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Flat Team On Fire And Kalondra Cheltenham Festival Plans

Friday 9th February 2018
Stable Talk

We haven’t been having too many runners over the past week or so with the weather continuing to frustrate, but the team are certainly working hard at home to get the horses ready.

We were excited to take Kalondra to the Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown on Saturday, but ultimately the ground was a touch too soft for him to be seen to best effect. The good news is the handicapper has dropped him 2lbs to 145, and with that in mind the novices’ handicap chase on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival looks like the logical target.

There was better news on Sunday as Minellatillmorning managed to get his head in front for the first time in the handicap hurdle at Taunton. Philip Donovan is a key part of the team at the yard so it was fantastic to see him pick up a well-deserved win, and the horse could now look to try and follow up at Fontwell next Friday.

At the other end of the scale, The Young Master failed to make an impression at Newcastle on Monday in the handicap chase which was a shade disappointing. The Grand National now looks out of reach given the mark needed to get in, but both the Kim Muir and the Bet365 Gold Cup, a race he has won before, remain targets in the spring following a wind op.

Elsewhere, Champagne Geroge has improved with each start this season and that trend continued at the start of the week when finishing 2nd in the 2m4f handicap hurdle at Southwell. It is always slightly frustrating to bump into one, but it was another step in the right direction which is a positive.

The flat team continue to excel, and it has been fantastic to get another couple of winners on the level this week…

American Patrol stuck to his task in impressive fashion to claim the 1m handicap at Wolverhampton on Wednesday, with Adam Kirby once again proving why he is the go-to jockey.

We were back in the winners’ enclosure at Chelmsford on Thursday evening with Just Fred getting his head in front for the first time in the 1m2f apprentice handicap. The first-time blinkers appeared to do the trick, and on a personal note I was delighted for the owners.

Moving on, we are excited to see Indian Stream back on track this weekend after a mid-season break.

It will be a tough ask off top weight in the 3m handicap hurdle at Newbury, but she is well at home and we are looking forward to the race. It is easy to forget that she was the first British-trained horse to finish in the mares’ hurdle at Cheltenham last season, and a return to the same contest is the ultimate aim.

Brendan Powell rides out at the yard once a week and goes to Uttoxeter to take the mount on Arden Denis in the 2m4f handicap hurdle. The ground will be testing but he has course form in the book and seems to be going the right way after a strong display at Bangor last time.

Solighoster goes to Warwick for the 3m novices’ chase and we are keeping our fingers crossed it can be a confidence booster. He’s had a little break since his last outing, and you would hope to see some improvement for the run.

Lastly, we have just one runner on Sunday with Solomn Grundy going to Exeter for the Pertemps Qualifier.

Winner of a similar race at Newbury last season, it would be fantastic to see him qualify for the final at Cheltenham and go up a few pounds in the process.

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