Three winners at Musselburgh over the weekend maintained the fine form of our team.
Christopher Wood set the ball rolling with a comfortable success in the Scottish County Hurdle on Saturday with the help of a confident ride by our 7lbs claiming conditional Alex Cheleda.
Twenty four hours later Threeunderthrufive extended his unbeaten record over hurdles with a spirited victory in the Scottish Stayers Novice Hurdle on his first attempt at three miles. He is progressing really well, has a big future, and has earned a shot at the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Get The Appeal then completed a fine couple of days for our raiding party with a resolute run from the front in a qualifier for the Northern Lights Stayers Hurdle Series.
We were out of luck at Sandown on Saturday where Hitman fell at the twelfth fence when he was travelling strongly just behind the leaders in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Chase. He was fine afterwards and though nothing is set in stone he does lack experience and I wouldn’t be keen to take him to Cheltenham on the back of a fall.
Hitman is very much one for the future and needs minding, so I’m inclined to give him another run in a little novice Chase before taking him to Aintree.
Dolos again ran very well in finishing second under top weight to Moonlighter in the Class 2 Chase that he has won for the last two years.
Yala Enki ran another decent race at Sandown in the rescheduled Cotswold Chase although he was slightly out of his comfort zone against those top chasers. He has earned a little break after a busy time before having a crack at the Midlands Grand National at Uttoxeter on the Saturday after Cheltenham.
Earlier in the week we enjoyed more success at Wincanton and Chepstow. Lucky One looked a really smart prospect as he came clear at Wincanton where it was great to see Sametegal get his head in front for the first time in five years in the Hunter Chase. He was partnered by Harry Cobden because at the moment under COVID-19 regulations amateurs are not allowed to ride in any races.
But once that rule changes Natalie Parker will take over on Sametegal, hopefully in time for the Foxhunters at Cheltenham. We have always run some older horses in these races to give good people who work hard in the yard a chance as jockeys. It is a great way to repay all the hours they put in throughout the year and is a policy that has paid off for plenty of nice riders including Rilly Goschen, Bryony Frost, Harriet Tucker and Angus Cheleda.
Sametegal is a grand old horse who has not been given much of a chance by the handicapper over the years. Natalie would have ridden him at Wincanton if permitted and I hope that amateurs will be allowed back in time for the Foxhunters at Cheltenham and then Aintree where he would give Natalie a great spin.
It’s frustrating to see that a severe cold snap threatens jump racing over the next week or so. But if Newbury can go ahead on Saturday Clan Des Obeaux will run in the Denman Chase and both Greaneteen and Magic Saint are on course for the Game Spirit Chase and two nice horses in the Bumper .
In addition I plan to run Wild Max, Friend or Foe and Thyme White in the Betfair Hurdle. If the race happens to be put back a week, maybe to Ascot, then Christopher Wood could possibly join the other three in the line up. Alternatively I could aim him at the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton if the ground was testing.
For the latest news on my runners on Saturday please be sure to check out my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.