The festive period is always an exciting time of the year for the yard, and it started in fantastic fashion at Cheltenham with Kalondra winning the Ryman Novices’ Chase on Saturday.
We were over the moon with the performance, and it is always extra special to have a weekend winner at Prestbury Park. We are very lucky to have such a strong team of jockeys available, and Noel gave the horse a peach of a ride to produce him at the perfect time.
I will speak to the owners before making any solid plans for the New Year, but the handicapper has left him alone, and we our keeping our fingers crossed there is more to come.
Elsewhere this week, we were delighted with the display from Carole’s Vigilante at Ffos Las on Monday. To finish 3rd in the bumper on his first start for over two years is highly encouraging, and the aim will be to build on that performance next time out.
Ochos Rios has always been a horse with ability, so it was brilliant to see him get his head in front for the first time at Southwell in the 1m3f handicap on Friday afternoon. He’s a horse that prefers better ground so we will continue to look for opportunities on the level, and hopefully there is a bit more to come.
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been all good news with Impulsive Star unseating Sam Waley-Cohen on chase debut at Catterick on Tuesday afternoon. He was jumping superbly before the unfortunate slip, but thankfully looks absolutely fine, and could go to Wetherby over the Christmas period.
It’s always great to have a winner over the Christmas period, but it is certainly a hectic time for a busy stable. Half the team have Christmas off, with the other half taking time off over the New Year, but the work continues as normal with the horses.
It’s also a challenge from a logistical point of view with so many horses entered across the country, particularly on Boxing Day, but the team are in good form and we are looking forward to the challenge.
Southfield Royale has been below par over fences recently which has been frustrating, but we retain our faith and he will go back over hurdles at Ascot on Saturday.
Tikkanbar won a bumper at Sedgefield, and could go back to the Yorkshire venue on Boxing Day for the 2m4f novices’ hurdle. His win at Plumpton was a fantastic starting point, and we hope there is more improvement to come next time.
Wincanton always have a terrific card just after Christmas, and Fingerontheswitch is entered for the Pertemps Qualifier at the Somerset track. He has looked back to his old self over hurdles on his last two starts, and it would be superb to qualify for the Final at the Cheltenham Festival.
Soupy Soups was beaten a long way at Ascot last time but jumped well that day, and the novices’ limited handicap at Market Rasen is a race that could suit.
Dalaman holds entries at Wetherby and Huntingdon, and is a horse that has performed strongly on all three starts since joining the yard. He has looked in fine form at home this week, and there is no reason why he can’t pick up some useful prize money before the year is out.
Elsewhere, Pilgrims Bay won the Betbright Chase at Kempton last season, and is on track to go back for the 3m handicap chase on the 27th December. His run in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury was fantastic, and a repeat of that display should put him in the frame.
We are yet to decide where Solighoster will run (Chepstow or Newbury), but he is a genuine horse that we always enjoy taking to the races. He has jumped well on both starts over fences so far which has been encouraging, and hopefully that can continue next time.
I’ll sign off for 2017 by wishing all the readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.