So far Cheltenham has served up a feast of outstanding runners, and some memorable wins, none more so than TIger Roll who dominated the Glenfarclas Cross Country race this afternoon. A tumultuous few weeks for his yard, and after cries to retire him earlier this year, I would like to think that Tiger Roll has emphasised that his yard and connections know best when to step back and retire their horses.
Our Cheltenham entry, Mighty Thunder is to take up his preferred engagement in the Midlands Grand National on Saturday; he has won three of his four chase starts and improved for the step up in trip when winning the Edinburgh National so, after consultation with his owners we have decided on the Uttoxeter race.
Our other stayer, Big River, who pulled up at Newcastle last month with a fibrillating heart, has had the all clear from cardiac specialist Dr John Keen and is in full training and aiming for the Scottish National in mid April.
Meanwhile, at the yard the weather has improved and the horses are thriving. There is plenty of naked turnout for the horses and a few duvets have been shed. Our staff have been coming in half an hour early this week so that they can finish up sharp to watch Cheltenham and we are looking forward to the next few months of racing with some ambitious targets to aim at.
We have been working on both the grass and the woodchip; pictured is the five year old Thunder In Milan working with Southern Girl last weekend.
By popular demand, our previews of races are back with a line or two about our runners. We have seven heading to Hexham for the track's first meeting of 2021.
Westend Lady ran two good races here in the autumn and has been given a nice break after disappointing the next time. She has been thriving in the past few weeks and looks a spring type.
Speak Of The Devil runs in a similar three mile novice chase to the one that he won here in October. He would prefer good to soft ground, and has top weight, but should prove better than he showed on his last two runs.
Next, we have Your Place, a half sister to Rivabodiva, in the two mile novice hurdle. A slight filly she is still maturing and a solid run to build on is the aim tomorrow.
We then have the marathon four mile chase and Buddha Scheme tries to add a win to his three seconds and a third this season. He has been given a bit of time to prepare for this race, and it comes at his favourite track.
Camp Belan joined the yard after a private sale a month ago and, being by Milan out of a Zaffaran mare is the type to love long distance chases in time. He starts for us over two and a half miles and hurdles, and we will know more about him after this run.
We know plenty about OrionInverness as he has his thirty ninth start for us. He has had bad luck in a couple of races this season but seems well at home, and with the cheekpieces back on after a few visored starts, he should run with credit.
Finally, A Ladies Milan has been in sparkling form at home, bucking and carrying on, and he should give Dig In Racing plenty to smile about this spring. He is a good ground horse though and we will be sure that the going is not too heavy for him tomorrow, especially as he has some other opportunities later in the month.