All roads lead to Kempton on Boxing Day for Bravemansgame after his superb success in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday.
I couldn’t been happier with his preparation over the past few weeks and he justified my faith with a foot perfect round of jumping on the way to a deeply impressive victory by three and a half lengths from Eldorado Allen.
While the favourite Ahoy Senor clearly underperformed the runner up and the third Sam Brown are both smart chasers. Bravemansgame is right up there with the best we’ve had and Harry Cobden said he was in third gear the whole way, jumping for fun. I’ve aways thought this horse was the ideal type for the George VI Chase and that will be his next target.
He is young, exciting, still improving and can have an easy time ticking over at home before I start building up his fitness in a month’s time. I think I can get him even better for Kempton.
Bravemansgame provided the highlight of a rewarding treble for Team Ditcheat on Saturday with Thyme White also excelling in the valuable Byrne Group Chase at Ascot where Fire Flyer made a stylish winning debut in the bumper.
Lorcan Williams was at his best on our Ascot duo and might have enjoyed a four timer with a bit more luck. Samarrive looked poised to make a successful debut over fences until turning over at the second last while Danny Kirwan led over the final fence in the London Gold Cup but was caught by Our Power on the flat.
In addition Hacker Des Places, partnered by Angus Cheleda, ran a race full of promise when second in the two mile handicap hurdle. That should put him spot on for the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham in a fortnight.
Thyme White surprised me because I thought he would need the run but he travelled through the race like a dream and will return to Ascot for a £125,000 two mile handicap Chase on November 19. Fire Flyer will also return to Ascot for the Listed bumper in December.
With a current strike rate of 31% the horses could hardly be in better form. Sonigino and Lime Avenue both won with plenty to spare at Chepstow in midweek and I was delighted with the winning debut of Gelino Bello over fences at Wetherby on Friday.
I’ll have plenty of entries in the next week or so but the ground is still quite quick at Exeter, Wincanton and Newbury so I will be closely monitoring ground conditions before finalising plans.
For the latest news on my runners on Friday and Saturday please be sure to check out my Betfair columns which go live on Thursday and Friday afternoons.