Hearing the news of Lorna Brooke’s death on Monday morning was a dreadful shock. We all love our sport with a passion and it is utterly tragic that she should die from the injuries she sustained in a fall at Taunton earlier this month.
Lorna was a popular figure on the jumps circuit and a few years ago had a lot of fun on Spock, a horse we had for a short period in his younger days. She won three times on Spock who was owned and trained by her mother Lady Susan Brooke. Lorna loved race riding, became an accomplished amateur and did very well from limited opportunities. My sympathies and thoughts are with the Brooke family at her passing.
We start the final week of the jumps season needing four more winners to beat our best total of 171 achieved in 2016-2017. It’s a target that has been in my sights for a while and a treble at Wincanton on Sunday took our score for the current campaign to 168.
I was full of hope that we would also be on the mark the same afternoon at Ayr on Scottish Grand National day but without exception our eight runners underperformed.
Normally we do very well at this meeting and watching on TV from Wincanton I was pulling my hair out as one by one they dropped out of contention. Frankly it is a mystery how they all failed to give their true running.
They did have an unusually long journey in the lorry from Ditcheat on Friday due to two accidents and took 12 hours instead of 9. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but perhaps we should of travelled up on Thursday. Anyhow they are all fit and well and will now have a nice holiday starting next month .
Hopefully it was a one off and we will be back on track today with several good chances at Kempton plus Bob And Co in the Hunter Chase at Hexham.
Despite the setback at Ayr we have had a wonderful season and I’d like to thank every single member of Team Ditcheat who have helped me achieve my twelfth trainers’ championship.
I’m looking forward to taking a strong team to Sandown on the final day of the season on Saturday. Frodon runs in the Oaksey Chase, and Enrilo is an intended starter in the bet365Gold Cup. I’ve confirmed the top weight Clan Des Obeaux for the same race and will make a decision about his participation later in the week.
Other runners of interest on Saturday include Dolos and Greaneteen in the two mile Celebration Chase, while Celestial Force and Flic Ou Voyou are two lively contenders for the novice championship handicap hurdle final.
In addition Pic D’Orhy goes in the Select Hurdle and Solo is on course for the bet365 Handicap Hurdle.
For the up to the minute news on all my Saturday runners please be sure to read my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.