen three year old hurdlers this season and while you can never be sure until they do it on the track Act of Valour has always shaped like an exciting recruit. Other promising juveniles we will be running shortly include Sayo, Kings Inn and Tommy Hallinan.
We will be busy next weekend with interesting runners at Sandown, Aintree and Chepstow. Politologue is on course for the Betfair Tingle Creek at Sandown with Capitaine pencilled in for the Henry V111 Chase.
Our team at Liverpool includes As de Mee in the Becher Chase while Sametegal and Frodon are likely to be in action over fences, too. Bryony Frost, the girl of the moment, will be at Chepstow principally to ride Binge Drinker on his first outing for us in the trial for the Welsh National. He has been off for a while with an injury after beating Might Bite, no less, on his only start over fences.
For all the latest news on my Saturday runners please turn to my Betfair column on Friday evening.