It is an exciting time of year for everyone connected with the yard, and I’m delighted to be back writing my weekly blog on www.jumpsracing.co.uk.
It has been a busy summer for us, and it has been particularly pleasing to be able to pick up winners under both codes during the warmer months. Thankfully, the winter jumps season is now in full swing, and we were delighted to pick up a double at Sedgefield last Wednesday afternoon with two lovely horses.
Kalondra showed some excellent form over hurdles last season, and we couldn’t have been happier with him on his first start over fences. He won the 2m3f beginners’ chase in good style after travelling and jumping well, and it was exactly what the doctor ordered on his first start of the campaign.
There are no firm plans for him at this stage, but the Rising Stars Novices’ Chase at Wincanton could be a logical next step.
Also on the Sedgefield card, Vancouver streaked clear of the field to win the 2m4f handicap hurdle by 13 lengths. It was an impressive display from the horse, and we will see how the handicapper assesses the performance before we make any firm plans on where he will go next.
It is always fantastic to be back at Cheltenham, and we were very happy with the way Doing Fine ran in the 3m1f handicap chase on Saturday.
The ground was a touch on the dead side at Prestbury Park but he finished off his race well to finish a creditable 3rd in a strong looking contest. He never puts in a bad display so we are delighted to have him in the yard, and the Scottish Grand National could be the perfect long term target for him.
We were disappointed with Shantou Village in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree on Sunday, but thankfully he seems to have returned home with no ill effects. It certainly looked as though the race was happening a bit too quickly for him, and we will look to step him back up trip next time out.
We were lucky enough to pick up another double at Chepstow on Tuesday with Dalaman winning the 2m handicap hurdle on his first start for the stable. Tom Scudamore gave him a positive ride which appeared to help, and we hope there might be some more improvement to come from him next time. Also on the Chepstow card, Knight Of Noir won his first race over fences which he richly deserved, and he will be given a break now before a spring campaign.
The Way You Dance is another one who will be given a little break after he won in strong fashion at Fakenham on Wednesday night, and he seemed to enjoy the extra step up in trip.
Looking ahead, we have a small team of three runners declared this weekend, and we are hopeful that all three can perform well.
Two of our stable favourites, The Young Master and Carole’s Destrier, are declared for the Sodexo Gold Cup at Ascot on Saturday, although both will want the forecast rain to arrive.
Carole’s Destrier has been looking well at home so he should be able to do himself justice, although his main target remains a return to Newbury for the Ladbrokes Trophy. Similar comments apply to The Young Master, who we are aiming towards the Becher Chase at Aintree over the Grand National fences.
Last but by no means least, Solomn Grundy will make the long journey to Carlisle on Sunday for the 2m4f novices’ limited handicap chase. The ground was too quick for him last time out at Worcester so we are hoping to see an improved run in better conditions this time.