Can Boothill walk the Hurst Park?
Starting the week off with a double at Exeter was a real pleasure for us all, ending a frustrating run of seconditis! Might I and Gidleigh Park did themselves proud and we’re all looking forward to seeing what they will do next. Lady Adare’s race came a bit too soon for her, in hindsight, and Anno Power just did a bit too much too soon to win, but they’ll both be back soon to put in some more good work.
We’re off to Ascot on Friday with two horses I hope will have decent chances. Beat The Bat is first in the 2m3½f maiden hurdle (12.15). He was narrowly denied on his hurdle debut at Chepstow earlier in the month and I’d like to think that, with that run under his belt, he’ll be the one they all have to beat. We’re looking forward to running him and the track should suit him nicely, so hopefully he can go one better.
We didn’t run Gin Coco in the Greatwood Hurdle last weekend as planned due to the slow ground, so we’re sending him to the 1m7½f handicap hurdle here instead (14.35). We’ve been pleased to see conditions drying out for him and, as a result, the track should really suit. He’s got to step up from his reappearance at Ffos Las, but I think he can do just that. We know he can be competitive off this mark, and he should be able to go close.
Dubrovnik Harry starts us off at Haydock in the 3m½f Stayers’ Handicap Hurdle (14.20). He really pleased us with his comeback run at Cheltenham, when fourth in the Pertemps Qualifier. I’d be quite happy for the ground not to dry out too much for him, knowing that he can handle softer conditions. The handicapper is letting him have another go off the same mark as before, and while this is a different, tighter track and he’s got to contend with a big field, we’re hoping that he can be competitive and be in with a chance for this valuable prize.
In the 2m7½f mares’ handicap hurdle we have Whitehotchillifili (14.40). She’s top-weight here, having gone very close on her reappearance, but that was an open handicap and she’s back into the mares’ programme here. She has plenty of weight to carry but has shown herself to be competitive off this mark, so let’s hope she can be once again.
Then onto the Hurst Park Handicap Chase, where Boothill will return having won this race last year (15.15). We’re six pounds higher now, having won so well over course and distance on his reappearance three weeks ago, so he carries top-weight in this race, but we’ve been very happy with him at home since his last run and the ground drying out is a positive for him as well. We all hope that he can go out there and defend his title from last year.
He’s got an entry in the Tingle Creek, but we’ll only give that more thought after the weekend as this result will have a big bearing on whether or not we go for that race. If he can justify his new mark, then he’ll almost certainly be into graded company next time.
Valadon is a juvenile who doesn’t want the ground to dry out too much, so I’ve given him the option of either the juvenile hurdle at Exeter on Sunday (12.20), or the Junior “National Hunt” Hurdle at Kempton on Monday (12.20). It’s a new programme of races, but we seem to have lost a fair share of them this Autumn! He’s a lovely horse by Vadamos who schools really well and I’m hoping he can get off to a good start.
In the 2m5½f handicap hurdle is Danton (15.45). He ran a race full of promise at Exeter last time, staying on well just over two miles. He steps up in trip here, which should really suit, and – while the handicapper put him up five pounds for finishing the close runner-up on reappearance – we should see more improvement over the longer trip. We know he likes the track, and he ought to go well.