Solo’s brilliant success on his debut for the yard at Kempton on Saturday was the highlight of another rewarding weekend that yielded five winners and several more that came tantalisingly close to adding to our tally.
I’ve loved Solo since he joined us shortly after his eye catching victory at Auteuil in November that earned him a lofty BHA rating of 146.
We were able to get plenty of work into him because he’s a colt and he has thrived on our routine. He has a sound temperament and is a joy to train.
Some French horses can take time to acclimatise after moving to Ditcheat but Solo has done nothing but please, looks the full package and it was great to see him confirm his homework with a hugely impressive thirteen length victory in the Grade 2 Adonis Hurdle. He jumped like a natural and oozed class as he readily saw of the field after leading before half-way.
It was a magic performance by a horse who is such an exciting prospect and all roads now lead to Cheltenham where he looks tailor made for the Triumph Hurdle.
We also had a series of near misses at Kempton with Southfield Stone, Diego Du Charmil and Black Corton.
Southfield Stone led two out in the Pendil Chase but couldn’t quite hold the late rally of Who Dares. I suspect both of them might have struggled to catch Master Tommytucker who was sailing along in the lead full of running when he came down heavily just over half a mile out. It was a mirror image of his fall at Kempton over the Xmas Holiday and so frustrating after all the practise we have done with him.
Master Tommytucker was fine afterwards, has bags of talent and hopefully we can iron out his jumping. If he comes through a schooling session later this week I am thinking of running him again at Newbury on Saturday.
Diego Du Charmil ran a blinder on his return to hurdles in the Kingwell Hurdle and looked all over the winner until he was chinned in the last few strides by Song For Someone. He has lots of options including the Celebration Chase on the last day of the season.
Black Corton then ran his usual honest race under top weight to finish two lengths second to Mister Malarky in the valuable Betway Handicap Chase with Sametegal half a length behind in third. I’ll give Black Corton a little break now to freshen him up before maybe running him at Aintree on Grand National day while Sametegal is now eligible for veterans races.
Team Ditcheat is certainly firing on all cylinders as we enter the last two months of the season. We enjoyed four more winners on Sunday with Birds of Prey hacking up on the all weather at Wolverhampton and Grand Sancy, Ostuni and Bob and Co all on the mark at Fontwell.
Bob and Co just pipped Alcala in a tight finish and crucially both of them are now qualified for the Foxhunters at Cheltenham.
Quel Destin also looked sure to land the Grade 2 National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell but idled on on the run in and was collared late on by William Henry. That race has been his target all season and I couldn’t quite believe it when William Henry came from the clouds to spoil the party.
We will try to keep up the momentum this coming weekend with interesting runners at three meetings. Last year’s winner San Benedeto and Mont Des Avaloirs run in the Greatwood Chase at Newbury while Calva D’Auge goes for a £50,000 novice hurdle at Kelso where St Xavier is an intended runner over fences. In addition Cill Anna is earmarked for a £30,000 mares’ novice hurdle at Doncaster where Dolos is entered over fences.
For all the latest news on my runners on Saturday please turn to my Betfair column which goes live at 5pm the previous evening.