In the News
It’s been a tough few weeks. Dame Rose didn’t enjoy the tacky ground in the Grade Two at Doncaster and Shantou Flyer bumped into one when beaten by Frodon at Cheltenham. But the wider world of racing has had a much tougher time. We’ve sadly lost too many good people of late, the likes of Richard Woollacott, Malcolm Jefferson and Willie Codd over in Ireland. All of them will be sadly missed around racecourses up and down the country and our thoughts are with their families at these sad times.
Over in Ireland, the Dublin racing festival was a great success and there were two former RHBloodstock graduates competing in Grade Ones. Dortmund Park ran a reasonable race for fourth in the Nathaniel Lacey & Partners hurdle, while Petit Mouchoir made an eye-catching return from injury in the Irish Arkle, finishing only five lengths behind Footpad. There’s a fair chance they’ll both show up at Cheltenham with a decent chance.
Dame Rose could only finish fourth on her latest start, in an open Grade Two mares hurdle. Under Davy Russell, who elected to sit quietly out the back as Maria’s Benefit set a strong pace, she never really got into the race, with the early pace-setters not coming back to the pack. It was disappointing cause we know she’s better than that, but she doesn’t like to be sat too far back and that, in combination with the tacky ground, did for her this time. She has entries at Cheltenham, in the Supreme and the Mares hurdle and I’d expect her to get one in the mares novice race as well. All being well that’s the race she will turn up in next. It’ll be a tough ask, but we’re hopeful she can put her best foot forward.
Shantou Flyer ran another cracker in defeat on Trials day at Cheltenham. He sat prominent off under boy wonder James Bowen but unfortunately bumped into a well-handicapped horse in Frodon, under an excellent ride from the other young jockey who’s been making waves this season Bryony Frost. It was disappointing for us that we couldn’t get home in first, but there’s not much you can do against it. Shantou has entries at the festival in both the Ryanair and the Gold Cup, but he’s been showing that the former’s trip is much more to his liking. He might get handicap entry or two as well, but they don’t close for a few more weeks, so we’ll see how that goes.
Finally, Echo Watt ran for us at Southwell earlier this week, but could not manage any better than 6th under Jonathan Burke. Wearing a first-time hood and taking on a new trip of two mile four, we hoped he might settle a bit better. He certainly seemed to be less green and jumped better than he had previously. He’s still a work in progress, but he’s improving with every run.
This week’s runners
This week, we have a few horses making their reappearance after a long layoff, starting with Ceporine tomorrow at Uttoxeter (Assuming we survive the inspection). He made a great start to his life in the UK when winning a novice hurdle at Fakenham back in May 2016, driven out under hands and heels, but showed his quirks in the four-year-old hurdle at Cheltenham the same year at the Open Meeting. He hasn’t made it to the track since then due to injury, but if he retains all his ability, he could be one to have some fun with going forward.
Our other two run at Exeter on Sunday, starting with Chic Name in a three-mile Graduation Chase. He was last seen running at Auteuil in a Grade Two Hurdle where he was well beaten, but previous to that, he’d dotted up in a valuable chase at Newbury. It’s a tough race, although we sadly won’t face Fountains Windfall after AJ Honeyball’s star passed away in a training accident. A nice clean round of jumping would be nice and we’ll see how he goes.
Our final runner is another returning from injury, Allysson Monterg making his chase debut. He’s a talented individual, who ran sixth in the Albert Bartlett in 2016 behind Unowhatimeanharry but suffered a tendon injury in that race. We thought we had him back ready for his next start at Cheltenham when he finished seventh in a handicap hurdle at Cheltenham in November 2016, but the injury reoccurred and we’ve taken it slowly with him since. He’s always looked like a chaser and hopefully, he can show a glimpse of his talent here. Anything beyond a clean round will be a bonus after his layoff, although he does hold entries at the Festival.