27th January 2017

A day’s racing to savour

The last ten days or so have been very cold and a few meetings having fallen foul of the weather with the frost getting into the ground, but we’ve been lucky up to this last week. Temperatures are set to rise and there’s some great racing in prospect.

Tomorrow its Festival Trials day at Cheltenham and following the abandonment of Ascot last weekend, the Grade One Spectra - Cyber Security Solutions Clarence House Chase is included on the card. Irish raider Un De Sceaux, this season’s Betfair Tingle Creek Chase winner, heads the seven entries and he’s chasing back-to-back wins in the race after an impressive five-length victory over Sire De Grugy in 2016. He reappeared this season with a narrow victory over the same rival in the G1 Betway Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown Park in December.

I was impressed with that run and he’s sure to improve, as it was his seasonal reappearance. I’d imagine he’d start favourite.

Potentially he has six rivals including Dodging Bullets, the 2015 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase hero. He’s seems to be in great order and I’m looking forward to riding him.

I might also be on Saphir De Rheu in the Hugo’s Restaurant Barbados Handicap Chase. He hasn’t run since he falling in the Hennessy but if he can get a nice clear round, I’m hopeful he can show what he can do.

Thistlecrack runs in the Grade Two Betfred Trial Cotswold Chase with the 2015 Grand National winner Many Clouds is taking him on. It will be great to see Colin Tizzard’s charge in action again.

The galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle is a good staying race and includes a previous Exeter winner Unowhatimeanharry. He’s a lovely horse and I’ve been really impressed by him this season. He looks like the standout horse for the World Hurdle at the Festival and this should just be a stepping-stone. Harry Fry’s horses are flying at the moment.

Doncaster’s excellent card features the listed Sky Bet Chase, which I won a few years ago on a horse called The Rainbow Hunter. I like the look of Caid De Berlais who has a really good chance.

On Sunday, I’m at Fontwell where I have some nice rides. I’m on two for Victor Dartnall, Bolving and Admiral’s Secret. Bolving might just improve for his first run over hurdles but whatever happens he’s a very nice horse as is Admiral’s Secret. On Monday I am at Plumpton and Lingfield on Tuesday.

There’s also an extra meeting at Taunton today, where I ride four for Paul. They are all smart horses starting with High Secret in the first who was a really good stayer on the flat and makes his hurdles debut. I’m also on Garo De Juilley in the Bathwick Tyres Novices’ Hurdle, Dolos in the EBF Stallions National Hunt Novices’ Hurdle and Clic Work in the Bathwick Tyres Handicap Chase.

Garo De Juilley has been disappointing so far but it looks a good opportunity and hopefully he will improve. Dolos was a really smart three-year-old and he’s a horse I like a lot. Hopefully he won’t be far away. Clic Work won on his chase debut last time at Doncaster and he’s been put up 8lbs for that but hopefully he won’t be far away.