The Grand National-winning trainer provides updates from her stable ahead of Corach Rambler's trip to Newbury, as well as an update on Festival hopeful Ahoy Senor.
We were a bit more careful with Corach Rambler than we were with Ahoy Senor. We ran him at Carlisle over 2m 4f. In my mind, I think he needs 3m or maybe even further, but it was a nice race as a comeback.
He was outpaced but jumped very well and probably needed the run a little bit and will have improved for it. Certainly at home, he's in good shape and moving very well, and he’s back down to his proper racing weight.
We’ve just moved him over to the farm and he’s been bombing around the fields! So he seems in the right place mentally and he’s definitely in the right place physically.
We’ll travel down to Newbury early on Thursday and he'll have a canter on Friday morning, and we go down with enthusiasm and confidence that he’s in the right place, but obviously it’s an exceptionally competitive handicap on Saturday.
When we looked at the season for Corach Rambler, this was our first major target for him. I think he’ll be fine in the big handicap, there’ll be plenty of runners, and I think he’ll relish that.
It is a big step up, it’s a very valuable race and it’ll be great to take the race on with a horse like Corach. He’s a second season novice, and they seem to have quite a good record in the race.
We respect every other horse and we respect the race itself, but I do think he’s got a nice chance, and if he’s in the first four, we’ll be delighted.
We saw Ahoy Senor make his seasonal reappearance in the Charlie Hall Chase, where he was a bit too keen. His frailties came to the fore because he was keen and his jumping was rushed and not as considered as it can be.
But we’ve given him plenty of work. Derek Fox rides him most days at home and he’s got him really settled. He had a nice piece of work on Tuesday and we were really pleased with him; he was much more settled, much more professional, and he’s stopped being – for want of a better word – a bit of a thug!
He just likes to run away and it’s about trying to contain that, so I’m much happier with him now than I was just after the race and I think if he goes to Aintree, it’s a track that he likes and hopefully he’ll get into a better jumping rhythm.
It seems to be coming to light now that he might be a horse that needs a run to get going. When we look at his three seasons racing, he’s had not such a good run first time out and then improves from there, and if he improves from there he should be back on the straight and narrow again.
The Many Clouds Chase will be the race we’re targeting next month. We probably made a bit of an error running him over 3m where he just didn’t make the trip because he was so enthusiastic at Wetherby. He does stay 3m, but I think in the future we’ll probably start him off over 2m 4f just to get the buzz out of him, but we’re looking forward to Aintree, where he should be against a smaller field, which is more his thing.
It’s still a long way off, but we did look on Wednesday morning at some of our entries around Christmas, and we’ll keep him in the King George, while Leopardstown may also be an option, so too the Cotswolds Chase at Cheltenham, but he’ll definitely have a run after Aintree.
Jem In Em won his bumper at Perth and we took him to a bumper at Cheltenham, but it was a bit of a messy race – I think these bumpers often are – he was coming back down the hill and ended up very wide. He’s only a 4-year-old and he’s pretty hardy, and he did gallop on at the end so we were pleased. It wasn’t a winning run but it was definitely a run that showed he has plenty of ability.
Since then, we’ve been schooling him and he’s probably going to go over hurdles next. He might go to Kelso on 5th December.
There’s soft ground at Bangor this weekend so we’re loading the lorry up, and if they do have soft ground, we’ve got a young two-mile chaser called Netywell who ran at Kelso earlier in the month.
It was his first time over fences and he jumped a little bit big, but I think he’d be suited by Bangor so I’m quite keen to take him down there especially if the ground is soft or heavy. He’s a huge horse and he just needs to organise himself a bit better.
We’re also looking at taking Methodtothemadness down. She’s won round there, was second last time, and loves the track. She’s not overly big and the fences down there really do suit her. She’s also in at Carlisle, and Paul McIvor's going to look at the two races and see which is best for her. She wouldn’t want the ground too heavy, so it’s likely the ground will only suit one of Netywell and Methodtothemadness.
Bix Beiderbecke is one of them who works so well at home, he’s got plenty of pace, but just doesn’t quite stay 2m. We ran him at Kelso and he just didn’t quite stay so we’re going to school him over hurdles and he’ll look at somewhere like Musselburgh over better ground and hold him up a bit to see if we get him to stay.
I was really pleased with Starlyte a fortnight ago at Newcastle. She stays three miles, is very tough and hardy and has good fitness from the summer. Patrick Wadge rode her and gave her a lovely ride and just produced her at the end to win.
I don’t think the handicapper has been too hard on her and I think we’ve got a bit of scope to go again with her at either Musselburgh or Newcastle as long as the ground’s not too soft.