Harry Fry: Focus is on Aintree for If The Cap Fits
The leading National Hunt trainer reveals why he's had to pull one of his horses out of Cheltenham and discusses all of his weekend rides.
If The Cap Fits has injured his gluteal muscle, which is in the hind quarters.
We noticed a small issue last week so had to give him some time to recover.
We went back cantering with him a couple of days ago and it was clearly still too sore to press on, so we've had to take the decision to miss Cheltenham.
It couldn’t have come at a worse time, but when you’re heading to the Festival you need to have them 110 per cent fit - you simply can’t afford to miss two weeks this close.
We have to do what’s right by the horse and give him enough time to recover to avoid any long-term damage.
We’ll now just focus on getting him fit for the Grand National meeting at Aintree. He’s three out of three over hurdles so far and we hope he’s still got a very big future.
Desert Queen at Huntingdon
On the track and Desert Queen was third at Huntingdon on Thursday.
She’s done well for us and although she hasn’t won this season, she landed two Listed races last year and has been pretty consistent.
That was her last race as she now heads off to stud for a career in the breeding sheds and has a first date with Kayf Tara.
I certainly look forward to seeing her progeny one day on the racecourse.
Acting Lass at Kempton
Acting Lass (3.35pm) has gone from strength to strength this season.
Noel [Fehily] was absolutely delighted with her when he sat on him in the schooling ring on Tuesday.
We had the option of running in the Pendil over two-and-a-half, but with conditions improving we felt that now’s the time to step him up to three miles.
We’ve always thought that he’d make a three-mile chaser so this looks the ideal time to step him up.
It’s a very valuable prize and, although it’s highly competitive, we go there full of confidence.
Opening Batsman won this in 2013 after coming here as a seven-year-old on an upward curve and full of confidence.
The same can be said for Acting Lass, and hopefully she can follow suit.
The Rooneys' horses may hold the biggest threat.
Master Dee has been running very well without getting his head in front, while Go Conquer was very impressive at Ascot earlier in the season and also looks very competitive.
Overtown Express will run in the two-mile handicap chase (4.15pm).
His last race at Kempton wasn’t run to suit so we’re hopeful of a better showing here.
The problem was that he has to be dropped in – there’s just no other way of riding him – and the leader had it all his own way and we finished in the same order we jumped off.
He’d be in with a very good chance if the ground doesn’t dry out too much and we get a strongly run race.
Fontwell on Sunday
Space Oddity runs in the novice chase (2.20pm), which has just the three runners but is a nice prize.
He ran a good race last time out at Taunton, giving weight away and finished second to Kauto Riko who looks like a progressive young novice.
We’re hoping he can go very close.
Air Horse One (3.20pm) has been running very well in handicap company, going up in the ratings each time without winning, so we’re now pitching him into graded company.
He gets weight from the top two and is in really good order. Ground conditions are not a problem and the trip looks absolutely ideal for him.
He’s due a big win so hopefully this will be it.
Old Guard and Lil Rockerfeller remain the main dangers despite having to give weight away. They’ve been there and done it and will both be tough to beat.
Next week’s plans
American looks like he’ll head to Kelso next Saturday for another clash with Bristol De Mai – fingers crossed that meeting goes ahead.
At the moment, we’ll go wherever we can find his favoured slow conditions.
We’ve got an entry at Cheltenham but, more realistically, I’d imagine we’d be taking up our engagements in either the Irish or English Grand National.