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Weekend treble

Three winners at Newbury over the weekend took our score to seventy for the season from two hundred and fifteen runners.

With a strike rate of 33% things could hardly be going better and it would be nice to reach a century by the end of December. It’s a tough ask but we will be giving it a go.
Stay Away Fay was the first to strike at Newbury on Friday on his debut for us in a competitive Class 3 novice hurdle.
While he hadn’t shown much at home since arriving at Ditcheat he won his only Point-to-Point in Ireland, cost plenty at the sales and is clearly another exciting recruit for Chris Giles. He jumped well, was very strong at the finish and will have learned plenty from the experience. It was certainly encouraging to hear Harry Skelton, rider of the runner-up, say he thought the race was the best novice hurdle he’d ridden in all season.
On the same day it was disappointing to see Stage Star tending to hang left the whole way round when finishing second to Sebastopol. There is something troubling him a bit and we need to find out what it is.
McFabulous then gave us a tremendous start to Saturday with a highly impressive victory from the front in the John Francome Novice Chase. With the ground too quick for Gelino Bello I was pleased to have made an entry for McFabulous who jumped for fun and looked like he loved chasing .
Harry Cobden said that was the best feel he’d had from the winner who is starting to make up for lost time after his chasing career was put on hold for twelve months by a couple of niggly issues last autumn. In hindsight that delay was probably the best thing that has ever happened to McFabulous who heads next to the Kauto Star Novice Chase at Kempton over Christmas.
Red Risk, a 20-1 shot, completed our double at Newbury with a fluent success in the two and a half mile handicap handicap hurdle which was a bit of a surprise because I thought he was too high in the handicap. Being fresh and well was the key to his triumph so I am not in a hurry to turn him out quickly under a penalty. One option is the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton in January.
Grivetana did well to finish second to First Street in the Gerry Fielden but our hopes in the Coral Gold Cup were over at the first fence where Threeunderthrufive parted company with Adrian Heskin.
Both were fine afterwards although Threeundertheufive showed his well being by harassing the leaders for much of the race before almost taking them out on the run-in.
Bryony Frost’s trip to Bangor on Saturday ended painfully with a broken collar bone when Sir Psycho fell heavily at the fifth fence. She was discharged from hospital that evening and hopes to be back in the saddle on Boxing Day.
Team Ditcheat’s week had begun on a bright note with the decisive success of Miranda in a valuable mares’ hurdle at Kempton. She will have an entry in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in case the ground goes heavy. On Wednesday it was the turn of Beau Balko and Ioupy Collonges and on Thursday Irish Hill shone with a determined win at Taunton.
We have a number of interesting entries for the coming weekend with Henri The Second an intended runner in the Grade 2 Ballymore Novice Hurdle at Sandown on Friday and Gelino Bello heading to Exeter for a three mile novice chase the same day.
On Saturday Greaneteen will be defending his crown in the Tingle Creek at Sandown but with a dry forecast in the coming days Monmiral will probably miss his re-match in the Henry V111 Chase with Jonbon who beat him recently at Warwick. There is a race for him over two and a half miles at Ascot a fortnight later.
We are also likely to be sending horses to Chepstow and Aintree on Saturday. So for the latest news on all our runners that day please be sure to check out my Betfair column which goes live dearly on Friday afternoon.


Monday 21st November

Four winners on Saturday, including a walk over, took the prize money won by our horses this season sailing past the £1 million mark.

They have been in sparkling form over the past five or six weeks, look great in their coats and continue to run really well with Sabrina providing our 63rd winner of the campaign at Exeter on Sunday.
Star billing on Saturday went to Hitman who won the Betfair Graduation Chase at Haydock with any amount in hand. He is still only six, has needed time and benefitted from a wind op over the summer. He is only just becoming the finished article now, is improving massively and the step up to three miles will bring out more improvement. I’ve felt for some time that he is a Grade 1 winner waiting to happen and he will get his chance in the King George V1 Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day which is also the target for Bravemansgame.
So Harry Cobden will have to make up his mind between the duo who both look fabulous at the moment, as well as I’ve ever had them.
We enjoyed a brilliant start to the day at Haydock with the clear cut success of Tahmuras in a fiercely competitive Listed novice hurdle over two miles. All five runners had won last time and it was exciting to see Tahmuras pull away from them in the closing stages as he beat Sizing Pottsie by five and a half lengths.
It was a bit of a surprise he won so easily on his debut over hurdles at Chepstow, but he is clearly smart and heads next to the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown where softer going and the stiffer nature of the track will play to his strengths. He is a super prospect.
A walk over for Milan Bridge at Ascot added to our score before Thames Water completed another rewarding day for the team with a six length victory in the bumper.
Early in the week it was good to see McFabulous put in a fine round of jumping on his way to a decisive triumph in his novice Chase at Exeter where the talented Timeforatune, despite racing a bit keenly, was successful by thirteen lengths.
Monmiral couldn’t quite go with Jonbon in the closing stages of an interesting dual between the pair at Warwick on Wednesday on their debuts over fences. But there were plenty of positives to be taken from the performance of Monmiral who came in a month later than most of our horses and jumped really well. He will come on plenty for the race and while Jonbon was undeniably impressive I’m thinking of taking him on again with Monmiral at Sandown where more testing ground conditions and the challenging uphill finish should be more in our favour.
We will be busy again in the coming days with plenty of runners before heading to Newbury’s two day meeting where Threeundertheufive runs in the Coral Gold Cup. Other runners of note include Stage Star in the Grade 2 Novice Chase over two and a half miles on Friday and Gelino Bello in the three mile John Francome Novice Chase on Saturday.
For the latest news on my weekend runners please do check out my Betfair column which goes live early on Thursday and Friday afternoon.


Monday 14th November

The dashing success of Hermes Allen at Cheltenham in the Grade 2 Ballymore Novice Hurdle on Friday was our highlight of the week.

He showed us nothing at home before his romp round Stratford on his debut for us and didn’t jump great that day either. But he has woken up since then, really switched himself on and you can hardly stop him at the end of the gallop now. It’s as if he is a different horse.
Hermes Allen is hugely talented, made all the running at Cheltenham and stretched clear from a decent field up the hill to win by nine lengths without being challenged.
He is all class and looks ideal for the Challow Hurdle at Newbury on New Year’s Eve and his owners would love to bring him back to the Festival in March.
Dixon Cove gave us a fine start to the week with a fluent victory at Hereford on Tuesday before the imposing Rubaud hacked up at Taunton on Thursday.
Il Ridoto ran well to finish fourth in the Paddy Power Gold Cup on Saturday. The three in front of him had all had a prep run and Il Ridoto, who found the ground quick enough and had a good blow afterwards, will be sharper in a month’s time when he returns to the course for the Racing Post Gold Cup. He will improve.
I’m mystified by the performance of Blueking d’Oroux who was pulled up by Harry Cobden in the juvenile hurdle on Saturday. He had been giving us the right signals at home and had worked pleasingly with useful stable mates in a racecourse gallop.
But after leading until past half-way he stopped very quickly turning down the hill. He was 100% on Sunday morning and the tests we’ve run so far have all been clear. Perhaps something will come to light in the next few days.
Sonigino was another to find the ground quicker than ideal in the Greatwood Hurdle. I’m still kicking myself for running him for a second time at Chepstow where he won so easily he was raised 10lbs by the handicapper but hindsight is a wonderful thing!! I’ll freshen him up now before making any firm plans.
Irish Hill ended a frustrating couple of days for the yard by just failing to get up in a tight finish to the Salmon Spray Hurdle at Fontwell.
With rain forecast in the coming days we will again be busy this week starting with some decent chances at Exeter on Monday.
Hitman heads to Haydock on Saturday and I will leave Frodon in the Betfair Chase and will have a look at the race before making up my mind. In addition Complete Unknown is pencilled in for the £125,000 Betfair Exchange Stayers Handicap Hurdle while Tahmuras will have an entry in the Listed Novice Hurdle.
We will also be sending a team to Ascot on Saturday and entries include Pic D’Orhy, Saint Calvados and Thyme White.
For the latest news on all my runners in Saturday please do check out my Betfair column which goes live early on Friday afternoon.