Last weekend

We were absolutely delighted with Bags Groove at Wincanton last Saturday.

He and Noel Fehily put on a great display of jumping. It’s exciting to see that he’s turning into a better chaser than he was a hurdler.

We’re now thinking of going for the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day with him.

It’s all ground-dependent as he wouldn’t want it too soft, and longer term he’s probably more of an Aintree horse than Cheltenham.

Also at Wincanton, If The Caps Fits made a really pleasing reappearance on only his fourth start over hurdles. He was just a bit ring-rusty to win in that class.

He’ll be better for that experience and there’s plenty of progression to come.

We’re sticking to the hurdling route. We have entered him for the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle, and we’ll think about the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton as well.

Up at Aintree, Unowhatimeanharry was never closer than at the end, as he really galloped all the way to the line.

He’s crying out for three miles and we’re now looking forward to taking him to the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.

Runners in the week

Opening Batsmen is very well after his run at Hereford on Tuesday. At 12-years-old, we were delighted to see him rolling back the clock.

He was right in contention after the last and it’s great to see him running well and jumping with such enthusiasm. It was a shame to see him get passed by three in the last 75 yards.

Hopefully he’ll be able to get his head in front one more time, which would be 10 career successes.

Just A Sting enjoyed the step up to three miles at Exeter on Wednesday. He idled a bit in front but found another gear when the other one joined him and pulled away nicely.

Hopefully he’s still improving and I’d like to find him another nice race while the ground is still in his favour.

Definitelyanoscar crashed out on the last day, so it was good to see her put in a clear round at Ludlow on Thursday. She just got caught for a bit of speed and will be better for a slight step up in trip.

Also at Ludlow, Samarquand made a very pleasing winning debut. Mentally he’s not quite a professional yet and has got a fair bit to learn, but he’s a lovely big, young horse to look forward to.

Cheltenham’s November Meeting


Minella Awards  makes his third start over fences in the three-mile novices’ chase (13:15) after winning by a wide-margin at Aintree last week.

It was only a two-runner race, so we don’t’ want to get too carried away, but it’s all good experience.

While the ground is still good we’ve decided to run him as soon as this Saturday, so fingers crossed he goes well again.

Obviously The Worlds End made a nice winning chase debut, and is the one to beat, but we’re certainly looking forward to giving him another outing.

This is not really his time of year but he’s still in good form, so hopefully he won’t be too far away, and even if we have to settle for second it would be a good run.

We never anticipated keeping Serosevsky  on the go for this long, but with the ground still in his favour he takes his chance in the 2m5f handicap hurdle (15:30).

He’s got race fitness on his side, but has been on the go all summer and now meets fresh horses. As long as this doesn’t prove to be one run too many then he should be competitive.

Whether he’ll be progressive enough to improve past his mark of 129 and win a Cheltenham handicap remains to be seen, but we’ll soon find out.

This will almost certainly be his last run before giving him a break, and then we’ll see him again in the spring and possibly go chasing.

I don’t have one in the day’s feature race (14:25), but I think Noel Fehily looks to have a very good chance on Kalondra.

He’ll enjoy the good ground and was going really well in a race at Galway before coming down.

Strangely at this stage in the season, we’re looking at horses who have good ground form and he’s certainly one that ticks that box.

On the Sunday, Verdana Blue, who beat my If The Cap Fits last week, is a very worthy favourite in the Greatwood Hurdle (15:00)

If she reappears in the form she was in last Saturday then she’ll be pretty hard to beat, even if she is giving weight away.

13:15 Cheltenham: Minella Awards
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