It’s been a great week of action at Cheltenham – the personal highlight being Uknowhatimeanharry in the Albert Bartlett.
What was noticeable after racing for three months on winter ground is that everything seemed to be going about three clicks quicker. Punters loved it though as a lot of the hot-pots delivered and the form help up.
I also got a great spin off Special Tiara in the Champion Chase. He was the only one to put it up to Un de Sceaux early and so getting placed was at least some reward for connections. I’d say the run was a personal best for him.
Sprinter Sacre was awesome though and it was great to be part of such an occasion.
But we’re back to normal on Saturday at Kempton….
Silver Plate Handicap Hurdle 3.15pm
I’ve the mount on No No Mac for Charlie Longsdon in the 2m 5f Handicap Hurdle. He’s been running over fences this season. He’s a solid handicapper but has paid for it by staying in the grip of the handicapper. His last win was off 128 and he runs off 132 here.
A few of these would have got balloted out of the Coral Cup in midweek and Willie Mullins & Ruby Walsh team up with Townshend who was fourth to Squouateur on his last run at Fairyhouse on his Irish debut. He’ll improve for that run.
A Hare Breath has been solid for Ben Pauling’s team while Nicky Henderson’s Might Bite won his last two races over hurdles before finishing firth to More of That on his debut over fences.
Silver Bowl Handicap Chase 3.50pm
Like the hurdle race, this will be Plan B for a lot of these as they’ll have been balloted out of the Grand Annual or one of the other handicap chases at the Festival.
I ride Festive Affair for the Jonjo O’Neill stable who have hit form in the last couple of weeks and he’s been fourth on his last two starts but hasn’t won since his novice days.
I’m hoping the step up in trip and better ground can bring out a bit of improvement in him.
Memorial Novices Hurdle, 2m 5f, 4.25pm
There’s only nine runners but there’s few in with chances. I ride He’s A Charmer who has run at Ascot three times and his form there reads 22P, while Ballyhenry and Chartbreaker look nice types also.
However He’s A Charmer has been crying out for good ground and should be better than he’s shown so far this season now he’s got it.
If you put a line through his last run at Ascot – He’s A Charmer’s looks my best ride of the day.
National Hunt Flat Race, 2m, 5.35pm
A couple of trainers have doubled up in this including Nicky Henderson. I ride Walt for the Seven Barrows stable who pulled like a train for about a mile behind stable-mate Stowaway Magic over course and distance last time and did well to finish sixth.
He should settle a lot better here – he’ll need too – and could well be involved in the business end if he does.
Midlands National, 4m 1f, Uttoxeter, 4.10pm
The feature race of the day is up north and Neil King could have a well handicapped sort in Milansbar. He was second to Out Sam at Newbury and even though that one disappointed a bit at Cheltenham, Milansbar was subsequently an easy winner at Exeter on his handicap debut. He could still be improving.
The 11-year-old Fourovakind looks to have a new lease of life since changing yards and was an easy winner at Exeter last time over 3m 6f. The extra few furlongs here shouldn’t bother him and could go well at a double-digit price.