In the News
A lot has happened since the last newsletter. The festival came and went and despite the unusual bad ground, it was still quite a spectacle. Shantou Flyer ran a stormer at the track once again, only narrowly denied in the Ultima, while Chic Name was just pushed out of the places in the Cross Country, but alas there was no joy for Dame Rose and Allysson Monterg. We still picked up around twenty-five thousand pounds in prize money and we’ve already smashed last season’s total of £103,962 by some margin.
The RHB Graduate crop didn’t have the best of times either, be it due to the ground or the races not panning out to suit. Petit Mouchoir was too keen in front and ended up cutting his own throat, while Dortmund Park was sat far back in the Albert Bartlett and never really got involved.
But there are plenty of exciting things on the horizon. Spring is here and the weather has started to turn, giving us some better ground to look forward too. There are still big days in store at Aintree and Sandown and we’ll certainly be sending some horses there. It’s the local track for one of our main owners and we had a great victory there last year when Dame Rose won the Grade Two bumper. So far, we have an entry in the Grand National for Shantou Flyer and two with entries in the Topham Chase, those being Shantou Flyer and Chic Name.
It’s been a struggle with the weather post-Cheltenham, with a lot of rain forcing abandonments up and down the country. We’ve got horses ready to run, but just nowhere to run them at the minute, so hopefully, we’ll get some replacement meetings for the ones we’ve lost. Despite the abandonments, we managed to claim a winner after a long journey to Carlisle when Going Gold claimed his first win under rules, our eighth winner this season.
Speaking of Dame Rose, she ran in the Supreme Novices Hurdle on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. Johnny Burke rode her for the first time, but she was no fan of the heavy ground that we had on day one. She couldn’t really jump out of it well, which made her jumping a bit sticky and down the back, she started to struggle to go with the leaders. She was pulled up after a mistake two out, but we’ll look at the Mares meeting at Cheltenham for her. Hopefully, we’ll get some better ground and she can show her best side.
Shantou Flyer ran a stormer to finish a neck second to Coo Star Sivola in the Ultima. He was prominent throughout and if he’d met the last on a stride rather than having to shorten into it, it could well have been a different result. Despite all that, it was another impressive weight-bearing performance, carrying ten lbs more than the winner, but the handicapper hasn’t shown any mercy and upped his mark by another five lbs! All it all though, it was a cracking ride from James Bowen, who was very close to his first festival winner at the tender age of seventeen. He’ll get plenty more chances to ride one, I’m sure.
In hindsight, I wish we’d run Allysson Monterg in the JLT instead of the RSA. His jumping, unfortunately, went to pieces a bit on the second circuit and Johnny Burke was wise to pull him up when he got detached. He did show he has a big engine by consistently making up the ground lost over the obstacles in a matter of strides, but that’s no way to win an RSA. He has entries on Saturday in calmer waters and we hope he can bounce back.
Chic Name showed that he can be a new Cross Country star, running very well and turning onto the racecourse proper, he was still in second place and in with every chance. He had to let the first three, who are rated between twelve and twenty-nine pounds superior on ratings and was just done out of a place by Auvergnat on the line. But we were delighted with his efforts, it was only his first try at the discipline and at this track and come November time, he shouldn’t be 150/1 for the handicap version of this race!
Eureu De Boulay ran no sort of race in the Fred Winter, he started off well by leading the pack, but his jumping wasn’t always fluent and he gave up pretty quickly. We’ll have to see where we go from here with him.
Going Gold finished third in a two-mile novice hurdle at Kempton, stepping back down from two and a half mile at Doncaster previously. It was a funny race from the start, with no one really wanting to make the running and as a result, it was very slowly run. It didn’t help our lad at all as he was very keen, but as they went quicker, he settled better and travelled well into the race. He jumped nicely all the way around but was perhaps a tad out-paced by the front two on the run in. That said, he stayed on nicely towards the finish.
We had Discko Des Plages run in a bumper at Towcester, in what was fairly horrible ground. He travelled well, but was very keen and probably paid for his early exertions when he emptied out turning in. He’s got a nice pedigree, by Balko (sire of Cheltenham winner Balko Des Flos) out of a French Mare, who’s is also the dam-sire of the likes of Alisier D’Irlande and Anibale Fly, so he should make a nice horse going forward if he can learn to settle a bit better.
Two days after that, we finally got Going Gold off the mark when he won a nine-runner race over the intermediate trip under James Bowen at Carlisle. He travelled really nicely, jumped well and was well on top by the end of the race, drawing clear on the run-in after a good jump at the last. It was an early start and a very long journey up North, but it was worth the while to see him claim his first success.
This week’s runners
We’ll have a full preview of the Aintree runners later in the week.