Balder targets more success
Top jockey Wayne Hutchinson gives us the lowdown on his two rides at Kempton on Saturday - including Balder Succes.
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I head to Kempton Park for two rides on Saturday and start with Balder Succes in the Betbright Mobile Pendil Novices' Chase.
We were delighted with his win last time at Warwick and I think that the Cheltenham Festival will be bypassed, hence we are keen to run him this weekend.
He seems in good order and I don't think that stepping up to two and a half miles again will be a problem so I think that he goes there with every chance.
Bless The Wings has been given a little chance by the handicapper ahead of the Betbright Chase and I am still convinced that he will stay three miles.
I just think that he has found things hard enough work on the ground we have had this season and he wants better going - so he won't mind it drying up as much as possible between now and the race.
He is in good nick and run a couple of nice races at Ascot so we are hopeful of a big display.
On to Sunday at Fontwell and Hot Whiskey N Ice goes in the novice hurdleafter he ran well at Kempton.
He is a battle-hardened horse from his point-to-point days and gave me a great ride last time so is up to winning a novice event before the end of the season.
I am sure that he will put up a bold show and we are hopeful of picking something up with him.
I was at Wincanton last Saturday and we were very pleased with Pirate's Queen, who was fourth in the mares' Listed novice hurdle.
It was her first time running over two and a half miles and the very testing ground probably just stretched her stamina as I am sure she will stay the trip in time on better ground.
She jumped and travelled really well but just not got home over the last couple of furlongs and her objective is probably the mares' final at Newbury next month.
I rode Dragon's Den (fourth) for Chris Down in the two-mile handicap hurdle and he has been a consistent type for the stable.
It was the first time I had ridden him and he also definitely wants better going and two and a half miles but he ran very well and two miles seems to be his trip when the ground is testing.
Grumeti was third in the Kingwell Hurdle behind Melodic Rendezvous and again we were very pleased with him.
It was very soft going for Grumeti as well but he travelled and jumped beautifully - you can forget his previous run at Kempton so this was basically his second proper run of the season.
It was a little bit of a muddling race and we rather sprinted up the straight but he has done everything right and it was a very pleasing effort.
There could just be a little more improvement to come and it is next stop Cheltenham and the Champion Hurdle, where he is certainly capable of picking some prize money in a more strongly-run race on decent ground.
Castarnie showed some promise for Rob Walford in the novice hurdle and he should be able to find his level in handicaps as he has now qualified.
He is a big chasing type and his future lies over fences as he still rode like a bit of a baby - he needs educating and some match practice but does have some promise.
It was a lot better run from Electric Mayhem for Nick Mitchell as he did not really finish his race when I rode him previously at Chepstow.
But he ran all the way to the line this time over an inadequate trip of two miles and Nick was very keen to see him finish his race - which he has done. He is another big chaser in the making and we were pleased that he showed a lot more than he did first time over hurdles.
I went to Kempton on Sunday for a 'Bumpers For Jumpers' card and Sea Tiger ran a peculiar race. I travelled really well and then flattened out a bit so we are scratching our heads a little.
He is Flat bred and shows a lot of speed at home so he might revert to the level and have a spin at around a mile and quarter.
I was pleased with Bay Fortuna for Mark Usher but he has been a bit gassy at home and was the same again here. He also wants some match practice but has galloped all the way to the line so the experience won't be lost on him.
A quick word on Wooly Bully's performance at Taunton where he was pulled up as the going was far too deep for him.
He could not handle the conditions and was beaten very early so I just looked after him. There will be other days but we had to find out whether to carry on at this time of year or wait until the spring.
Doncaster staged a really good card on Wednesday and Ronaldinho finished third in a decent race for juveniles with the winner Pearl Castle likely to go for the Triumph Hurdle.
Ronaldinho has run very well and was a much happier horse on better going compared to Cheltenham on his previous start. That was his third run and it will be interesting to see what handicap mark he gets as the Fred Winter at the Festival is his target.
Dundee tried three miles for the first time and he has travelled a lot better at the trip. He came there to win the race and galloped right to the line as Alan's (King) other horse Seventh Sign finished in front.
Dundee is still a bit babyish and there is more to come from him mentally as he did have a slight wander about under pressure going to two out. I would like to think he can win before the season is over.
Smart Motive has run well to finish sixth in the closing bumper at Doncaster as they have not gone much of a gallop and he was quite keen early on.
He did not give himself much of a chance so I was impressed with how he finished and where he finished as he was pretty hard on himself throughout the race so just needs to learn his job as he certainly has ability.