Back to normality after a great festival
In the News
A remarkable week at the festival with some exhilarating performances by both man and horse. Gordon Elliot captured his first top trainer’s title as the Irish ran off with most of the prizes, but Ruby Walsh cemented himself as the best jockey around by winning top jockey yet again. Some of his rides, notably those on Yorkhill and Un De Sceaux, were nothing short of brilliant and it shows why he’s the best. Jessica Harrington saddled her first runner in the Gold Cup and promptly won it with Sizing John, who was impressive and what to think of Willie Mullins. No joy in the first two days, but a four timer on day three and then two more on the last day, including getting Arctic Fire back to win after 450 days off the track. All in all, it was a great spectacle and lived up to its name ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’.
Last week’s runners
Valadom ran in the Cross Country race at the festival and made an unfortunate mistake at the Aintree fence which effectively put him out of the contest. He’d been running a big race up til then. We had decided not to make the running this time as we didn’t want to be a sitting duck for the McManus brigade, but the error put an end to his chances. It’s a shame, because he normally jumps that fence well, but I wonder if his shuddering error in the Sefton Chase, when he ploughed straight through a fence, had anything to do with it. He’ll need a bit of a break now, which is a shame, but he’s had a pretty busy season. We’ll freshen him up for a spring/summer campaign and hopefully aim him at the Grand Steeplechase de Dieppe in France
Tahira held every chance turning into the home straight in the Mares Novices’ Hurdle and she had ran a mighty race up until then. She was always going to need the run after her break, but she did really well. She has come out of it great and Harry, who gave her a great ride, wasn’t hard on her, so we’re looking forward to her next trip out.
Caprice D’anglais returned to hurdles for the first time since December and made the most of his lowers hurdles mark to make all unchallenged. He set off full pelt from the off and never saw a rival until well past the finish. He was bought following the race and it’s a bit of a shame to see him go as I bred him, but he’s done his job and picked up three wins for us (And it could’ve been four if he hadn’t fallen at Leicester when clear).
As already suggested in last weeks’ newsletter, Chic Name was unlikely to take up his engagement at Fakenham as he was due to go down in the weights and Cobalt Marthen didn’t take up his place in the bumper at Uttoxeter either. Both are pencilled in again for this week.
Fulgus ran at Warwick earlier today and again wasn’t great. He set off in front with the hot favourite in first time cheekpieces under Tom Bellamy, but failed to keep up the gallop. He stopped as if he’d ran into a wall and maybe it’s come to the point that we have to call time on that project. He’s still got an entry at Bangor, but I don’t think we’ll take that up.
This week’s runners
Chic Name has a load of entries, but he’ll be going to Newbury on Friday for the novices limited handicap chase. He should be suited by the nearly three mile trip and back in novice company he should have a good chance of running a big race. He’ll be off bottom weight as he’s still only five and that could give him a handy edge and the jockey claims a further seven lbs off.
Petiville is a new addition to the yard, joining from Rebecca Curtis recently and he heads to Southwell next Tuesday to make his hurdles debut. He’s ran ok in a couple of bumpers so far, but I think he’s a two-mile hurdler on pedigree and hopefully he’ll give a bold show on hurdles debut.
Cobalt Marthen is our last entry this week. He’s entered at Chepstow in a bumper, but will probably head for the one at Southwell to make his debut. He is a five year old gelding by Balko out of an unraced mare and his sire has produced some useful types like Gitane Du Berlais and Balko Des Flos. The latter led the way in the JLT for a long way and was running a good race when he came down four out. If he’s anywhere near as good, he’ll give us a lot of fun times. We think a lot of him, but he’ll need the experience.
None of our bloodstock graduates managed to come away from Cheltenham having won, but Petit Mouchoir and Disko both hit the frame in their respective races. The former ran a mighty race in the Champion Hurdle and could well have been closer but for a mistake three out. The latter had admit defeat to an exceptional horse in Yorkhill and a very good one in Top Notch, but he’ll win other races and he ran a very good race on this occasion to finish third. Clarcam ran a decent race in the Ultima, despite being badly hampered at the first and having to make up a lot of ground. Finally, the two bloodstock graduates that ran in the RSA couldn’t compete with the impressive yet not entirely straightforward Might Bite. Alpha Des Obeaux finished fourth and Acapella Bourgeois sixth in ground that was probably on the fast side for the latter.