We were delighted to win our appeal at High Holborn on Thursday. We were given a very fair hearing and I’d like to thank Rory Mac Neice who was acting for us. We feel that justice was done.
Like I’ve said before, on the day I thought we’d keep the race but that was the stewards’ decision. Dan and myself were mostly happy for the owners – the Hales Family, Sir Alex Ferguson and my sponsor Ged Mason – as they’ve been fantastic supporters of ours. I do feel for the people who backed him on the day and didn’t get paid out.
Protektorat is an improving horse and is going the right way. He’ll be a three-mile chaser in time, but we’re looking forward to the rest of the season with him.
After a quiet week and a half, we have plenty of runners on Saturday and I have a full book at Warwick which is our local track.
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Elton Des Mottes – 12:40
He has had a good break and this run will bring him on mentally as he’s still a bit of a baby. He doesn’t have much experience over hurdles and I can see him coming right on better ground in the spring. He’s definitely a horse with ability and this is his first run in a handicap.
Ashoka – 1:15
He has been disappointing so far this season and needs to get back to form. His better runs have come on decent ground so hopefully, it won’t be too soft.
Ardlethen – 1:50
He has had a good season and has been running well in some decent races. The track and trip should suit and there isn’t much between them on ratings. We’re hopeful of a good run.
Shan Blue – 2:25
We’ve been very happy with him at home and it was great to get back on track last time at Southwell after falling at Newbury when still going well. His form with Redford Road from early November looks great now.
Both trip and ground should suit and he’s a horse we’ve always really liked. We think he’s got a great chance and expect him to go very close. We won this race last year with Beakstown and also won it a few years ago with Three Musketeers, so it’s been good to us. Fingers crossed we can win it for a third time.
Captain Chaos – 3:00
He’s a horse with plenty of ability and we just have to hope he wakes up on the right side of the bed! He’s in real good form at home and he probably took the mick out of me a bit in the Welsh National as he just didn’t perform.
He had run well at Newcastle the time before that and we’re putting the blinkers back on. If he puts his best foot forward, he will run well.
Diomede Des Mottes – 3:35
I would put a line through his last run at Haydock, he’s definitely better than that. He got hampered badly and the track didn’t really suit, but he’d run very well behind Skandiburg at Aintree before that and he won at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. I think he’ll run very well at a nice price.
The Rosary Flyer – 4:00
He’s a nice horse who has taken a long time to come to hand. His owners have been very patient and we like him. I think he’ll run well in this, I’m not saying he’ll win, but he’s one for the future.
Lonimoss Bareliere – 12:20
He ran okay at Fontwell last time and we expect him to improve with a bit more experience in the spring.
Bourbon Borderline – 12:55
Only three runners in this and he’s been disappointing this season. We’ve gone through him from head to toe and hopefully we can find the horse in there that won his point-to-point and ran well at Warwick in March. We hope he can run an encouraging race, he’s better than what he’s done so far.
One For Billy – 1:30
He had been off the track for quite a long time before he ran at Chepstow over Christmas and we need to get some runs into him. I can see him doing well on some better ground in the spring.
Born Survivor – 2:05
This is another horse that tends to do well in the spring, but there is some good prize money on offer and it would be great if he could pick up some of that. Obviously Top Notch and Frodon are going to be very hard to beat though.
Northofthewall and Gortroe Joe – 2:40
Northofthewall got his head in front at Hereford last time. We fancied him at Ascot in November but he wasn’t mentally ready. then. We think he’ll run well, although he’s a horse that’s taking a bit of time and I’m not sure he’s quite man enough for a big handicap like this yet. We do like him and the experience won’t be lost on him. He’s a chaser in the making.
Gortroe Joe was better at Kempton on Boxing Day and he is well-handicapped. He needs a fast pace which he should get in this. He has the ability to run well, he’s just quite hard to predict.
Aheadfullofdreams – 12:30
He has been a bit disappointing in novice hurdles and he’s probably not quite up to that class. He would have to improve massively on what he’s shown so far to figure in a novices’ hurdle and I’m sure he’ll be better in lower grade handicaps in the spring.
Azzuri – 2:15
His best form is on better ground and he needs to get back on track after a disappointing run here over Christmas.
West To The Bridge – 2:50
Things haven’t gone to plan over fences which is a shame because he ran two nice races earlier in the season. He’s back over hurdles and William Marshall takes 7lbs off which will help.
He has the ability to put in a good run, but he’s his own worst enemy and the mental side of it gets to him. He can be too keen and hard on himself.
Cutting Sword – 3:55
She’s a nice filly who cost a lot of money as a yearling. She does everything nicely at home – this is her first day at school and hopefully she’ll run well.
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