A spring-heeled juvenile and a tough as teak seven year old staying hurdler were the stars of the show at Wetherby at the end of another excellent week for Team Ditcheat.
With a rating of 64 on the flat Cliffs of Dover was sent to us this Autumn with no great expectations by his owner John Cotton.
Just look at him now after his highly impressive victory in the Listed Wensleydale Hurdle at Wetherby on Friday under the maximum penalty of 8 lbs.
That was his fifth win from six starts in just over two months. He was rated 139 going to Wetherby and is sure to be raised again after romping home by nine lengths from Nietzsche.
I am thrilled with Cliffs of Dover who loves jumping, is really slick over his hurdles, enjoys our training routine and is clearly thriving. He is likely to go to Cheltenham’ s Open meeting or Doncaster before having a mid winter break.
Silsol goes well fresh and kick-started his season with a well deserved triumph in the £22,780 bet365 Hurdle at Wetherby on Saturday. Although he was the top rated horse in the field he would have preferred softer ground but that did not prevent him staying on stoutly to beat Native River by two and three quarter lengths. Jack Sherwood has forged a great partnership with Silsol who will be running in all the decent three miles hurdles in the months ahead.
Modus and Saphir Du Rheu both ran with considerable promise in finishing third in valuable races at Ascot on Saturday.
Modus looked a little bit unlucky as he encountered traffic problems before closing quickly on the first two in the William Hill Handicap Hurdle. I’d expect him to improve for the run as he came in a little later that most of ours this Autumn. He has several options in the weeks ahead.
Saphir Du Rheu definitely heads for the Hennessy Gold Cup after his encouraging show in the Sodexo Gold Cup where he would have snatched second place in another stride or two. He does frustrate me because he still looked big in the paddock even though he has done loads of work at home in the past couple of months. He jumped great, stayed on well and the race will tighten him up and bring him on so I am confident he can build on this performance.
This week I am looking forward to seeing Dodging Bullets make his seasonal re-appearance in the Haldon Gold Cup on Tuesday. We have had a clear run with him this time, unlike last winter and he is ready to go on good ground that suits him.
I think he has a great chance as this handicap should be easier for him after he has been running in Grade 1 races. He will be stepping up in trip as the season goes on.
We are in for a busy time over the weekend with Le Mercurey and Silviniaco Conti heading to Down Royal while Ptit Zig and Dolus will be in action at Auteuil. Nearer home I will have plenty of entries at Wincanton and Aintree on Saturday.
For all the latest news on all my runners please turn to my Betfair column on Friday afternoon.