Last week we landed our 30th winner of the season, and we've already beaten our previous best prizemoney total, so with another month of the season left, I hope we can beat our previous best total of 35 winners in a season too.
Midnight Chill won his third novice chase of the season when showing good battling qualities to get up in a competitive and valuable Class 3 event at Ludlow, under another excellent ride from Gavin Sheehan. Midnight Chill hasn’t been out of the first two in five starts this season, and I’d like to think that he will keep improving as we go further up in trip next season. However, in the meantime I think we might aim him for the Class 2 Josh Gifford novice handicap chase at Sandown on the last day of the season.
Midnight Chill wins his third novice chase of the season.
I was thrilled to see Scorpion Sid win his second novice chase of the season at Haydock last week too. He has now won 4 of his 7 races under rules and should develop into a high-class staying chaser next season. He does need soft ground though, and Haydock dried out considerably, so he did very well to win despite the ground really. It is unfortunate that this winter has been so dry as he really could have thrived in his novice chase season. However, he has done well and I look forward to next term with him and will aim him at the Welsh National.
Scorpion Sid wins his second novice chase of the season.
It was a great thrill to see Adrrastos win at Hereford earlier this month after 502 days off the track, after his owners Karen and John Gunn had showed great patience. He jumped well under Aiden Coleman and won with a bit in hand. It was a huge team effort to get him back in such excellent shape and I very much look forward to seeing him back out at Aintree next week in the Red Rum chase.
Adrrastos wins after 502 days off the track.
Although we didn’t manage to add to our Cheltenham Festival tally of winners this year, I thought our three runners ran with credit. Unfortunately, it was the wettest week of the season and that didn’t play to either of their strengths. Having won the cross-country race at Cheltenham’s December meeting, Fact of the Matter looked to have an each way chance but the ground caught him out. He’ll now head to Aintree next week where he’ll probably run in the Topham unless he gets into the Grand National. Monbeg Theatre had every chance in the Coral Cup until he was jumped into at the 2nd last and came back lame. He’ll have an early summer holiday now before a novice chase campaign in the autumn. Whilst Thistle Do Nicely ran well in the County Hurdle but needs to go up in trip now and will head to Cheltenham’s April meeting where there is a Class 2 novice hurdle over 2m4.
Of our other recent runners, both Coole Well and Alrightjack finished 2nd in novice hurdles this month under their penalties, and I’d like to think they both have the ability to win again this season. Dans Le Vent was 3rd in a Class 2 handicap at Sedgefield last week, and will now head to the Challenger Series Final at Haydock over Easter. Timcoda was 3rd on handicap debut at Southwell and will go novice handicap chasing next, and Grange Ranger will follow the same path. Whilst I thought Legends Ryde ran a blinder to be 5th in the £50,000 sales bumper at Newbury last weekend. She looks a lovely type for novice hurdles next season, and I think she has a really exciting future ahead of her.
Talking of Festivals all eyes turn to Aintree next week, and we should have a team of 4 or 5 heading up there. Fact of the Matter might still get a run in the Grand National, otherwise he’ll head for the Topham. Adrrastos will run on the Thursday as will Shantewe who will run in the Grade 2 Mares bumper. Whilst Thebannerkingrebel will run in the Grade 2 bumper on the Friday. He has recovered from a wind operation that didn’t heal well, and although he’s had over a year off the track he is working really well, and I can’t wait to have him back on the track again. We quite fancied our chances in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival last season, but his wind gave out there, and I hope this dual bumper winner can recapture his old form.
Fact of the Matter in preparation for this years Grand National.