Four winners over the weekend offered further proof that our horses are back in form as we enter the last two months of the season.
Pride of place on Saturday goes to Pic D’Orhy who bounced back with a brilliant success in the Grade 2 Pendil Novice Chase at Kempton. It was our twelfth victory in the race in the last seventeen years going back to Napolitain in 2006!
I was thrilled to see Pic D’Orhy show his true colours after a below par run last time at Sandown where he choked on soft ground that he doesn’t enjoy. Back on drier going on a flat track his jumping was very good and he saved his best for the final fence where he produced a race winning, spring-heeled leap that Pendil would have been proud of.
We will by-pass Cheltenham with Pic D’Orhy and keep him for the Grade 1 Manifesto Novice Chase at Aintree’s Grand National meeting.
Hacker Des Places completed our double with a pleasing run from the front at Chepstow ridden by Angus Cheleda and it’s possible he could turn out again in a valuable handicap at Kelso on Saturday.
Most of ours ran well at Kempton including Enrilo who was fourth in the Coral Trophy and Iceo who filled the same position in the Grade 2 Dovecote Hurdle. Enrilo is firmly on course for the bet365 Gold Cup on the final day of the season and will become a lot fitter , while Iceo was doing all his best work in the closing stages, has lots of options and is going to be exciting over fences next season.
Lalor was disappointing in the Coral Trophy. He’s had one or two issues in the past, has had some hard races and probably needs to be going left handed.
Pleasant Man and Rubaud both struggled on their debuts for the yard in the Adonis Hurdle. They are big, strong horses who want a bit of time and should be fine next season with a summer on their backs and wont run again until the autumn.
On Sunday Grace A Vous Enki gained his first success for Team Ditcheat at Hereford before David Maxwell completed a double for the yard with a hard earned win on Shantou Flyer at Fontwell.
Both Harry Cobden and I were delighted with the performance of Monmiral who travelled strongly and jumped well before finishing fourth in the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell.
It has been a bit of a rush to get him back on track after he sustained a nasty injury in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle after which he was at the vet’s for a month. We knew he would need the run because he only began cantering again on January 14 and should be spot on next time in the Grade 1 Betway Aintree Hurdle on April 7 with 6 weeks to get him to full fitness .
We will be busy again with a number runners at Newbury and Kelso this weekend. We’ll definitely have some entries in the Greatwood Gold Cup in which we have a good record and also plan to run Captain Destiny in the bumper.
For all the latest news on my Saturday runners please turn to my Betfair column which goes live late on Friday afternoon.