Fact Of The Matter Ready For Cheltenham8 min read
Another successful week with wins for both Early Morning Rain and Thomas McDonagh on Friday. It’s safe to say that our string are in rude health as the jumps season moves into full swing.
Once again, we take a look at the week gone by, along with looking forward to this week’s runners, including which of my inmates could line up at The November Meeting at Cheltenham.
After success in her bumper at Plumpton last year, it was pleasing to see Early Morning Rain win on hurdles debut under Sam Twiston Davies. She was a good 5th at Cheltenham in the spring and the form of that race has worked out to be very good indeed.
We re-opposed the winner of that race on Friday and she reversed the form in impressive fashion. She jumps well and stays nicely so, going forward, we’ll target the Mares’ Final at Newbury in March.
It was great to see Thomas McDonagh build on his promising Warwick return to take the prize for us at Hexham. He led relentlessly from the front and looked ever so strong turning into the home straight. He’s a horse I’ve always liked, and we think he’ll do well for us over hurdles before embarking on a chasing career.
He handled the conditions excellently and has now been given a mark of 117. That’s something we can work off before going over fences next season.
Page Fuller is booked to ride Tractor Fred today at Exeter in the Handicap Chase. He was a very honest 3rd for us first time out at Southwell and he should improve for that run. All being well, he shouldn’t be too far away here.
Ask Robin was a PTP winner in May before finishing 4th on his hurdles debut at Worcester in the summer of 2018. He’s entered at Taunton on Thursday after being off the track for some time and will need the run here.
He’s a chaser for the future, so let’s hope he goes well, and we can move forward from this run.
Midnight Chill will run in a Handicap Chase at Ludlow tomorrow. He progressed nicely last year, winning three Novice Handicap Chases.
He was 5th last time out at Exeter in his first run since having a wind-op, so he needed to get that run in him. Hopefully he benefits from that and puts his best foot forward here.
Coole Well will run at Newcastle on Friday in the Novices’ Handicap Chase. He was impressive when winning his Novice Hurdle last year and jumps nicely. He has a future over fences, although will probably be in need of this run in what looks a competitive race.
Fact Of The Matter has been fantastic for us over the years and Cheltenham certainly brings out the best in him. He seems to reserve his best form for Prestbury Park and has really taken to jumping the Cross-Country fences. He finished 2nd in this race last year before subsequently winning at the International Meeting in December.
Most recently, he finished 5th in the Belgian Grand National in August where it came to our attention afterwards that he had a heart fibrillation. That was obviously a concern, but he was checked by the vet quickly and we managed it accordingly.
He’s in good form and provided there’s not too much rain, he should go well again.
Someday Soon is most likely to feature in the Ballymore trial on Friday. He’s won four Novice Hurdles on the bounce through the spring, summer and autumn so he certainly arrives here in good form.
He stepped up in trip since then when finishing 3rd in the Persian War at Chepstow a few weeks back. I think he’ll relish another step up in trip and looks like one that could go well at a decent price.
Pacify has been flying for us so far and is justifiably favourite for the Supreme Novices’ trial. It’s a pleasure to train him for HRH The Duchess of Cornwall & Sir Chips Keswick.
He’s won 5 on the bounce and he’s come out of his Listed Novice Hurdle Kempton win very well.
At home, he’s in excellent form. He loves his jumping and relishes the graft, so we are all hoping that he can go to Cheltenham on Sunday and make it a 6 in a row.
Recent Carlisle winner, Legends Ryde could go for either the Listed Mares’ Bumper on the Saturday or run with the geldings in the Sunday bumper. To be perfectly honest, it’s a tossup between the two just now.
I’ve always liked her and given how strong she is, I think she’ll suit the undulations of Cheltenham. Again, we’re hopeful, so all being well we’re optimistic of a good run.
BetVictor Gold Cup
Unfortunately, there are no representatives from Folly House in this year’s renewal of the BetVictor Gold Cup. However, it really is D-Day as far as National Hunt racing goes and I’m in no doubt all eyes will be drawn to the runners when they go to post on Saturday afternoon.
Current co- favourite, Siruh Du Lac looks worthy of his price after producing some fine performances over the last year. His form has been excellent, having defeated recent Haldon Gold Cup winner Janika at the trials meeting in January before following up to repeat the trick in the Brown Advisory Plate at The Festival in March.
Based on that form, he holds strong claims and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him feature at the business end of the race.
Slate House is a horse I like a lot. I actually made a bid to buy him at the sales a few years ago, but Colin managed to pip me to the post! He’s a lovely type and looks to be on an upward curve, so I expect him to go well.
Saint Calvados could be an interesting one given how he performed when winning at Cheltenham two weeks ago. He’s gone up a few pounds for that, but he has some classy form and clearly loves going round there. If he goes for the race, he could be in the mix come the business end.
Highway One O One had good Novice Hurdle form last year and is another that loves it round Cheltenham. I think he could go well off his current mark and run a big race.