We have made a sparkling start to March with six winners from twelve runners. It’s highly encouraging to see our horses in top form as the countdown to the Cheltenham Festival continues and I couldn’t be happier with the way things are going.
A treble at Wincanton on Wednesday set us up nicely for the week with Outlaw Peter and Toothless winning tidily before Magic Saint capped a great day by giving my 17 year old daughter Olive her first triumph under rules in the Hunter Chase.
She is full of enthusiasm, getting tidier with experience, already quite strong, is improving all the time and has some nice horses which I am pleased to provide for her to ride.
Magic Saint has had a few issues including surgery on a joint last year and we have had to mind him. He loved the better ground at Wincanton and got into a great rhythm with Olive who is equally at home eventing or race riding and is already good at both disciplines.
She should have a lovely experience on Magic Saint in the Foxhunters’ at Aintree in April which was always the plan. In the meantime it is up to me to to keep him in one piece until then because he is fragile.
On Thursday it was the turn of the free going Matterhorn to shine with a clear cut victory from the front in a novice hurdle at Taunton. We gave him a wind op after he struggled in heavy ground late last year at Sandown and he was in total command from start to finish. While it wasn’t a strong race he looked a high-class prospect and I loved the way he attacked his hurdles which left me thinking he will make a cracking chaser in due course.
I didn’t want to run him before March because I’ve already got my eye on the Persian War Hurdle for him at Chepstow early in October.
I will discuss with Johnny where we go next .
Flash Collonges and Seeyouinmydreams then completed a rewarding four days for Team Ditcheat with a double at Newbury on Saturday.
I feared Flash Collonges was on a stiff enough mark but he kept on strongly to land the Jacky Upton Trophy. I bought him because he comes from the same family as our Grand National winner Neptune Collonges and he is a real old fashioned staying chaser who will gallop all day.
We bought Seeyouinmydreams after she won a Point-to-Point in Ireland on her debut by fifteen lengths last April. Harry Cobden has never sat on her at home and said afterwards that on the way to the start he thought she would win because she felt so good. Who knows what she beat but she was seriously impressive as she drew well clear for a stylish success.
On Tuesday Broken Halo bids to complete the military double in the Grand Military Gold Cup at Sandown.
Further ahead we will have plenty of entries at Sandown on Saturday including Hugos New Horse, Twin Power and Henri The Second in the EBF Final while we have Iceo, Samarrive and Holetown Hero for the Imperial Cup.
Larchmont Lass is an intended starter in the Listed Mares’ bumper and Quel Destin, and Cap Du Mathan will all be entered for the £50,000 Betfair Novice Handicap Chase.
For the latest news on all my runners on Saturday please be sure to check out my Betfair column which goes live early on Friday afternoon.