Champion trainer Paul Nicholls enjoyed a productive weekend at Chepstow with Team Ditcheat sending out 5 winners over the two days. Dolos had been placed on his sole start at Auteuil when trained by Guillaume Macaire prior to being bought and the three year old made a successful start to his British career this afternoon. Making all, he stayed on strongly to win the opening juvenile hurdle by seven lengths. A trip to Cheltenham next month is reportedly on his agenda, which ought to tell us more.
Stablemate El Bandit won the Grade 2 Persian War Novices' Hurdle by a length from Coo Star Sivola. While he is clearly a progressive young hurdler, who is only a novice until the end of this month, his task was simplified by the withdrawal of Two Taffs and, more signficantly, the early departure of red hot favourite No Comment. Philip Hobbs' charge managed to get rid of Barry Geraghty at the second hurdle, which was frustrating to say the least. It therefore remains to be seen how strong a renewal it was.
The well bred Wishfull Dreaming made a mockery of his opening handicap mark of 123. A full brother to Wishfull Thinking, he looked a promising type as a bumper horse but back issues restricted him to only a couple of outings over timber last season. However, those problems are evidently behind him as he toyed with his rivals and could be called the winner some way from home. He is expected to reappear at Cheltenham's first meeting later this month and it will take a well treated opponent to beat him.
The same connections were also on the mark twenty four hours earlier when Rock The Kasbah made a winning chasing debut. A two lengths scorer from Our Kaempfer, he ran on well after the last and will be even better on softer ground. He will also stay further later in the season.
Switching codes, I was working at York's final meeting of the year yesterday. There is every chance the seven furlongs juvenile maiden will work out. The winner Gulliver (half-brother to the Cesarewitch winner Sweet Selection) hadn't been seen since the spring but he has always been held in high regard by Hugo Palmer. Stepping up in trip and fitted with blinkers and a tongue tie for the first time, he ran on well. The horse for the notebook though is the third Mojito. A colt by Requinto, who cost €320,000, he was held up and was last turning for home. However, he made good late headway under George Baker and was only beaten three lengths. Trained by William Haggas, he has been ridden in all his work at home by Kieren Fallon and is a nice prospect for next season.
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