Three winners at Newbury over the weekend took our score to seventy for the season from two hundred and fifteen runners.
With a strike rate of 33% things could hardly be going better and it would be nice to reach a century by the end of December. It’s a tough ask but we will be giving it a go.
Stay Away Fay was the first to strike at Newbury on Friday on his debut for us in a competitive Class 3 novice hurdle.
While he hadn’t shown much at home since arriving at Ditcheat he won his only Point-to-Point in Ireland, cost plenty at the sales and is clearly another exciting recruit for Chris Giles. He jumped well, was very strong at the finish and will have learned plenty from the experience. It was certainly encouraging to hear Harry Skelton, rider of the runner-up, say he thought the race was the best novice hurdle he’d ridden in all season.
On the same day it was disappointing to see Stage Star tending to hang left the whole way round when finishing second to Sebastopol. There is something troubling him a bit and we need to find out what it is.
McFabulous then gave us a tremendous start to Saturday with a highly impressive victory from the front in the John Francome Novice Chase. With the ground too quick for Gelino Bello I was pleased to have made an entry for McFabulous who jumped for fun and looked like he loved chasing .
Harry Cobden said that was the best feel he’d had from the winner who is starting to make up for lost time after his chasing career was put on hold for twelve months by a couple of niggly issues last autumn. In hindsight that delay was probably the best thing that has ever happened to McFabulous who heads next to the Kauto Star Novice Chase at Kempton over Christmas.
Red Risk, a 20-1 shot, completed our double at Newbury with a fluent success in the two and a half mile handicap handicap hurdle which was a bit of a surprise because I thought he was too high in the handicap. Being fresh and well was the key to his triumph so I am not in a hurry to turn him out quickly under a penalty. One option is the Lanzarote Hurdle at Kempton in January.
Grivetana did well to finish second to First Street in the Gerry Fielden but our hopes in the Coral Gold Cup were over at the first fence where Threeunderthrufive parted company with Adrian Heskin.
Both were fine afterwards although Threeundertheufive showed his well being by harassing the leaders for much of the race before almost taking them out on the run-in.
Bryony Frost’s trip to Bangor on Saturday ended painfully with a broken collar bone when Sir Psycho fell heavily at the fifth fence. She was discharged from hospital that evening and hopes to be back in the saddle on Boxing Day.
Team Ditcheat’s week had begun on a bright note with the decisive success of Miranda in a valuable mares’ hurdle at Kempton. She will have an entry in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot in case the ground goes heavy. On Wednesday it was the turn of Beau Balko and Ioupy Collonges and on Thursday Irish Hill shone with a determined win at Taunton.
We have a number of interesting entries for the coming weekend with Henri The Second an intended runner in the Grade 2 Ballymore Novice Hurdle at Sandown on Friday and Gelino Bello heading to Exeter for a three mile novice chase the same day.
On Saturday Greaneteen will be defending his crown in the Tingle Creek at Sandown but with a dry forecast in the coming days Monmiral will probably miss his re-match in the Henry V111 Chase with Jonbon who beat him recently at Warwick. There is a race for him over two and a half miles at Ascot a fortnight later.
We are also likely to be sending horses to Chepstow and Aintree on Saturday. So for the latest news on all our runners that day please be sure to check out my Betfair column which goes live dearly on Friday afternoon.