ASCOT WINNER DIDTHEYLEAVEUOUTTO SET FOR GRADED COMPANY
Looking back on the last week, I’d have to say the highlight was unquestionably winning on the exciting DIDTHEYLEAVEUOUTTO for Nick Gifford at Ascot on Friday.
He was exciting in bumpers last season and his transition to hurdles has been a smooth one, with this being his second win from two starts over obstacles. He did everything right, he settled, jumped well, quickened and battled.
The runner-up Thomas Darby looks to be a lovely horse, so for my lad to see him off like he did was impressive.
Didtheyleaveuoutto is only a five-year-old and is out of a half-sister to Denman, so for him to be showing as much pace over the minimum trip is very encouraging indeed. He doesn’t show anything like the pace he shows on the track in his homework, so it goes to show the you don’t always see everything on the gallops at home.
A horse with the pace he has might not want the ground too soft and I’m sure Nick will look after him that way. He’ll have to make the next step into Graded company now, but he’d give you every encouragement that he’ll be well capable of it.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t quite as much to cheer about at Ascot on Saturday.
I rode the Nicky Henderson-trained WE HAVE A DREAM in the Coral Hurdle and he ran below expectations.
He just couldn’t quicken when he should have and I don’t think he brought his A-game on the day. You’d have to give him another chance both in general and at this trip. He is better than he showed.
MODUS was another that didn’t run to form in the Gerard Bertrand Hurst Park Handicap Chase. He made a bad enough mistake at the seventh fence, but he was already on the backfoot at that stage.
The horse he had beaten at Cheltenham the time before, Duke Of Navan, didn’t do much for that form either in the same race and maybe that race was just a bit weaker than we thought at the time.
Over at Navan, the Gordon Elliott-trained SQUOUATEUR ran disappointingly in the Ladbrokes Troytown Handicap Chase. He actually didn’t jump that badly which is usually his issue, he was just never at the races. We know he has the ability, but he is just a disappointing horse.
Over at Haydock the Betfair Chase was a great race. Bristol De Mai was very good in winning the race for the second year in a row.
The question mark going in was whether he would have the pace for a race like this on better ground, but you could see even with a circuit to race that he was in pole position and was getting them on the stretch.
It was a fine performance. There was plenty of encouragement to take from the runs of the three that followed him home and I’d say all their connections were delighted.
With Might Bite, I think you have to forgive him the run. He got into the race, but just couldn’t sustain his challenge. I’d be amazed if there wasn’t better to come from him and it’ll be interesting to see what sort of form he turns up in for the King George.
Another contender for that race emerged at Ascot in Politologue and it’s shaping up to be a very good renewal.