Harry Fry: Golden Birthday fresh for Cheltenham off good mark
The Betway ambassador assesses the chances of his Wednesday runners at the Cheltenham April meeting, including a potential Chester Cup entry.
Serosevsky kicked off his spring/summer campaign in good style at Wincanton on Sunday.
He had been on the go for much of the spring/summer before disappointing on his last start back in November.
He was in need of a good holiday, so we gave him a nice break and after five months off it was great to see him return to win a valuable prize.
Before the race, we thought it was going to set him up for going novice chasing in the early parts of next season, but having won so nicely we’re going to run him in on Swinton Hurdle Day at Haydock on 11 May.
We’ll look forward to that day and then go chasing.
He’s a point-to-point winner, so taking on the bigger obstacles seems the obvious next step and hopefully we’ll have a fruitful spell with him over the coming months.
That was Sean Bowen's eighth winner for the yard this season, more than anyone else bar Noel Fehily, and we’re very pleased with the way he’s riding.
He keeps on riding winners, so we can’t complain.
Noel’s shoes will be very hard to fill, but he’s making a good fist of it so far.
Opening Batsman didn’t run his race, but the plan had always been to retire him on the day and he has been such a great servant for us.
He put us on the map with our first big Saturday winner, the Racing Plus Chase, as it was called back in 2013, at Kempton.
He’s been in a bit of a battle with the handicapper throughout his career, but whenever the handicapper did relent he’d take his chance and ended up with nine wins and £100,000 in prize money to his name.
If they all did that, then every owner would be delighted.
He’s given The Twelfth Man Partnership some fantastic days and thoroughly deserves his retirement.
Slightly worryingly, my wife Kira has suggested that he’ll be my ride in the yard!
He’ll need a good summer break to strengthen up and I’ll need the summer to get fit… I couldn’t tell you the last time I rode, so there’ll certainly be a few aches and pains when I get back on.
Cheltenham – April Meeting – Wednesday
Golden Birthday will kick off his spring/summer campaign in the 2m4f handicap hurdle (15.15) at Cheltenham on Wednesday.
He’s been dropped a couple of pounds by the handicapper after running a few disappointing races at the end of last year, and has a good chance off his current mark.
He’s had a nice break, is a fresh horse and was always going to be aimed at these spring/summer contests.
We’ve got him entered for the Chester Cup too, though it’s more likely he’ll get in the consolation race.
Hopefully he can run some nice races over both codes in the coming weeks and months.
There’s been a bit of water under the bridge since Sir Ivan finished second at this meeting back in 2016, but he’ll take his chance again in the three-mile handicap hurdle (16.25).
He ran a really nice race back over hurdles at Exeter the last day when finishing runner-up and seems in good form at the moment.
Annoyingly he got put up a couple of pounds for that but the step up in trip will suit.
Unlike Golden Birthday, he wouldn’t want the ground too quick, so we’ll walk the course in the morning.
Hopefully they’ve done a good job of watering the track.
Looking ahead to Punchestown
Entries close on Wednesday for the Punchestown handicaps and it’s shaping up as though we may be taking half a dozen horses over there.
The ground at Haydock will be too quick for Captain Drake to take his chance there this Saturday, so he has the option of going over to Punchestown for one of those handicaps.
Hell’s Kitchen, Minella Awards and Unowhatimeanharry, meanwhile, could all take up there places in Grade 1 contest across the week.
Just A Sting is another that we may run in the handicap at Punchestown.
He was entered for the Irish National at Fairyhouse, but it doesn’t look like he’ll get in, and the 3m6f handicap chase at Punchestown that we won with Fletchers Flyer a few years ago is now a possibility.
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