Four winners over the weekend took our score for the season to 127 with one of the highlights the gutsy success of Secret Investor in a tight finish with Clan Des Obeaux in the Betfair Denman Chase.
It’s the tenth time I’ve trained the winner of this Grade 2 Chase and it was great to watch two of our best staying chasers serve up such a tremendous finish.
After jumping the last fence Clan des Obeaux looked a huge threat to his stable companion who led from the start but Secret Investor found a bit more in a driving finish and held on by a neck getting 6lbs off of Clan .
I can’t say I expected that result but Secret Investor finished a very good second in this race a year ago to Native River and enjoyed the drying ground at Newbury. I told Bryony Frost to ride him from the front as we wanted a good strong pace for himself and Clan. Harry Cobden reported that the runner up was holding his head a little bit high so we will probably try him in cheek pieces next time. It’s something we’ve considered for him before to sharpen his mind and we gave him the benefit of the doubt until Sunday.
Both horses are now likely to be seen next in the Aintree Betway Bowl while Enrilo, who won the novice handicap Chase, will also be in our team for Liverpool for the 3 mile novices chase .
Top marks to the BHA, Newbury and Betfair in working so hard together to ensure this key race meeting took place after the original card was frozen off eight days earlier.
On Saturday we enjoyed a double at Haydock with Monmiral, so impressive in the juvenile hurdle, and Bob And Co in the Hunter Chase. In addition Young Buck was going strongly in the lead when he slipped and unseated Sean Bowen at the third last flight in the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle.
Monmiral is another pencilled in for the Grand National meeting for the Anniversary juvenile hurdle , while Bob And Co heads straight for the Hunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
The disappointment of the weekend was the run of Cyrname in the Betfair Ascot Chase at Ascot. I was hoping that fitting cheek pieces would spark him up but he was in trouble soon after halfway, and choked badly before Harry Cobden sensibly pulled him up. His breathing is obviously becoming a major problem and having already had two breathing ops we need to investigate with Geoff Lane what we can do now . Its a challenge but I enjoy challenges and I am certain we can get him back but it might be that he will need to be nice and fresh for the Charlie Hall in the autumn if we cant get him back this spring. He is not ungenuine, he gives his all but is just struggling at the moment .
With Cyrname out of the race Master Tommytucker came with a promising challenge in the Ascot Chase but couldn’t quite get to the winner Dashel Drasher. Tommy is lightly raced for a ten year old, is still improving and could be ideal next season for races like the Betfair Chase and King George. More immediately he is another set to run at Aintree with the Melling Chase pencilled in.
With a dry forecast in the days ahead we will have plenty of runners at Kempton on Saturday and at Fontwell a day later when McFabulous is on course for the National Spirit Hurdle.
For the very latest news on all our runners over the weekend please be sure to check out my Betfair column which goes live late afternoon on Friday and Saturday.