Three years ago, we enjoyed the extreme highs at the Cheltenham Festival when Present View won the Novice handicap chase on the Tuesday. This year we enjoyed the thrill of Dans Le Vent finishing a very respectable 6th in the Champion Bumper. He travelled strongly through the race, and hit the front 2 furlongs out but was outstayed inside the final furlong to be beaten only 8 lengths. He was the 2nd four-year-old home and he looks a smashing horse to go hurdling with next season.
Dans Le Vent finishes 6th in the Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival.
Frustratingly, Three Ways missed the cut by one for the Pertemps final which was the race we had aimed him at all season. His mark of 136 would have got him in every previous running of the race, but it just shows how tricky it is to run, let alone win at the Festival. We did run him at Bangor last weekend, but it just didn’t happen for him as the ground would have been a bit lively for him and having made a mistake at the first, he got hampered at the 2nd and was shuffled back in the pack. He wasn’t able to get into a rhythm and he was then almost brought down by a faller! We’ll put a line through that run and hope it rains before his next target which is the valuable Challenger Series Final on Easter Saturday.
I thought Hogan’s Height ran a cracker when 2nd at Lingfield earlier this month. He jumped from hurdle to hurdle in front but was mugged in the shadow of the post as he was just outdone by a horse with a bit more speed. Unfortunately, he didn’t follow that up at Warwick this week as he choked and will have a wind operation over the summer before he goes chasing in the autumn.
I was delighted with two of our free leased fillies who made their debuts in a bumper at Market Rasen last week. Presenting Pearl ran a fine race to be 2nd and although she had a bit of traffic problems coming into the straight, she showed a great attitude to squeeze through a gap and was staying on all the way and was closing near the finish. Oscar Star (a sister to our smart mare Ixora) was a very pleasing 4th on her debut in the second division of the bumper. We forfeited a lot of ground, and we were forced 7 wide around the final bend into the straight. However, she dug deep inside the final 3 furlongs and stayed on strongly to be 4th beaten only a neck and a head for 2nd. Amazingly there is still 25% left available to lease of Oscar Star!
Oscar Star runs well on debut and there is 25% left available for lease.
Having been placed in both bumpers and three novice hurdles this season, Adrrastos deserves to get his head in front before long. However, he filled the 3rd spot yet again at Newbury on Saturday having run a lovely race after a break. He’ll surely win his maiden hurdle before we go chasing through the summer. Another horse to fill the number 3 spot was Capsy de Mee, who was 3rd at Fakenham on Gold Cup Day. He qualifies for a handicap mark now and will go chasing in the autumn after he also undergoes a wind operation.
Having had plenty of success with mares since we started training, we have a plethora of well-bred fillies in the yard now, and we are always keen to try to get some black type for their breeders. We’ve rather hit the bar this month though in this regard as Naranja and Kassis were both 4th in their respective races. Four-time winner, Kassis, will now head off to stud but Naranja will head to Cheltenham next month after she underwent a wind operation recently.
Kassis pictured winning at Bangor - she's now retired to stud.
Future Gilded has looked a progressive horse this season, but our gamble running him back over hurdles earlier this month didn’t pay off. He looked attractively handicapped back in that discipline, as we looked to capitalise on that before going to the Challenger Chase series final at Haydock on Easter Saturday. Obviously, it was disappointing that we couldn’t take advantage of what looked a golden opportunity for us, but a combination of hurdles, a fast gallop, on better ground put paid to our chances. Aidan came back and reported that he’s just a better chaser – simple as that!
I was pleased to see Midnight Chill run really promisingly in the £50,000 GoffDBS bumper at Newbury. He finished 8th but that only tells half the story as he helped force the pace before being outpaced and then staying on strongly inside the final furlong. He’s a proper staying chaser for the years to come but we should have a lot of fun with him over hurdles next season.
Having had plenty of luck in The Grand Military Gold Cup as a jockey, I’d love to win it as a trainer…..However it wasn’t to be this year as Ardkilly Witness came to grief at the downhill fence. It was a great shame as I thought we had an excellent chance. Having only just been beaten in the race last year with a penalty, and having run a great race in the Royal Artillery last month, I thought we had him in tip top shape and without that penalty I was hoping and dreaming of turning the tables with the winner. Thankfully both horse and jockey live to tell the tale and we’ll head to Wincanton next for the new Military hurdle in late April. I am thrilled though that the Cherry Pickers Partnership looks to be expanding and we hope to have two horses to aim at the Grand Military for next season.
Ardkilly Witness pictured between two Military Horses.
We are always out looking for the next star and I was delighted to be able to purchase Scorpion Sid who is a strapping 5-year-old gelding. His brother is the useful 5-time black type chase winner, Two’s Company. His dam is out of a half-sister to the high-class staying jumper Kingsmark, and from the lovely family of Gaye Chance (Stayers Hurdle winner), Gaye Brief (Champion Hurdle winner). Scorpion Sid put in a very impressive performance on his debut to be placed 2nd in an Irish Point and was beaten only 2 lengths by Western Honour (recently sold to the Champion trainer). Scorpion Sid was out for an educational run, but stayed on so strongly he would have picked up the winner in another couple of yards. He is unsurprisingly by Scorpion, the sire of this seasons RSA Chase winner at the Cheltenham Festival, so let’s hope and dream that Scorpion Sid can follow suit.
Scorpion Sid is a new arrival to Folly House.