Days like Saturday at Aintree is what we’re all in the sport for.

To win the Grade 1 Stayers Hurdle with If The Cap Fits was a great thrill, particularly given the manner in which he won the race.

It was an absolutely fantastic race, though I can safely say I’ve enjoyed watching the replay a bit more than the live event!

We thought he’d blown his chance at the last, but to get up in between two top-class mares in Apple’s Jade and Roksana was brilliant.

He showed a great attitude and it was a brilliant ride from Sean Bowen.

We’ve always thought a lot of the horse, and now he’s a Grade 1 winner it’s showed us three miles is his trip.

It’s great that Paul and Clare Rooney have got another exciting prospect on their hands heading into next season, and he’ll be campaigned over three miles with a possible tilt at the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Paisley Park will be pretty hard to dislodge at the top of the stayers’ division, but we’re excited rather than fearful of taking him on.

It was only our first try at the trip and he could continue to improve.

Unowhatimeanharry has been a fantastic horse and unfortunately just didn’t run his race. Possibly the drying ground was against him and he obviously isn’t getting any younger.

We might see him at Punchestown for the Grade 1 Stayers’ Hurdle if we’re happy with him.

He’s been fantastic for us, winning three Grade 1s, and it’s great that If The Cap Fits is coming along to take over the mantle.

Unowhatimeanharry obviously owes us nothing, but we’ll still see how he’s looking ahead of Punchestown and then assess where we are with him after the race.

Bags Groove was lacklustre from the start in the Grade 1 Manifesto Novices’ Chase on the Thursday.

It was the first time that he’s stayed overnight away from home and he didn’t eat or drink very well before the race.

The blood results came back as abnormal on the Friday, but were thankfully back to normal on Monday and he’s now gone on his holidays.

Bar Thursday and Boxing Day, he’s actually had a very good season over fences and we’ll look forward to a second season chasing with him.

It didn’t quite happen for Hell’s Kitchen in the Grade 1 JLT Chase. Ultimately he was beaten by a hugely improved and impressive Min.

We finished in front of him at Cheltenham but couldn’t get close this time and, bar Tiger Roll winning his second National, it was the performance of the week for me.

We could still see Hell’s Kitchen again at Punchestown, where he has graded races and handicap options.

As for Tiger Roll, I don’t see why he couldn’t come back and go for a third Grand National if he can turn up in the same sort of form next season.

It was a remarkable performance - he travelled brilliantly. It was great to be there to witness it.


One at Ayr

Onefortheroadtom is stepping up to three miles for the first time in the Novices’ Champion Handicap Chase (13:55).

Like with If The Cap Fits last Saturday, we’re hoping that the addition of cheekpieces and the step up in trip can do the trick again.

He’ll appreciate the better ground, gets in off a nice weight and should go well.

Farewell Opening Batsman

Olympic Odyssey is set to run in the two-mile novices’ hurdle (13:50) at Wincanton, one of two runners for us on the day.

He’s been a bit of a work in progress and is still very much learning the game.

He needs to step up on what he’s shown us so far, but hopefully he’s heading in the right direction.

Opening Batsman will run for the very last time in the 2m4f handicap chase (15:00).

He ran a really good race at the track the last day, so hopefully he can put in another good clear round.

He has won nine of his 41 starts under rules. It will be an end of an era as he was the only remaining horse from my first season as a trainer.

It would be the icing on the cake if he could win, but either way he’s been a fantastic servant to the yard and has earned a good retirement.

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