The horses have been running better and Emirat De Cantana's win on Wednesday night illustrated their return to form.
A green youngster he has taken a few runs, first in Irish point to points then over hurdles, to get the idea and to strengthen. Stepped up to three miles he travelled sweety and won by a length to the delight of the British Racing Club members. His handicap mark had looked to offer no leeway but he could continue to improve with this experience and a bit more time. He is pictured with Thomas at the last hurdle.
The novice chaser Katalystic ran a blinder over three miles to be second to the odds on favourite, showing bold jumping and looking more settled. Stephen has worked hard on Kat this season and the, sometimes over enthusiastic, young horse has improved with every run. He loved the ground and should be well capable of winning this year.
Miss Batten was third in the maiden hurdle, galloping all the way to the line which is a big improvement. She will be a chaser long term and may prefer a bit of ease in the ground.
Make It Happen was fifth in the novice chase looking a bit more enthusiastic about the fences than he has done in the past. He will mix the two codes this summer.
On Thursday we were so unlucky to have Elmono fall at the last in front; he is such a game chap and has improved for his short break after a busy winter around Musselburgh. He was very lucky, though, to be sound afterwards, despite a stiff neck; we will monitor him over the next few days before giving him a deserved few weeks in the field. OrionInverness galloped on to be fourth in the same chase, outpaced on the ground but showing his hallmark top attitude; he also will have a holiday now and he will wait for the soft ground in the autumn.
Gripper was also fourth showing a super fighting attitude in the finish; this was a big step forward from his debut run, and I think that he could well fulfil his trainer and owners' dreams of being a summer winner.