Week NINE saw three of the stable’s four runners winning with Waiting Patiently, Invitation Only and Getabird all doing the business, with Diese Des Bieffes only managing fifth in the week’s bonus race as “Stable Star”.
Firstly, Waiting Patiently was very impressive winning the Listed Chase (20pts) at Kempton and will now likely step up in class at Ascot in the Grade 1 Ascot Chase, a race he looks to have a very good chance in. That will likely be a hot contest but he is now unbeaten in five starts over fences and will hold his place in the line-up.
As will Getabird, who won the Grade 2 Moscow Flyer Novices Hurdle (20pts) at Punchestown. He could come back out in a few weeks time for either the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice’s Hurdle, or the Grade 1 Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Novice’s Hurdle at Leopardstown’s Dublin Winter Festival, depending on how he comes out of this and whether the race may come too soon with Cheltenham in mind.
Earlier on the same card Invitation Only took his record over fences to two wins from three runs in the Grade 3 Novice Chase (20pts). His only defeat to date came in a soft fall behind Monalee first time out and he too could be heading to the Dublin Winter Festival with the Grade 1 Flogas Novice’s Chase a potential target. That said, it is likely to be a pretty hot race with the likes of Monalee, Al Boum Photo and Sutton Place all potentially heading that way. With that in mind, he comes out and La Bague Au Roi comes in. She runs in the Grade 2 Warfield Mares Hurdle (25pts) at Ascot where she has to give just 4lb to her rivals where she is 12lb clear on ratings. Over a trip that is just short of three miles she looks very much the one to beat on her Kempton Listed win where she beat both Jer’s Girl and Midnight Tour.
The next to make way this week is Diese Des Bieffes (0pts), which means Un De Sceaux comes back in for one of this week’s Bonus Races, the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase (50pts). Two miles and a furlong on soft ground are right up his street, and with no real opposition in a race he has won for the previous two years (once at Ascot and the other rescheduled at Cheltenham) he looks a good thing for full points. He’s a very short price to make it three out of three and with that in mind he will also be this week’s “Stable Star”.
Finally, there is a second bonus race at Ascot with the Grade 3 Ascot Spring Garden Holloways Handicap Hurdle (50pts) needing to be targeted to make up vital ground. It is interesting that Nicky Henderson lets Jenkins take his chance just seven days after he won at Kempton where he pulled quite hard in first-time blinkers. He has gone up 11lb for that victory and will be running over an extra three and a half furlongs which might not be ideal, but Sean Bowen takes off a very useful 5lb and he didn’t look to be stopping near the line last time out. He is still lightly raced over hurdles with that last run being just his sixth and he has always been well-regarded so is risked to repeat last weeks victory. He comes in for the juvenile hurdler We Have A Dream.
I have a good feeling about this week…..