Saturday brought us another near miss in a big handicap, this time in the London National at Sandown Park, where Doing Fine went down all guns blazing.
Our lad certainly had his chance to win although we are not looking for any excises, on the contrary we should be very happy with the run as Rocky Creek is a top-quality horse who kept pulling out more. Doing Fine has gone up to a mark of 130 which seems fair enough, and we are hopeful there is still a big day ahead of him.
The Young Master was having his first run of the season at Aintree in the Becher Chase, and there is no doubt he was a tiring a little when he slipped and unseated his rider. In addition, he got a little bit worked up during the preliminaries and wasn’t helped by a false start. These things happen but all-in-all we were happy with him and of course, most importantly, he is has returned home without a scratch on him.
There are certainly positives to draw from the experience too; Sam Waley-Cohen was delighted with the way the horse jumped the National fences, and given his record at Aintree we remain very much on track with April in mind. In between times he does have to be placed over fences to get into the Grand National, so we will look to get another run into him soon.
Bellamy was one who was disappointing last Friday as he ran too free in the bumper up at Sedgefield. He did far too much through the early stages which probably put paid to his chances on debut for us, but he is one we think plenty of so let’s hope we can get back on track with him.
Mrs Burbidge is a lovely tough horse and we were delighted she could claim a second win in quick succession up at Uttoxeter on Tuesday. She is a very genuine type and we will see what the handicapper does to her before deciding where she goes next.
Looking ahead, we have two going to Cheltenham on Saturday and are hopeful both can put in strong performances.
Baltimore Rock makes his first start of the season in the 2m handicap chase and we are keeping our fingers crossed he can run well. One or two jumping mistakes harmed his chances last term, but he has been schooling well at home and has always seemed to enjoy running at Cheltenham.
Impulsive Star won his maiden hurdle in decent fashion at Ffos Las last time out, and we are looking forward to running him in the 3m novices’ hurdle on Saturday. This is a big step up from a maiden hurdle, but the owners were understandably keen to run the horse given their association with Cheltenham, and we hope he can collect some prize money.
Moving on to Sunday, we make the long trip to Carlisle with a team of four.
Bubsy Burbidge ran well when 2nd in a messy race at Plumpton first time out, and we are hopeful he can back that up in the 2m1f novices’ hurdle.
The Black Robin was pulled up last time out so we are on a recovery mission with him in the novices’ handicap chase, whilst Danimix will be shouldering top weight in what could be a competitive 3m2f handicap chase.
The Wicket Chicken ran a cracker on debut for us at Towcester last time out, and back against her own sex we are hopeful she can be in the mix on Sunday.
Finally, I’ll sign off with a quick update on Carole’s Destrier, who is in grand form at home and remains on target for the Welsh Grand National, a race in which it is possible he could be joined by Goulanes.