A brilliant double at the Ladbrokes Festival Newbury on Saturday was the highlight of the week for Team Ditcheat.
Danny Whizzbang was the first to strike in the Grade 2 John Francome Novice Chase before Magic Saint completed a terrific afternoon’s racing with a determined success in the £25,00 two mile Chase. Both horses have benefited from having wind ops over the summer although I must admit that while I’ve always thought a lot of Danny I didn’t think he was forward enough on his seasonal debut to beat two opponents who were race fit. In fact I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had finished last of the trio as he had done himself very well over the summer, had come back into training a bit later than most of mine and I hadn’t rushed him. So it was great to see Danny ease into the lead just after three out before galloping on for a comfortable victory. I’ve no doubt he will improve massively for the run and though he needs more experience he is an exciting long term prospect for Angela Tincknell who owns another smart youngster Eritage who hacked up at Taunton on Thursday.
I will see how Danny comes out of the race before looking for another novice Chase for him over Christmas. Further ahead the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot looks a tempting option.
Like quite a few of my horses this season Magic Saint had come on a bundle from his first start at Cheltenham where he travelled well before tiring late on as he finished fifth in the BetVictor Chase. That helped put him spot on for dropping back in trip at Newbury where he jumped for fun before coming with a strong late challenge to edge out Bun Doran in a photo finish.
Magic Saint seemed to appreciate running on ground that was almost good given the times of the races. He is coming to himself now, is only five, is brilliant at his fences and could be one like Capeland who keeps on progressing.
Others to run well on the day included Sametegal who put up a fabulous performance to finish second in the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Chase on his first run for 665 days and Silver Forever who finished third under a penalty in the mares novice hurdle.
Master Tommytucker gave Team Ditcheat the perfect start to the week with a spirited success in a Beginners Chase at Kempton on Monday. A free going horse I’ve always rated, he hurt his knee in a fall at Chepstow in October last year just as he was looking the most likely winner. That injury ruled him out for the rest of the season but he has been going nicely at home in recent weeks and certainly looked the part at Kempton where he jumped soundly, led most of the way and found plenty when headed two out by Who Dares Wins, rated over 151 over hurdles.
A fine jump at the last sealed it for Master Tommytucker who is bound to have learned plenty given his lack of experience. He likes to get on with things, has a bright future and in a number of ways reminds me of Cyrname in his younger days.
We are set for a busy time next weekend with interesting entries at Sandown, Aintree and Chepstow. Politologue is on course for the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown, Malaya runs in the sponsored handicap hurdle and I will have a couple of entries in the Henry V111 Chase including Getaway Trump.
Among those heading to Aintree are As De Mee (Becher Chase) and Touch Kick (Sefton Chase).
For all the latest news on my Saturday runners please be sure to turn to my Betfair column which goes live at 5pm on Friday.