The stylish victory of Bravemansgame in the Betfair Graduation Chase at Haydock on was the highlight of a rewarding Saturday.
Bryony Frost set the tone by winning the opening two races at Ascot for Team Ditcheat on Flemenstide and Jeremy Pass before Bravemansgame earned plenty of plaudits with a foot perfect round of jumping on his his way to beating the 155 rated Itchy Feet without being asked a question.
All three of his rivals had plenty more experience over fences but Bravemansgame has always schooled like a natural and looked every inch a top class chaser as he cruised round in the lead before stretching clear in the closing stages. For a novice to jump round Haydock like that was stunning. He is so athletic and has more than earned the right to head to Kempton on Boxing Day for the Grade 1 Kauto Star Chase. An easy three miles there should be right up his street in a race where he will be tackling novices for the first time. He used to be quite keen last year but Harry Cobden says he is much more relaxed this time round, maturing with experience, and he settled beautifully in front on Saturday.
Flemenstide won well at Ascot on his debut over hurdles considering he is so green and babyish in everything he does. He is bound to improve for the experience.
Jeremy Pass then jumped like an old hand in winning the novice handicap Chase with plenty to spare. I’ll be looking for another similar race before we raise our sights with him.
Master Tommytucker also ran very well at Ascot in finishing second to the classy Lostintranslation in the Grade 2 Chanelle Pharma 1965 Chase. He was giving 6lbs to the winner who was rated in the 170’s at his peak.
We pulled Next Destination out of the Betfair Chase on the morning of the race because he wasn’t quite right but it might have been a blessing in disguise as I’d have withdrawn him anyway because the ground at Haydock was quick enough for a horse like him that has had issues in the past. He needs rain, and plenty of it, before he runs next which could be in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree although he is also in the Coral Welsh National.
We have plenty of entries for the week ahead and should be busy at Newbury’s two day meeting where Enrilo looks to have a solid chance on Saturday in the Ladbrokes Trophy. Pic D’Orhy is on course for the Grade 2 Novice Chase a day earlier and other likely runners of interest include Solo, Stage Star or Mr Glass and Flash Collonges.
The plan all along has been to run Monmiral in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle on Saturday but he will not be travelling to Newcastle if the ground there is too fast and we have the option of switching him to the Listed Intermediate Hurdle at Newbury on the same day.
For all the latest news on my runners on Friday and Saturday please do check out my Betfair column which goes live the previous afternoon.