It seems like yesterday the National Hunt season started – and now the end is nigh!
We’ve had a cracking season here at Team Ditcheat, so let’s hope we can finish with a bang at Sandown.
Our first runner of the day is Getaway Trump, who goes in the opening handicap hurdle.
He won really impressively at Ayr last time following a break and this looked the obvious race to go for.
You can draw a line through his flop at Kelso as that came too soon after the Betfair Hurdle and he showed last time he’s back to his best.
We’ve got him in great nick at home and there’s some really good prize-money on offer here, so hopefully he can go close.
Getaway Trump (left) has a big chance in the opener[/caption]
Birds Of Prey also runs in the race and gets in a little lower down the weights.
He’s won twice on the trot now but this is a completely different track to Taunton and he’ll need to stay up the hill, though I’d give him a squeak.
Bryony Frost makes her return from injury aboard Black Corton in the Oaksey Chase.
He’s been consistent all season without getting his head in front but has been freshened right up and seems in good form.
Bryony had a sit on him yesterday and was happy with him. He likes a galloping track and on his best form will be bang there.
Diego Du Charmil takes on Altior in the Celebration Chase – and if the favourite turns up then we’re probably chasing place prize-money.
However, this is our lad’s favourite time of year and he’s a Grade 1 winner in the past, so has every right to take his chance.
We run Give Me A Copper in the big one, the Bet365 Gold Cup.
He’s going to want a bit of rain and if it’s too quick I’d say there would be a doubt about him running – though that’s not to say he wants it heavy or anything like that.
He had a tired fall at the Cheltenham Festival but now looks really well and has schooled nicely ever since.
At Salisbury on Sunday, I’ll be partnering Scaramanga for Dad in the City Bowl.
He’s back on the Flat after running over hurdles and is much improved from when he first arrived at the yard.
This is his first run over 1m6f but I think it will suit and the race has cut up now, with only seven runners going to post.
We won the race last year with Moabit so hopefully we can keep our good Salisbury run going!
He’s gone well at Sandown before and would have a big chance if ground conditions come right.
Another that could run a massive race is Present Man.
He’s had his wind done since his last outing and Bryony’s back on board now, so that’s a big positive.
I think he could run a massive race as he goes really well fresh and will love this ground.
He was third in this race before and I think he’s in better nick now than he was then.
Adrien Du Pont is our other runner in the race and he takes a significant hike in trip.
You can put a line through his run at Aintree as he was found to be a little under the weather afterwards and probably got a little over-faced by the big fences. He could run into the frame if everything drops right.
I’m looking forward to seeing Old Guard line up in the Select Hurdle.
He goes well fresh and has run well here before so here’s hoping he can get his head back in front.
Blinkers should help and he comes into it in good form.
Another positive is that he hasn’t got to lug around a massive weight – yes, he has a penalty but it could have been worse.
On his best form he’d be bang there and I would love to see him get back on the score-sheet.
Dan McGrue is our final runner of the season in the Handicap Hurdle at 5.15.
He ran well for a long way in testing conditions before getting tired last time and I think he’s pretty much spot on now.
The ground will be better than last time and he’d have a chance in what looks a competitive race.
There’s been a lot of talk about Cyrname over the last couple of days and plenty are annoyed he’s not taking on Altior.
Our view is that he’s officially the best horse in training and there’s no reason to risk him on ground that isn’t suitable.
It’s not right for him – he’s still young and if he picked up an injury we’d be kicking ourselves.
Obviously, if conditions were suitable then he’d be lining up. He’s been in full work at home and looks a million dollars – why wouldn’t we want to be there?
I’ve got two rides at Leicester this afternoon.
The first is Bungee Jump, who I partnered last time at Bath when she finished fourth. It was probably a little sharp for her that day but she ran well and went right through the line.
I think 6f will help (she’s won over 7f before) and if things go her way she could go very close.
I also take the ride on Knockabout Queen. She’s with Dai Burchell now and needs to bounce back to form.
Next season should be an exciting one and we wouldn’t rule out a clash with Altior in time.
Dad’s never been afraid to take on big horses but it has to be under the right circumstances.
As it is, Cyrname will head to Sandown anyway to parade with both Frodon and Clan Des Obeaux.
All three have had a fantastic season and all three will continue to improve.
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It was fantastic to ride my 50th winner at Wolves this week!
Mans Not Trot was unfancied beforehand but we managed to get out from a bad draw and he stuck his head out well.
It was my first ride for Brian Barr so it good to start off with a winner.
Now it’s head down to try and ride my claim out completely!