HARRY WHITTINGTON BLOG: Harry Whittington, Grade One-winning trainer and BETDAQ Brand Ambassador, reflects on his runners at Aintree and a week that saw four winners elsewhere, in addition to previewing a quiet weekend ahead, and sharing his thoughts on Tiger Roll’s Grand National heroics.
HAPPY WITH AINTREE RUNNERS
We had a great few days at Aintree. It’s such a fun festival and it was fantastic to be a part of.
I was really happy with the way both my horses ran. They both put up good performances and have come back well which is the main thing. We’ll have plenty more good days out with them which is a real thrill for myself and all of the yard.
Unfortunately the ground went against Rouge Vif slightly in the Top Novices’ Hurdle. The rain we had on Thursday meant the ground was a touch softer than we would have liked, but he’s still finished third in a Grade 1 and we’ve got to be happy with that.
We were very happy with the performance and he probably put in a career best performance, it’s just a shame he wasn’t able to show what he’s fully made of because of the softer ground.
The way the race panned out was difficult because the way Felix Desjy went off meant we were slightly left in no man’s land with no company. That’s never an ideal situation, but he gave his all and beat some very good horses so we’ve got to take the positives out of it.
He’s off on his holidays now and with another summer on his back, we’re hopeful there is plenty more to come.
Bigmartre ran a decent race in the Topham as well. He missed the start a bit which obviously didn’t help matters, but after that he actually got himself into the race and jumping the Canal Turn , he looked to be making up a bit of ground.
He unfortunately lost his back end at that fence which halted his progress a little bit. He ran encouragingly at the end though and I was happy enough with how it went.
I think we’ll probably give him one more run this season, potentially over 2m4f at Perth.
Away from Aintree, we’ve had a fantastic few days with four winners. After notching up our 100th winner with Captain Tommy, it’s a real thrill for the whole yard to have such a productive week and long may it continue!
Khage put in a really smart performance at Chepstow on Saturday. He seems to be improving with every run and what’s so exciting with him is that we’re pretty sure that he’ll be even better over a fence. Based on the schooling he’s done over the big obstacles, he could a really solid handicapper chaser next season.
His last two runs have shown he’s really starting to grow up which bodes well for his first season over fences. We’ve got a number of very exciting horses to go over fences with and to know that is very exciting for all of us.
Zanzi Win put in a very polished performance at Plumpton on Sunday. He was entitled to win, but it was a proper performance and it was what we’d been looking for from him.
He’s a tough, genuine horse and he put it all together which was very pleasing. He’s one we’re looking forward to enjoying a summer campaign with.
Our fourth winner of the week was Djin Conti at Warwick on Wednesday. He’s a funny horse in the sense that we don’t quite know why he is. It might be that he’s quirky or just a bit of a character, but in any case I thought he got an outstanding ride from Gavin [Sheehan].
He once again showed why he’s such a top jockey and we’re very lucky to have him riding many of our horses.
ONE RUNNER AT AYR
We’re looking forward to running Anemoi in the Scottish Champion Hurdle at Ayr on Saturday (2.25pm).
He’s in really in good form at home and I’m hoping he could prove to be well-handicapped if he puts it all together. He’s fresh and well having had a small tweaking of his wind since his run at Taunton.
Some of his form from earlier in the season is pretty strong, so if he can reproduce that, he’d have a decent chance. The track and trip should suit him well, so I’m hopeful of a good performance.
There isn’t much that hasn’t been said about Tiger Roll’s performance last weekend. He’s just awesome and has become a real flag-bearer for our sport.
He’s so clever in the way he gets over a fence considering his size, though I don’t think he needs to run in the National again. He doesn’t need to prove any more to anyone and if he were to run in it again, he’d have such a big weight, I’d worry he’d be able to handle it.