Seven winners in just over 48 hours took our score to for the season to 123 on Saturday at a rewarding strike rate of 29%.
With the ground drying up by the day around the country I’m having to pick and choose where to have runners but I’m still hopeful that we can reach my target of 125 by the end of this month.
A four timer on Saturday certainly kept the scoreboard busy with Irish Hill winning handsomely at Ascot, Makin’yourmindup coming out on top in a tight finish at Haydock and Flic Ou Voyou and Switch Hitter both successful at Wincanton.
In addition I was proud of Pic D’Orhy who ran a blinder in finishing second to Shiskin in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Ascot. I’d say it was a career best by our horse who I’ll keep fresh for Aintree before a crack at the Oaksey Chase at Sandown.
Irish Hill looked classy in landing the Class 2 handicap handicap hurdle at Ascot with something to spare and stable mate Samarrive a pleasing third. Irish Hill will have an entry at Cheltenham in the Martin Pipe and Coral Cup while Samarrive might go for the Imperial Cup.
At Haydock it was good to see Makin’yourmindup turn the tables on Collectors Item in the Grade 2 Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle.
One who ran below par at Haydock was Afadil who failed to shine in the Victor Ludorum Hurdle. I blame myself for turning him again too quickly after his stylish success at Musselburgh though he needed a third run to qualify for the Boodles Hurdle at Cheltenham. I’ve now got 3 weeks to freshen him for the Festival.
Bryony Frost was the star of the day at Wincanton where she landed a double for the yard on Flic Ou Voyou and Switch Hitter before completing her treble on Press Your Luck trained by Chris Gordon.
Knappers Hill ran very well again in finishing second to I Like To Move It in the Kingwell Hurdle. He is so consistent, probably wants further than two miles now and will be jumping fences next season. If we have another dry week he might just have an entry in the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell on Sunday.
On Thursday Beau Balko and Broken Halo were both on the mark at Sandown and a day later Secret Investor justified the long journey North with a decisive victory in the Hunter Chase at Kelso. He was given a fine ride by our talented young amateur Charlie Sprake who was gaining his first success for us since joining Team Ditcheat at the start of the season.
Secret Investor is now qualified for the Foxhunter at Cheltenham where he will be ridden by Natalie Parker who won on him at Bangor a week earlier before suffering from concussion in a fall a few days later.
We will have 6 runners at Taunton on Tuesday before taking a strong squad to Kempton on Saturday including Rubaud in the Dovecote, Rare Middleton in the Adonis, either Solo or Cap Du Mathan in the Pendil and Frodon, Saint Calvados and Enrilo in the £150,000 Coral Handicap Chase.
For all the latest news on my Saturday runners please do check out my Betfair column which goes live early on Friday afternoon.