With less than a fortnight until the final day of the season at Sandown it’s brilliant to know that the trophy for the trainer’s championship will soon be on its way to Ditcheat for the fourteenth time.
Aintree’s Grand National meeting is always a key point in the title race and we headed home on Saturday night with a lead of almost £1 million in prize money.
The challenge now is to try to beat our previous record total of £3,646,511 earned by our horses in 2007-08.
To pass that figure we need to win a further £190,000 by the end of racing at Sandown on Saturday week.
Pic D’Orhy was the star of the show at Liverpool where he gained a deserved first Grade 1 success with a fluent victory in the Marsh Chase in the colours of Mrs Johnny de la Hey.
I am so proud of this horse who has so much ability and is fulfilling the promise he has always shown. He was a bit of a slow learner when he started chasing but these days he is lightning quick over his fences.
I was determined to by-pass Cheltenham with Pic D’Orhy and bring him fresh to Aintree. He’s a better horse on a flat track and the Marsh was his target from the moment he finished second to Shishkin in the Betfair Ascot Chase.
He is still improving and readily saw off the challenge of Fakir D’oudairies who had won the Marsh for the last two years. Its exciting to think there is more to come from him next season.
We started the Aintree meeting with the bitterly disappointing news that the BHA would not allow Bravemansgame to run in the Bowl on Thursday because of an investigation by the FCA into the firm of his joint owner John Dance.
These things are out of my control but that decision might just have been a blessing in disguise because Bravemansgame had a hard race at Cheltenham and will be back fresh next season ready to go again.
Some of the Cheltenham runners we took to Aintree ran very well. They include Stay Away Fay and Hermes Allen who both finished in the money, although Stay Away Fay could not quite repeat his excellence at the Festival.
Stage Star, however, ran flat on Thursday. His work had been fine in the build up to the race but it is very difficult for horses to shine at both meetings and just shows the benefit of taking fresh horses to Liverpool. Bar the odd exception they can’t do both.
We ran a few more at Cheltenham this year but if your really prepare them for that meeting it is so hard to get them back in the same form for Aintree whether the gap is three, four or five weeks.
So next year I am going to be even more careful about choosing between the ones to take to Cheltenham and the ones I keep back for Aintree.
Complete Unknown, Sonigino and Blueking D’Oroux were among the group of ours who ran close to their best on Friday and have bright futures.
A double on Sunday took our score for the season to 156 with Jody Sole winning the Military Hurdle at Wincanton on Fame And Fun before my daughter Olive gained her first success against professional jockeys on Meatloaf in the bumper.
Looking ahead we will have two or three runners at Cheltenham in midweek before sending plenty of horses to Ayr’s two day meeting where Threeunderthrufive is on course for the Scottish Grand National. Iceo and Rubaud will have entries in the Scottish Champion Hurdle while Flash Collonges has the choice of the Scottish National or a three mile novice handicap Chase.
For the latest news on my runners at the weekend please be sure to check out my Betfair column which goes live early on Friday afternoon.