Week In Review
Great Name That – 2nd at Exeter on Wednesday
He did nothing wrong, the winner has improved since his reappearance, and he’s just bumped into one, which has been a recent theme – we keep bumping in to one. He was a bit green when left alone in front, ideally he could have done with some company or a lead, and the winner has come to him and gone past him in one go. But he is a chaser in the making and that is where his future lies and he will be doing that in the autumn, but hopefully he can get his head in front before this season is out.
Might I – 2nd at Cheltenham on Saturday
The only good news is the handicapper has only put him up 3lbs to 145. Positives to take were that he settled and jumped better, although he still did make a couple of mistakes, so still room for improvement in that department, and he handled preliminaries fine, so he gave himself a chance. We know 2 miles is quite a drastic drop in trip from 3 miles, but I was relieved that he only got raised 3lbs. I said last week that it was disappointing that we had earmarked a valuable race at Lingfield, and we were now running for less than a third of the prize money on Cheltenham Trials Day, so that adds to the frustration, they feel like missed opportunities. Hopefully he’s got course experience and he’s handled the track, so the focus is on next month and we are thinking the Martin Pipe at the moment. He will have an entry in the Coral Cup and the County Hurdle just as options, in the Martin Pipe Lorcan can obviously ride and use his experience, so that is what we have in mind at the moment.
Phoenix Way – 4th at Cheltenham on Saturday
He made a couple of errors and Kevin did well to keep the partnership intact, and although the trip was slightly short of his best, he still ran a solid race in finishing fourth. Obviously the first two pulled well clear, and the handicapper has dropped us 2lbs. We had aimed him at Ascot where he won last year, so Saturday was just a consolation. I am not entirely sure what his future plans include at the minute. He’s run two solid races this campaign and hopefully if we find him the right opportunity, he can be competitive.
Fortunes Melody – 2nd at Uttoxeter on Saturday
She bumped into one on the day, who won well, so no excuses. We have always said how consistent she is, although she is vulnerable to an improver. She took her record over fences to 12 starts with 9 finishes in the first three, only one of which was a win. She’s finished second 11 times in her career out of 23 starts, so if ever there is a bridesmaid, then she’s the one. We will have to duck and dive a bit to get her an opportunity to get her head in front again, which might include over the smaller obstacles.
Boothill – 2nd at Doncaster on Saturday
The handicapper thinks he’s put up a career best as he’s been nudged up 2lbs to 150. Technically, we were trying to concede 5lbs to a horse that was rated 5lbs higher, so we were 10lbs wrong at the weights and were beaten 5½ lengths, albeit Tommy’s Oscar did win will. I don’t necessarily agree with the handicapper, certainly Jonny was of the view that he didn’t quite entirely let himself down on the ground. He didn’t seem to quite jump with his usual exuberance, but at end the day he wasn’t quite good enough to concede weight to Tommy’s Oscar, but he’s galloped through to the line. We almost certainly won’t go to Cheltenham; we will probably target Aintree and are toying with the idea of trying him up in trip in the Pendil at the end of the month at Kempton. He’s won over the fences there this season so we will see how he is because he’s been fairly busy, but the focus for him is Aintree and the Pendil could open up options at Aintree – there’s novice chases both over the minimum trip and over 2½ miles so it could give us food for thought.
Goudhurst Star 14:00 Chepstow
Has had the one start over fences at Lingfield where Jonny Burke said he couldn’t handle the typically testing Lingfield ground conditions. He won his maiden hurdle at Warwick in May a couple of years ago, so with this drier weather and on a sounder surface he should be more at home, and we’ve always seen him as a chaser, so we’d like to hope he can be competitive. If he can place we would be happy, and that would set us up well for the rest of the campaign. He jumped well at Lingfield so if he can bring that to Chepstow he can be in with an each-way chance.
Ree Okka – 15:00 Chepstow
Sean Bowen starts his whip ban, which is very frustrating for him, but obviously I am very pleased on the other hand to see him ride his 100th winner for the campaign the other day, so congratulations to him for reaching such a milestone. Johnny takes over on Ree Okka and we will put cheekpieces on for the first time. He ran on well at Ludlow, but it just took him a while to warm into the race, so we are hoping with the cheekpieces on, he may just travel into the race a bit better. He’s won at the track over hurdles, we feel that his last run was a step back in the right direction, and hopefully he can build on that and go close with a clear round.
Hot Rod Lincoln – 13:10 Sandown
He will be making his handicap debut, we can put a line through his last start at Hereford, that wasn’t him and we immediately got him scoped, and he scoped badly. We’ve given him a chance to get over that and he looks to have made a good recovery and is in good form in himself at home. I hope he can run to the level that he did first time out at Chepstow and show that form. I think the stiff uphill finish should play to his strengths being a winning 3 mile point-to-pointer, and we are looking to put the disappointment of the last day behind us, and we are more than hopeful he can bounce back to form and be competitive on his handicap debut.
Ben Bulben – 16:03 Hereford
He was conceding a lot of weight to the three in front of him last day at Exeter, and this will be a marked step up in trip, but we feel he is ready for this now and warrants the step up in distance. Hopefully that will bring about the required improvement to break his maiden tag. The handicapper’s dropped him a couple of pounds again since the last day, and we are banking on the fact the step up in trip should help, so we shall see if that’s the case.
One To Watch Next Week
How Will I Know – 14:30 Fontwell on Monday
The plan is to take him to Sandown in March for the EBF Final, I had him in at Sandown on Saturday too, but we will go up in trip at Fontwell on Monday instead. He appreciated the step up in trip the last day at Exeter, so hopefully this will be a stepping stone to Sandown in March.
We had hopes of taking her to Cheltenham but unfortunately her campaign has come to a premature end, she has picked up an injury that means we probably won’t see her now until next January at the earliest, but we hope she makes a full recovery. She’s done nothing wrong on the racetrack so far, so it’s obviously disappointing for connections with the campaign having gone so well to this point, but unfortunately horses are athletes, and they pick up injuries just like you and me, so we are just going to have to be patient and hope to look forward to her returning to the racecourse next January.
Have a great weekend.