Wayne Hutchinson: Wings can fly again
Wayne Hutchinson reflects on his three rides at Festival Trials Day and looks ahead to the Welsh Champion Hurdle.
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I drew a blank at Cheltenham Trials day last weekend but Bless The Wings was found out by the heavy ground behind Katenko in the Murphy Group Chase. He jumped and travelled great in the early stages as usual but had not raced on worse than soft going before and was in trouble at the top of the hill.
It was all purely down to the testing conditions and I think we will see a much better performance from him back at the Festival in March.
Kumbeshwar was fifth behind Sprinter Sacre in the Victor Chandler Chase and he has finished just about where he was entitled to, picking up some more prize money. He is going to have a break now to freshen up and a race like the Grand Annual at Cheltenham in March will be his target.
Lovcen was disappointing in the Cleeve Hurdle and he has not run a race. He seems to be sulking and is just not in love with racing at the moment.
I said last week that he is a Grade One winner so has the class but he is not enjoying things - I am not sure what the boss (Alan King) will do with him next as it is case of rejuvenating him a bit.
I had one ride at Towcester on Thursday on board Crystal Swing in the handicap hurdle and he has run much better than his finishing position of eighth suggests.
He has been quite keen through his career but settled much better this time although he got lit up slightly at the bottom of the hill. He led to the second last and this was quite an encouraging run. There should be more to come on better ground in the spring.
I was at Kempton for the jumpers bumper card and rode Stage King, who was sixth behind Ericht.
It was his first run for Warren Greatrex after a couple efforts in Ireland and I was very encouraged. I dropped him in to give him the chance to learn to settle and I think that he is ready to see a hurdle now.
He enjoyed the surface at Kempton so I think that two and half miles on decent ground could see him win a maiden hurdle. He showed a good attitude and looks like being a fun horse for the spring.
I have just one ride this weekend - on Medinas in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las on Saturday. He has been consistent this year and has climbed the weights but is a tough horse and the trip and ground should be no problem. The going will be very deep and it will be a case of who handles it the best but he has got a chance.
Alan runs Balder Succes in the same race and he didn't like the hustle and bustle of the Ladbroke at Ascot last time. He will cope with conditions well - as he did at Haydock when I rode him - and I saw him school over six flights of hurdles on Thursday - all is good with him.