The sparkling success of Hermes Allen in the Grade 2 John Francome Novice Chase at Newbury on Friday was the highlight of another fruitful week for Team Ditcheat.
We had planned to give him his debut over fences a bit earlier in the season until a minor foot issue forced us to take a pull. It took a while to diagnose the problem so he missed a fair bit of work while he was on the easy list and is bound to come on plenty for the outing given that he also had a wind op in the summer.
It was encouraging to see Hermes Allen travel well in a racecourse gallop at Newbury with Complete Unknown on November 21st and I was thrilled with the way he jumped on Friday on his way to a decisive victory against some useful opponents. He isn’t the biggest but he has plenty of class, and his schooling was spot on ahead of Newbury. Although he landed the Challow at the track last season on bottomless going he is more effective on the better ground he encountered on Friday. Likely to go next to The Noel Novice chase at Ascot on December 22nd.
Kandoo Kid completed a really good day for us with a battling win in a £26,000 handicap Chase over two and a half miles in the colours of Michael Geoghegan. Raised 6lbs for a narrow defeat at the previous Newbury meeting he finished with purpose to beat Frero Banbou by two and a half lengths.
Kandoo Kid has needed time but he is getting there now and shapes as though he will stay further in time. Might go over 3 miles at Kempton on 27th December.
A disappointment on Friday was the performance of Hugos New Horse who struggled from an early stage in the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle and was eventually pulled up. He was choking on the way round, and will be off for wind surgery this week and back again in the spring.
On Saturday Complete Unknown found the ground was too quick in the Coral Gold Cup Cup. Harry Cobden said the horse was always in top gear and sensibly looked after him once he couldn’t finish in the money.
Complete Unknown still ran tidily and there are plenty of options for him this winter when conditions are in his favour including the Coral Welsh National and chases at Warwick and Lingfield where the going is usually deep at this time of year.
Emailandy ran a very nice race in finishing third under a penalty in a decent novice hurdle and would have gone close to winning but for a mistake at the final flight and Irish Hill ran as if he wants a bit further.
We enjoyed success with two more of our talented bumper squad on their racecourse debuts earlier in the week with Just Lucky Sivola on the mark at Southwell on Tuesday and Jackpot Des Bordes winning a day later at Hereford.
This week we are sending Stay Away Fay to Sandown on Friday for the three mile Grade 2 Esher Novice Chase and Insurrection goes for the Grade 2 Ballymore Winter Novice Hurdle the same day.
The following afternoon Iceo is on course for the Grade 1 Betfair Henry V111 Novice Chase.
We could also have runners at Aintree on Saturday while on Sunday we will definitely be sending a team to Kelso including Truckers Lodge who tackles the four mile chase.
For the latest news on all our Saturday runners please be sure to check out my Betfair column which goes live the previous day.