I have been delighted with how 2016 has started – the horses are running well, and it was a great team effort to get Dark Lover into the winners enclosure after almost 2 years off the track.
It was an excellent performance after 632 days off the track, and a very good ride from our amateur jockey, Page Fuller. She followed the instructions to the letter, he travelled well down the paint, jumped fluently and quickened clear from the back of the third last to win going away from two highly rated horses in 2nd and 3rd.
Dark Lover before winning the first Hunter Chase of the season
I was thrilled that our patience was rewarded, and the dream is very much still alive. I was slightly worried if he would stay the 2m7 in heavy ground, but the fact he could travel so well meant that Page could keep filling him up which gave him the best chance to stay and he certainly stayed every inch. With this in mind I am considering changing our target - which was the Aintree Foxhunters - and we have to be thinking about the Cheltenham Foxhunters now.
Following Monbeg Theatre’s rather short lived chasing debut when unseating at the 2nd fence, it was lovely to see him jumping around Doncaster so well earlier this month to be 3rd to a couple of decent sorts. I was hoping to plan a route to the Novice Handicap Chase at the Festival (the same race Present View won in 2014) however, I am hugely disappointed to let you know that Monbeg will be on the sidelines for a year as he strained a tendon in the race……absolutely gutted!
Our other runners this month have all been placed. I was thrilled to see Page give Major Milborne another fine ride to be 2nd at Plumpton on Monday. He certainly relished going back over hurdles, whilst stepping up in trip seemed to help his confidence too. Kapgarde King has always been a nice horse but it has taken a while for the penny to drop with him. He has been a very keen sort, and he showed he has a future when finishing 4th on his hurdling debut at Ludlow last week. He’ll need further education before he’s the finished article, but its lovely to see him on the right path now. Meanwhile, Midnight Silver was 4th at Huntingdon last week as well. Unfortunately she didn’t handle the track at all and needs to go back left handed. However, the handicapper has given her a chance now and she’s another who will relish stepping up in trip too.
We have another couple out tomorrow, and they would both have chances, but with another frost forecast I doubt we’ll be going anywhere for a moment……