It was so good to see the crowds back at Chepstow and Newton Abbot, the atmosphere was fantastic and it was great to see everyone enjoying themselves.
A breathtaking round of jumping by Bravemansgame in victory at Newton Abbot on Sunday was the highlight of a busy few days for Team Ditcheat. He has been mustard in schooling sessions at home, a natural, and was a joy to watch sailing along in front in the valuable Grade 2 Intermediate Chase.
It helped, of course, on his first attempt over fences that he was getting all allowances from his two main rivals. But he was well in charge in the closing stages and won stylishly by five and a half lengths from Fusil Raffles.
It was a fantastic performance from a top class horse . He was far from wound up because the idea of running him on Sunday was to give him experience before he goes for the Rising Stars Chase at Wincanton next month.
I will be minding Bravemansgame this season and am far from convinced that he needs to be going three miles at this stage of his career.
A striking success by Skatman in the EBF Novice Hurdle qualifier gave us a double on the day at Newton Abbot but with a bit of luck we might have had three or four winners on the card. Seelotmorebusiness was in with every chance when he came down two out while Blackjack Kennedy and Lallylag were not beaten far in their races.
Quite a few of the horses that we have run in the last week have been just needing their races and will improve tons for their runs, which isn’t a total surprise as they came back into training two weeks later this summer compared to last year when the season ended abruptly in March because off COVID.
So I am expecting improvement from a number of those that ran at Chepstow’s two day meeting which was held a little later last year.
Knappers Hill set the ball rolling for us at Chepstow by winning the opening novice hurdle on Friday. While he needs experience and was both keen and green he buckled down well when challenged and will benefit from the outing. He is still a bit of a baby and needs to sharpen up his jumping.
Threeunderthrufive did well on his debut over fences in finishing second in the novice Chase sponsored by Tom Malone and is another I expect to come on for the run.
On Saturday I was thrilled with Magistrato’s winning debut for us in the Juvenile Hurdle. On the second start of his life he was very professional and quickly put his seal on the race. Given that he is still a big baby there is plenty more to come from him
Timeforatune then completed a double for the yard at Chepstow by defying a 7lbs penalty with a hard earned triumph in the bumper. He showed great determination late on under a fine ride by Harry Cobden.
Earlier on the card Fidelio Vallis was superb in defeat in the Listed Novice Chase. He led all the way, jumping fluently, before just losing out to Tea Clipper on the run-in. As he has plenty of speed and is progressive I am thinking of bringing him back to two miles next time, most likely at Cheltenham.
I was surprised to see our new recruit Dargiannini start favourite for the highly competitive Grade 3 Silver Hurdle in which he was pulled up by Gavin Sheehan after a bad mistake three from home. While I was hoping for much better from Dargiannini he did lack experience against seasoned handicappers and had only won two minor novice hurdles at Sedgefield. I am still learning about him and am now toying with the idea of switching him to fences.
Overall I am more than happy with the way the horses have been running with so much to look forward to over the months ahead. With a dry forecast for the next week or so we may be a little quite this weekend though Diego Du Charmil could turn out in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las on Saturday. I will also be making a few entries at Stratford the same day.
For all the up to date news on my Saturday runners please be sure to turn to my Betfair column which goes live on Friday.