Tuesday November 8

Excitement builds as Cheltenham’s Open meeting this week-end gets ever closer, and with the team continuing to be in good form – Sceau Royal, so impressive at Wincanton last Saturday, has been raised to 156, a rating which puts him on the verge of Champion Hurdle standard – while smart Flat racer Top Tug did everything we had hoped of him when he made a winning debut over jumps at Kempton on Monday.

We could be in for a busy day tomorrow at Bangor, where we will be doubly-represented in the long -distance chase, courtesy of Ziga Boy and Sego Success. Alan said:”We wanted to start off Ziga Boy at Wincanton last Saturday as the timing was right, but unfortunately the ground was too fast so he is re-routed here. He is a big, heavy horse who is sure to want his first run, but he is a grand jumper and we are hoping he might develop into a Grand National horse, so it’s imperative that we get a run into him before he tackles those big Aintree fences for the first time in the Becher Chase next month.

“Like Ziga Boy, Sego Success has shown a liking for Doncaster and a flat three miles probably suits him best – Cheltenham is not his cup of tea at all. He can be a bit hit-and-miss, but he stays well and is in good form and ready to start back.

Presenting Lisa steps up to Listed company in the mares novice chase. She has done well this season and won twice over fences, but her rating has climbed to 125, so we are under no illusions about the task she faces.

Messire des Obeaux runs in the 2m 3f handicap hurdle, and I see that ITV’s new racing presenter Ed Chamberlin has put him in his Five to Follow for the first half of this season. He came to us from France last winter and showed useful form, not being beaten that far in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham when our horses were not firing. He’s still a novice and he is a big, rangy individual who has the size and scope to make a lovely chaser this time next year.

The Otmoor Poet makes his jumping debut in the juvenile hurdle. He was progressive on the Flat through the summer, though we were mystified why he disappointed on his last run at Salisbury. He has schooled well and is ready to start over timber.

“Finally at Bangor we run Dingo Dollar in the maiden hurdle. He is a promising Irish point-to-point winner whom we like, and we have been pleased with the way he has shaped at home.”

We have two other runners tomorrow, and Alan added:”Passmore goes down to Exeter for the mares novice hurdle. I was delighted with her comeback at Worcester, where she was beaten by a smart mare, and it was a pleasing effort.

“We also run Salieri on the polytrack at Kempton. After being placed twice he began to grow considerably so we left him alone for a few weeks. He’s ready to return now and I hope he’ll run well, too.”