We all want Saturday winners, and I was thrilled to see College Oak doing exactly that at Ascot last weekend for my old school, Radley College, Lynda Lovell and Paul Stacey. He needed every yard of the 2m3 to get up on the line, and being out of a sister to a Gold Cup winner, we’ll need to go up in trip in due course. He jumps really well, and will develop into a smashing novice chaser next season, but for now we can exploit our novice hurdle status and as that was a conditional jockeys race we’ll not carry a penalty for that win if we run back in a novice hurdle. We’ll also not carry a penalty if we run again in a handicap before Saturday, and so we will run him again at Fontwell on Friday – it’s always a balance when running back so soon, and I really don’t often do it. However, in this instance it looks the right decision.
College Oak wins at Ascot on Saturday under a good ride from Page Fuller.
We’ve not run many others recently but Thomas Macdonagh was 4th on his chasing debut. Although he won 3 novice hurdles last season, he promises to be a better chaser, and will improve for this seasonal debut. Bumper winner Bucko’s Boy was 3rd under a penalty last week, where he ran really well, but it’s tricky to win two bumpers, and he’s lost nothing in defeat. He’ll go novice hurdling now. Whilst, prolific winner, Chapmanshype didn’t handle the soft ground in the Grade 2 West Yorkshire hurdle and will now have a winter holiday before coming back in the spring.