We were delighted with Protektorat in the handicap hurdle at Sandown last Saturday, the penny is just starting to drop. I’ve said before that these French horses can take a bit of time and that’s been the case with him.
Essentially he wants a longer trip but his mind won’t let him get one yet. He is settling better and when he does that even more I’ll be able to ride him more prominently. We like the way he’s going and he will probably step up in trip in the spring. He has an entry at Ascot next week but it’s unlikely he’ll run there.
We were also very happy with Nube Negra in the Henry VIII Novices’ Chase – he jumped and travelled really well. We bumped into an improving horse and a good winner. He should improve again for some spring ground and the plan at this stage is to go to Warwick for the Kingmaker and then onto the Grade One novice chase at Aintree.
It was good that West Cork managed to get his head in front at Huntingdon on Sunday. The tongue tie and stepping back in trip helped and we hope he’s a horse that can go forward and progress.
I’m banned on Friday, so it will just be Saturday for me at Cheltenham this week.
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Langer Dan – 12:10
He has won his last two so has a penalty for his Listed win at Wetherby. He keeps improving, is very tough and stays well. This race will tell us a lot more. He’s small but mighty.
Beakstown – 12:45
We’ve been very happy with him, he’s been schooling well. His run at Newbury was decent, he wasn’t beaten far and it should be perfect jumping ground at Cheltenham.
We’re looking forward to running him and getting some experience round Cheltenham. We’ve always held him in high regard, some just take a bit longer than others. He’s a proper big horse and we haven’t lost any faith in him. He has plenty of ability.
Destrier – 1:20
He ran well in the Haldon Gold Cup and has been schooling and working well since. He’s had plenty of time to get over that race and the trip and ground won’t be a problem. He has to carry top weight, but he has that for a reason and hopefully he’ll run very well.
Not That Fuisse and Spiritofthegames – 1:55
I ride Not That Fuisse who ran nicely in a few novice chases and scrapes in at the bottom of the weights here. He definitely prefers better ground, so I hope we don’t get too much rain. He’s been schooling and working well. It’s a proper test for a novice but he looks to be on a decent mark.
Spiritofthegames has been a bit disappointing to be honest and we’re not really sure why. We’re just hoping he can get back on track.
The Mulcair – 2:30
He showed a real good honest attitude at Southwell. He jumps and stays and is a proper National Hunt horse. This will be a good experience for him and we’ll learn a lot from it.
Ch’tibello – 3:05
He has been a very good horse for us and I can’t wait to get back on him. He’s been in flying form at home and the ground and track will both suit. There are no negatives, he’s done plenty of work, is in great form and it would be brilliant if he could go there and win. Ground and track will suit obviously.
Pentland Hills is three from three over hurdles and is a high-quality horse. It can be tough for some horses after their juvenile season, but I have lots of respect for him.
Vision Du Puy – 3:40
She ran a nice race at Wetherby against two more experienced mares. She’s been working and schooling well and we hope that the step up to 2m4f will suit.
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