We have had plenty to celebrate over the past few days with a treble on Thursday bringing up the 100th winner of the season for Team Ditcheat.
That was quickly followed by another treble on Saturday with San Benedeto making the headlines with a fluent victory in the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury. While his form has been ordinary a couple of times this winter he also ran very well at Exeter and Ascot earlier in the campaign. After changing one or two things and freshening him up I was confident that San Benedeto would bounce back on Saturday stepping up in trip and the handicapper had given him a bit of slack by dropping him 8 lbs from the start of the season. He was given a fine ride by Nick Scholfield who had won on him three times previously and produced him with a telling challenge going to the last fence before they quickly drew clear on the flat.
I was thrilled to see San Benedeto get his head in front again for the first time in almost two years during which we have campaigned him at a consistently high level. He is not really suited by Cheltenham and heads instead to Aintree for the Topham Chase.
On a personal note it was great to win the Greatwood for the ninth time since 2006. Of my other pair in the race Dolos ran well for a long way to finish fifth while Warriors Tale, who was unplaced, also goes for the Topham.
Oleg, having his first run for us, gave us the perfect start to the day with a narrow success at Kelso in the colours of Middleham Park Racing and McFabulous completed a rewarding day for the yard with his second win in the bumper at Newbury from three starts. If he runs again it will be in the Aintree bumper. McFabulous was a bit babyish at Cheltenham last time but he is going the right way now and is one if a large number of youngsters who will make up a tremendous team of novices hurdlers next season.
Not everything went to plan on Saturday with Black Corton and Getaway Trump below par at Kelso though both were in the money. It was most likely a case of both having hard races at Ascot only a fortnight ago combined with the ten hour journey north from Ditcheat on Friday. Black Corton is such a willing horse he does tend to have a hard race every time. As for Getaway Trump his performance was typical of a young horse who goes away overnight for the first time. He ran flat as if he was maybe stressed by the travelling but I have no doubt he is a top prospect.
At Doncaster Danse Idol wasn’t entirely happy on the quick ground in finishing second in the Listed Hurdle.
This weekend we have a few to take to Sandown with Silver Forever on course for the Mares bumper and Malaya and possibly Southfield Stone in the Imperial Cup. I wouldn’t run him if the ground became too soft.
Confidence is high with Cheltenham around the corner. Our horses are in blistering form and we start this week with a lead of almost £500,000 over Nicky Henderson in the trainers’ championship. These are exciting times for everyone involved with Team Ditcheat.
For all the latest news on my runners on Saturday please be sure to turn to my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.