A striking treble on a Saturday completed an eventful week for Team Ditcheat
It was strange to not have a single runner on the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday. But twenty four hours later Politologue and Dynamite Dollars delivered the highlight of the week for the yard by finishing first and second in the Grade 1 Queen Mother Champion Chase.
While one or two of ours come up short on the final two days at Cheltenham, Truckers Lodge ran out a very impressive winner of the Midlands Grand National on Saturday with Fidelio Vallis and McFabulous also on the mark at Kempton.
I was thrilled to see Politologue enjoy his day in the sun with a career best because he has been competing at the highest level for most of his racing life.
Things did not go his way when he bled in the Tingle Creek at Sandown in December when a few of ours were below par.
You have to believe in your horses and I remember that he wasn’t beaten far by Altior in the Queen Mother twelve months ago. I’m sure he was nowhere as good then as he is now. The plan since Sandown was to do things a bit differently and bring Politologue straight to Cheltenham fit, fresh and bouncing and Harry Skelton played his part with a flawless ride from the front.
The horse was never going to stop and it was fabulous to watch with Dynamite Dollars finishIng a fine second, staying on strongly, given that he didn’t run this season until a month before the Festival. You could see how much this great success meant to Politologue’s owner John Hales who has been such a long standing supporter of the yard.
On Thursday Frodon never stopped trying in the Ryanair but found the opposition a fair bit tougher than last year.
We had high hopes for Clan Des Obeaux on the final day in the Gold Cup after a perfect preparation but he never seemed happy at any stage of the race, was in a bit of a sulk because he didn’t enjoy being dropped in and eventually finished eighth. He was fine the next day but we’ve decided we will not be taking him back to Cheltenham. Next up for Clan could be the Gold Cup at Punchestown in April if it is on and next season he will be trained with a view to winning a third King George V1 Chase on Boxing Day.
Another disappointment on Friday was Solo who found things happening a bit quickly in the Triumph Hurdle and didn’t come down the hill too well. In hindsight maybe we should have kept him for Aintree but long term I’ve no doubt he is going to be a lovely chaser.
Results on Saturday provided plenty of cheer with Truckers Lodge leading the way with a notable triumph in the Midlands Grand National. The horse has progressed all season in conditions that suit, was running away from start to finish and was given a fine ride by Lorcan Williams who was gaining the biggest success of his career. Truckers looks an obvious candidate for the Scottish Grand National.
Fidelio Vallis and McFabulous both shone in victory over hurdles at Kempton. Fidelio Vallis might go to Sandown for the final of the Novice championship series while McFabulous landed the re-arranged EBF final easily. Slick accurate jumping was the hallmark of both horses who are going to be exciting over fences next season. Before then McFabulous could go to the Grade 1 novice hurdle at Aintree.
For all the latest news on my runners on Saturday please turn to my Betfair column which goes live at 5pm the previous evening