A mixed afternoon started in the best possible fashion with Piment D’Estruval winning for owner Mel Worgan on his reappearance after 9 months off the track in the 2m1f novice hurdle, benefiting from an excellent ride from conditional jockey Rob Kirk. (photo by kind permission of Les Hurley – leshurley@btinternet.com)

Rated 116 over fences, he was entitled to go close on his form in that sphere and, though he will return to chasing later this summer, we’ll look for a couple more openings over hurdles first as he looks capable of winning again in novice company.

I was pleased with the performances of both True Blue and Thecircleoftrust at Southwell, but back at Stratford we sadly had to deal with the loss of Valsky Kauto, who broke his leg in the juvenile hurdle. He had been jumping and travelling well prior to the fatal accident and, having been with us since his yearling days, everyone at the yard is very upset to have lost him – our sincere condolences go to all his owners at Middleham Park Racing.