Threeundertheufive took our score for the season to 99 for the season with an impressive front running performance in the colours of the McNeill family in the Grade2 Novice Chase at Warwick on Saturday.
In recording his fourth success from five starts this season he was taking his career total to nine wins from twelve starts.
Adrian Heskin was always in control on Threeundertheufive who jumps for fun, is a strong stayer, and takes his races so well.
His relentless improvement is a pleasing example of our well tried system of buying a group of young stores aged three and four each year and and bringing them on steadily in bumpers before they progress to hurdles and then fences. It’s encouraging that we have loads more like him waiting in the wings.
I have it in the back of my mind to take Threeunderthrufive next to the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot on February 19 and he will have entries at Cheltenham in the NH Chase and the Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase.
It obviously makes sense to keep Threeundertheufive and Bravemansgame apart and I’ll keep all options open for both of them for the rest of the season.
Gelino Bello also ran with credit on Saturday at Kempton when finishing fourth in the Coral Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle on his fourth start over hurdles. It looks as though he wants a bit further on a stiffer track.
Rouge Vif travelled nicely in the Silviniaco Conti Chase until his wind cut out. His breathing is clearly an issue because he already had an op last summer to try to sort it out.
We will be quiet again for much of the week before some interesting runners at Lingfield on Friday and at Ascot, Taunton and possibly Haydock a day later. Rainyday Woman has an entry at Lingfield and Yala Enki is on course to defend his crown in the Portman Cup at Taunton.
I will confirm Hitman for the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase at Ascot and then make a decision about his participation on Thursday morning. If Shiskin and Energumene both look like turning up at Ascot then I might keep Hitman for the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury.
On Sunday Master Tommytucker is an intended runner in the new £150,000 Chase at Lingfield.
Further ahead we have entered Frodon, Clan Des Obeaux and Greaneteen at the Dublin Festival at Leopardstown early in February. Running plans for all three are still up in the air and if it stays dry for the next fortnight Frodon has the option of heading for the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham.
In that case Clan would most likely run at Leopardstown in the Paddy Power Irish Gold Cup while the Ladbrokes Dublin Chase looks an obvious target for Greaneteen if the ground is not too soft.
The vast majority of our horses have enjoyed an easy fortnight since their mid winter flu vaccinations at the end of 2021. We will be pressing on with them at home now and will be firing on all cylinders again before the end of the month as we build up for a big push for the final three months of the season.
Finally I would like to pay tribute to David Powell a brilliantly talented bloodstock agent in France who died over the weekend. He was a lovely man with a wonderful eye for a horse and worked closely with Anthony Bromley in buying so many good horses for Team Ditcheat including Kauto Star, Big Buck’s, Master Minded and Neptune Collonges. David’s knowledge of bloodstock was second to none, he had a host of contacts in France and it was a pleasure to work with him over the years.
One of the last winners he bought for us was Cap Du Mathan, a fine, big, scopey type who won easily at Taunton last week and looks every inch a chaser for the future. My thoughts are with his family and Anthony who I know was so fond of him. RIP David.