The superb victory of Cyrname at Ascot deservedly stole the headlines on the best day of the season so far for Team Ditcheat on Saturday.
With Capeland and Diego Du Charmil dominating the finish of the £125,000 Hurst Park Chase and others running really well we had plenty to celebrate at the Manor House Inn that evening.
After such a big build up I’m so pleased that the clash between Cyrname and Altior in the Christy 1965 Chase lived up to its billing.
I made it clear I couldn’t have been happier with Cyrname going to Ascot and felt that he had strong claims if he ran to his best at a track that clearly suits him so well. Having watched the replay of his brilliant success at Ascot in Grade 1 Chase in February I felt the handicapper was right in raising him to a mark of 178 because those behind him can’t have all underperformed.
I believed in the form and the horse and was thrilled with the way he beat Altior on Saturday with the help of a fine ride by Harry Cobden.
Cyrname is bound to come on for the run and his jumping can be slicker and sharper. Better ground would suit him at Kempton where he will be joined in the King George by last year’s winner Clan Des Obeaux who is very well . Frodon and Black Corton also hold entries in the race but we might well look for alternative options for them.
In the early days Cyrname was a tearaway and pulled so hard that he didn’t give himself a chance of finishing his races and uses to hold his breath and not relax , But I saw something in him and remember saying to his owner Johnny de la Hey that he would be a 150 rated chaser one day though I admit I wasn’t sure how we were going to get there with him!
It took a while for the penny to drop but since last Christmas, when we changed his training routine, he is much more relaxed and trusts us, and has now matured both mentally and physically, with his regular rider Scott Marshall playing a crucial role in his transformation. The exciting thing is that he is only seven so there is every chance he can get even better.
The same applies to Capeland who was so impressive that I might have to start looking for graded races for him in the future once the handicapper has his say. He has done really well physically, is improving fast and is an interesting horse given that he has already won over two and a half miles. I was so pleased for his owner Kathy Stuart that he won in a grand manner on Saturday after his disqualification last time following the bizarre incident at the last fence which was no fault of his own. Compensation was richly deserved.
I thought Frodon ran well in the Betfair Chase at Haydock though we probably got the tactics wrong by deciding to drop him in when he prefers to bowl along in front. It’s fair to say he didn’t look to get the extended trip in Grade 1 company.
This weekend we will be sending a team to Newbury with some lovely novices including Silver Forever in the mares race on saturday , while our recent recruit Yala Enki might go for the Ladbroke Trophy.
For the latest news on all my runners on Saturday please turn to my Betfair column which goes live at 5pm on Friday.