Results over the last few days suggest that our horses have been in better form than their trainer and it was good to reach my target of 75 winners by Dec the 1st . Hopefully we are on track to get a 100 by Jan 1 like 2020.
I feel fine apart from a cold but having tested positive for COVID last week I’ve been self-isolating at home unable to go racing or to the yard. In my absence Team Ditcheat have been in top form with plenty of winners including four spread over three meetings on Saturday.
It’s been undeniably frustrating trying to run things on the phone from my front room at home but watching our four timer on TV on Saturday cheered me up no end and I can’t wait to be back racing again at Sandown for the Tingle Creek meeting which is one of my favourites. I was mortified to miss the Ladbroke meeting at Newbury.
Stage Star looked a horse full of potential when making all the running in the 2.4 novice hurdle at Newbury on Friday before cruising clear on the flat. It was the same race in exactly the same time as Bravemansgame last year and he will head straight to the Challow Hurdle on December 29 and hope for a repeat result! I think John Dance has just had 6 winners from 6 runners so perhaps in need to persuade him to have a couple more jumpers!!
Solo should be winning soon over fences on slower ground after finishing second in the Fulke Walwyn Trophy and Pic D’Orhy would surely have won his novice chase but for coming down four fences out when in total command. He is a very good horse and was tanking along at the time, he is so frustrating but we will get there and will go to Ascot next.
On Saturday I was thrilled to see Kapcorse bounce back to form with a fluent success in the Sir Peter O’Sullevan Memorial Handicap Chase. It has been a challenge to get him right because he has had his share of issues since winning the same race three years ago. We’ve had a clear run with him this season and Sir Anthony McCoy was suitably impressed when he rode him in a piece of work the previous week on gallops morning at Newbury. We will see how he comes out of the race before making a plan. Grand Sancy ran very well to be fourth behind Kapcorse and is another who should be on the mark soon.
Il Ridoto, a novice who is only four, completed a good day for the yard at Newbury with a stylish success in the competitive two mile Handicap Chase that ended the meeting. I was initially disappointed that he was beaten on his debut for us at Newton Abbot in a race that has worked out particularly well. But an explanation soon came to light as he was struck into behind at the last ditch. Although Il Ridoto was lame for a week afterwards his recent homework had been encouraging and I was optimistic of a big run from him on Saturday. He is is obviously improving and will have an entry in the Henry VIII Chase at Sandown this weekend and could be an interesting contender off a light weight.
Mr Glass won at Newcastle on Saturday from the front and found plenty when challenged in the closing stages. He’s now won four on the bounce, jumps neatly, keeps galloping all day and will make a lovely chaser next season.
On the same afternoon Flic Ou Voyou provided the last leg of our four timer with a cosy victory over fences at Doncaster.
There were reverses, too, with Enrilo falling just after half-way in the Ladbroke Trophy while travelling oh so well and Monmiral struggling from an early stage in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle.
Enrilo was in the right place at the right time before overjumping and coming down. He was fine afterwards and could be one for the Skybet Chase at Doncaster in the spring. I didn’t enter him in the Coral Welsh National because he wont handle very testing conditions.
While it was disappointing to see Enrilo out of the race I was delighted it was won by Cloudy Glen in the colours of the late Trevor Hemmings who was a fantastic man and a huge supporter of jump racing.
It’s possible Monmiral was affected by the heavy storm in the North East on his first overnight trip away from Ditcheat. Maybe he got stressed and became dehydrated. He also finished lame after sustaining a nasty cut at an early stage of the race, although he was much better on Sunday morning. We will run a few tests .
I’ve always had it in the back of my mind that he will be a staying chaser in time and probably lacks the pace to be a Champion Hurdle horse. We will check him over and will not be rushing to turn him out again quickly but I’m sure he still has a bright future. You can always forgive them one ordinary run .
We will have plenty of entries for the end of the week at Sandown and Chepstow. Brave Kingdom runs in the Winter Novice Hurdle on Friday at Sandown, while Highland Hunter could run in the London National the next day when Greaneteen and Hitman could well both start in the Tingle Creek. In addition Hitman will also be entered in the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon on Sunday along with Master Tommytucker.
For all the latest news on my Saturday runners please check out my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.