It was wonderful to start December with another winner, as Kiltealy Briggs deservedly got off the mark over fences with a gutsy win at Haydock under Adrian Heskin for the McNeill family. He had been placed in Graded novice company, in competitive handicaps as well as in Graduation Chases, so it was lovely to see him get his head in front under a strong ride from Adrian. I’d like to think that there is so much more to come from Briggs now as he is stronger and more mature, and as a result I think he’ll now appreciate a step up in trip too. Being out of a sister to a Grand National winner, the dream is alive…..
Kiltealy Briggs wins a novice chase at Haydock.
Talking of dreams, it was a great thrill to see Datsalrightgino winning at Cheltenham on Friday. Having won on hurdling debut at Fontwell, we were excited to see him at Cheltenham, and he won in the style of a fast-improving horse. He travelled well in what was a slowly run affair, he jumped well on the whole, but landed in a bit of a heap at the back of the 2nd last, and hit a bit of a flat spot turning in. However, he got rolling off the bend into the last where he jumped it a bit too big and cleanly and landed a length or two down on the two that had set sail for home…..but he rallied and got his head down and battled between horses to win going away at the line. He outstayed them in what was a sprint to the line. I believe, he has speed, stamina, and a great attitude – what a combination. We had thought beforehand that we’d like to aim for the Grade 1, Tolworth hurdle at Sandown on 8th January, and on the back of his Cheltenham win, I see no reason why we should change our minds. How exciting.
Datsalrightgino wins a novice hurdle at Cheltenham and sets up a tilt at the Grade 1 Tolworth.
Fresh from victory at Cheltenham, we ran another promising novice chaser at Hereford on Saturday, and I was so relieved and delighted in the same breath to see Hardy Du Seuil winning for the second time this season, but not without the odd scare! Having tipped up at the first on his chasing debut, he then won well at Carlisle before unseating at the 2nd last at Market Rasen last time out. We have had various jumping sessions with Hen Knight, as well as here in Lambourn, and Hardy jumped superbly at Hereford. However, he was almost brought down at the 2nd last fence, and had to make up the best part of 7 lengths from the back of the 2nd last to the last and then he won a shade cosily, and really showed what a big engine he really has…..we might look for another novice handicap with him before stepping him up into Graded company, but he is hugely exciting too.
The Hardy Souls celebrate Hardy Du Seuil's win at Hereford.
Of our other recent runners, Hogan’s Height dropped his back legs into the water jump in the Becher Chase, and couldn’t get back into the race. He finished 10th of 21 starters, so still ran with credit, but he isn’t the force of old, and will now go hunter chasing in the New Year. Tallow For Coal followed up his victory at Worcester with another solid display when 4th in a competitive Saturday handicap at Wetherby. He might be one for the Grand Military Gold Cup in the spring, a race we had in mid for Braveheart but that might be a year to son for him. He was a fine 2nd in a bumper and on hurdling debut, but he didn’t get home at Wincanton today having pulled too hard.