It’s been a pleasing – if slightly frustrating – week, with the horses running well but just getting pipped to the post!
Beat The Bat did everything right on his hurdle debut, jumped really nicely and came clear with one other at the last which, we thought, had sealed the deal, but he was narrowly beaten by three-quarters of a length – another second! It was a hugely promising run, though, and, interestingly, that first division of the race was six seconds quicker than the second. This is a very good maiden which I trained the runner-up in two seasons ago behind Stage Star, who went on to become a Grade 1 winner. I was delighted to see Beat The Bat running to form, and we hope that he can go one better next time.
Hymac was disappointing in his first run over fences. We were really looking forward to seeing him in action, having schooled so well at home, but we knew we were taking on more experienced rivals here, and it wasn’t exactly our first choice of race, what with all the bad weather and abandonments, so we rather felt that our hand was forced. The further the race went on, the more mistakes started to creep in, and he lost some confidence, so we pulled him up and we’ll continue to work on him at home.
Kap Ouest’s bumper has quite a strong history of producing good horses, and we were very happy with him. He came from off the pace and travelled into it nicely, and it was a really pleasing racecourse debut. There’s plenty of promise where he’s concerned.
We’ve two runners at Ascot on Saturday. Boothill is first in the 2m1f handicap chase (14:05). He had a fine season last year, winning three – including a valuable prize at this track over the course and distance last November. We know he likes and goes well at Ascot, but I’m mindful of conditions, with the way that the weather is, as he wouldn’t want it to get any slower than it already is. We’ll monitor that, but he’s very well in himself and everything has gone to plan since he came back into training. We’re looking forward to seeing him back in action.
Altobelli runs in the 1m7½f handicap hurdle (15:15). He’s got form in softer ground and we can forgive him his last run when disappointing at Aintree after winning so well up at Carlisle. He just wasn’t at his best after that, and Grade 1 company found him out. We’re starting him out in a handicap with a mark at which we hope he can be competitive. He’s quite lightly raced, and he still needs a bit of experience; he’s got a similar profile to In Excelsis Deo in that respect.
This is a nice starting point for him, so hopefully he can run well and be competitive and, at the same time, improve for the run. He’s only a five-year-old and is a big horse, so he just benefits from a bit of time between his races. Having had a lot of growing and maturing still to do, races have rather left their mark on him in the past, so he should be able to take a step forward on that front now as he strengthens up. All being well, we’d be looking to go back to Ascot just before Christmas for another valuable handicap hurdle they have there over course and distance. Hopefully this can be a bit of a dress rehearsal.