Last weekend was a quiet one for us, as well as for jumps racing as a whole in the UK, with the cold weather impacting the fixture list, but thankfully we still enjoyed a successful week.
We had a fantastic day on Tuesday as we picked up an across the card treble at Wetherby and Leicester, with Most Celebrated and Fingerontheswitch entering the winner’s enclosure at the Yorkshire venue.
Most Celebrated has been showing us his talent at home, and thankfully he managed to transfer that ability to the track to win the juvenile hurdle by a wide margin. Tom Scudamore was delighted with the horse, which was pleasing to hear, and he has come out of the race in fine form which is equally important.
I am yet to form a plan with the owners, but the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton or the Victor Ludorum at Haydock would look like the two potential options for him. It’s important to take it day-to-day with young horses, but all being well we hope he can turn into Triumph Hurdle runner.
It was equally pleasing to see Fingerontheswitch notch his maiden victory over fences, with the first-time tongue-tie seemingly doing the trick. It was a win we hoped would come, but he still had to go out and there and do the business so we couldn’t have been happier.
Actlikeacountess had a bit of luck to win the mares’ handicap hurdle at Leicester but she was running a big race in her own right, and three winners on the same day is a magnificent achievement for the yard.
On paper this weekend looks like a quiet one for us, but all three of our runners face important challenges.
We are delighted to have Southfield Royale back healthy and well, and he makes the long journey to Doncaster for the Sky Bet Chase on Saturday afternoon. He had one or two niggles at the start of the season but he is as fit as he can be first time out, and he schooled well on Friday morning which is a positive.
It’s a big ask first time out, but we have James King taking an important 5lbs off so hopefully he can be in the frame. We will see how he performs on Saturday first, but if all goes well there could be a handicap for him at the Cheltenham Festival so fingers crossed he can show his true ability.
The Young Master ran in the Cleeve Hurdle last season before winning the bet365 Gold Cup and we are more than happy to go to Cheltenham with him once again this weekend. He does of course have bigger targets ahead of him in the spring, but he is well at home so hopefully he can put in a decent display.
Looking ahead to Sunday, and we send Solighoster to Fontwell Park for his hurdling debut in the 2m1f novices’ contest.
Solighoster is a Point-to-Point winner so we know he jumps well, and so far his form has been good this season. He won on debut for us at Newcastle back in November, before he ran a solid race when beaten by a good horse at Huntingdon on Boxing Day. That race looked a decent one on paper so we are looking forward to running him, and we are hopeful that he can put in a good performance at one of our favourite tracks.