Tamaroc du Mathan looked a horse with a bright future as he extended our excellent record in the Grade 2 Pendil Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Saturday.
It’s a race I always like to target and we have now won it eleven times stretching back to Napolitain in 2006.
Tamaroc needed plenty of time after he arrived from France but he is more settled now and won impressively on his first try at two and a half miles on drying ground that he relished. His schooling over fences has been really good from the start and there are nice races ahead for him at Aintree and Ayr. He is a progressive young horse, has not had much racing and now that we know he stays two and a half miles there could be some interesting options for him next season.
My Way then completed a double for the yard at Kempton with an overdue first success over fences in first time blinkers. Trip and ground were ideal for a horse who has been undeniably frustrating at times, so it was good to see him in control from start to finish with a positive ride from Harry Cobden.
Earlier Paso Doble ran with bags of promise in finishing stoutly to take third place in the Adonis Hurdle behind the impressive winner Tritonic. Paso Doble took a while to get over a gelding operation in the autumn and was soon on the back foot at Kempton after an early mistake. But he gradually warmed to the task and made up ground relentlessly in eye-catching style. He is a lovely horse who will benefit from the experience and is an exciting prospect for next season. If I run him again it will be in the first week of May.
However, the loss of Southfield Stone in the Close Brothers Chase put a damper on the day for Team Ditcheat. He was an attractive grey who gave his owners a lot of fun and was still in with a chance when he fell fatally six out.
Black Corton was pulled up in the same race and now heads off for a well deserved retirement with Bryony Frost who forged such a brilliant partnership with him. He has been an amazing horse for his owners and when we had a discussion after the race we agreed it was the right time to bring down the curtain on his racing career.
As you can imagine Bryony was thrilled to be given the chance to keep the old horse at her parents farm on the edge of Dartmoor. He will have the time of his life with Bryony and her family.
Black Corton won fourteen times and was a revelation over fences with his run into second place in the Galway Plate under a big weight still fresh in the memory along with his superb victory in the Oaksey Chase on the final day of the season at Sandown in 2019.
We experienced a frustrating afternoon 24 hours later on Sunday at Fontwell where we kept hitting the crossbar. Things didn’t quite happen for McFabulous who finished second in the National Spirit Hurdle to Brewin’upastorm who was in receipt of 6lbs. He made a couple of mistakes, didn’t jump well enough on the day at a track which didn’t bring out the best in him.
Sametegal was another to finish runner up in the Hunter Chase but he is now qualified for the Foxhunters at Aintree where hopefully he can be ridden by Natalie Parker.
We start March on 131 winners for the campaign and need 41 more to beat our best score of 171. It’s a target that is very much in our sights and you can be sure we will be giving it a good go, particularly at the weekend when we will be having runners at Newbury, Doncaster and Kelso on Saturday.
For the up to the minute news on all our runners on Saturday please be sure to check out my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.