March tends to signal the beginning of the spring, and I am delighted that our horses are in great form with another two winners from just three runners so far this month. Huntswood began their sponsorship of our yard at the start of March, and I am delighted that we have started our new association with them so well.
Orchard Park improved on his promising bumper debut when winning his bumper at Bangor last week under our conditional jockey, Graham Carson. It was a great moment for his owner, David Ryder, as it was his first winner as an owner….it was also Graham’s first ever National Hunt winner having ridden three on the flat to date. We bought Orchard Park last summer as a store, and being out of Gods Own’s sister he looks to have a promising jumping future ahead of him.
Orchard Park wins his bumper under Graham Carson for David Ryder.
We bought Three Ways after he won his bumper at Carlisle in November, and having run to a similar level of form under a penalty when 3rd in another bumper in December, we gave him a mini break and schooled him up over hurdles. He made his hurdling debut at Stratford on Saturday and he won in the style of a horse who has a very bright future. He looked as though he would win impressively, but he was still green enough in front and he still has plenty to learn. However, this was a decent performance on his hurdling debut. Three Ways is owned by David Brownlow who is the founder of Huntswood, so it was a timely winner to cement the new sponsorship deal.
Three Ways wins on hurdling debut for David Brownlow, the founder of Huntswood.
All eyes turn to the Cheltenham Festival next week. In 2014 we were lucky enough to win there with Present View, but he will miss the Festival this year and wait for a possible tilt at the Grand National. We do have a few entries at Cheltenham, but it looks as though our best chance lies with Dark Lover in the Cheltenham Foxhunters. Dark Lover has been a revelation in the Hunter Chase ranks this season and booked his place in the Cheltenham Foxhunters with two clear cut wins earlier this season. Unfortunately Page Fuller (our amateur jockey) has injured her neck in a recent pointing fall, and so will be forced to miss Cheltenham. We are still undecided if we should go to Cheltenham with a new jockey, or wait for the Aintree Foxhunters when Page should be back in the saddle.
Unfortunately a few of our more likely Cheltenham runners look to have taken a bit of a hit this season with Present View likely to head to Aintree; Souriyan just getting his confidence back following a nasty fall, and also likely to head to Aintree; Monbeg Theatre and Val De Law being off injured, Buche De Noel looking unlikely to be ready on time, Baraymi pulling muscles in his back on his final start before a possible tilt at the Fred Winter…..it therefore looks as though we might be targeting more at Aintree this year.