As many of you will know I am rarely pleased by anything other than a winner, but the performance of Saint Are at Aintree yesterday is certainly an exception and his 2nd in the Matalan Novices’ Chase has got me dreaming of further success at the highest level in months ahead.
Though he found one too good in this occasion, his jumping was excellent and he was foot-perfect throughout. Given this race was over 2m4f, my feeling is that he was just done for speed and given that he is sure to come on plenty for the run in any case, he could be a real force in the top novice races over three miles this season.
At this stage, for his next run I am thinking in terms of the 3m Novices’ Chase on the Saturday of the Paddy Power meeting at Cheltenham, or the Grade 2 Worcester Novices’ Chase on the Thursday of the Hennessy Meeting at Newbury. Longer-term, the Feltham at Kempton on Boxing Day is an option.
There were some very encouraging performances from our team at Chepstow on Saturday, notably Rev It Up, who looks a horse with a big future after he defeated a hotpot from the Paul Nicholls yard in the second division of the maiden hurdle, the pair 24 lengths clear of the third. Rev It Up has always looked to be a real stayer in the making at home and he confirmed that impression on the track, as he looked to be getting the worse of the argument with the runner-up for the majority of the long Chepstow straight before outstaying his rival after the last flight. Softer ground will certainly suit him well and he could be one for the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in December, a race won by the likes of Bindaree and Iris’s Gift in previous years.
Flying Vic was our representative in the first division of the maiden hurdle and, like Rev It Up half an hour later, he looked to be crying out for a test of stamina, as having been outpaced entering the home straight he stayed on stoutly through the final couple of furlongs. He looks certain to win his novice hurdle on proper winter ground and, again in common with Rev It Up, looks sure to progress when sent over fences in time.
Another who looks sure to improve for the experience was Our Island, who ran a terrific race in what looked a strong Beginners’ Chase, finishing 4th on ground that would have been plenty quick enough for him. Like Saint Are, his jumping on what was his chasing debut under rules was excellent and he looks every inch a Graded horse once he gets his ground and with this experience under his belt, though we will look to get his novice chase out of the way first.
It was very pleasing to see War Of The World back on the racecourse and both he and The Big Freeze ran with credit in the Grade 2 Persian War, understandably getting tired up the home straight. War Of The World looks to retain plenty of ability and hopefully there is a big day for him over fences this season.
Our final runner of the day at Chepstow was Architrave and he gave conditional Rob Kirk a great ride in the Grade 3 Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle, finishing a very promising 6th, beaten just 10 lengths. That was Architrave’s first try at 2m4f and he looks capable of going over further still, so we will be looking for a valuable handicap hurdle over 2m4f+ for him in the coming weeks.
We were also pleased with Kack Handed’s display at Stratford on what was his first start over fences since April. He has done really well for owners The Kack Handed Partnership since being purchased at the sales in May, winning twice and placing on a further two occasions, and this latest run suggested he can win again in the coming weeks.