Monday 16 November
So nice for the yard to have a runner in the big race of the Open Meeting on Saturday. Il Duce ran in the Paddy Power Handicap Chase, a race that used to be the Mackeson, the first big handicap chase of the season at the home of National Hunt Racing - Cheltenham. Storms over the weekend had made the ground soft - heavy in places which was unlikely to suit Liz Prowtings' 9 year old, who was having his first run for the yard after his transfer from Alan King. Il Duce had lost his form last year after finishing fourth in the same race, and it was decided that a change of scenery may do him good, and that definitely seems to be the case. Sent of the 50/1 outsider of the field, ID travelled like a dream and jumped his way to the front. He was having a ball, and turning down the hill looked to be in with a big shout, we were all getting a bit excited!! Unfortunately just at that time the ground started to catch him out and he made a jarring mistake at the third last that effectively put paid to his chances. He came home a very creditable seventh, and gave everyone a bit of a thrill!! He was fine yesterday, and went out in the field for some well earned R&R. He should be out again in about a month. Jardin De Vienne has come out of his race at Fontwell in great form, and will be entered today for a handicap hurdle at Huntingdon on Saturday. Ground there is currently Good To Soft, and with an unsettled week should be fine for him to go and take his chance.