Team Ditcheat had plenty of cause for celebration on Saturday night after five winners and a second at our local track Wincanton.
We were never going to go through the card as we didn’t have an entry in the Elite Hurdle. We began a magic day by landing the first three races before Secret Investor couldn’t quite get to grips with Bags Groove in the Grade 2 Rising Stars Chase though he still ran very well in defeat.
Present Man and Bryony Frost later put the the icing on the cake by winning the Badger Ales Chase for the second year running in the colours of Tessa and Mark Woodhouse who is the chairman of the race sponsors.
We then took the concluding bumper with Flic Ou Voyou, the latest of a smart bunch of four year olds to shine this season.
In addition I was thrilled to see Birds of Prey finish fourth in the November Handicap at Doncaster. Full marks to my daughter Megan for getting him across from stall 22 to make his challenge on the far rail. That took a bit of doing. Birds of Prey wants soft ground and could be interesting when he goes hurdling soon.
A month ago we lay 22nd in the trainers’ table after a quiet spell with hardly any runners for several months because of firm ground around the country. Now the rain has finally come the team is flying and we are up to second in the list. It is all highly encouraging for the winter ahead.
Bryony Frost again excelled on the bold jumping Present Man who was my ninth winner of the Badger. We trained him for the day, he was fit and he delivered in style under top weight. You will not see a better round of jumping all season at the track. Bryony was always in the right place on Present Man, saved a bit when he was headed and then produced him with a perfectly timed run in the straight. She keeps things simple and rides with a lot of intelligence. Present Man is a great favourite in the yard and got a brilliant cheer from the locals as he came back in.
I’d say he is made for the Grand National so he will most likely head next to Aintree for the Becher Chase or the Sefton over the big fences if the ground is ok. He doesn’t want a lot of racing.
If You Say Run won the Mares’ race so tidily I think I will keep her to hurdles this season. There is no hurry to go chasing.
Secret Investor was beaten by a smart horse and should come into his own over fences after this promising run.
Earlier in the week Silver Forever was impressive winning her bumper at Chepstow and Coup de Pinceau made a winning debut over fences at Exeter where Diego Du Charmil finished sore after striking into the bulb of his heel and losing his front shoe at the second last fence down the back in the Haldon gold Cup.
The fall of Malaya at the final hurdle at Auteuil on Sunday brought us back to earth. She was booked for fourth place at the time and is fine this morning back in her box at Ditcheat.
I’ve made loads of entries at this weekend’s three day meeting at Cheltenham and will finalise plans later in the week.
For all the latest news on my runners please turn to my Betfair column which goes live at 5 pm on Friday and Saturday.