It was nice to be back at Chepstow over the weekend. The track was in great condition and it’s always good to see some of the better horses back out.

It was certainly very competitive racing and I’d expect plenty of ours to improve for the run.

Chepstow on Saturday

I kicked things off with Umndeni in the first division of the novices’ hurdle and he was very green. We haven’t been able to school him much on grass because of the weather which showed.

You’ll see a better horse in the future as he gets more experience.

Lord Duveen jumped and travelled well in the second division, but weakened after the second last which was a bit disappointing.

This is very much a starting point for all these horses, though, so he’s another who will improve for the run.

We were very pleased with Festival Dawn in the mares’ novices hurdle. No-one wanted to make the running, so we went on.

She was enthusiastic but ran a really good race, beaten by a smart mare and looks a winner waiting to happen. She’s definitely one to follow.

I thought I had a good chance in the Silver Trophy when turning in on Sneaky Feeling. He’d travelled nicely and jumped great, but got tired in the straight.

He’s a big horse and is sure to come on for it. I’d have thought he’d be going novice chasing soon.

Rock The Kasbah ran well, I was pleased with him. He was higher in the weights than last year and put in a decent effort in what was a competitive race.

He’ll definitely be one for the long distance staying handicap chases through the winter.

Chepstow on Sunday

My only winner of the weekend was Drinks Interval in the novice chase. She was very good, her experience and fitness really came to the fore.

A lot of the others were having their first run over fences and they’ll definitely improve during the season, but she jumped well and outstayed them in the straight. She could do no more than win.

Gosheven ran a nice race in the Persian War, he’s still quite babyish and this was a tough starting point.

He’s a stayer for the future and one to keep an eye on during the season. Hopefully we can find a maiden hurdle somewhere in the next few weeks.

There was a depleted field in the handicap hurdle because of the rain and I’m A Game Changer ran well.

We changed our tactics and made the running, but he was a little free, just weakening slightly two furlongs out.

He’s another who could go novice chasing. He’s very enthusiastic, but he’s a talented horse and if he can relax a bit more it will help him.


Garde La Victoire ran a solid race, jumping and travelling well. It was competitive for the grade and he was another to just get tired from the second last.

I haven’t lost the faith in him, though, and I’m sure he’ll win a nice handicap during the winter.

Precious Bounty was the disappointing one in the bumper. He’d run well in a point-to-point, but fizzled out tamely in the straight.

There’s a lot for these young horses to take in on their debut and the occasion might have got to him slightly.

The rest of the weekend action

I thought it was a good effort by Jane Williams’ Montestrel to win Sunday’s juvenile hurdle on debut.

He had never run on the flat or over jumps and he’s bound to improve from it. He certainly looks one to follow this season.

Willie Mullins is clearly continuing his dominance in staying races on the Flat after a one-two in the Cesarewitch.

I suppose it’s not good news for us jump jockeys, as they look to have a very strong team again this year, but it’s always nice to see jump trainers doing well on the Flat.

Pleased with Lalor’s schooling

I schooled Kayley Woollacott’s Lalor at Philip Hobbs' yard last Friday and we were very pleased with him. He felt well and looked great.

We’ll probably school him again in a couple of weeks’ time. There’s an option for him at Exeter next week, but Uttoxeter may be more likely in early November.

He’s a Grade One novice hurdler winner, so he’s a very nice horse to be going chasing with. He’s a big, rangy type and has a lovely long stride on him.

You’d think that he should take to fences, but you never know until the day comes. I’d like to think he’ll be up to Grade One level over fences.

A rare day off

We don’t get many days off at this time of year, but I do have one on Monday. I’ll spend a few hours with my wife before we pick up the kids from school.

We’ve then got parent’s evening, so let’s hope there’s no bad news!

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