We’re looking forward to what could be a very exciting time for Potter Group and James and Jean Potter ltd who have runners at several meetings over the next few days and we’re particularly looking forward to Patroclus make his debut in the Maiden Hurdle at Warwick today. He was purchased at the Tattersalls Cheltenham Festival Sale in March having finished second in an Irish Point to Point which has worked out considerably well. Gaston Phebus (third) has won his last two starts for Jonjo O’Neill, Carroll’s Cottage (fourth) bagged his Maiden at Limerick nine days ago and two others in the field were placed behind Jonbon, who as you know broke the record for a Point to Pointer being sold at auction when purchased by JP McManus for £570,000 at Goffs UK Sale at Yorton Farm, so it’s fair to say the form has a very strong look to it.
Nicky Henderson has been extremely patient with the son of Shirocco and gave him just one easy piece of work last spring which was enough for the Master of Seven Barrows to send him away for a break and allow him to fill into his frame before returning in August and everything has gone really well since. In fact, for the eagle-eyed among you, Welsh Saint won the exact same race twelve months ago so fingers crossed this chap can follow in his stablemate’s hoof prints. He’s the most beautiful mover you’ll ever see who simply floats along the gallop and there is no doubt he’s a chaser through and through but if he can pick up a few races over timber en route, that would be wonderful. That said, he’s got 17 rivals to contend with tomorrow so it aint gonna be easy!
Don’t Shout ia also in action at the Midlands track and will have his first start over fences under Sam Twiston-Davies in the Novices’ Handicap Chase at 1:57 and the half brother to Stayers’ Hurdle hero Lisnagar Oscar should strip fitter for his seasonal debut over hurdles at Taunton where he ran a great race to finish third. With the application of a hood to help him relax, we’re hopeful the six-year-old can acquit himself extremely well in what looks a very suitable starting point.
Sir Valentine is entered at Cheltenham on Saturday and after a slightly disappointing run at Wetherby last time where he made a torrid mistake at the first down the far side which knocked the stuffing out of him, Nigel Twiston-Davies has done plenty of schooling since and his confidence is growing each time. If he can reproduce the excellent effort that saw him finish second to Fusil Raffles on his Chase debut, he’d have every chance in a race that could cut up.
Billingsley missed his intended seasonal return at Wetherby but Alastair Ralph reports his stable star to be in rude health so he’ll head up to Doncaster to tackle the two mile Handicap Chase and Sean Bowen will be doing the steering. The five time winner ended last campaign with three consecutive victories on the trot which now means the eight-year-old competes off a career high mark of 136 but he’s a big, strong horse with plenty of class and it will be great if he can kick off his new season the way he left off!
Jack Sharp, a half brother to Mister Fisher, has also been entered at Town Moor in a Novice Hurdle and this handsome son of Scorpion has been pleasing the team at Bind Farm so it will be nice to see how he fares on his racecourse debut. He’s been away several times to work and school in Lambourn so should be pretty street wise but there’s no doubt he will improve for the experience.
We were absolutely delighted with Wheesht’s first run back at Southwell last month when she unfortunately made a real horlicks of the final flight and while it’s unlikely she’d have won, her effort was particularly meritorious judged on the way she regained momentum to finish very well in fifth. She’s engaged in the Mares Handicap Hurdle over three miles at 1:30 and if conditions suit, she could likely take her chance. James Bowen who was in the plate at Southwell was ruing his luck at that final flight and was quick to blame himself (not to worry James, we don’t blame you - although don’t let it happen again! 😉) but these things happen and he was extremely complimentary of her after the race and was keen to retain the ride but due to commitments elsewhere we’ve secured his older brother Sean to get the leg up – at least we’re keeping it in the family! She’s a tough little cookie and will make a fantastic broodmare but for the time being we hope to have lots of fun with her on the track.
The Hoax and Miss Gold Den hold entries at Plumpton and Southwell respectively on Sunday and Monday so keep an eye on James and Jean Potter Ltd Twitter (@jandjpotterltd) and Instagram (jamesandjeanpotterltd) accounts for declaration details snd7 while you’re at it why not subscribe to Potter Group Racing’s YouTube channel where you’ll find interviews with all our trainers plus a special extended feature on Yorton Farm Stud with bloodstock agent David Minton.