It was wonderful to see Chapmanshype was back to winning ways at Newton Abbot on Monday in the 2m5f Handicap Hurdle under a lovely ride by Gavin Sheehan. He was the back marker for most of the race with Al Roc going clear and setting a good pace. However, the patient ride by Gavin saw Chappers storm into the lead coming round the home bend and easily went clear from them to win by 24 lengths. That was his 9th career win, and is now our winning most horse – ever. What a legend!
Chapmanshype wins for the 9th time in his career.
Fortunate Fred was not so fortunate in the 2m2f Maiden Hurdle at Newton Abbot as he just missed out on a double for the yard - beaten into second by just a nose in a photo finish. He was unfortunately hampered at the second last, but he got back to lead on the run to the line, and he was ahead after the line, but he was beaten on the line…. where it counts! Hopefully, he can have his day in the sun before long.
Fortunate Fred (near side) misses out by a nose in a photo.
Another who is improving is Valamix, who was 2nd today at Uttoxeter. He has stepped forward with each run, and the penny is beginning to drop with him. I think he will develop into a staying chaser in time, but hopefully his winning turn over hurdles is just around the corner too.
I was thrilled with Donnie Azoff, who overcame his near 600 days off the track to be a very creditable 2nd at Stratford at the weekend. He looked as though he was going to win as he went clear approaching the last flight, but he just wondered around a bit in front and was caught in the shadows of the post. It was an incredible team effort to get him back in such great shape, and there promises to be a lot more to come from him.
Bucko’s Boy was 4th in the feature contest at Stratford. He was running from 3lbs out of the handicap and was only beaten 5 lengths having been hampered turning in, so he has run very well here, and hopefully we can find him a winning opportunity next month.
Meanwhile, I felt sorry for Howdilyoudo, who was leading over the last flight of hurdles at Uttoxeter last week, but stepped into the flight and all but fell. Gavin was lucky to stay aboard and he sensibly pulled her straight up. Thankfully she is ok, but it would appear that she was blinded by the low sun as that flight of hurdles was taken out in the race before and the race after due to the low sun…..
Howdilyoudo looked unfortunate at Uttoxeter.
I was lucky enough to be invited to play in the Inspire Foundation Charity (Jockeys vs. Eventers) Polo match at Tidworth last weekend, as a warm up match before the Rundle Cup – the Army v. Navy match. It was great fun, and I am delighted to report that the Jockeys won, and both Page and I managed to score a goal! I think we raised almost £10,000 for the very spinal injury charity too, so it was a very worthwhile day.