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Grade 1 Dreams And Grand National Entries

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Friday 2nd February 2018
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Kansas City Chief had run well on his previous two starts for the yard so it was fantastic to see him get his head in front at Doncaster last Friday.

It can take a horse a little while to settle into new surroundings, but he relished the step up in trip on Town Moore and won the 3m handicap hurdle going away. It was excellent weight carrying performance and he is proving to be a lovely addition to the team.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t such good news at Cheltenham on Saturday as Tikkanbar failed to fire in the Grade 2 novices’ hurdle. He paid the price for being too keen in the early stages of the race, but we retain our faith in his ability and we will look at a change of tactics next time.

The aim now will be to teach him to settle better, and with that in mind we will consider employing headgear in a small field contest.

We have an exciting team of bumper horses in the yard, so it was pleasing to see Dandolo Du Gite make a strong start to his career under rules when 3rd at Wincanton on Thursday. It was the ideal starting point for a horse we believe has ability and it was encouraging to see the way he stuck to his task.

The Grand National entries were released on Tuesday and we were pleased to be represented by Carole’s Destrier and The Young Master.

It is touch and go whether The Young Master will make the field at the moment, but he goes to Newcastle on Monday for the handicap chase where we hope he can put in a strong showing. 

We were frustrated in our attempts to get Carole’s Destrier to Aintree last season due to injury, so fingers crossed we can get to the race without a hitch on this occasion. There is a 0-150 veteran’s chase at Exeter later this month which looks like the perfect stepping stone for a horse I believe is ideally suited to the National. 

Looking ahead to this weekend, it could be an exciting one as we send Kalondra to the prestigious Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase.

It looks a competitive contest as you would expect but our lad impressed at Cheltenham last time out, and more than deserves to take his chance at the highest level. His jumping has been excellent on three starts over fences, and this run will hopefully point us towards either the JLT or the novices’ handicap chase at the Festival.

All trainers dream of winning their first Grade 1 and I am no different, so the whole team will have their fingers crossed on Saturday.

Aside from Sandown, we send a lovely bumper horse called Burns Cross to Wetherby. A fantastic looking animal, he ran well on debut when 2nd at Bangor last month, and is one we hope has a bright future.

Minellatillmorning has had a little break over the winter and returns on Sunday in the 2m3f handicap hurdle at Taunton. It will be his first start at this level and our conditional jockey Philip Donovan will be on board.  

Lastly, I will be keeping half an eye on events at Leopardstown this weekend as they host the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival. It looks a fantastic new initiative and personally I would love to see something similar in Britain during the first half the campaign.

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