It is always good to start Cheltenham week with a winner and Oleg certainly played his part with an easy success on the flat at Southwell on Sunday afternoon ridden by my daughter Megan.
While bigger challengers lie ahead over the four days of the Festival I couldn’t be happier with the form and health of the team.
The horses have been in cracking form and it’s such a shame that waterlogged conditions at so many courses have prevented me from running more of them.
Many trainers will have shared my frustration at the loss of Sandown’s two day card at the weekend following the abandonment of Newbury a week earlier.
Given that we are all in the same boat full marks should go to the BHA for ensuring that the EBF Final and Mares’ Listed bumper originally scheduled at Sandown have been added to the card at Kempton on Saturday.
We don’t have any runners on the opening day of the Festival but will be busy enough for the rest of the week with some of our best chances coming on the Friday.
We field two in the Champion Chase with Harry Skelton on last year’s runner up Politologue as Harry Cobden has chosen to ride Dynamite Dollars who has come on bundles since his excellent comeback at Newbury.
Later in the afternoon Thyme White is likely to be joined by Mick Pastor in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap.
Saint Sonnet, impressive at Catterick recently, runs in the Marsh Novices’ Chase on Thursday, Frodon will defend his crown in the Ryanair Chase while Brelan d’As is an interesting contender in the Brown Advisory Plate.
We start Friday with a strong hand in the Triumph Hurdle. Solo was hugely impressive on his debut for us in the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton and Sir Psycho has progressed with every run. David Maxwell will ride his own horse Cat Tiger in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle.
I am happy to report that Clan Des Obeaux is in tip top shape for the Gold Cup. To keep him fresh I’ve deliberately not run him since his great win in the King George and am expecting a big show from him.
Alcala is our representative in the Foxhunter Chase, then it is the turn of Greaneteen and possibly Capeland in the Grand Annual before the Martin Pipe in which we have several entries.
There will be no let up in our schedule on Saturday as we will have a number of runners at Uttoxeter and Kempton.
For all the latest news on my runners from Wednesday to Saturday please be sure to turn to my Betfair column which goes live each evening at 5pm.