We sent three up to Aintree last week for the National meeting and I was delighted with all three of them, though the narrow margin of Debece’s defeat in the Grade 1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle did, at least for a moment, make me think of what might have been!
Debece (pictured above) had won his previous start, in a handicap hurdle at Newbury, by 19 lengths and that hugely impressive performance, despite being off a mark of 121, was enough to persuade us he was ready for the step up to Grade 1 company.
He travelled and jumped beautifully throughout the contest and was going strongly towards the turn into the home straight. He just got caught in some scrimmaging on the bend, but kept on strongly all the way up the straight and, in what was a tremendous finish, he was beaten just a half length and a short-head into third.
It was a fantastic performance and, given we have campaigned him this year with his novice chase campaign in mind, to have gone so close to a top-level success of hurdles is a fine achievement. He has come out of the race very well and will now be roughed off before a summer at grass, but I already can’t wait to see him over fences next season!
I was interested to see he has already been tipped up for next year’s RSA Chase by Nick Watts in the Racing Post! If you missed the article, you can read it at the bottom of this post.
Dadsintrouble is another to have made great strides in recent months, his two wins at Haydock Park in January and February coming off marks of 117 and 127, before running a fine race over an inadequate trip in the Martin Pipe at the Cheltenham Festival. Back over three miles, he ran in a smashing race in defeat in the Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle on Grand National day.
Racing enthusiastically, he jumped as well as he has ever done and, though caught in a bit of traffic in behind the runaway winner, he showed a lovely attitude up the home straight, keeping on really well to finish third in what was a really strong contest. He has always shown us a great deal of ability at home and it has been such a pleasure to see him fulfil that in the past few months.
His dam won six times over fences, including at Listed and Grade 3 level, and ‘Dads’ is another we are hugely excited about for novice chasing next season.
There was also a very promising performance from Point Of Principle (above, number 19), who finished 7th of 19, beaten just over 5 lengths, in the Grade 2 bumper. Purchased for just 8,500gns last May, he made a winning debut on Classic Chase day at Warwick and had finished a close second on his next outing under a penalty at Carlisle, before showing further improvement with this latest run. He looks like he’ll appreciate two and a half miles over hurdles and he looks set for an exciting campaign next season. We’ll give him his summer break now and maybe look to have one more run in a bumper on his return next season before going hurdling in the autumn.
Racing Post, 12th April 2017
Another eyecatcher from Aintree to have on your radar for next season is the Tim Vaughan-trained Debece.
Vaughan had a quiet few years after reshaping his training policy, recruiting more longer term and better quality horses.
It’s taken a while to pay off but he’s definitely getting there now, and this half-brother to Don Poli is a good example of that.
Vaughan has very much trained him with the future in mind this season, starting him off over two miles, racing him sparingly, and only putting him up in trip for his last three starts all of which has reaped a rich dividend.
He hosed up at Newbury two outings ago, and then last week, thrown in at the deep end in a three-mile Grade 1, he responded with an outstanding effort to be beaten only half a length into third by a horse, The Worlds End, who may well have had a say in the Albert Bartlett but for coming down two out.
Vaughan has repeatedly said that fences and three miles are what this horse wants, and it’s pretty much certain that is what he will be doing next season.
He is 33-1 with bet365 for the RSA Chase next season, and while all talk of Cheltenham 2018 should now cease for the summer, I’m willing to make an exception for this horse as he could be genuinely exciting.
2018 RSA Chase
1pt ew at 33-1 (bet365)