A rash of winners during the second half of the week took us past two important landmarks on Saturday.
The easy victory of Truckers Lodge at Chepstow brought up fifty winners for the season for Team Ditcheat. Shortly afterwards the popular success of Warriors Tale in the Grand Sefton Chase made it 51 and stretched the total prize money earned by our horses to just over £1,000,000 which leaves me in second place in the trainers’ table behind my long time assistant Dan Skelton, which is a fantastic effort considering where we were on the 13th October. Since that Chepstow meeting (which I see as the proper start to the jumps season) the horses have been flying. It would be nice to get to the top by January 1st as I know full well that I will not be there for long if I get there at all with Nicky’s stars starting to win. I’ve been teasing Dan for a while that I am gunning for him though I doubt he is losing any sleep over it.
It is really exciting to see our young vibrant team of horses and jockeys doing so well and we have plenty more to run so we will continue to keep chipping away.
Saturday proved to a great day with the victory of Dynamite Dollars in the Grade 1 Henry VIII Chase the first of a notable treble for the yard. His improvement between Cheltenham and Sandown was phenomenal which was why I was happy to take on his conqueror Lalor again.
Dollars was a much better horse on Saturday, the faster pace of the race suited him and you need a horse with stamina to win those classy two mile races, interesting that this race was nearly 4 seconds faster than the Tingle Creek. He will probably head to the Wayward Lad Chase at Kempton on December 27 before having a little break.
Warriors Tale was given the most fantastic ride by Sean Bowen on his way to winning at Aintree. I’d love to give Sean more opportunities because he is a brilliant jockey, one of the best and he still comes in once or twice a week. Warriors Tale deserved to win a big one but he showed in the Grand National in April that he doesn’t stay four and a half miles in bottomless ground so he will also get an entry in the Topham.
Although Present Man jumped well in the Becher he didn’t handle the very soft ground. We had nothing to lose by running him and we will freshen him up for the spring and maybe aim him at the bet365 Chase at Sandown.
Smart winners earlier in the week included Coup de Pinceau at Ludlow and Getaway Trump who surprised me by the way he put the seal on his race at Exeter. We might look at the Challow or the Tolworth for him next. One to shine at Wincanton was Danse Idol who looked very good. She is fully capable of running in graded raced.
Although My Way proved disappointing at Sandown on Friday he ran very well to the second last but simply didn’t get home in ground that was very tiring. He is only four and I’d say we will not see the best of him until he goes chasing next October. He is the mirror of Dynamite Dollars who finished weakly in the same race twelve months ago and you’ve seen the improvement in him with a year on his back. I will go back in trip with My Way to two miles in NH novice hurdles, start at the bottom and work my way up with him.
Topofthegame did amazingly well to finish second to Defi Du Seuil after giving away many lengths when he panicked and whipped round after being startled by the starter’s flag. While it was an unfortunate incident I’m sure it will not happen again because there is no malice in him. Once he got going he jumped brilliantly and he now heads straight to the Kauto Star Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
This coming weekend we will have some interesting runners including Ibis Du Rheu and Quel Destin plus Frodon and Romain De Senam in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup. Before then I am looking forward to schooling around a dozen three year olds on grass for the first time now we’ve had enough rain!
For the latest news on all my runners please turn to my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.