I went down to Lambourn yesterday and spent the morning with Tom Dascombe. He’s extended his stable by taking over the stables next door – until recently the home of Paul Blockley. I had a look at all my horses.
There isn’t a lot to report. All were well. Marine Boy continues to impress with his physique, as does Max One Two Three. Shawhill looked better than she has ever looked on the course, but she’s unlikely to race again. Tikka Masala is skinny and I’d like to see her fill out a little. My Mr Greeley filly, currently called Princess Aurora, looked superb – I imagine she’ll be an early type.
My next day’s racing will probably be Sunday at Fontwell – Mon Michel is a likely starter in the Tikram hurdle. The race of the day on Sunday is probably the Greatwood hurdle at Cheltenham in which Ashkazar is likely to make his reappearance as favourite. He made a very big impression on me in the Imperial Cup at Sandown last year.
Prince Ary was one of two David Pipe trained runners in the race that day – Ashkazar was the other one. I was with David while the two of them were being saddled side by side in the ring beforehand. I was dumbstruck;
AB : How the !*@* is Prince Ary going to beat that beast?!
DP : Well you never know…
I pretty much did know – as it was Ashkazar lead from start to finish, never looking remotely troubled. He’s not the prettiest horse I’ve ever seen but there is something quite awesome about him – very big but with the right proportions for a big horse, good legs with strong bone, well muscled but not over muscled.
I could see him losing out to a smaller horse on quick ground, but with a little juice he’s the type to set a pace that the vast majority of horses will not be able to live with. As a strong type he should be a great weight carrier and better value at the top of the handicap. It’s probably going to be good to soft at Cheltenham on Sunday – it will be a classy race but I’d expect him to gallop the opposition into submission.
I wasn’t going to bet this week as I’ve got a lot to catch up on, but I found some time to go through the card and I’ve picked a couple out at Exeter.
Supreme Cara has her first run for Jimmy Frost, and she comes back to hurdles. She has heavy ground that she clearly goes well on and she could be a bit of value in a tricky race (2:10).
Supreme Tagdh is another apparent mudlark who has only won twice in his life – both first time up. He’s not getting any younger but I often back older horses in their first run – I’ll take him to give Jeremy Geake his first jump winner of the year in the 3:40.