Wayne Hutchinson: Med to measure
Our columnist Wayne Hutchinson looks forward to riding Medinas and reflects upon a tough day at the office on Tuesday.
- Related Content
I've got two rides for the boss at Cheltenham on Thursday and I'm really looking forward to both of them.
I've had some good days on Medinas, who obviously has a big task on his hands in the Ladbroke World Hurdle (3.20), but we felt he wasn't the sort of horse who we'd run under top weight in the Coral Cup, which he won last year.
He's run two really good races this season, finishing second on testing ground behind Tidal Bay at Wetherby in November, then he was second again at Newbury later in the month.
He's gutsy, he's tough and I'm very much much looking forward to riding him.
He's only a little horse so he wouldn't really want that deep winter ground and drying conditions will help.
He has also proved that he stays and acts at the track.
As for his main rivals, Big Buck's ran a lovely race for a comeback run in the Cleeve as he was always going to need it.
Mr Nicholls no doubt left plenty to work on and he will improve. There has to be a question mark over whether he is still as good as he was but it would be a great occasion if he could go and win the race for a fifth time.
Annie Power looks like going off favourite and, what we've seen of her, she's clearly very, very smart.
There is a question over whether the three-mile trip will be ideal for her but she looks the real deal.
Medinas finished second to Celestial Halo at Newbury last time and although he's since been a bit disappointing at Haydock, last year's second has a lot of class about him and it wouldn't be a surprise if he was placed again.
Another one worth considering each-way is Zarkandar, who steps up in trip but could run a big race.
My other ride on Thursday is Bless The Wings in the Byrne Group Plate (4.00).
He ran two lovely races at Ascot earlier in the season, finishing sixth and fourth, but wasn't himself on really tacky ground at Kempton last time.
That going was not his cup of tea and he missed a fence on the second circuit but was already beaten in truth.
We put that run purely down to the ground and conditions will be more in his favour at Cheltenham.
We've put headgear on him to try and sharpen him up for this race and have been pleased with his preparation in the blinkers when schooling earlier in the week.
He's come down the weights a lot and won on the New Course there on Trials Day a couple of seasons ago so we're hopeful.
On Wednesday, I rode Yesyoucan, who pulled up in the Coral Cup.
He gave me a good ride for the first half of the race, running with the choke out a bit, and travelled and jumped well but he just couldn't go on with them when it hotted up.
I pulled him up in the end to try and look after him for another day. He's likely to go back over fences and I'm sure he'll appreciate some juice in the ground.
Incidentally, the winner Whisper warmed up for it in the same race that Medinas won before he won last year's Coral Cup - the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las.
My other mount on day two, Astre De La Cour, took a fall at the second flight in the Fred Winter but he's thankfully none the worse.
He's a very raw horse, I don't know if the occasion just got to him. He was free over the first and just went too quickly into the second. He has a future but I guess it was a bit of a culture shock.