In this week’s newsletter, we look ahead to a big day out at Cheltenham for yard favourite Valadom.
Big freeze hits racing
Unfortunately the weather has played havoc with fixtures in the past week. The big races at Ascot fell foul of the weather on Saturday and both Fulgus and Dame Rose saw their outings cancelled with Hereford succumbing on Sunday. We’ve actually been pretty lucky with the weather so far this season and haven’t lost that many meetings, but it’s always a shame. Luckily for the fans, the Clarence House Chase from Ascot has been re-arranged for Cheltenham this weekend, making it a nine race card, also including the re-arranged Cross Country race from the Open meeting. It looks quite the spectacle on paper and we can only hope this ‘mini-festival’ lives up to its billing.
Last week’s runners
With Hereford abandoned due to the frost, both Fulgus and Dame Rose saw their outings cancelled and there’s not much news to report.
This week’s runners
The big event of the week coming up is Valadom travelling to Cheltenham to take on the banks of the Cross Country course. He loves the track and jumps the various obstacles very well. On the face of it, he has a tough task, having finished behind some of these at the festival, but he also had subsequent December winner Cantlow behind that day. He’s up against some good horses, but he’s got the track experience advantage over some of those. He’s also in the best form I’ve ever seen him. I think he could take some catching as he’s a bit wiser and stronger to see it out now.
Fulgus has two entries this week, one at Huntingdon on Friday and one at Fontwell on Sunday, but he’ll be going to Fontwell as it stands now. As mentioned last week, we’re hoping he comes on for the experience of going over obstacles. Hopefully he can settle a bit better and if he can put it a decent round of jumping we’ll be happy.
Dame Rose also has two entries, one on the same Huntingdon card on Friday and one on Saturday at Doncaster. The Huntingdon race is only a junior bumper and one mile five might be on the sharp side for, considering the way she stayed on last time. So she might be more likely to take the long trek up to Doncaster for the Mares’ bumper there. She should have a fair chance for that if she can live up to the form of that Worcester race. Doncaster usually gets decent ground as well and she’s already got form on that.
Finally, Tahira has been entered in the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham. She’s got a great ride from Harry Skelton at Haydock last time out, beating Paul Nicholls’ highly regarded Captaine. Conditions were pretty tough that day and it’s unlikely to be the same in March, but she’s probably better on good ground. She’s still a novice and this race would be a step back up in trip, but she finished 2nd over 2m4 for Kevin Frost, so that shouldn’t be a concern. Having said that, she’ll also be entered in the mares’ novice hurdle and we’re looking forward to March for her.