It has been a fantastic start to 2022 with all horses running under the James and Jean Potter Ltd and Potter Group ownerships continuing to run with great credit especially Mister Fisher who was absolutely brilliant in the G2 Coral Silviniaco Conti Chase at Kempton on 15th January and while we are understandably biased, Jezza looked the winner all the way round and was given a fine ride by James Bowen who went widest of all to get the best ground and those tactics proved spot on.
He’s always been a very high class horse, ever since winning his Bumper first time out in March 2018 and to be honest he hasn’t looked back since having (so far) won seven of his 18 races including the G2 Rossington Main Hurdle, G2 Lightning Novices’ Chase, G2 Peterborough Chase as well as some excellent efforts in defeat, notably in the G1 Marsh Chase at the Cheltenham Festival, when fourth to Samcro, and going down by just a neck to Frodon in last year’s G2 Oaksey Chase at Sandown.
Mister Fisher currently holds two entries at Prestbury Park in both the G1 Ryanair Chase and the Gold Cup which, granted, would be a tough task so the former would seem the most logical, but as we all know, anything can happen in horse racing!
In the meantime we have the small matter of the G1 Betfair Ascot Chase on February 19th to get through where he should be very competitive and according to his trainer Nicky Henderson, ‘2m5f around Ascot is the ideal race for him’ so let’s hope the Master of Seven Barrows is right. To win a Grade One is what dreams are made of and to have success at the highest level, would literally be a dream come true!
Speaking of Mister Fisher, his half brother, Jack Sharp, who carries the silks of Potter Group and Walters Plant Hire, is entered in a 0-130 Handicap Hurdle over 2m4f at Wetherby on Saturday and with Alastair Ralph enjoying a fine run of form, hopefully Jack can continue the yard’s good fortune.
Court by Surprise
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be for Vienna Court who was narrowly beaten into second in the Listed Protectress Mares’ Chase at Huntingdon last Friday. With just five runners, it was always going to prove a tactical affair and indeed that proved the case, but Sam Twiston-Davies took the bull by the horns turning for home and kicked clear, however he didn’t reckon on the challenge of the Venetia Williams-trained Pink Legend stalking in behind and nabbing them both on the line. Sam blamed himself but these things happen, that’s horse racing, and everything is so much easier with hindsight. The most important thing is that she returned safe and sound and the objective is to return to her beloved Cheltenham, where she has already won twice this season, for the Mares’ Chase and she’ll probably be given entries in a couple of the Handicaps as a back up. She is a lovely mare whose grand dam, Southcoast Gale (a daughter of Polly Puttens) is a sister to Potters Gale, Potters Bay, Denman and dual Grade One winner Silverburn, so she has a beautiful pedigree and will make a wonderful broodmare when the time comes.
On the subject of bloodlines, Vienna Court’s oldest sibling, Spring Meadow, put up a very encouraging performance first time up in a Bumper at Ffos Las on Tuesday when finishing a particularly respectable fourth under Sam Twiston-Davies. He’s a gorgeous son of Fame And Glory who was handily placed throughout the 2m contest and, despite running slightly green in the closing stages, he still stayed on well before understandably getting tired, and we thought it was an extremely eye catching run.
Before Midnight is such a superstar and produced another gallant effort when dead heating for second at Doncaster last week behind (another one of Venetia’s 😤) Funambule Sivola in what was a thrilling race. Sam Thomas’s inmate has already scored at Cheltenham and Ascot this season so owes us absolutely nothing. Funnily enough, his dam, Lady Samantha, is herself a daughter of that formidable race mare Lady Rebecca who was trained by, yes, you’ve guessed it – Venetia Williams! There’s seems to a quite a theme developing here…
Patroclus bids to get his career back on track for Potter Group in Leicester’s Handicap Chase at 3:20 on Wednesday after a rather lacklustre seasonal debut at Newbury in December. It was his first start over fences and Nico De Boinville reported after the race that he hated the tacky ground and was never travelling with any fluency. There had been lots of rain the day before, but after a strong breeze and a dry bight sunny afternoon the ground became sticky and gluey come the last race and our lad simply didn’t handle it. Hopefully conditions at Leicester will be more to his liking and the son of Shirocco can regain the winning thread. He really is the most handsome individual and Nicky Henderson has always held him in very high regard so fingers and toes crossed he’ll put up a bold show tomorrow.
Docte Dina has been slightly frustrating so far this season but is a very talented mare in her own right and a small field like this, with just four runners, should help her get into a nice rhythm and if she can bounce back from a below par effort at Southwell last time, she wouldn’t be out of it. What’s that old saying? ‘Back the outsider of four’…
Mario De Pail has an entry at Chepstow on Friday in the Novices’ Handicap Chase at 2:25 while Our Power, who is another to have been revitalised since joining Sam Thomas, is engaged in the Coral Trophy Handicap Chase (formerly the Racing Post Chase) at Kempton on 26th February along with Potterman, who ‘won’ the Bet365 Gold Cup for James and Jean Potter Ltd last April.
The stallions at Yorton Stud have their offspring in fine form on the track, including Gentlewave who is enjoying a particularly good time of things at present, but it was great to see Pethers Moon get off the mark in the UK with a winner at Taunton last week. Trained by Toby Lawes, Realta Royale made an impressive winning racecourse debut in the bumper to score by 2 ¾ lengths and looks a very exciting prospect for her connections.