It was absolutely fantastic to see Before Midnight score in impressive style at Chepstow on Monday for Potter Group and Walters Plant Hire under an enterprising ride from Sam Twiston-Davies who was very positive on the son of Midnight Legend, and bar a blip at the fourth fence from home, he put in a faultless display of jumping and absolutely bounced off the ground. In just six runs for Sam Thomas the flashy chestnut has won twice, finished second three times and third once so it’s fair to say he owes us absolutely nothing and is a pleasure to own. Good ground is key to him, he certainly wouldn’t want to be running around in a bog, so with a bit of luck there is still plenty more fun to be had with him but for the time being he’ll have a well deserved short break while the weather is good. His trainer did suggest a possible tilt at the Queen Alexandra Handicap at Royal Ascot but he needs to have at least three runs on the flat before June to be given a handicap mark so time will tell if we need to don our top hat and tails! 🎩
Speaking of major horseracing festivals our attention turns to Aintree this week for the three day Grand National fixture and while it won’t be what we are used to at least the meeting goes ahead, unlike last year, and owners are allowed to attend which is obviously wonderful for us in these current circumstances.
Billingsley is set to carry the colours of Potter Group and Walters Plant Hire in the G3 Close Brothers Red Rum Chase on Thursday. It’s a typically competitive event and will no doubt be run at a fast and furious pace, especially on the quicker ground, so stamina could come into play which will hopefully suit our runner who is stepping back down in trip having found 2 ½ miles on heavy ground at Wincanton last time not really his cup of tea. We’ve also tinkered with his wind and hoping the drop back in distance will see him in a much better light. There is no doubt his season has been a little underwhelming so far but there have been legitimate excuses for a couple of his defeats and we know he is an extremely talented horse so fingers, toes and everything else crossed for a good run from Alistair Ralph’s charge. Johnny Burke has done lots of work and schooling on him at home, and he’s been away to Lambourn on several occasions too, so it makes sense for Johnny to get the leg up for the first time.
Mister Fisher, owned by James and Jean Potter Ltd, bids to get his career back on track in the G1 Betway Bowl Chase on the same day and after finding things happening much too quickly in the G1 Ryanair Chase last time, and also making a few costly jumping errors, we are optimistic the step up to three miles will bring out further improvement for the son of Jeremy who will absolutely relish the underfoot conditions. Nico De Boinville has been very eager to ride him over this distance and hasn’t lost faith in his ability to win a big one. Once again it’s a wide open affair, not least with the likes of dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll in the lineup, but Nicky Henderson was keen to give him a try over this trip at this stage of the season so we have a better idea where to start off next and who knows if things go to plan on Thursday the dream of going to Kempton on Boxing Day for the King George could become a very distinct reality. It is a reasonably quick turnaround, of just three weeks, but the master of Seven Barrows wouldn’t be letting him take his chance if he didn’t think he was over his Cheltenham exertions and we were sent a video of him schooling with Chantry House on Monday where he looked absolutely mustard so we’re really excited about seeing what there is to come in the future.
Milans Edge has her second start for us in the G2 Goffs UK Nickel Coin Mares’ Bumper which closes the card on Thursday at 5:15. We couldn’t have asked for anything more than what she did at Wetherby on her first run for us in February and this race has pretty much been the plan ever since. It’s fair to say that contest may have not been the strongest but she can only beat what is put in front of her and the manner and professionalism of her victory suggests she could be a very smart horse indeed. In fact this particular bumper is a race we have been lucky enough to have won with the lovely Kayf Grace back in 2016. She is now one of the broodmares at home and she’ll be watching Milans Edge strut her stuff at Aintree via the plasma TV screen she has in her stable! In fact we have just arranged for a Zoom call where Kayf Grace has said she’ll be happy to offer some handy words of wisdom to Donald McCain’s inmate!
Later on in the week, Stolen Silver flies the flag for Potter Group in the G3 Pertemps Handicap Hurdle on Friday and we’ll be looking for him to run a nice race and finish well to try and get his career back on track.
Mot A Mot is a possible for the G2 Bumper on Saturday and after winning in extraordinary circumstances at Chepstow on just his second start we are hoping James Bowen is able to navigate the son of Martaline the more conventional way this time around! This is, as expected, a much, much more competitive race and there is no doubt he’ll have to be on his A game but he is a very exciting horse for the future with lots of size and scope and if he can finish nearer the front than the back we will obviously be delighted.
I suppose it would be foolish to close this weeks Racing Ramblings without having a quick look at the Grand National and I must admit I have lost my pin somewhere down the side of the sofa so will probably have to look at some actual form! Cloth Cap has done absolutely nothing wrong and is owned by Mr Grand National himself in Trevor Hemmings who has been a long-standing supporter of National Hunt racing, in particular this race, for many, many years. Gone are the days when you needed a slow horse who could just gallop and gallop to win, you now need an animal who has speed, stamina, class and jumps well, all of which Cloth Cap has in abundance and while it’s not an inspirational selection I do feel he is the most likely winner. Magic Of Light had a nice warm up at Cheltenham last time and has been placed in this before so is a solid each way alternative.