I called in at Chepstow on Saturday morning to look at the track on my way to Fontwell. It looked really good despite the recent lack of rain and there was a good covering of grass. Libby the Clerk of the Course and her team are putting plenty of water on and they are aiming for good ground at the weekend. It might not suit the real winter horses but there will be lots of better ground horses looking for a run and this is backed up by the fact there have been so many entries across the two days.
Philip Hobbs has entered plenty of horses at the meeting. Rock the Kasbah (pictured after winning last year) goes particularly well at Chepstow. This will be his fourth year at this meeting, three years ago he finished second in the Silver Trophy, the following year he won the Robert Mottram Memorial Novice Chase and last year he won a staying handicap chase. He goes for the same race again this year, and all being well and with decent ground, he could be a Coral Welsh National horse in a couple of months’ time. Philip also has Louis Vac Pouch entered in the Silver Trophy again, he ran well in the race last year before winning at Aintree. In the same ownership as Rock the Kasbah, Garde La Victoire is a winner of multiple races including the Greatwood Hurdle and the Welsh Champion Hurdle among others, and he holds an entry in the John Ayres Memorial Chase.
Another horse I like a lot is the Tom Lacey trained Thomas Patrick, a nice big chaser for the future. Last spring he won well at Newbury and in a grade 3 chase at Aintree, and he is another that could make up into a Welsh National horse. He’s entered at Chepstow on Sunday but I think he may wait for softer ground next month. He’s one to watch when he does run this year.
I’ve had another good week, including a treble at Warwick last Thursday and doubles at Hexham (Friday), Fontwell (Saturday) and Stratford (Monday). The winners have come for Philip Hobbs, Tim Vaughan, Olly Murphy, Richard Phillips and Gordon Elliott. The meeting at Chepstow this weekend marks the beginning of the winter jumping season, and the higher grade racing for the better horses. This weekend and over the next few weeks you’ll see the big names coming out. We’re all looking forward it!