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Category Archives: Latest News

Monday 19th February

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.


Monday 12th February

Winners seemed totally insignificant when the I heard the heart breaking news that Keagan Kirby had died after a fall in a Point-to-Point in Kent eight days ago.

It happened when the horse he was riding ran out through the wing of a fence on the second circuit at Charing and tragically he could not be saved. There have been a lot of tears shed by Team Ditcheat since then because he was a lovely lad, one of our best work riders, and had made huge progress since joining us in the summer of 2019. Only 25 he was deservedly shortlisted for the Thoroughbred Employee awards this year.
Keagan was passionate about his riding and his job, was hugely popular in the yard and all of our staff have been in bits since it happened. You wouldn’t believe the messages of support we’ve received, the flowers, and the letters. Through it all we’ve had to keep going running a business, feeding and exercising the horses. I know Keagan would not have wanted things to be done any differently.
We all found things unbelievably hard in the days that followed his death and I salute the way everyone has rallied round. The whole team has done Keagan proud.
The loss of the highly talented Hermes Allen 24 hours earlier in a fall at Sandown was another shocking blow. He had already achieved much and had a big future. Now it’s a question of re-grouping and looking ahead for the rest of the season.
It looks like I’ve got a fight on my hands to retain my title as champion trainer. Naturally I will give it my best shot but my main focus is helping Harry Cobden become champion jockey for the first time. He is riding at the top of his game, has been steadily cutting into Sean Bowen’s big lead over the last couple of months and finally drew level with Sean on 121 winners on Sunday thanks to the impressive success of Teeshan in the bumper at Exeter on Sunday.
Teeshan is a lovely prospect, will have an entry in the Cheltenham bumper and I’d say is on a par with Joyau Allen and Quebecois who have also won for us at Exeter this season.
We have had Teeshan for a while but it has taken until now for him to acclimatise and come right .
That explains my point about not taking our exciting new arrival Caldwell Potter to Cheltenham next month. It’s impossible for a horse to acclimatise into a new system that quickly and I am already looking ahead to running him in novice chases next October. He is a horse for the future and was bought at the sales early last week by several of the partners in Hermes Allen. They are good sports, love their racing and I knew they would have a good go at trying to get him.
We will again be busy on Saturday with runners at Ascot, Wincanton and Haydock.
Brave Kingdom is on course for the Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot where Pic D’Orhy runs in the Betfair Ascot Chase and Threeunderthrufive goes for a £100,000 Premier Handicap Chase.
Rubaud is an intended starter in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton where we could have half a dozen through the afternoon.
For all the latest news on all my runners on Saturday please be sure to read my Betfair column which goes live the previous morning.


Monday 29th January

Ginny’s Destiny was the star of the show at Cheltenham on Saturday with a sparkling display from the front under top weight in the Class 2 Timeform Novice Chase.

He has now won three times at the track this season and will be returning to Cheltenham again in March for the Turners. It’s the same route taken successfully by Stage Star a year ago and Ginny’s Destiny looks to have equally strong claims. He has improved massively since joining us this season and on his homework I was confident of a big run on Saturday. I haven’t had many improve that much over a short period of time since Master Minded after he won a handicap at Sandown then won the game spirit followed by the Champion chase and I think I he is a really serious horse.
It was great to see Harry Cobden complete a big race double on Noble Yeats in the Cleeve Hurdle. He is riding at the top of his game and we will be supporting him all the way in his bid to become champion jockey for the first time.
I’m delighted that Freddie Gingell deservedly took the plaudits with his first Grade 1 success on Elixir De Nutz in the Clarence House Stakes trained by his uncle Joe Tizzard. Freddie is a lovely lad, works full time for me and has made huge progress since he first joined the yard as an eager young amateur and has a big future .
Il Ridoto, Stay Away Fay, Rubaud and Isaac Des Obeaux all finished in the frame for Team Ditcheat at Cheltenham with Welcom to Cartries finishing second in the Grade 2 Albert Bartlett River Don at Doncaster.
Il Ridoto ran another sound race to be third in the Paddy Power Chase which he won a year ago off a 10lbs lower mark while Hitman needed the run and will come on for it.
I was thrilled with Stay Away Fay who kept on strongly to be third in the Cotswold Chase and was unsuited by the slow pace of the race. It was a cracking run for a novice against seasoned chasers and will go straight to the Brown Advisory at the Festival in March.
Rubaud picked up some handy prize money in fourth place in the Unibet Hurdle and will be happier returning to a flat, right handed track at Wincanton in the Kingwell Hurdle on February 17. I can’t wait to see him over fences next season.
Slower ground will suit Welcom To Cartries who is lightly raced, stays well and chased home Kerryhill at Doncaster. He is another who will relish going chasing.
We have plenty to run through the week before sending a team to Musselburgh on Saturday and Sunday including Liari in the Scottish Triumph Hurdle and Outlaw Peter in an £80,000 Chase. The same weekend Hermes Allen is pencilled in for the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown.
For all the latest news on my Saturday runners please be sure to turn to my Betfair column which goes live the previous day.