It’s been a great week for Potter Group Racing as we enjoyed watching two runners last weekend, albeit slightly frustrating as we hit the crossbar on each ocassion! Before Midnight looked like he was going to win the Handicap Chase at Market Rasen on Saturday and after taking a commanding lead jumping the last, he got reeled in just before the line by a horse of Jonjo O’Neill’s to get beaten a length and a quarter. He’s a horse with a very high cruising speed, jumps very well and is a strong traveller so James Bowen gave him a fantastic ride to try and time his winning move just right but sadly he wasn’t reckoning on the fast finishing Dead Right nipping up his outside. But that’s racing and the main thing is the horse is absolutely fine and lives to fight another day. The Handicapper put him up another 2lbs so he’s now rated 129 but the winner was raised 5lbs which (in theory) means Before Midnight would be entitled to reverse placings if they met again because they were off levels at Market Rasen.
Galileo Silver continued our spell of seconditus when going down by three lengths to Francky Du Berlais at Newton Abbot on Sunday. The winner was ridden by Sean Bowen so I’m not sure there was much brotherly love in the weighing room afterwards! but it was a great result for Wales nevertheless and our horse ran another excellent race although it wouldn’t surprise us to see him appreciate a stiffer track and/or perhaps a step up in trip. His dam, Famous, is a sister to Mastercraftsman so he should probably be running at Royal Ascot and Epsom, but their loss is our gain and we’re really looking forward to seeing how this dashing grey can progress.
Speaking of greys, there’s no doubt that Stolen Silver stole the show on Wednesday when we visited Nigel Twiston-Davies’ yard in Naunton. He’s a real character and his lass, Alice, does a great job of keeping him under control as he likes to get everything done yesterday! He wears a hood whilst being ridden which helps keep him relaxed and he moved beautifully along the Canter Carpet gallop. His finest hour (to date) came in the G2 Rossington Main Hurdle at Haydock in February but we expect him to take even higher rank over fences this season as he’s got the size and scope for chasing and who knows where he might end up? Nigel is extremely excited about him and as soon as we get some proper jumping ground, he could highly likely make his chasing debut; mind you with Ascot having already cancelled a meeting this year due to waterlogging, it might be sooner than we think! Our Power is also in great shape and if he can transfer his smart hurdles form to the larger obstacles, he could also be a force to be reckoned with in the novice chase division this term. Two Taffs has recently joined the Twiston-Davies brigade and the team at Grange Hill Farm are getting to know him well. There are no early season targets but if Nigel can work his magic and coax another win out of him, we’ll be delighted.
We also called into Nicky Henderson’s Seven Barrows stable and there was a real glint in the champion trainer’s eye when he spoke about Patroclus who was a narrowly beaten second on his sole start in an Irish Point to Point in March and the son of Shirocco has grown over the summer into a magnificent looking beast! Nicky says he’s not short of speed and will start off in novice hurdles. It’s fair to say the sky could be the limit for him. Welsh Saint is also in good form and the plan is for him to go over fences where Nicky believes he could make a better chaser than hurdler.
On Thursday we popped into Alastair Ralph’s to check in on Billingsley who rounded off last season with an easy victory at Newbury in February. He has the looks to match his talent and Alastair has suggested a 0-140 at Aintree at the end of the month as a possible starting point. If he can continue on an upward trajectory, there is clearly plenty to be excited about where he’s concerned and Jack Sharp, a half brother to the brilliant Mister Fisher, looks a million dollars and is being taken along steadily.
Next week we’re off to Sam Thomas and Neil Mulholland to get the lowdown on their Potter Group inmates so be sure to keep checking @PotterGRacing on twitter and #Pottergroupracing on Instagram to learn what plans we have for them and while you’re at it why not have a look at potters.co.uk where you’ll find information on all our horses and much more!