Harry Fry: Get In The Queue heading for Cheltenham
The Betway ambassador reflects on a weekend of mixed emotions, and reveals his plans for Get In The Queue and Bags Groove.
Whenever you win a Grade 2 on a Saturday it’s a good weekend but, sadly, like with our misfortune last week, the highs don’t seem to come without the lows at the moment.
Losing Overtown Express at Chepstow later on in the afternoon was terrible.
Get In The Queue for the Champion Bumper
Friday was a good day with Get In The Queue winning his bumper at Exeter in impressive fashion after Whitehotchillifili ran a good second on ground plenty quick enough at Warwick earlier in the day.
She was not beaten far giving weight away and definitely wants some cut in the ground.
I was very pleased with the attitude she showed and we’ll now enter her for next weekend’s Listed bumper on Imperial Cup Day at Sandown.
Hopefully we get a bit of rain between now and then.
Twelve months ago we were in the middle of the Beast from the East and now we’re basking in the sun. It couldn’t be any more different.
It was a very foggy evening at Exeter. We had to hold our breath as Get In The Queue headed into the distance and were then obviously very pleased to see him return in splendid isolation to win by 16 lengths.
He now has the option of going for the Listed bumper at Newbury at the end of March that we’ve won the two previous years with Caribert (2017) and Bullionaire (2018), but he won so well that he’ll also be given an entry for the Grade 1 Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.
To be completely honest, he’s taken us by surprise with the progress he’s shown.
Before his debut we certainly weren’t thinking about entering him for the Champion Bumper, but if you look at Racing Post ratings he’s now the highest-rated from anywhere in England and Ireland.
Whatever happens he’s going to be a lovely horse for the future. One thing he will need is a bit of cut in the ground.
Saturday of mixed emotions
Bags Groove wasn’t at his best in the Grade 2 Pendil Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Saturday, but he was certainly good enough.
He was economical over his fences and, despite maybe idling a little bit in front, was always doing enough coming up the home straight to get the job done.
He’ll be entered for both the 2m4f and 3m Grade 1 novice chases at Aintree with a decision to be made nearer the time depending on how the races are shaping up.
I think something like 2m6f is actually the perfect trip for him so it is a bit of a headscratcher. We'll just have to concentrate on getting him in as good a condition as possible before seeing what the opposition looks like.
Over at Chepstow, Overtown Express very sadly suffered a fatal injury.
He was just about to mount a challenge coming over the fifth last with it all to play for, but instead of just putting a little stride in before getting over, he met the fence on a nothing stride, lunged badly into it and overextended on landing.
Unfortunately he broke his fetlock. It just goes to show once again the real up and down nature of our sport.
If The Cap Fits at Fontwell
If The Cap Fits was a little frustrating in the Grade 2 National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell on Sunday.
He hadn’t run since Boxing Day and we were really keen to get him on the track again before Aintree in April.
Given the way he ran, he actually did well to finish second.
From before the first flight of hurdles he was having to be coaxed along, and Noel Fehily said that he never travelled.
We’ll never know exactly why he ran slightly under-par but the flu jab he had just a week before may have just taken the zip out of his stride.
We would never usually run a horse so soon after a jab, but he needed to have a run before Aintree and he doesn’t have any Cheltenham entries.
When you look at the bare result - being beaten just a length and a half and giving the winner 4lbs - it doesn’t read too badly, but the manner in which he ran the race wasn’t great.
We’ve got six weeks now to get him in tip-top form for a crack at the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle.
Ffos Las on Tuesday
The BHA have put on an extra fixture at Ffos Las on Tuesday due to the cancellations during the flu shutdown.
We’re hoping for a much better run from Olympic Odyssey in the 2m novices’ hurdle (15:40).
He’ll appreciate the softer ground and should have learnt plenty from last time at Kempton.
We’ve then got an exciting horse in the bumper (16:40) in the shape of King Rowland.
He made a very pleasing debut for us at Uttoxeter and we’re looking forward to seeing how much more he’s progressed.
Depending on how Tuesday goes, he could head to Punchestown for the Grade 1 Irish Champion Bumper in April.
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