In the News
A great weekend for us as all three runners made a pleasing return from prolonged absences and picked up some prize money in the process. The most eye-catching of all was the return of Allysson Monterg who claimed a Novices Chase at Exeter on Sunday, while Ceporine was denied victory by a neck having looked the winner on the run in. Chic Name claimed third in a competitive four-runner too, so it was a great weekend in all.
Going forward, we’re making the long journey up to Kelso for tomorrow’s Morebattle Hurdle with Dame Rose, while Shantou Flyer goes for the Ivan Straker Memorial Chase on the same card. Looking further afield to the Cheltenham festival, Rosie has been scratched from the senior mares hurdle and will likely run in one of the novice races, while Shantou has been taken out of the Ryanair, but retains his Gold Cup entry. He’s also entered in the Grand National, where he will carry 10-12 if all stand their ground. He’s 20th on the list, which means he’ll be guaranteed a run, but whether or not we will go for the race is something we’ll decide closer to the time.
We’ve had three runners since the last letter, starting with Ceporine last Saturday at Uttoxeter. Making his return after 476 days off the tracking and sporting a first-time hood, he settled much better and travelled well into the race. He jumped ok, not always fluent, but it was only his third start under rules, so we’ll forgive him that. He ran into contention between the last two and jumped the last in front under Johnny Burke, but he was just run out of it by Transient Bay at the line. We were hoping he would come on for the run, having been off for so long, but he was more forward than we expected, considering the underfoot conditions and the weight he had to carry. If he can come on for that and stay sound, he could have a nice career ahead.
Two runners on Sunday at Exeter, starting with Chic Name in a three-mile Graduation Chase. He was right up with the leader and eventual winner all the way around and jumped well in a first-time hood. He faded out of it in on the run-in and was eventually beaten twenty-three lengths. It was his first race for 300 days, since finishing well beaten in a Grade Two hurdle at Auteuil and perhaps he needed the run after that lay-off, but it was a good return in a tough race. The plan has been to go Cross Country chasing with him and hopefully we can get him to the festival for that race.
Our last runner at the weekend was Allysson Monterg who returned victorious in the two-mile three novice chase. He too, has had his injury problems and hadn’t made it to the track in 456 days, but made an instant impact on his return. He jumped well and kept on strongly towards the finish to claim the spoils. We were obviously delighted with his return, having been off with a nasty injury, but he seems very much back on track and it’s onwards and upwards from here with him. He’s got entries at the Festival, but we won’t rush him there if he’s not 100% ready.
This week’s runners
Two for us on Thursday up at Kelso, starting with Dame Rose in the Morebattle Hurdle. She takes on four rivals, including last year’s winner Cyrus Darius, but all four will have to give her weight. She’s in good form at home, but we would’ve preferred better ground for her. That said, it’s a nice race and a decent pot to go for, so it’s worth giving it a shot. Jonathan Burke takes the ride. She also has an entry in the Kingwell at Wincanton on Saturday, but Kelso is our first preference.
About half an hour later, it’s Shantou Flyer‘s turn when he takes on three others in the three-mile Ivan Straker Memorial Chase. Another decent put, but again we would’ve preferred better ground. He ran really well at Cheltenham the last twice and he’s still in good form, so it’s worth chancing another valuable race with Jonathan Burke on. Like Dame Rose, he’s also got an entry at the weekend, as Ascot in a three-mile limited handicap, but again Kelso will be the main goal.
Ramonex has an entry at Wincanton in Saturday in the two and a half mile handicap chase. It’s a 0-135, so he gets in nicely on 131 and as he’s a big strong chaser the weight shouldn’t be a concern. We step down in trip slightly, about a furlong and a half, but Wincanton is a tough enough track to get when it’s soft, so that will hopefully play to his strengths. He’s been in decent form in his last few runs, so we hope he can continue that upward trajectory.
Finally, Echo Watt is set to take a big step up in trip to nearly three miles on Monday at Lingfield. The ground there usually gets pretty deep, which will suit him as he makes his handicap debut. He’s taking some time to get used to hurdling, having won on bumper debut, but we’ve seen enough from him at home to make it worth persevering.