It has been a busy week with preparations for tomorrow’s Lambourn Open Day, of which I hope you can all come along and join us because all the stars will be parading including our Cheltenham/Aintree runners plus some big names from the other yards so it’s definitely worth rocking up for. We’ve got loads going on and AP McCoy, John Francome, as well as loads of other well-known faces, will be entertaining the crowds and it’s always a great day. The yards open at 8:30 and we’re all chomping at the bit to welcome you to the Valley of the Racehorse!
CHAMPIONSHIP NOT A DONE DEAL
I notice that Paul Nicholls has conceded the Trainers’ Championship crown but I don’t think it’s going to be quite as easy for us as he makes out! There are still plenty of big races to be won and lots of good prize money on offer so it’s certainly not a done deal as there is lots to do between now and April 29th but of course, we will all be trying very hard. There are still plenty of our horses to win races but the outcome will very much depend on who manages to win the likes of the Scottish Grand National, Scottish Champion Hurdle and the Whitbread so I’m afraid I’m not quite willing to accept the trophy just yet! I don’t ever take anything for granted so you can’t assume it’s a done deal. Mathematically it’s entirely possible and of course we all want to win, everyone, not just me, the whole team at home and actually, the important ones are the owners because they count immensely and you don’t have them and the horses we train unless we’re doing a good job and they want to be associated with the Championship yard so we’re all very much doing it for them. It’s not me that’s winning this, it’s them; they are the guys supplying us with the horses and are all very good mates and supporters of @sevenbarrows and I really hope we can do it for them.
When we started off the season in October, I did have a small hope that we could be in with a chance of giving Paul a fright but thought it would be with the likes of Sprinter Sacre & Simonsig and little did I think that Jenkins would end up running in a Novice Hurdle at Ffos Las this Sunday, I expected to win the Supreme with him! Altior wasn’t a great surprise but Might Bite, Top Notch and Whisper certainly were so it just goes to show how unpredictable this game can be and it’s definitely not over until the fat lady sings!
To be fair I always said we had strength in the Novice Chase division and that did at least prove correct; we had Altior at 2 miles, Top Notch at 2m4f and Might Bite/Whisper at 3m and they are the future, plus we had all the seconds, thirds and fourths in the Novice Hurdles which is also very good and they’re exciting prospects for next season.
We will probably have no runners on Saturday and what we declare on Sunday will only be IF the ground is suitable as we really need some rain, we haven’t had any for three weeks! MAESTRO ROYAL (pictured, right) may take his chance in the Sussex Champion Hurdle at Plumpton after winning nicely at Newbury last time, but it is very much ground dependent. JENKINS will go to Ffos Las and while we were going to draw stumps with him, we decided not to as over the past three weeks he has really started to make me happy. I think he is definitely coming back to himself and if the ground is safe, he will go. He schooled this morning and I don’t mind admitting it was the first time I have seen him properly jump, even before he ran at Newbury; he actually resembled a proper hurdler which was extremely encouraging. I still maintain he is a very, very smart horse and who knows, he could be our Stan James Champion Hurdle horse for next year, then again, we do have Divin Bere and Buveur D’air for that already! PHOBIAPHILIAC will also probably go to Ffos Las for the Handicap Hurdle but he just has got to keep the lid on his head as he can be very buzzy and blows his brains before he actually gets to the race which is a real problem. He is a capable horse and somewhere like Ffos Las could be a nice quiet track to help keep him relaxed. BARDD will also go across to Plumpton and contest the Maiden Hurdle.
SCOTLAND PLANS IN THE AYR
The Scottish Grand National meeting is next weekend and we have a solid team heading up for some haggis. I see Stan James have installed PREMIER BOND the favourite for the National and I hope they have the market correct as I am yet to win a National of any kind! He schooled this morning and we did what we could on the ground and he jumped well. We’re going to put a tongue tie on him that he hasn’t worn before but I think it will help him and he could be suited to a race of this nature. VYTA DU ROC is a possible too as well as SUGAR BARON if he gets in. PEACE AND CO continues to please me and will likely run in the Scottish Champion Hurdle in which case I may switch L’AMI SERGE to the 2m Chase with VANITEUX. We’ve also got a few Novices heading up there too including BURBANK in the Hurdle and DAYS OF HEAVEN, who won his prep very well at Kempton last time, taking his chance in the 2m4f Novice Chase.
Thanks to everyone for your tweets, answers to your questions are below:
What’s the latest on Charli Parcs?
He’s back in Ireland and had a very small issue after Cheltenham, nothing major at all, and he is a horse I seriously look forward to next year. He will be top class.
Have you got any plans for Sprinter Sacre in retirement?
He will be busy making appearances at tomorrow’s Lambourn Open Day followed by Cheltenham and then Sandown on the final day of the season before going off to learn some new disciplines. Nothing too taxing, just a new home where he will be kept happy and occupied.
How’s Jenkins and what’s the plan for him for next year?
I will be happy to get Ffos Las out of the way and then we can look forward to next year.
Hi Nicky, do you have anything lined up for the Chester Cup?
Not at the moment. BEYOND CONCEIT will be our only flat horse and we’re aiming him at the Ascot Stakes. Unless I can nick one off Charlie Hills!
Hi, what are the future plans for Jenkins, Brain Power and Reigning Supreme?
BRAIN POWER will run at Punchestown and REIGNING SUPREME will be packed up until next year; he’s a chaser in the making. JENKINS, see above.
Is Altior crying out for a step up in trip? Is the King George on the agenda next season?
I would be amazed if it was. I still see him as an out and out two-miler. If he got any further than that he would be so unbeatable it would be terrifying because he has so much speed. MIGHT BITE will be our King George horse anyway.
Any good spring horses to look out for?
There’s a squad that have just come back in and will be racing in the spring/summer including FOREVER FIELD & BARMAN who are real quick ground horses. We also aim a few at the big Summer Plate meeting at Market Rasen in July.
Could O O Seven break your National hoodoo next season? Seemed to love the fences in this year’s Topham?
I think he went into a lot of peoples’ notebooks after the Topham and the answer would be ‘yes’. He appeared to really enjoy himself and is owned but some huge friends of mine so if it was to happen I think I would retire! I love the horse.
Are you hoping to run Vyta Du Roc in the Scottish Grand National and is Divin Bere going for the Scottish Champion Hurdle?
DIVIN BERE will not run. VYTA DU ROC, SUGAR BARON and PREMIER BOND will (hopefully) run in the Scottish National.
Is Rather Be finished for the season or will he be out again? Is he a future chaser?
He may run at Sandown on the last day of the season as he seems to have come out of Aintree well, and yes, he is very likely to go over fences next year. He keeps progressing and is an exciting horse.
Does Brain Power win next year’s Arkle, is he still backwards mentally, will another summer of grass do him good?
Yes, another summer at grass will do him very good, he’s still maturing and his best days are ahead of him. He schooled over fences at the beginning of the season and we were going to go down that route but decided to stick to hurdles, which proved a good decision in the end, but he will more than likely go Novice Chasing next term. If he can pick up a Grade One Hurdle at Punchestown beforehand, that would be great!
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your kind messages via our @sevenbarrows Twitter account over the past few months. With a little help from the folks at @stanjamesracing I’m steadily getting the hang of all of this tweeting and will continue to get plenty of practice in before the season comes to a climax at the end of the month!