I was delighted to have three winners at Chepstow’s first jumps meeting of the season at the weekend, a fixture I always like to target.
Our horses look well and are running well. All we need now is plenty of rain to ease ground conditions at tracks around the country. Then we will really be in business.
Sonigino set the ball rolling on Friday with a fluent success in a Class 3 handicap hurdle on his first start since a breathing operation. He travelled keenly the whole way, cruised to the front at the second last flight and won in style.
He was a bit of a baby last season, struggled with his breathing and found life difficult having to carry two penalties in some of his races but has obviously improved. My original plan was to switch Sonigino to fences but that is on hold and I’ll give him an entry in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham along with Knappers Hill and Hacker Des Places.
On Friday Outlaw Peter ran a cracking race in finishing second to Accidental Rebel in the Grade 2 Persian War Hurdle. He’d been working very well at home, looked like winning going the last flight and will come on for the run.
On Saturday I was thrilled with the way Knappers Hill landed the valuable Wasdell Group Silver Trophy. He took a while to get the hang of jumping last season but is now very slick over his hurdles and came clear of a competitive field of handicappers in the closing stages at his first attempt at two and a half miles.
I was keen to keep him to hurdles this season and could well give him an entry in the Elite Hurdle as he has plenty of pace dropping back to two miles. A fast run race at Wincanton would play to his strengths but I am in no rush with him .
Jumping was also a bit of an issue for Flic Ou Voyou last winter but he was foot perfect on Saturday on his way to a clear cut success in the £40,000 John Ayres Memorial Handicap Chase.
I’ll be making plenty of entries at Newton Abbot, Kempton and Stratford for the coming weekend although running plans will depend on how much rain arrives over the coming days.
I’d like to run Pic D’Orhy at Newton Abbot in the race won by Bravemansgame a year ago if the ground is suitable.
If it is on the easy side we could take five or six horses to Newton Abbot.
For all the latest news on my weekend runners please be sure to check out my Betfair column which goes live late afternoon on Friday.