I’ve had very few runners this week and that’s mainly due to the ground. The way this week has panned out means that all the right races for my horses are happening this weekend.

Lady Of Lamanver ran a really encouraging race at Newbury on Wednesday. The ground was softer than ideal but she managed to finish second under a penalty and we’re hoping there’s more to come in the spring.

Bags Groove found Kempton a little tough last weekend. He’d gone up in the weights a fair bit having won two handicaps, and the ground wasn’t ideal either.

We’ll now wait for the better ground in March, and he’s still entered for the Pertemps at Cheltenham.  


I’m heading to Ascot on Saturday with five chances.

First up is Drumcliff in the Amateur Riders' Handicap (1.15pm). He made a pleasing chase debut and hopefully he can keep going in the right direction.

Aine O’Connor rides. She’s my sister-in-law and won on Litterale Ci for us at Ludlow before Christmas. She has ridden 11 winners under rules in total, including the Ladies’ National at Fairyhouse.

She’s been based with us for just over a year, and after a good ride on Litterale Ci last time she’s fully deserving of another chance.

Air Horse One has got it all to do off top-weight in the Holloway's Handicap Hurdle (2.25pm). He’s a stone higher than when he won over course and distance last February and he’s been going up in the weights without even running this season.

The race at Ascot over two miles before Christmas didn’t exactly go to plan. He’s a better horse over this longer trip but it’s no easy task under the weight.

Acting Lass goes in the 2m5f Handicap Chase (3.00pm). This wasn’t really the plan but it’s a pretty valuable race and there weren’t that many entries.

He’s won his last two and I just thought that we’d put him in and monitor him throughout the week. He’s come out of his Leicester win really well. We thought we’d give it a go.

Kylemore Lough   takes his chance in the Clarence House Chase (3.35pm). Obviously the big question is the trip, but it’s not that steep a drop really.

To be honest, the last time he jumped the opening fences he looked like a two-miler. He absolutely tanked through the first part of the race and was really quick and slick.

We thought that this race could be a bit cut up and it’s a very valuable prize.

There’s no pressure on us so we thought we’d take our chance and build from here for the rest of the season. He has won over this distance, albeit handicapping, and although we’d like to win, we’re not expecting to.

Brain Power is a novice without too much experience over fences so I think Un De Sceaux is the one to beat – if he turns up in his best form then it’s hard to see why he wouldn’t win.

Just A Sting (4.05pm) is back up in trip in the last. The only reason for his run over two miles last time was to be on better ground.

It was an encouraging run with the trip always going to be too sharp, and we think he’d be a nice one to qualify for the EBF Final at Sandown in March, like Minella Awards did last year.

Two at Taunton

General Ginger runs in the Seniors' Handicap Hurdle (2.15pm). I think the ground is a little slower than what he wants but it’s a good prize. It’s just down the road and there are not many runners.

It gives him a chance to have a nice outing and then he’ll be ready to go again in six weeks when we get some better ground.

Space Oddity (3.55pm) is in very good form in himself at home. We’re dropping back in trip on the slower ground at Taunton. Again, it’s not going to be ideal as he’s got top-weight, but the drop in grade will suit.


American Gigolo is first time out after a wind op in the Betway Casino Maiden Stakes (3.10pm).

He’s a horse that needs better ground so that’s why we’re running him on the all-weather, and we think he can be very competitive at this level.

Golden Birthday did well for us in the Autumn. He was rated 141 over hurdles and went on to win three on the Flat. I’m not saying American Gigolo can repeat that, but this gives us a good option to get a run into him.

If he runs to the level that he has been showing over hurdles then he should go very close, and is arguably my best chance of a winner this weekend.

Sunday at Fontwell

Melrose Boy (3.10pm) is very well. I shot myself in the foot a bit last time as Newbury probably came about 10 days too early for him, but he wasn’t disgraced in finishing third.

The winner, Mr Whipped, came out and won a Grade 2 last weekend at Warwick. We get in here without a penalty and it looks like we’ve found another good opportunity for him to get his head in front.