WE head to Kelso today with JONNIESOFA (2.50) in the 3m limited handicap chase. As everyone knows, he’s a horse who has brought us lots of joy over the years and he’s got plenty of ability.
It’s a competitive race but when you’ve got the rating he has, everything you can get into is hotly contested. We have been running him over shorter trips to get him to settle better, so going back up to three miles today he’ll have to contain himself a little bit and not be so keen.
Hopefully he’ll go a sensible gallop and not do too much too early. When he won his Grade 2 it was over three miles so he gets the trip, it’s just about getting him running at the right pace throughout.
We took him to Ascot the last time looking for soft ground but it was too quick for him and he was running flat out most of the way. Although there is a P on his record from it, that doesn’t tell the whole story and he ran a lot better than the result suggests.
The ground at Kelso will be softer than it was down there, it will be testing enough for him and hopefully he can run the kind of race we know he’s capable of.
LE CHEVAL NOIR (4.25) heads to Haydock on Saturday for the Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices Hurdle. It’s been tricky to find a race for him with the call offs and because there are not a lot of staying novice hurdles in the north at this time of year.
He’s below a few of them on ratings but he’s a classy horse who we think - and hope! - is good enough to finish in the mix. He’d have to run a career best for that to happen, but the conditions are right. Haydock will suit him fine and he’ll get the ground he’s looking for. When we ran him at Newcastle in the French Furze it was genuine good ground, which isn’t his thing, although he ran well for a long way.
We gave him a spin in a jumpers bumper on the all-weather recently and Conor O’Farrell was happy with him. He just couldn’t pick up on that surface but it got a nice gallop into him and should have him spot on for this.
DREAM OVER ended a while without a winner for us at Carlisle and it was great to see her do it so impressively in the bumper. She’s a lovely mare and a real credit to the McKie family, who did so well with her in point-to-points and had her since a foal. There is a nice future ahead and we’ll be looking for a suitable hurdle for her next time.