The stylish victory of Enrilo in the Grade 2 Ballymore Winter Novice Hurdle at Sandown on Friday was the high spot of a frustrating weekend for Team Ditcheat when a few of ours ran below expectations.
I’ve always thought a great deal of Enrilo a handsome, lightly raced, really exciting five year old who is going to make a super chaser in a year’s time.
He arrived at Sandown on the back of a below par run at Ludlow where something upset him and he hung badly left handed as if in discomfort perhaps caused by the bit he was wearing.
I was confident that was a one off and he certainly looked good on Friday as he stayed on to beat House Island with some decent youngsters well beaten behind them.
We will mind him this season because he is still inexperienced and I’d say he is unlikely to be going to the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Scaramanga was another pleasing winner at Wincanton on Thursday in the hands of our good claimer Bryan Carver. He has an entry at Cheltenham this weekend but is much more likely to turn out in a valuable handicap at Ascot before Christmas.
On Saturday Grand Sancy and As de Mee both ran with credit but Politologue had an off day after getting a bit wound up after a delay to the start in the Tingle Creek Chase and never really travelled through the race while Dolos needs to go back in handicaps.
Grand Sancy jumped well in the Henry VIII Chase which was probably a tough first challenge for him over fences. He will be fine and could go next for a race at Kempton on December 27.
Malaya was another disappointment at Sandown in the handicap hurdle. I thought she had a first rate chance but she obviously didn’t run to form. Fitness was not an issue and maybe she is one of those fillies who come good in the spring.
At Liverpool As de Mee ran a cracking race back over the National fences in the Becher Chase and was up there jumping like a buck the whole way until running out of stamina in the last quarter mile.
Black Corton faced an impossible task giving weight in the Many Clouds Chase to the former Gold Cup winner Native River. He will probably have one more run before coming back in the spring at Sandown.
This week we will be quite quiet until Thursday at Taunton where we will have plenty of runners. Friday could be another quiet day before the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at Cheltenham on Saturday where Brelan d’As and Secret Investor are both scheduled to start.
Then we will be busy at Ascot the following weekend and will have loads of runners over Christmas including, of course, Cyrname and Clan Des Obeaux in the King George VI Chase at Kempton.
Clan is in really good order and enjoyed an away day at Wincanton last week ridden by Harry Cobden while Cyrname did his first little half speed after an easy fortnight following his fab win at Ascot.
Getaway Trump is also heading to Kempton on Boxing Day for the Christmas Hurdle. Things haven’t quite worked for him over fences so far this season so we are switching him to hurdles. He has the pace for two miles and it will be interesting to see how he gets on.
For the latest news on my runners on Saturday please turn to my Betfair column which goes live at 5pm on Friday.