The stylish success of Captain Teague in the Grade 2 Persian War Novice Hurdle at Chepstow was the highlight of a weekend when heavy rain on Friday disrupted our running plans the next afternoon.
Captain Teague had the best of the ground as he made a highly pleasing debut over hurdles against some classy rivals. He jumped well, cruised to the front before the second last and readily drew clear on his way to a highly pleasing victory by nine and a half lengths.
That was his first gallop on grass this autumn and he will have learned plenty because he was still a bit green. He is a gorgeous horse and we can plan his season now much like Hermes Allen last season by possibly taking him to Cheltenham next before the Challow Hurdle at Newbury.
On the same afternoon Florencethemachine ran with plenty of promise in finishing second in the mares’ novice hurdle in a time almost 43 seconds slower than standard which gives a fair indication of the state of the ground after all the rain.
Panjari, twice a Listed winner in the Flat, was a disappointment on his debut for us in the novice hurdle. He got really wound up before the start and totally lost his head but he wasn’t disgraced in finishing fifth and I’d imagine he wants better ground. I’ve put a line through that display and he could be out again in a couple of weeks.
Ioupy Collonges was another to perform below expectations on Friday. He was eventually pulled up by Harry Cobden and was later diagnosed as having atrial fibrillation which was a big surprise as he has been training nicely, has never had any issues before and ran all these good races last season. He will have some time off now while we get to the root of the problem.
The going was so soft at Chepstow on Saturday that it made sense to pull six of ours out which was frustrating but were all good ground horses who can go somewhere else. The conditions caught everyone out.
I knew the conditions were also against Knappers Hill but I wanted to give him a first run over fences before the Rising Stars Chase at Wincanton and in finishing a respectable second to the much more experienced Unexpected Party he enjoyed a lovely clear round of jumping. It was a nice introduction to fences and hopefully he can build on that and have a decent career as a chaser.
Sonigino was another to run well well in finishing third under 11st 13lbs in the competitive Silver Trophy. He travelled like the best horse for much of the race and looked like winning as he eased to the front after the second last before tiring late on. He will be going chasing sooner rather than later.
We ended Saturday with the tidy success of Kap Boy in the bumper in the colours of Diana Whateley. He kept on strongly to beat King of Tara after a sustained duel with the pair well clear. Kap Boy has been with us for the best part of two years but he is still a bit of a big baby and showed character to see off a more experienced rival. He will probably go to Ascot next, a route we have enjoyed with Knappers Hill and McFabulous.
The great thing is that we have a lovely bunch of fifteen or sixteen more bumper horses like him.
Looking ahead we will have runners at Newton Abbot on Saturday and Kempton on Sunday but with plenty of rain forecast through the week I will be keeping an eye on the weather.
For all the latest news on my weekend runners please be sure to turn to my Betfair column which goes live the previous afternooon.