I’ll kick off this week with an exclusive for my FansBet blog, as happily I’m now in a position to reveal a firm plan for Kalashnikov and his upcoming target.
All being well and if everything goes according to schedule, Plumpton on Monday 3rd December will be his next calling point for a straight novices’ chase which also happens to be a part of the track’s ‘Cheltenham Bonus Series’, which put simply is a string of races in which the winner would be eligible for a £60,000 bonus split between owner, trainer and stable staff if subsequently successful at the Festival in March.
To my eyes it’s an ambitious scheme which deserves to be rewarded by drawing some big names to the Sussex track, and if the conditions are right on the day and Kalashnikov is good to go then we’ll happily support it.
As for the man himself, he’s very well after his successful chase debut at Warwick, Jack Quinlan loved the way he jumped and we were delighted with him overall. He came home without a scratch on him and ate up that night – always a good sign.
As was the fact he was ‘broncing’ around the field the next day, fresh as paint, playing in the sunshine and frolicking as if he’d never been anywhere near a racecourse!
With that in mind, my gut feeling is a three-and-a-half week gap should be ideal between races, particularly as we turned him away after his placed effort at Cheltenham in March with a view to saving him for this season.
I keep reading he should be stepped up in trip, but he isn’t doing too badly around the two-mile mark right now, and if in time we do want to go further he’s got five years to try that particular experiment!
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Elsewhere, I was delighted by the very tough performance shown by our Holy Roman Emperor filly, Blessed To Empress at Chelmsford on Saturday – to say they went a furious gallop would be an understatement!
She is very quick but was taken off her feet early on, only to rally and lead everywhere but on the line, where she got chinned in the shadows of the post and was beaten by the width of a fine coat of paint, or officially what’s deemed as a nose.
We’d love to have won but it was a heck of a performance either way.
She goes to the sales soon and will have one more run next Saturday in a race we have earmarked at Wolverhampton – a victory would be a lovely way to sign-off.
Another one to keep an eye on is Logan Rocks, a three-year-old of ours who ran with real credit to be third in a junior bumper at Huntingdon on Tuesday.
Bear in mind the pair that beat him were Flat-bred and probably had a speed advantage, especially on a fast, flat circuit like that, but when he steps up to two miles with some ease in the ground I firmly expect him to pay his way.
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One downer on Tuesday was the abandonment of Chelmsford’s floodlit evening meeting after a power cut.
It was very unfortunate and they seem to have attracted some bad press for an incident which almost certainly wasn’t their fault.
Personally, I’ll always support Chelmsford. We Newmarket trainers are very lucky to have it on our doorstep, it’s an excellent facility which does extremely well in terms of looking after both horses and owners, plus they have strong levels of prize money.
Lastly, I’ve no runner at Cheltenham on Saturday afternoon, but if I found a fiver in the street I wouldn’t hesitate to have it on Mick Channon’s runner in the big Gold Cup at 2.25pm, a rare one for him over the sticks, Mister Whitaker.
Low mileage, two from two at the track including a win at the Festival, plus coming here off the back of a cracking win at Carlisle, this horse must have a huge shout and I definitely wouldn’t put you off a pound or two each way with FansBet.
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