The leading trainer discusses his rides at Sandown and Huntingdon this weekend and gives an update on Unowhatimeanharry and American.
I’ll start by updating you on Unowhatimeanharry and American after last week’s exertions at Newbury.
Going into last Friday’s race, I had it in my mind that Unowhatimeanharry might finish second, but thought that would be to Thistlecrack rather than Beer Goggles – with no disrespect to him as he was a good winner.
It was too tough a task to concede 6lbs to a young, progressive horse and we will focus on getting back on track at Ascot in the Long Walk in a fortnight.
As for American, I suppose we just paid the price for throwing such an inexperienced horse in at the deep end.
Noel wasn’t too hard on him once his chance had gone and he has come out of the race fine.
There are no plans with him at the moment and we will just give him a little time before finalising his next target.
Three runners at Sandown on Saturday
The ground at Aintree and Chepstow looks like it will be pretty bad so our three runners all head to Sandown.
We kick off with Just A Sting in the opening novices’ hurdle (12.05pm), a race which we won last year.
He will be looking to build on his promising hurdling bow at Exeter last month.
I suppose the combination of a drop in trip and better ground should help him and I’m hoping he can go close.
The only worry is whether this will be on the sharp side for him, but the stiff uphill finish should help.
It looks a hot contest, though, with the likes off Get Out The Gate and Ainchea in opposition.
The normally ultra-consistent Secret Door ran no sort of race behind stablemate Lamanver Odyssey at Wincanton last time, but she wasn’t 100 per cent and scoped badly afterwards.
She seems in good heart now and I’m hoping she can bounce back to form in the mares’ handicap hurdle (12.40pm).
My final runner on Saturday is Fletchers Flyer in the London National (3.30pm).
He’s another on the comeback trail after being pulled up when never travelling at Wincanton last time.
He seems to want a real test these days and that’s why we are running him here.
Hopefully the application of first-time cheek pieces will sharpen him up, too.
Huntingdon on Sunday
I’m really looking forward to seeing Kylemore Lough back in action in the Peterborough Chase (2.30pm).
He pulled himself to the front after three fences at Cheltenham last time and did too much, too soon.
A bad mistake then put paid to his chances and he was eventually pulled up.
That was his first run for us so we are still learning about him.
We will ride him with more restraint here and just see how we get on.
This looks a really competitive renewal with Top Notch the obvious big danger if reproducing his Ascot form.
My final runner of the weekend is the filly Outofthisworld in the Listed mares’ bumper (3.00pm).
I wanted to run her at Cheltenham last month but was forced to abandon those plans when the ground deteriorated.
Hopefully conditions will be OK for her here and it will be nice to see her back on the racecourse.
She goes well at home and I’m looking forward to seeing how she gets on in a race like this.