We took two Oceans Racing horses to Ascot on Saturday and were delighted to come away with a winner and a fifth, Point Of Principle just getting the better of a ding-dong battle from the last, stretching his neck out to win by the minimum margin.
A smart performer in bumpers, his close seventh in the Grade 2 contest at Aintree last April has proved incredibly strong form and he went on to finish fourth at Cheltenham on his hurdling debut in October before finding only Silver Concorde too good at Musselburgh the following month.
We hold him in high regard, which is why he was pitched in a strong novice contest at Ascot, and he duly delivered with a tremendously game effort. There is still improvement to be made in the jumping department (though he was very good indeed at the last two), but he has an engine and we may look to return to Aintree in April, with the likelihood of one more run in between.
I checked this morning and Point Of Principle’s win means we have now had a winner at every National Hunt track in the country, which is an achievement that we can all be very proud of! Ticking off Cheltenham and Ascot (where we had a few close seconds, notably Rigidity in the Ladbroke in 2011 and Saved By John in a valuable handicap chase in 2013) this season means a lot to all the team and hopefully we won’t have to wait as long for our next winners at both tracks going forwards!
Laugharne ran a cracker on his first start for us, having been purchased for £15,000 at Ascot in November. He was short of room on a couple of occasions and Alan just found himself a little further back than ideal when the race began in earnest, but he stayed on really nicely and I am looking forward to seeing him next time. It was also pleasing to see Officer Hoolihan return to some form and I’m sure he can improve again when encountering spring ground in the weeks ahead.