SATURDAY – NEWBURY
Ahorsewithnoname (Nico de Boinville)
We’re taking a very brave and rather unorthodox route here because normally you’d look for a nice little Maiden somewhere but she’s won her bumper and a couple of flat races so is quite experienced and to be honest she goes pretty well at home and really enjoys her jumping. As far as her CV is concerned the one thing she does need is some Black Type so winning a small race in Timbuktu doesn’t achieve anything which is the reason for starting here because we can always drop back if we need to. She’s in good form, will like the ground and track and a nice small field first time out is a positive. It’s a competitive affair but I’m hopeful she can run very well.
Colonial Dreams (Jerry McGrath)
He’s no slouch and is more than capable of making his presence felt in a race like this but in many ways it’s a case of getting him out and Newbury is just down the road so it makes sense to kick off here. He’s taken quite a while to come to hand so I’d be expecting him to improve for the run.
Rathhill (Jonjo O’Neill Jnr)
He has a very similar profile to Champagne Platinum in the fact he’s on something of a retrieval mission but he’s a very smart horse who we’ve had a nice clear run with for quite some time. After he won his Maiden we went to Sandown for the Unibet Tolworth Hurdle but he picked up an injury which took plenty of time to heal and we struggled with him after that. He always shows plenty at home, therefore I maintain there’s a decent race in him but I do concede he has to prove himself to justify his rating of 133.
Champagne Platinum (Nico de Boinville)
He’s a very talented horse who has some good chasing form but just found life a little difficult and ran over lots of different trips but I think 2m4f is his optimum so we’re starting off going back over hurdles off what looks a respectable mark and he’s already won at the track.
Floressa (Jerry McGrath)
She is a very high class mare who is extremely capable of running a big race here but I do have an inkling she’d want a little bit further and I genuinely feel Marie’s Rock would have the greater chance of the two.
Marie’s Rock (Nico de Boinville)
She was only ever in the Fighting Fifth in case anything, god forbid, meant that Epatante couldn’t run because this was always the plan and she is a top class mare, I hope! She would have been heading to the Mares’ Novice at Cheltenham in March but she picked up an injury just before which quickly halted our plans so she’s on the comeback trail but I’ve been extremely happy with everything she has done and it’s great for the guys at Middleham Park Racing to have such a talented mare on their hands. You don’t need me to tell you how exciting she is.
Beware The Bear (Jerry McGrath)
I’ve had a word with him and said if he can go a few places better than the last two years he’d have every chance of winning because I’ve definitely got him ready this time, but he was busy eating his lunch so I’m not really sure if he took in anything I said! However, he’s in his usual good form at home and I’m sure he’ll run his usual race but our long term target is to win the Grand National and he’ll probably have another run over Christmas before we put him away until the spring.
Epatante (Aidan Coleman)
We are all very happy with her, especially Sophie Candy who rides her everyday, and this has always been the plan for her first run back ever since winning the Unibet Champion Hurdle. Aidan (Coleman) came and schooled her yesterday and she jumped beautifully so there is nothing more we can do except let her go out there and do what she does best. There’s a whole load of pace in the race with the likes of Cornerstone Lad and Not So Sleepy in the line up so they’ll be going pretty quick which will make it a true test and then throw Sceau Royal into the line up and it doesn’t look quite the ‘gimme’ we’d hoped for, but she looks a picture in her coat and I couldn’t be happier coming into this.
Pym (Daryl Jacob)
It’s a case of finding races for horses like him with a rating of 150+, and of course good ground, but he appears to have plenty of things in his favour here and I thought his performance at Sandown last time was very good. It’s a shame these two have to take each other on but Pym likes to do his own thing up front and we’ve freshened him up nicely for this.
Brave Eagle (Paddy Brennan)
He can often be a little unpredictable and drop himself out but he’s a very talented horse on his day and we’re putting the blinkers on for the first time which I must admit seemed to have prove quite effective at home. He jumped five fences in them the other day and was extremely enthusiastic and has come on a lot for his Chepstow run because he’s a very lazy horse at home so would have needed that badly.
Corrany (James Bowen)
He hasn’t yet won a hurdle race which is very annoying because he should easily have done so by now, but he jumps fences very nicely and I do think the larger obstacles could be the making of him. He’ll like the ground and like the trip and I think it’s a very nice race for him.