Solighoster has been a terrific horse for the yard over the past 18 months, so it was great to see him get back on track at Warwick on Saturday when winning the 3m novice chase.
Though it was only a two-runner race our lad jumped extremely well and it was the ideal confidence booster.
Solomn Grundy appeared to enjoy being back over hurdles on Sunday as he ran into a very creditable 2nd in the Pertemps Qualifier at Exeter. We achieved the aim of qualifying for the final at the Festival which was fantastic, but we will need some help from the handicapper to get run at Cheltenham.
Like everyone else I was keeping a close eye on the announcement of the Grand National weights on Tuesday evening.
The Young Master does still hold an entry but is extremely unlikely to get in, which leaves Carole’s Destrier as our main Aintree dart this season. He will need seven horses to come out to be guaranteed a run which seems highly unlikely to be an issue, and the plan is to have a prep run prior to heading to Liverpool in April.
We are keen to get an outing into the horse as soon as we can, but we won’t consider running until the ground conditions improve. At this stage there is a chance we could go straight to Cheltenham for the Kim Muir, or perhaps take in the Ultima Handicap Chase on the way to Aintree.
Shantou Village is another horse who loves better ground, and it has been great to see him back working away at home recently. No firm plans have been made at this stage about when he will return, but the Summer Plate at Market Rasen could be a possible target.
We have had one or two little setbacks with Dead Right this season, but he too is back in work which is excellent. I’ll speak to the owners to make a firm decision soon, but there is a chance we could look to retain his novice hurdling status for next season.
We picked up our 50th winner of the jumps season at Fontwell on Thursday afternoon thanks to a terrific display from Minellatillmorning in the 2m3f handicap hurdle.
The handicapper will have his say now which will make it tougher next time, but his confidence appears to be improving and we hope there is more to come.
We had a busy afternoon at the Sussex venue with Looks Frozen also putting in a positive display in the bumper. Despite being narrowly beaten into 2nd place it was an improved display, and he is one that we can look forward to as a novice hurdler next term.
Moving on, we have a busy weekend with Dieg Man going to Ascot on Saturday afternoon for the valuable 2m3f handicap hurdle.
The JP McManus owned horse has done everything asked of him so far with two comfortable wins in novice hurdles, but it goes without saying that this will be the toughest test yet.
Elsewhere, Goodgirlteresea goes to Wincanton for the 2m4f handicap hurdle and we hope to be in the mix at the business end of the contest. She has been off since finishing 2nd at Worcester back in November, but appears to be in fine form at home and we are looking forward to the race.
Away from the jumps, Happy Escape goes to Kempton on Saturday evening looking for her third win on the bounce over course and distance in the 1m handicap. She hasn’t put a foot wrong on her last two starts, and with Kieran Shoemark on-board we are hopeful of another competitive performance.