Definitly Red heads to the Charlie Hall at Wetherby and Mark Howard got the lowdown on Brian Ellison's stable stalwart and the rest of his team.
BARON DE MIDLETON (IRE) 7 b g Brian Boru – Present Climate (IRE)
A winning Irish pointer, he is a lovely horse who did well over hurdles last season winning at Doncaster and Sedgefield. He was then unlucky not to win again at Newcastle when falling at the second last. He has OK afterwards and has schooled well over fences. I think he will make a very nice chaser and he made a pleasing start when fifth at Carlisle on Thursday.
BORDEAUX BILL (IRE) 9 b g Craigsteel – Laura Croft (IRE)
Won well on his reappearance at Carlisle last season but unfortunately banged his knee in the process and missed the remainder of the campaign. We had hoped to get him back in action in the spring but then the season was cut short. He is in good form and the intention is to take him back to Carlisle (1st November) for the same handicap hurdle. We will then go back over fences with him. Two and a half miles plus is his trip because he stays well.
CHATEAU MARMONT (IRE) 7 b g Flemensfirth (USA) – Sliabh Geal Gcua (IRE)
Missed the whole of last season but all being well he will be back in action around Christmas time. He ran well in a couple of bumpers at Musselburgh and Newcastle the previous season and we will start him off in a two miles novice hurdle.
CORMIER (IRE) 4 b g Born To Sea (IRE) – Scotch Bonnet (IRE)
He has done well both on the Flat and over jumps since joining us this year. A dual winner at Catterick on the Flat during the summer, he also ran well in defeat at Ayr in September and his rating has risen from 50 to 70. He then did it very well over hurdles at Uttoxeter and it wasn’t a surprise. Despite the fact he pulled up on his hurdles debut at Market Rasen in July, his jockey felt he had gone lame and therefore didn’t give his running. He runs at Fakenham on Friday and I hope he will continue to progress.
DEFINITLY RED (IRE) 11 ch g Definite Article – The Red Wench (IRE)
He is in great form having schooled brilliantly on Monday morning. The plan is for him to run in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby (31st October) for the fourth time – a race he won a couple of years ago. He ran some very good races once again last season winning a Listed chase at Kelso and finishing fourth in the Becher Chase at Aintree. We haven’t decided where he will go after Wetherby but it is possible the Grade 2 Many Clouds Chase at Aintree could be on his agenda again. He has already won that twice. Eleven now, we will see how he runs there before making any further plans.
EL JEFE (IRE) 3 b g Born To Sea (IRE) – Ros Mountain (IRE)
Still a maiden on the Flat, he well at Redcar this month finishing a close second. We haven’t schooled him yet but there is every chance he will go juvenile hurdling this season. He has got plenty of size and stays well so I don’t see why he won’t make a hurdler.
FAIR STAR (IRE) 4 b g Sea The Stars (IRE) – Night Fairy (IRE)
He is a nice horse who won a junior bumper at Market Rasen on his debut before running very well in a Listed bumper at Cheltenham on New Year’s day. Beaten around four lengths in fifth, the ground was softer than ideal that day, too. Twice a winner at Wolverhampton since, he has been held up by niggly problems since but the intention is to send him hurdling this season. He has grown since his last run and is a good horse who appreciates decent ground.
FOREST BIHAN (FR) 9 ch g Forestier (FR) – Katell Bihan (FR)
Absent since winning the Grade 2 Old Roan Chase at Aintree a year ago, he suffered an injury during the race hence he missed the rest of the season. He is back in good form now though and schooled well under Brian (Hughes) this week. The plan is for him to run in the Old Roan Chase once again a week on Sunday. We haven’t been able to get a prep run in this year but he is very well at home. Two or two and a half miles is his trip.
KEARNEY HILL (IRE) 5 b g Dylan Thomas (IRE) – Sunny Glen (IRE)
A tough honest horse who loves a battle, he did well in bumpers last season winning twice at Musselburgh and Doncaster. Runner-up in one of his two Irish points before we bought him, he jumps well and I am very pleased with him. Physically, he has done well since last season and will start off in a two and a half miles novice hurdle at Carlisle (1st November).
KISS MY FACE 3 b g Nathaniel (IRE) – Bridle Belle
We have some promising three year olds who will run in bumpers this season and they include this gelding. His homework has been good and he will make his debut in a junior bumper at Market Rasen on Saturday, a race we won last year with Fair Star.
NIETZSCHE 7 ch g Poet’s Voice – Ganga (IRE)
He has been a grand horse for us under both codes winning the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham a couple of years ago. Despite the fact he has been running creditably on the Flat this summer, including at Nottingham last month, he has been going through the motions a bit. He will therefore go to Wetherby (30th October) for a Listed two and a half miles handicap chase later this month.
SAM’S ADVENTURE 8 b g Black Sam Bellamy (IRE) – My Adventure (IRE)
Progressive over fences last season, he was runner-up three times before winning a valuable novices’ handicap chase at Uttoxeter in March. He has done well during the summer and will reappear in the Cumberland Handicap Chase at Carlisle (1st November). His mark looks fair and his main target is the Welsh National at Chepstow because he loves deep ground.
SNOOKERED (IRE) 6 b g Born To Sea (IRE) – Secret Quest
Enjoyed a very good season over hurdles winning four times and a jumpers’ bumper at Newcastle in February. He also won on the Flat at Catterick this summer. Third on his chasing debut at Sedgefield this month, he needed the experience that day and has improved since. Although he lacks a bit of scope, I hope he will make his mark over fences. We will step him up in trip back and he will go back to Sedgefield on Sunday for another beginners’ chase.
SWAFFHAM BULBECK (IRE) 6 b g Jeremy (USA) – Ballygologue (IRE)
Joined us during the summer and won since over hurdles at Sedgefield. We have been schooling him over fences and he has been electric. We have given him a couple of entries this weekend at Market Rasen (Saturday) and Sedgefield (Sunday).
THE KING OF MAY (FR) 6 b g High Rock (IRE) – Waltzingl (IRE)
He is a very nice horse who did well over fences last season winning two out of three. Rated 134, he came back in a bit later than some of the others but will be in action next month or early December. Open to more improvement, two mile handicap chases will be his target because he isn’t short of speed.
TUPELO MISSISSIPPI (IRE) 5 b g Yeats (IRE) – Misleain (IRE)
Runner-up in his only Irish point-to-point, he was progressive in bumpers last season winning twice at Newcastle. His schooling over hurdles has been great and he will join Kearney Hill in the two and a half miles novice hurdle at Carlisle (1st November). I am hoping the race will divide in to two divisions. He is a lovely horse who I like a lot.
WINDSOR AVENUE (IRE) 8 b g Winged Love (IRE) – Zaffarella (IRE)
He is in fantastic form at home and goes to Carlisle for the Listed Colin Parker Chase (1st November). Brian (Hughes) schooled him on Monday and his jumping was great. Twice a winner over fences at Sedgefield and Carlisle last season, we have operated on his wind since his last run at Haydock in January and I couldn’t be happier with him. I think the wind surgery has made a big difference.
Mark Howard, author of One Jump Ahead & Racing TV
One Jump Ahead, which includes interviews with Kim Bailey, Harry Fry, Chris Gordon, Philip Hobbs, Anthony Honeyball, Alan King, Tom Lacey, Olly Murphy, Paul Nicholls, Jonjo O’Neill, David Pipe and Nicky Richards, plus leading owner Rich Ricci and three times Cheltenham Gold Cup winning trainer Henrietta Knight, can be purchased for £10.99 (including postage) from www.mhpublications.co.uk