It was great to ride a treble at Huntingdon last Friday. Maire Banrigh has been absolutely brilliant for us and the step up to two and a half miles on soft ground was a bit of a stretch for her. But it was fantastic to win such a valuable Listed race and the Arkle is now the plan where she must have an each-way chance.
Some of these National Hunt horses get better with time and Dan’s placed her very well. We’re looking forward to running her in the spring on some good ground.
The odds-on favourite got himself beat in the novice hurdle by pulling too hard. The race fell apart and I picked up what was left on West Cork. The handicapper seems to think it was worth a 12lb rise, so we just have to hope he’s right.
I do think he’ll be better in the spring on nice ground over two and a half miles, but time will tell if he’s worth of such a big hike. He’ll be a nice chaser for next season.
Spiritofthegames ran very well at Cheltenham, although it was frustrating to get touched off again. The handicapper didn’t move him which was nice and he’ll go back to the Festival for the Plate again. If he’s been waiting to win and he wins there, we’ll forgive him! He’s been really consistent and he’s a good horse at this level.
Protektorat was quite fresh in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle – they didn’t go that quick which made it difficult to come from off the pace. We were very happy with his run and he’ll go to Cheltenham for Wednesday’s big handicap. He was raised 4lbs, which means he’ll definitely get a run and you’d like to think he’ll be one of our leading hopes in the handicaps. The progress this horse has made in the last six months has been very pleasing and if he can improve like that next season he’ll be some chaser.
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Emmas Joy, Backoftheenvelope and Lex Eleven – 1:03
Emmas Joy’s form was franked with Cill Anna winning well at Wincanton on Thursday. She did a bit too much at Warwick over 2m5f getting caught late on. We expect her to go very close on Saturday dropping back to two miles.
We also run Backoftheenvelope and Lex Eleven, but they are both probably ones for handicaps further down the line in a lower grade.
Ardlethen – 2:45
He ran a bit below par at Warwick last time so we’re putting some blinkers on to sharpen him up a bit. He falls asleep a bit mid-race and they didn’t go that quick at Warwick which caught him out a little bit. We’d be hopeful of a good run and both trip and ground should be fine. He’s fully capable of winning this.
Antunes – 3:23
We don’t know what happened at Newbury last time so I’d just put a line through that. He’s in really good form and I think he’ll go very close.
Midnight River – 4:33
The form of his Worcester run has worked out well and he’s a horse we really like win, lose or draw. We’ve given him plenty of time to get over that and he’s really well at home.
West To The Bridge – 3:00
It was a good ride by William Marshall at Wetherby the last day and great to see the horse back in form. We’re stepping up to three miles and we’ll just have to see if he gets it. The race is worth a few quid and he certainly won’t mind the ground.
We will go back over fences at some point, but in some calmer waters with a small field. He’s got plenty of ability, he’s just been his own worst enemy in the past.
Northofthewall – 1:35
He ran okay at Kempton and is now back into novice company. He looks to have a good chance and both ground and trip are fine.
Ferrobin – 2:05
He has been out of form but ran a bit better last time at Newbury. The handicapper has given him a chance so let’s hope we see something soon.
Call Me Chris – 4:10
She has been given quite a stiff opening mark, but this is her first start in a handicap and hopefully she’s got an each-way chance.