Frodon was the undoubted star of the show at Cheltenham on Saturday after another highly rewarding week for Team Ditcheat.
I don’t mind admitting I felt that Frodon faced a huge task in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap Chase given his mark of 164 and that he was conceding over a stone and more to all his rivals. I also thought that he was still on the burly side despite doing plenty at home in recent weeks.
So given that Frodon needed the run it was a lovely surprise to see him put up arguably the best performance of his career at a course that brings out the best in him. He was on it from the moment they set off, winged the first fence, landed in front, gained lengths in the air on the way round, and still had plenty in reserve to hold off the challenge of West Approach by one and a half lengths.
It was an awesome display by Frodon over three miles and a furlong, a career best which puts him firmly in the Gold Cup picture. In fact his owner Paul Vogt was keen to aim him at the Gold Cup when we spoke in the midweek. The longer trip suits him now and and it’s exciting to think there is improvement to come.
Next for Frodon and Bryony Frost who rides him so well is likely to be a Listed Chase at Aintree early in December.
It was the turn of Harry Cobden to shine at Cheltenham on Southfield Stone who jumped brilliantly on his way to a pleasing victory in the two and a half mile novice Chase. He seemed to enjoy going left handed and will get an entry in the Paddy Power Gold Cup and also another Novice Chase at the same meeting.
With winners every day of the week bar Friday the horses are in top form and that continued with doubles on Saturday and Sunday.
Dr Sanderson won well at Plumpton On Monday, Eritage and Threeunderthrufive gave us an across the card double on Thursday and Sunday’s winners included Oscars Moonshine who competed a handicap treble in eleven days.
Plenty of others ran well including Truckers Lodge who was lobbing along at Kelso until he unseated Lorcan Williams a mile from home.
We will be trying to keep up the momentum in the coming days starting with two runners at Ayr on Monday.
I was planning to take Cyrname to Down Royal for his seasonal debut in the Grade 1 Chase on Saturday to help determine if he truly stays three miles but issues with protocol over Covid have forced me into a re-think as it was going to be difficult to get our staff to Northern Ireland with him.
I’m now re-routing Cyrname to Wetherby on Saturday for the three mile Grade 2 Bet365 Charlie Hall Chase which looks a suitable starting point for him. He is pleasing us at home, the flat nature of the course will be in his favour and if he shows he does get the trip at Wetherby then it makes sense for him to go for the King George again.
Please be sure to check out the latest news on my weekend runners in my Betfair column which goes live at 5 pm on Friday.