3 – 2 – 1 BOOM!
THIS WEEK What a week for everyone at HWR! 3 runners headed to the Cheltenham Festival, each of which ran their hearts out and finished in the winners enclosure: 3 - 2 - 1 BOOM! 3 - First up Rouge Vif finished a gallant 3rd in the Grade 1 Arkle Novices' Chase on Tuesday 2 - Then on to Thursday where Saint Calvados was warrior-like in the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase edging ever so close to Min and finishing a closely fought 2nd 1 - And last but by no means least Simply the Betts scored our first ever Cheltenham Festival victory on the Brown Advisory Plate What dreams are made of... The good times have continued to roll with yard conditional Jamie Neild steering Medalla de Oro to victory at Fakenham yesterday. Now on winner number 29 for the campaign making this the best season so far for HWR and we're right up on the trainers tally at the 21st position - we really are on cloud 9! We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support and all of the wonderful messages we have received over the past few days. Weeks like this mean the world to our team and is why we'll keep kicking and keep dreaming... REPORTS ROUGE VIF Rouge Vif lined up in the Grade 1 Arkle Novices' Chase on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival and finished an eye-catching 3rd. It was an extremely tough race on paper but we felt he had every chance along with a few of them, so we were hopeful of a big run. The ground unfortunately went soft/heavy in places that morning which is not his preferred conditions. This meant he was unable to hold his position during the contest but still jumped exceptionally well. As they quickened up down the hill he wasn’t able to go with them but he stayed on up the hill to the finishing line like a warrior to finish a gallant third. We are delighted with the performance, and he was the first of the English-trained horses to go past the post - no mean feet at Cheltenham! We will freshen him up and see whether he is ready to run at Aintree - Coronavirus permitting! DEER HUNTER Deer Hunter lined up in his second bumper at Huntingdon on Wednesday where we felt we had found a good opportunity for him on paper. There was plenty of pace on in the race and we decide to ride him differently on this occasion. He settled nicely down the back straight and followed the right horses through the field. As he turned for home he got a bit outpaced, once the front few had got away from him he just stayed on at the same pace to finish a solid fifth. We feel he is good enough to win a bumper and would probably prefer some fresher ground. So we will look to freshen him up before thinking about whether we give him one more run or turn him away for a break. SAINT CALVADOS Back at Cheltenham on the Thursday Saint Calvados lined up in the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase. With eight runners it was always looking to be an extremely tough race. There was plenty of pace early on, which suited us with his new hold-up tactics. He jumped from fence to fence and travelled extremely well, when they got to the top of the hill he was just sitting behind the leaders, but still travelling well. When they got to two out he was making his move and joined Min and A Plus Tard, going very easily. He had every chance but for a mistake at the last which meant he had to come round Min. We were closing on him with every stride, but sadly we didn’t quite get there. He ran an absolute monster of a race and a definite career best, to be beaten by a neck to such a top horse shows he stays extremely well and is very exciting for his future prospects. Upped in trip will should only bring out more improvement... Another brilliant performance and we couldn't be happier with him. SIMPLY THE BETTS And just a few hours later on the same card at Cheltenham Simply The Betts lined up in the Grade 3 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable plate, a big field handicap, where it was always going to be extremely tough to win. He got a good start at the standing start he was able to get away into the lead alongside last years' winner Siruh Du Lac, who eventually gave us the lead. He travelled and jumped very well the whole way round, under a superb ride by Gavin Sheehan. He made a small mistake at the last which gave Happy Diva a chance, but he was game up the run in staying on resiliently to win by a couple of lengths. It was an unbelievable run and a fantastic way to give us our first winner at The Cheltenham Festival. A very special day for all concerned, Andrew and Kate Brooks and all his team and all of team at Hill Barn. MEDALLA DE ORO The good run continued for the team with another winner at Fakenham yesterday as Medalla de Oro scored on hurdles debut under yard conditional Jamie Neild. He made the runner which we knew was to the horses liking and Jamie got the horse into a lovely rythmn. He got some breathers into him down the back straight which meant turning he still had plenty left in the tank. He got an excellent jump at the last which sealed the deal and went on to win by just under 3 lengths. This was a very pleasing debut and we will now freshen him up before running him in another novice hurdle before too long. It was great to get Jamie off the mark for the yard and we're delighted with the ride that he gave him. BLACK ABBEY Black Abbey lined up on the same card at Fakenham yesterday in a competitive handicap hurdle over 2 miles. Unfortunately the track wasn't ideal for him and he got outpaced the whole way. He was never able to get on terms and finished tamely. He is in need of a good break now before making a further plan. ENTRIES KHAGE Khage will line up a Class 2 Handicap Hurdle at Uttoxeter later today over 2m3f. We feel he has a good opportunity here and the track and trip should suit him. He didn’t get into any sort of rhythm last time at Wetherby, but he didn’t have a hard race. He’s been in good form at home in the last couple of weeks and we are hopeful that he can bounce back to form like the previous run. FRANIGANE New recruit, Franigane is entered in 2 bumpers next week. T he plan has been since we brought him in November to give him some time before running him. He will have this one bumper run and then be turned away again before going novice hurdling in the autumn. He is a nice big horse that will make into a chaser in time as he seems to have ability at home. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do in a bumper before turning him out. SHANTOU VOW Shantou Vow holds a few entries in novice hurdles in the coming weeks. He has been in good form at home and frustratingly has missed two opportunities due to abandoned meetings. We do not yet know where he’s at with his handicap mark, but a step up in trip should suit him well. We will look at the entries before making a decision as to which race to run him in.