A sparkling double at Ascot on Saturday took the prize money won by our horses this season soaring past £2 million.
The victories of Pic D’Orhy and Threeunderthrufive provided a much needed tonic for Team Ditcheat after the heart-breaking events a fortnight ago.
While both horses were outstanding at Ascot they did have the advantage of a jockey riding with great confidence as he edged ahead of Sean Bowen in their absorbing duel for the championship. You can be sure I will be doing everything I can to help Harry gain his first title. He stole half a dozen lengths advantage on Pic D’Orhy at the start of the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase and the others were never going to catch up after that.
We were always going to be positive. Harry knows the horse so well and I didn’t need to be telling him what to do. Pic D’Orhy looked as well as I’ve ever seen him, got into a lovely rhythm and sailed home unchallenged. He was so dominant I think he would have won however he was ridden. He was awesome on Saturday and will now head to Aintree in a bid to win the Grade 1 Marsh Chase for the second year running.
The way Pic D’Orhy kept on strongly at the finish at Ascot has me already looking ahead to possibly running him in the King George V1 Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Threeunderthrufive has bounced back nicely from an underwhelming season last winter. Since a wind op in the summer, he has been seeing his races out better and defied top weight of 12 stone with a tidy victory in the Swinley Handicap Chase. He was always among the leaders and galloped on for a well deserved success to the delight of the McNeill family who are such enthusiastic owners. All the talk afterwards was about him going to Aintree but nothing is decided yet and the Scottish Grand National and the bet365 Gold Cup are also under consideration for him.
At Wincanton it was good to see Onethreefivenotout gain his first success over hurdles ridden by my former stable jockey Daryl Jacob. I’ll be doing my best to help Daryl succeed in his quest to ride the dozen or so winners he needs to reach a career total of 1,000 winners.
The ground is really testing just about everywhere after another monsoon which is not ideal for a fair few of our horses. But I run Lalor and a new recruit Golden Move at Taunton on Tuesday and plan to take a strong team to Kempton on Saturday.
Kalif Du Berlais is pencilled in for the Adonis, Panjari goes for the Dovecote and the valuable Coral Handicap Chase has been the target for Solo for some time. In addition we can choose between Tahmuras or Golden Son in the Pendil.
On Sunday the plan is to send either Blueking d’Oroux or Sonigino to Fontwell for the National Spirit Hurdle.
For all the latest news on all my runners on both days please turn to my Betfair column which goes live the previous morning.