It has been a busy period for us of late with runners up and down the country, and thankfully we have managed to keep the winners coming this week.
We were lucky enough to enjoy a double at Fontwell Park on Sunday with Walt and Bishops Court getting their heads in front. As I discussed in this column last week, the plan behind the drop in trip for Walt was to help him settle better, and it seemed to pay off as he won the 2m3f handicap hurdle in very good fashion.
He jumped well and finished his race in pleasing style which was fantastic, and he could make a quick re-appearance next week.
Bishops Court will also hopefully be out again next week following his win at Fontwell in the 2m3f handicap chase. The handicapper is sure to have his say given the way he won at the weekend, but he is a horse that seems to be improving with confidence this winter and we are delighted with him.
It was also lovely to get another winner on the Flat at Wolverhampton on Monday with Seven Clans picking up a success on the all-weather. He has come out of the race in good form, and it’s always great to be able to pick up some prize money on the level so we were certainly pleased with his performance.
Impulsive Star is the sort of horse that will gallop all day long, and he showed that when winning the novice hurdle at Catterick on Thursday. It was only a small field but he did it well, and we will see what the handicapper does to him before we make any decisions on where he goes next.
The string in general are in good form at home and some of our stable stars will be running in the near future, so it is certainly an exciting stage of the campaign.
Shantou Village is back cantering after his mid-winter break and he will have a run in handicap company soon. He was running a good race, giving weight away, when falling last time out and with Frodon franking that form since, he remains one we are looking forward to this spring.
I’m delighted to say Southfield Royale has recovered from one or two niggles, and if his preparation continues to go well he will be entered for the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster. He is something of a forgotten horse but he is looking well at home, and the form from the four miler at Cheltenham last season has worked out well so he is one we are pleased to have him fit.
As for The Young Master, we could take a similar route with him as we did last season with the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham likely to be his target. The Grand National Trial at Haydock could also come into our thinking with him provided everything goes to plan.
Looking ahead to the weekend, and we are delighted that Richard Johnson will be on-board both of our horses at Kempton on Saturday.
The strong pace of a Lanzarote Hurdle should Kalondra well, and he is an unexposed individual who is clearly going the right way after his recent Ascot success. We have finished 2nd in the race before so we know the sort of horses that tend to run well, and we are keeping our fingers crossed he can put in a solid performance.
Also on the Kempton card, we are looking forward to Activial making his debut for the yard in the listed chase, and this looks like a good starting point for him. He is clearly a talented horse and we should learn plenty more about him this weekend.
On the subject of Kempton, I was saddened to hear that track could be set to close under plans put forward by The Jockey Club this week. It is far from a done deal, but at this stage it appears to be a backwards step for jumps racing.
I will be heading straight to the airport after Kempton as we have Baltimore Rock entered in the Dan Moore Memorial Handicap Chase at Fairyhouse on Sunday. It looks a competitive race but the track should suit him, and with plenty of prize money on offer we are more than happy to be making the trip.
Also on Sunday, we send a team of four horses to Fakenham and we hope that they can perform well. We have two in the juvenile hurdle, including Ochos Rios who has done very little wrong, and also Most Celebrated declared.
Most Celebrated, a son of Derby winner New Approach, was a talented horse on the Flat with Godolphin, and he is one that we are looking forward to on stable debut.
Fingerontheswitch looks to be on a competitive mark for the handicap chase, and Soupy Soups won at Fakenham last time out so hopefully he can run well once again in the handicap hurdle.