Saturday really was a tough day for the team here at Folly House, as we experienced the most wonderful high when Ga Law bounced back to form to win the feature £100,000 handicap, and in the following race, we lost our Coral Gold Cup hero, Datsalrightgino who broke a leg in the Cotswold Chase.
Datsalrightgino was the most wonderful horse, a horse we had always believed in, a brave and honest horse, who took us on the most incredible journey. Having bought him as a store from the Land Rover sale in Ireland, Claire Bonner backed and rode him away for his new owners, the Glyn Davies family. He was the most arrogant of individuals as a youngster, who just new he was talented and good looking! He showed he was talented on his racecourse debut in a bumper at Market Rasen, where he took off with Page but didn’t last home and was beaten on the line. I can’t believe he never won a bumper, as he was 2nd on three occasions! However, he developed into a smart novice hurdler, and it was only right that Page won on his hurdling debut at Fontwell. He defied a penalty in a novice at Cheltenham that autumn under Gavin, but he was no match for Constitution Hill in the Grade 1 Tolworth! A talented novice hurdler Gino was, but he really began to progress over fences, and he improved 20lbs last season, which culminated with a Grade 2 win at Ayr at the Scottish National meeting. After which, we began dreaming of Hennessy glory…..and after a good summer holiday, he needed his prep run in the Old Roan chase, and improved for a step up in trip to win the Coral Gold Cup (aka Hennessy) at Newbury in December. The dream was alive that Gino could develop into a live Gold Cup, or Grand National horse…..but that dream was shattered at Cheltenham on Saturday, as we lost the most wonderful of racehorses. I am gutted for the whole team here, Tim who looked after him, Stefan who rode him each day, Gavin, Page, Kate (our head girl) who fed him every morning of his life, Alex, every one of our team…..and of course the Glyn Davies family. So sad!
However, we must move forwards, we must remember, and remember and celebrate we most certainly will do….. but we must move forwards.
Wow – Ga Law was simply brilliant on Saturday. He jumped from fence to fence, and looked back to his brilliant best. Having won the Paddy Power Gold Cup last autumn, he had taken a horrific fall at Doncaster when coming to win the Great Yorkshire Chase, and in all honesty it has taken a year to get his confidence back. He had just shown enough in the Coral Gold Cup to suggest he was back, but just needed to come back a bit in trip, and that was exactly what happened. It is all credit to our head girl, Kate Baker, and I was pleased that Gavin was on board for this wonderful result.
Ga Law wins the feature handicap chase at Cheltenham on Saturday.
Bar the disaster of losing Gino, it has been a wonderful few weeks for us all here at Folly House, as winners have kept flowing.
It was great to see Colonel Harry going one better in Graded races when winning the Grade 2 Towton Novice Chase at Wetherby for the Glyn Davies family. Colonel Harry was placed in Graded hurdle races, and was 2nd in the Grade 1 Henry VIII at Sandown on his previous start, so he certainly deserved his day in the sun. He looked to appreciate the step up in trip, and we might have a crack at the Grade 1 Scilly Isles at the weekend.
Colonel Harry wins the Grade 2 Towton Novice Chase at Wetherby.
Last week I was thrilled to see Idy Wood back on the winning trail, after he sustained an injury on his previous start. He defied a penalty in a novice hurdle at Plumpton and he looks worthy of stepping up in class again now. Torneo deservedly got his head in front over hurdles at Wetherby, and looks the type to really progress now. He might be the type who creeps in at the bottom of the Boodles Fred Winter at the Cheltenham Festival, but he’ll need to win a handicap first. Wendigo also defied a penalty, but this time in a bumper at Catterick under another good ride from Gavin. It was a great result for the Racing Club, which is run by my old Corporal from my time in the army. However, the week was about to get even better as Farceur Du Large then won the prestigious Grand Military Gold Cup at Sandown for the Racing Club/ Cherry Pickers. It is a race I was lucky enough o win four times as a jockey, but we’ve been trying for years to train the winner of it, and we finally managed to last week! We celebrated in style at Windsor Castle!
Finally we get our hands on the Grand Military Gold Cup!
Of our other recent runners, I was delighted to see our Cheltenham Festival hero, You Wear It Well bounce run well to be 2nd in the Grade 2 Warfield Mares' Hurdle at Doncaster. Although the race wasn’t run to suit, and the ground was a bit quick, she did well to push a mare rated 10lbs her superior to a length beating. Double Click also filled the runners up spot at Leicester last week, and should be winning again soon. Jack Sprat was beaten less than 2 lengths in a tight finish at Huntingdon, and now qualifies for a trip to the Punchestown Festival, which should be quite fun!