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Last week was a busier one and following a slightly frustrating run of places, we were able to get among the winners when Bumpy Johnson produced a good performance to win on his debut for the stable at Fontwell on Friday.  This week looks exciting with Chepstow hosting their first card of the jumps season, whilst we intend to be represented in the Cesarewitch at Newmarket on Saturday.

Bumpy’s Brilliant Bumper Performance

Bumpy Johnson may not have been a familiar name prior to running on Friday, but I am hopeful that our son of Imperial Monarch is a horse you will be hearing plenty more of in the future following his winning debut under rules at Fontwell.  Indeed, our former Irish pointer made light work of winning the 2m1½f bumper in good style under Tom Scudamore and he looks like a horse with a bright future.

I was especially pleased for owners Garth and Anne Broom who have been tremendous supporters of the yard down the years.

As previously mentioned, we had endured a somewhat frustrating run of places prior to Bumpy’s success with Malangen and To Fly Free both finishing third at Sedgefield on Tuesday, whilst Buster Edwards, First Lord de Cuet and Sexy Lot finished second, third and fourth respectively at Fontwell on Friday.

Malangen ran a solid race in the 2m4f handicap hurdle at Sedgefield and may well have finished runner-up but for an error at the last.  It was another sound performance, although the handicapper looks like he just about has his measure at present.

The same comment would seemingly apply to To Fly Free, who finished third on her handicap debut in the 2m1f hurdle on the same card.  Whilst she ran a perfectly respectable race, she was effectively 6lbs ahead of her mark as the handicapper had raised her collaterally on the basis of her previous start at Market Rasen.  If she can’t win from a mark of 98, she will certainly find it tough from 104.  Hopefully common sense will prevail…

Buster Edwards finished a close second in the conditional jockeys staying handicap chase at Fontwell on Friday under Jack Tudor.  He put in another exemplary round of jumping and looked like he may get up as he joined issue after the last but couldn’t quite get past the winner.  He will certainly be winning races over fences on this evidence.

I thought that First Lord de Cuet made a pleasing seasonal reappearance in the 2m1½f handicap hurdle.  Prominent throughout, he kept on well in the closing stages having looked well-beaten and was closing on the runner-up close home.  A winner of a point-to-point in Ireland, he has plenty of pace, but also shapes as though he will get a bit further.  He is a nice prospect going forward.

The Week Ahead

The weather has certainly taken a turn for the wetter, although if you are a fan of the jumps game you will not be disappointed.  The rain has already started to soften the ground and that means that the winter horses will be out shortly.

With 82mm of rain at Pond House over the first five days of October and heavy rain in many parts of the country, it is unsurprising that both Stratford and Windsor were forced to abandon this afternoon’s cards due to waterlogging.  Paricolor was due to run at Stratford so we will have to find another race for him shortly.

Our next runners will come on Thursday at the earliest.  Percy Street, Malangen, Jasmin des Bordes and Grangeclare Glory are engaged at the Devon track where amazingly the ground is still good/firm.  Meanwhile, we have Dell’ Arca, Grangeclare Glory and Maggies Mogul are entered at Ffos Las on the same afternoon.  The ground there is soft and if the rain continues it is going to be pretty testing come race day.

Friday sees the return of Chepstow and I have always regarded their first meeting of the season as the first day of the ‘core’ part of the campaign.  Vieux Lion Rouge and What A Moment are entered in the Caroline Tisdall sponsored veterans’ chase, a race we won last year with the former.  It would be great if we were able to repeat the dose.

On the second day of their fixture we have Main Fact and Poker Play engaged in the Silver Trophy handicap hurdle.  Main Fact was a revelation last season, winning his last five starts and it would be great if he can maintain that improvement.  Maggies Mogul is entered in the bumper, whilst Martinhal has the choice of the bumper or a novices’ hurdle at Newton Abbot on Sunday.  Story Of Friends, already a course and distance winner in the staying handicap hurdle and Paricolor round-off our entries at the Devon track.

Newmarket Bound!

I was thrilled that Leoncavallo made it into the line-up for the Cesarewitch at Newmarket on Saturday.  We have kept him back for the race ever since his impressive performance at Haydock in August but judging by previous history it was touch and go whether he would make the cut or not so we have had an anxious wait.  Of course, this year is anything but an ordinary year and it appears that there may not even be a maximum field.

We have finished second and third in the valuable 2m2f flat handicap in the past and I would dearly love to be on the top step of the podium this time.  It is likely to be a real test of attrition but Leoncavallo has had a decent preparation, gets in towards the bottom of the weights and won’t mind the ground..

Horses To Follow

Finally, it is the turn of Tom Malone to give us his horse to follow for the season ahead.  Tom, a former conditional jockey at the yard has done very well for himself as a bloodstock agent and has sourced many winners for us.  With that in mind, he should be an ideal candidate to point you in the direction of a winner or two.  You can watch his video by clicking on the image below – he is a great sport and took the leg-pulling in good part.

Tom has a tough act to follow as we posted head lad, Oliver Defew’s selection on Saturday and he hit the mark straight away with the success of Bumpy Johnson!

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