Hutchinson: Grumeti can reign
Wayne Hutchinson looks forward to his rides at Wincanton on Saturday and has high hopes for Grumeti in the Kingwell Hurdle.
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The yard continued on the road to recovery last Saturday as the boss Alan King sent out three big-race winners, two of which I rode up at Warwick.
Balder Succes was one of those to get his head in front and he put in a smashing round of jumping when putting the race the race to bed down the back straight and he remains an exciting novice chaser. The Arkle is still an option but Aintree and, more likely, Punchestown are his main targets.
Midnight Prayer also produced a great jumping performance at Warwick and won at a canter in the end. He has a similar profile to Godsmejudge, who had won the same race the year before, and now goes to the four-mile chase at the Cheltenham Festival.
Moving on to this weekend and I am really hoping Wincanton passes the precautionary inspection on Saturday as I have a good book of rides.
I start off on Just Benny in the opening Bathwick Tyres Salisbury Handicap Hurdle and he has been placed off top-weight on his last two starts.
His run at Huntingdon was a good effort as it came off the back of a 243-day absence and he should certainly come on for the run here. It does look a competitive race, though.
Next up is the Country Gentlemen's Association Jane Seymour Mares' Novices' Hurdle and The Pirate's Queen is the first of two rides on the card for the boss.
She steps up to two and a half miles for the first time here in what looks a fairly tough race, but she has solid form in the book having finished second in a similar contest at Newbury last time out.
I popped her over a few hurdles through the week and she schooled nicely, she's in good order and this looks a good opportunity to gain some more black type.
The Bathwick Tyres Kingwell Hurdle is next and I am very much looking forward to riding Grumeti.
He was wrong when he came back from the Christmas Hurdle but is working well and is in very good order at home. He's got to have every chance tomorrow.
He's taking on tough horses in the form of Zarkandar and Melodic Rendezvous but you could argue he has the beating of the latter on a line run through their clash in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle.
Admittedly Jeremy Scott's gelding wasn't 100% that day, but with an 8lb pull you'd have to be confident with our lad who is a Grade One winner in his own right.
I've picked up the ride on Castarnie in the Bathwick Tyres EBF Stallion 'National Hunt' Novices' Hurdle and I'm afraid I can't say too much about the horse having never sat on him before.
He's only had the two starts over hurdles and still appears in need of the experience, he qualifies for a handicap mark after this run however, and is probably best watched until then.
My last ride of the day comes on Electric Mayhem in the Bathwick Tyres Salisbury Novices' Hurdle for trainer Nick Mitchell.
I rode the horse on his hurdling debut at Chepstow last time out and he's a big rangy sort who definitely strikes me more as a chaser rather than a hurdler.
This represents another chance to get more experience into the horse, though, and it's just about getting more education for the time being.
Alan has a few runners elsewhere and Two Rockers goes in the Great British Drama Handicap Hurdle over at Ascot where he should run well.
I rode him in the 'Fixed Brush' Hurdle at Haydock earlier this season and he came back totally wrong, it seems something was hanging on to him after that run which is why he hasn't been seen since.
He's in good nick at home now and ready for the run, the ground is certainly not going to be an issue either as he's a real mudlark.
Medermit returns from a lengthy absence in the Betfair Ascot Chase and, like Montbazon last week, it's just about getting him back on the track again.
He was actually ready to run over the Christmas period but pulled a muscle in the build-up, but he's in good order now and I'm delighted to see him back.
If Wincanton doesn't survive the inspection, then I'm likely going to head up to Haydock where I'll take the ride on Sego Success in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle, a race which was actually won last year by Balder Succes.
Sego Success is a really nice type and while this is a fair step up in grade, I think he's open to more improvement and the ground certainly won't be a problem.