We experienced the toughest day of the season on Saturday with the fatal fall of Gala de Corton in the opening race at Doncaster setting the tone for the afternoon.
Our thoughts are with Gordon and Su Hall who had high hopes of Gala de Corton after his stylish success at the same track a month ago. It was heart breaking to lose him so soon after the death of Master Tommytucker six days earlier at Lingfield and our results on Saturday did nothing to lift the mood.
The horses are definitely not in the same form they were in before they had a little break after their mid winter flu vaccinations at the end of last month. They can take a bit of time to get up and running again and it has happened before in January which is always numerically light for us.
At Cheltenham we had one of those days with McFabulous clearly not staying in the Cleeve Hurdle, which was disappointing, while Simply The Betts was always flat out in the Cotswold Chase, Solo didn’t jump well enough and Magic Saint was too far out of his ground from an early stage of the Paddy Power Handicap Chase.
In addition Iceo’s performance in the Four Year Hurdle showed that it would be a mistake to run him in the Triumph Hurdle in March. He looked very good on his debut for us at Kempton, wants much softer ground and is more in the mould of a staying chaser in time and needs to learn to relax
I’ll consider something like the Victor Ludorum at Haydock or one of the Kempton novice hurdles at the end of February .
Things were no better at Doncaster where we withdrew Kapcorse from the Sky Bet Chase because the ground drying out too much . Miranda ran well to finish second in the Grade 2 Mares’ Hurdle she won last year although she, too, would have preferred much softer conditions underfoot.
The horses will come right sooner rather than later and we are already looking forward to a busy weekend with runners in Ireland, Scotland and nearer home at Sandown.
Frodon and Greaneteen are both running at Leopardstown while Pic D’Orhy goes for the Scilly Isles Novice Chase at Sandown and we will also be sending a team of three or four to Musselburgh on Sunday.
For the latest news on all my weekend runners please be sure to check out my Betfair column which goes live late afternoon on Friday and Saturday.