Vienna In Centre Court.
We’re looking forward to what could be a terrific Thursday for James and Jean Potter ltd who have two runners at two different meetings and two very good chances. (we hope!)
Vienna Court takes her chance in the Listed Mares’ Novice Handicap Chase at Exeter (live on Racing TV at 1:35) after making a very pleasing seasonal/chase debut at Bangor last month when third to stablemate Zambella, the form of which has worked out extremely well with the Nigel Twiston-Davies trainee scoring in style again at Warwick, and with expected improvement there’s every reason to suggest the daughter of Mahler should go very close under Jordan Nailor, who currently boasts a 23% win strike rate and is fantastic value for his five pounds claim.
At Hereford, Miss Gold Den goes in the Mares’ Bumper at 3:40 and attempts to back up her solid effort on racecourse debut when third at Warwick and this full sister to the high class Polly Peachum has reportedly improved physically since her first run and Olly Murphy is confident of a very bold show with stable jockey Aidan Coleman taking the reins. There was the option of a Bumper at Plumpton on Monday but word had it that Anthony Honeyball quite fancied his in that race and indeed his optimism proved well founded as Precious, a well bred daughter from the final crop of Midnight Legend, absolutely bolted up at the Sussex track.
In the same race Miss Fisher, a half sister to the brilliant Mister Fisher, had her first sight of a racecourse and after struggling from quite an early stage it was ultimately a disappointing run and she will now be fully checked over to see if anything was amiss. Nicky Henderson has always liked her so it was a shame to see such a lacklustre effort, but the ground was very hard work which clearly didn’t suit and we will give her plenty of time to recover before considering our options – she’s much better than she showed there so we certainly won’t be giving up just yet!
Sir Valentine has been declared in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase at Ascot on Friday (1:55) and after not showing his true form at Wetherby last time where he made a torrid mistake at the first down the back straight and never fully recovered, his super second to Fusil Raffles at Cheltenham on seasonal/chase debut is more than good enough to be strongly considered against opposition who are all rated inferior to him. The ground could be a slight concern but Sam Twiston-Davies’ mount handled it well enough when third to Not So Sleep in a Grade Three over Hurdles last term so we all head to the Berkshire track very optimistic of a bold show.
Our Power is a model of consistency and is likely to take his chance in the Handicap Hurdle at 2:05 at Haydock on Saturday which will be shown live on ITV4. The Handicapper definitely has him in his grip after putting him up another 1lb following his gallant third over course and distance last month, so there’s no doubt he’s vulnerable to something lurking towards the bottom of the weights, but he’s tough, genuine and will be giving it his best shot.
Looking back on our runners last weekend and unfortunately it was not the best start to the season for Billingsley who took a tumble five from home on his return at Doncaster which was obviously a real shame because he appeared to be going quite well at the time. The good news is that he got up and galloped away and his trainer Alastair Ralph reports the five time winner to be none the worse for his untimely exit and he lives to fight another day.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom, however, because we were delighted with Jack Sharp who finished third in the Maiden Hurdle on what was his first experience of a racecourse in public. Alastair Ralph has given the son of Scorpion plenty of time to develop and his patience was justified with a cracking run and there is no doubt Mister Fisher’s younger sibling will be winning sooner rather than later.
There was plenty of attention surrounding Patroclus at Warwick last Thursday when the son of Shirocco was sent of odds on favourite for a 17 runner Maiden – yes, a SEVENTEEN runner Maiden! How on earth a horse can be sent off at such prohibitive odds is ludicrous but I suppose the fact he’s trained by a certain Mr N Henderson would tell its own story. Unfortunately for favourite backers it was a bad result, but from our point of view there was nothing to be disappointed about and we were particularly pleased with the way he jumped and Nico de Boinville was certainly not downbeat after the race and suggested he didn’t quite stay the extended 2m4f so a step down in trip would suit and he is sure to improve a lot fitness-wise as well, not to mention when he gets to jump a fence!
Sadly Don’t Shout was not quite so good in the jumping department and Sam Twiston-Davies did well to keep the partnership intact on quite a few occasions so the jury is now out as to where we go next.
Unfortunately Docte Dina crashed through the second flight and lost lots of ground in the Female Amateur Riders Handicap at Ludlow today which effectively ruled out any chances of winning and on ground described as the heaviest it’s been at Ludlow for quite some time, we’ll just have to draw a line through the run and bring her out when the ground dries out a little.
Yorton Farm Stud opens its doors to limited members of the public on Thursday as they welcome back Goffs UK following the success of the Point to Point Sale last month where Jonbon broke the record for an ex Point to Pointer being sold at public auction for £570,000. We’re not sure if there is anything of his ilk set to go through the ring this time but there are certainly some beautifully bred youngsters who have already attracted lots of interest from many parties, so if you’re looking to buy your partner a last minute Christmas present why not head to Yorton and take a look at what’s on offer!
On the subject of sales, you may remember James and Jean Potter ltd purchased a fine looking five-year-old mare called Milans Edge who had won her sole start in a Point to Point in Ireland. After much discussion between the Potter team it was decided the daughter of Milan, who is very closely related to the prolific winner Marello, will join Donald McCain’s base in Cheshire and we’ll be heading up there next week to see how she’s getting on so be sure to follow @Jandjpotterltd on Twitter and Instagram to follow her progression.
It was fantastic to see Mister Fisher win the rescheduled G2 Peterborough Chase at Cheltenham on Friday for James and Jean Potter who privately own the six-year-old son of Jeremy. The G1 Ryanair Chase at the Festival would seem the likely target in March as Mr & Mrs Potter seek their first Festival winner. ‘Jezza’, as he’s nicknamed at Seven Barrows, has been a superstar for his owners and still seems to be improving which bodes well for the future. Where he goes next will be left to Nicky Henderson but he is undoubtedly on the upgrade and is looked after and turned out so well by Sarah Shreeve who even won the best turned out award on the day so ‘well done’ on both counts, Sarah!