We head into the final week of the season in a buoyant mood following the brilliant news that Bravemansgame can now run in the Punchestown Gold Cup on Wednesday.
That became possible once the FCA and BHA approved a deal for his joint owner Bryan Drew to buy the remaining 50% of the horse from John Dance.
I’m really looking forward to seeing Bravemansgame take on Galopin Des Champs again. He seems in great shape and schooled beautifully this morning ridden by Harry Cobden.
Being forced to by-pass Aintree has to be in his favour as he has had an extra twelve days to get over his race in the Gold Cup. He will travel to Ireland this evening accompanied by Shantou Flyer who will be ridden by my daughter Olive in the Hunter Chase at Punchestown.
It’s encouraging that our horses continue in top form after a brilliant two days at Ayr’s Scottish National Meeting, a fixture I always like to target, and a treble on Friday brought up a half century of winners at the track for Team Ditcheat.
In the paddock on Friday our horses looked amazing, big and strong and well as if it was their first race of the season. I’ve been thrilled with the way they have been ever since we changed to Red Mills supplying our feed. They has been a massive plus for us because it obviously suits the way we train.
All three winners at Ayr were ridden by Harry Cobden who has been at the top of his game all season. He has achieved so much given that he is only 24. Harry is full of confidence, a team player, he’s so good for us and I’m very proud of him.
Afadil gave us a perfect start to Friday’s card with a fluent success in a competitive two mile handicap hurdle. We thought he was still nicely handicapped and it’s possible he might run once more in the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock on May 13.
Hugos New Horse then won for the fifth time this season over hurdles. He is tough, keeps improving and handles all sorts of ground. He finishes his races strongly and has a bright future.
Sabrina brought up the treble with an easy victory in a valuable mares’ handicap hurdle. She is versatile and has given her enthusiastic band of owners a lot of fun.
Harry shone again on Saturday with a flawless ride in the Scottish Champion Hurdle on Rubaud who led all the way, jumping slickly, and had enough in reserve to see off the challenge of Colonel Mustard on the flat.
Rubaud is not an easy horse ride as he is keen and hangs to the right but Harry was more than up to the challenge and his positive tactics paid off handsomely.
It was a dream result for the horse’s joint owner Chris Giles who has always wanted to win this race in the country of his birth.
Rubaud has improved so much, is only five, is better right handed and should make a cracking chaser although I will probably start him off next season in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton.
Threeunderthrufive ran very well to finish fourth in the Scottish National and Flash Collonges was unlucky to come down at halfway when he was travelling strongly. Harry said that he jumped the fence fine before stumbling on landing.
This week we have a couple of runners at Kempton on Monday and at Perth on Wednesday, then it will be a case of going to Sandown on Saturday with all guns blazing.
We have a total of eighteen entries at Sandown where our horses need to earn arouns £83,000 to beat our previous record total of prize money £3,646,511 set in 2007-08.
We plan to run Beau Balko, Killaloan and Holetown Hero in the £100,000 opening handicap hurdle while McFabulous and Solo are pencilled in for the Oaksey Chase.
Then it is the turn of Greaneteen in the Celebration Chase before we field four in the bet365 Chase… Frodon, Enrilo, Broken Halo and Switch Hitter.
Knappers Hill goes in the Select Hurdle while Cap du Mathan and Quel Destin are set to run in the novice handicap Chase. We are also intend to have two contenders in the final race of the season, depending on the ground, most likely Samarrive and Silent Revolution.
I’m really looking forward to the last day at Sandown and then we will all be back to zero when the new season begins. We already have a lovely team of horses for the future, have also recently bought some nice prospects and will be shopping for more.