Team Ditcheat is ending November on a high with 35 winners which is the best total we have ever achieved in a month.
The horses have been in fabulous form since the season began in earnest at Chepstow during the second week in October and with 78 winners already on the board we will try to press on and reach the century before January 1st.
It is a tough ask to add a further 22 in a month but we are all up for the challenge and you never say never.
Two smart novices Bravemansgame and Next Destination were our final scorers of the month at Newbury. Bravemansgame won his only point-to-point in Ireland and looks a really exciting chasing prospect for next season.
He is a fine, big, scopey type, landed the two and a half mile class 3 novice hurdle in style and will return to Newbury in December for the Challow Hurdle provided the ground isn’t bottomless. His owners were buying into a dream when they purchased him and the dream is very much alive at the moment.
McFabulous ran a cracker in the Ladbrokes Long Distance Hurdle on Friday on his first attempt at three miles. He travelled and jumped as well as ever and looked to have a great shout when leading two out but didn’t quite last home, was caught by the winner Thyme Hill at the last and then dropped back to third on the run in.
On that evidence he has a bit too much pace for extreme distances and isn’t going to win the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham. So I am now in two minds whether to continue down that route or go back to middle distances.
On Saturday it was the turn of Next Destination to shine. Given that he had been on the sidelines for almost three years his owner Malcolm Denmark was understandably unsure if we could ever get him back. The whole team including our physio Teresa Dufosee have worked wonders with the horse and it was lovely to see their endeavours paying off as he won the John Francome Novice Chase so impressively. It has been a case of a slow, long preparation, no galloping and twice weekly trips to the local water treadmill. I’m inclined to give Kempton at Christmas a miss with Next Destination and look further ahead for his next start though all being well he seems an ideal candidate for the Ladbrokes Trophy Chase in twelve month’s time. He is a very smart horse if we can keep him sound.
Thank goodness Harry Cobden escaped relatively unscathed after a nasty incident which saw him unseated from Thyme White just as the Gerry Fielden Hurdle was coming to the boil. Although Harry was stood down for the rest of the day he will be back on Tuesday and the horse is fine, too.
I’m pleased to report that Clan Des Obeaux cantered on Saturday morning and is on course to try to achieve the hat-trick in the King George VI at Kempton on Boxing Day. He did suffer a little cut on the bulb of his heel caused by an over reach at Haydock, but it wasn’t serious and he is back on track after a couple of easy days.
We will be having plenty of high-profile runners at the weekend with Politologue (Harry Skelton) and Greaneteen (Harry Cobden) both intended runners in the Tingle Creek at Sandown on Saturday. Hitman could turn out again in the Henry VIII Chase on the same day provided the ground is soft enough though I might re-route him to a Class 3 Chase at Exeter a day earlier and switch Tamaroc Du Mathan to the Henry VIII.
Frodon heads north for the Many Clouds Chase on Saturday at Aintree where Yala Enki and Give Me A Copper run in the Becher Chase and Modus and Sametegal are pencilled in for the Grand Sefton Chase.
For all the latest news on my weekend runners please be sure to check out my Betfair column which goes live late in the afternoon on Thursday and Friday.