Cyrname was the star of the show for Team Ditcheat on Saturday as he delivered a brilliant front running performance in the valuable bet365 Chase at Ascot.
Although he started the season on a mark of 150 after a rewarding campaign as a novice he hadn’t quite run up to expectations so far this winter though the trip last time was not far enough for him. Stepped up half a mile on Saturday and without the hood he usually wears Cyrname bounced back with a stunning display of bold, accurate jumping that saw him coast home by twenty one lengths from Doitforthevillage. When he gets into a rhythm out in front, soaring over his fences, he is so hard to catch. We will be looking at Grade 1 races for Cyrname once the handicapper has his say and the obvious target is the Betfair Ascot Chase in a month’s time over the same trip as on Saturday. Much further ahead I wouldn’t rule out a tilt at the King George V1 Chase at Kempton next Christmas.
Much of the credit for Cyrname’s success must go to former jockey Scott Marshall who rides him every day and was convinced he was in top form heading to Ascot. It was Scott who suggested we remove the hood because he felt it was no longer necessary for him to wear it.
If You Say Run was not helped by the slow pace in the Grade 2 Mares Hurdle before keeping on well at the finish while in the Clarence House Chase Diego Du Charmil was not the first horse unable to keep tabs on the prolific Altior.
Nearer to home at Taunton I was very pleased to see Vicente involved from the start in the £50,000 Portman Cup before staying on to finish third behind Royal Vacation. All roads for Vicente will lead to Ayr in April when he bids to win his third Scottish Grand National.
This coming weekend Frodon is on course for the Grade 2 Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham. All his best form is short of three miles but he was far from disgraced in his two attempts over that distance and deserves a shot at this Gold Cup trial after another superb season. We will know better after the race if he heads for the Ryanair Chase at the Festival or the Gold Cup. We also have several entries in the £100,000 Skybet Chase at Doncaster and will finalise plans once we know ground conditions at the course.
For all the up to date news on our Saturday runners please turn to my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.