Once again we took a small but select team to Cheltenham, on this occasion for the Open meeting, and though we were unable to record a win I was delighted to record two excellent seconds from our runners over the three-day meeting.
Stewarts House won a Listed handicap chase on his first start for us at Newton Abbot in the summer and he had since had a wind operation which I felt could bring about further improvement. Our very promising amateur rider Bradley Gibbs was having his first ride under rules and he gave him an excellent ride, turning in with every chance and just finding one too good up the hill. That run suggests he does stay the trip, but I think he is probably at his best over a little shorter and the Grand Sefton over 2m5f110y over the Grand National fences at Aintree on 3rd December would appear tailor-made for him and is likely to be his next objective.
Saint Are was unable to build on his very promising reappearance/chasing debut at Aintree last month, finishing 5th in the 3m novice chase. Richard felt that he just didn’t go on the ground and I am very hopeful he can bounce back to form next time, though where that is has yet to be decided. He remains a potentially top-class novice and I am sure there is a big day in him once again this season.
Our last runner of the meeting was Jimbill, who had won a bumper in impressive fashion at Newton Abbot on his first start for us in October, having previously won an Irish point in February. I was very surprised to see him go off at such a big price as he is certainly one of our better bumper horses and in the event he was only just denied in what looked a hot contest. Having spoken to the owners we have decided to go hurdling with him now, and obviously we are all hoping he can go one better in something like the Neptune Investment at the Festival in March!