In the News
As the middle of March draws near and the weather thankfully abates, all eyes turn to Prestbury Park for the Cheltenham Festival. We had a tough old time of it, with snow blizzards battering Bobble Barn, but thankfully we all came through it fine. We’ve been quiet on the racing front, with most of our attention focussed on Cheltenham, getting horses primed for their big days. On that note, we have a handful of runners targetted and hopefully, they’ll do us proud.
Cheltenham is also a big time for the Bloodstock business, with two RHB Graduates looking to be heading to the festival. Petit Mouchoir is a live chance for the Arkle after making a promising transition to fences, while Dortmund Park has a number of entries, with trainer Gordon Elliot nominating the Martin Pipe as a possibility at a preview night this week.
We are also looking for a competent amateur or conditional jockey to join the yard. We’ve got a busy spring ahead, which will probably include racing abroad and preparing horses for the spring sales. Good rides will be available for the right applicant, so do contact Richard either via email or mobile (Hobson.firstname.lastname@example.org or 07939 155843).
It’s been a while since Shantou Flyer ran at Kelso (Dame Rose was entered on the same day, but pulled out because of the ground). Alas, he could only manage second behind a progressive sort of Lucinda Russell’s, having to give away 9 lbs to the eventual winner. He ran well considering, but they went a really slow pace and then sprinted down to the finish. That didn’t really suit him and the ground was pretty horrible, which didn’t help. He didn’t have a hard race though.
Echo Watt was another who had to cope with pretty desperate conditions, at Lingfield this time. He finished a well-beaten fifth, getting a bit outpaced on the long run after three out, but staying on again up the straight. He was pretty tired by then and made a tired mistake at the last. It was his first try up to nearly three miles and he’s only four, so we shouldn’t be too harsh on him after that performance. He’s still a big baby and we’ll give him a nice long break now.
Ceporine backed up quickly after Uttoxeter with another race at Doncaster, but perhaps it was too quick for him. He travelled well for most of the way and was still full of running when he clipped heels at four out and was swiftly pulled up by Jonathan Burke after that. It’s possible that he just needs a bit more time to recover, but we’ll look to get him in another hurdles race before long.
This week’s runners
We’ve got a great team heading for the Festival, headlined of course by the darling of our stable, Dame Rose. She is set to take her place in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle where she will receive a seven lbs mares allowance, rather than taking her chance in the Mares Novices’ Hurdle on day three, where she would have to carry a five lbs penalty. On ratings, she has plenty to find with the front end of the market, but we feel a strong gallop at over two miles, hopefully with a bit of cut in the ground will play to her strengths. Jonathan Burke is set to take over in the saddle. If she can run to that level of form again, she’ll show she’s worth her place in this field.
Shantou Flyer still has the option of a tilt at the Gold Cup, but the most likely race for him is the three-mile Ultima Handicap Chase on day one. It’s a very competitive handicap and it looks like we’ll have to carry 11-09, although we hope James Bowen will claim three off that. He’s got great form at the track with two wins, two seconds and a fourth from six races here, but there’s always the worry that there’s a well-handicap horse lurking at the bottom of the weights in these races.
A winning debut over fences made Cheltenham a realistic option for Allysson Monterg and we’ve decided to run him in the RSA, despite the previous concerns over the ground. He’s run fine on heavy ground before, including at the track, so we’ll take our chance. He’s had his problems, which have stopped him from showing his full potential to date, but he’s run well here over hurdles. Jonathan Burke is set to retain the ride on him.
Chic Name has been schooling both on our own Cross Country gallops and the actual course at Cheltenham under Jonathan Burke. We’ve had this race in mind for a while for him and as a six-year-old, he’s one of the few horses in here that has scope for improvement. It looks like we’ll get into the race despite being near the bottom on official ratings and we’ll see if all that schooling has paid off!
Our final entry for the week is Eureu Du Boulay, who is in both juvenile races, but I would imagine will go for the Fred Winter. He’s a good-looking horse, who won on his last start at Fontainbleu in France before joining us form Bert Lefevre. He’s by Della Francesca, who was third in an Irish 2000 Guineas for Aiden O’Brien and has sired some decent jumpers like Auvergnat (runs against Chic Name in the Cross Country) and Divin Bere, second in the Fred Winter last year. It’s hard to estimate where he fits in on the English form, but he’s a nice horse for sure.