You always savour the winners but there were as many positives to take from Vroum Vroum Mag’s defeat at Fairyhouse as there was from Un De Sceaux’s thrilling win in the Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown.
It was just that extra bit of battle-hardened fitness that helped Apple’s Jade end Vroum Vroum Mag’s unbeaten run for us in Sunday’s Hatton’s Grace Hurdle.
She’s come out of it well, but I was disappointed on the day. It made no difference that it was a former horse of ours that ended her unbeaten record. We lost, that’s it. It’s never nice to lose, no matter who it is that beats you.
I thought Vroum Vroum Mag quickened up nicely, got to Apple’s Jade, jumped the last well but superior fitness just told in the end.
Apple’s Jade is only a four-year-old and is entitled to improve also, but Vroum Vroum Mag will come on for the run and I’m sure somewhere along the way, they will cross paths again.
Un de Sceaux
It was a complete contrast to Saturday’s elation after winning the Tingle Creek Chase. I thought Un De Sceaux was going to struggle after he hit the second last, then I thought he’d win going to the last and when he missed that, I was sure we’d struggle again. However, he just kept finding more and rallied up the hill to beat Sire De Grugy who pushed him all the way.
It was Un De Sceaux’s first run of the season and I’d be pretty hopeful that he can improve again.
Ar Mad ran on strongly when he got his second wind. It was a very good run for a horse having his first run out of novice company – and his first start since last February. He did make a couple of mistakes, but that was more through exuberance early on and there should be more to come from him.
Fairyhouse Sunday review
Bapaume put in a great first run for us against Landofhopeandglory at Fairyhouse on Sunday. The winner was having his third run of the season and had been running on the Flat during the summer, whereas our lad hadn’t run since April in France.
I wouldn’t be afraid to take the winner on again.
Getabird did it really well in the bumper – quickened up smartly and looked very impressive.
The big races just keep rolling in the UK and Cheltenham this weekend is more about stamina than speed, as racing switches to the New Course.
Ivan Grozny is among the entries for Saturday’s International Hurdle but I don’t know if he will travel over. He’s won his last two starts but this would be a step up again and it looks a hot race at this stage.
Some may see Saturday as an after-thought for The New One, but he’s already won this contest twice and goes well fresh. It’ll be interesting to see how he and My Tent or Yours (who is looking to put a heavy ground defeat at Haydock behind him) cope.
My gut feeling is to trust in The New One’s stamina over My Tent or Yours’ speed. It is unseasonably dry at Cheltenham at the moment so that rule of thumb might go out the window. However, the ground is going to play a huge part in who wins, so watch the skies.
The first five home in the BetVictor Gold Cup at the Open Meeting could clash again in Saturday’s Caspian Caviar Gold Cup (1.50pm) and last month’s runner-up Village Vic can get his revenge over Taquin Du Seuil.
Philip Hobbs’ runner actually won this contest off a rating of 136 last year. He’s improved since then though and was just beaten a neck off 155 at the Open meeting.
Paul Nicholls has three entries, where Bouvreuil who was fifth at the Open meeting, looks to be the pick of them. He traveled strongly that day and looked the likely winner at one stage. However, I’m not sure that Cheltenham’s new course will suit him as well this time. He looks more like a two miler than a 2m 5f horse to me.
Nicholls also has Frodon among the entries. The four-year-old started second-favourite for last month’s contest before finishing tenth. He could find this to be as difficult on Saturday.