Sam confirmed that he had travelled and jumped really well but just ran out of gas between the last 2 fences. Nigel immediately suggested coming back for the Paddy Power Meeting over a slightly shorter trip. My immediate sense of disappointment soon turned to pride with the reality that in Mad Moose we have a horse good enough to tackle all the good novice chases this winter and hopefully end up at the festival in March.
My Moment was meant to be running at Cheltenham on Saturday to try to regain his confidence following his disappointing run at Market Rasen. The firm ground had given us the small field we needed but unfortunately the lovely weather left Tim Vaughan with no choice but to pull him out because of the ground. He may now go to Fakenham next Friday, where we would love to find a 4 or 5 runner field.
I took the opportunity to visit Ascot for the British Champions Day and again was blessed with the most glorious day. The prize money on offer was spectacular but it was a shame that some of these races only had Group 2 or 3 status, the sprint offering £100,000 to the winner, less than some of the sales races and not much more than the Big Sprint handicaps like the Ayr Gold Cup. I believe they are looking at upgrading all the races next year. Star of the show was Frankel, he got a round of applause when he entered the parade ring before the race and a roar when he returned after his 9th victory in a row. It was great to see so many people desperate to see the horse who has captured the imagination of everyone this year and incredibly generous of Prince Khaled to keep him in training next year. Wonder if any of our Hannon 3 yr olds can take him on next year!!!
Over at Catterick, the Hannon trained Not Bad For a Boy tried to win his maiden over 7f. We fancied him to run a really big race after his break but he ran really disappointingly, running on into 5th place after the race was over. He never looked comfortable and got in and out of trouble throughout the race. The jockey Kieran O'Neill reported that NBFAB never acted on the soft ground at any stage so the run is probably best forgotten. Bought for just £26,000 at Doncaster last summer by the brilliant Doyle team, who buy so many of the Hannon squad, he has fallen in that intermediate area of a 71 rated 2 year old, probably not quite good enough to win his maiden (and the £10k Bonus, which is so important) and probably unlikely to make a lot in the Horses in Training Sales. The Hannons will advise whether they think he will develop into a much better 3 year old and we will make our end of season decision soon.
Monday brought the long awaited debut of Midnight Tryst, a lovely filly in training with Ann Duffield. I was attracted to Midnight, specifically beacause she is a half sister to Midnight Martini who won the DBS Sales race at York, two years ago, taking home the £147,000 first prize. A very cheap £14,000 purchase from the same Doncaster Sale, she has taken a long time to come to hand as she has continued to grow, whilst showing significant promise. She has also been held up for the last month by an aversion to the stalls. Ann and her team have done a brilliant job trying to sort her head out, so it was a pleasure to see her jump out on terms with the others today. The booking of Champion Jockey, Paul Hanagan, clearly alerted the bookies to her chances and 12/1 soon became as low as 5/1 during the morning and early afternoon. Midnight was caught out wide during the early stages and Paul gave her a superb sympathetic ride, educating her as she ran green and she chased home the first two favourites (who had run before) clearly coming out as the horse to follow from the race finishing in 3rd place. Hopefully we can get her out again before the end of October to try to pick up her Bonus Maiden and make a big dent in the years training costs.
Guava may go to Brighton on Thursday, My Moment may run at Fakenham on Friday and Refusetosurrender may finally beat the ballot mark on Friday!!
Have a Great Racing Week.