The Thursday of Cheltenham saw us have three runners on the day.
Boyhood was our first, in the Pertemps Final.
Boyhood had enjoyed his usual, consistent season picking up from where he left off last year when winning a valuable Handicap at Cheltenham in January 2018.
He began this season with a decent second place finish at Cheltenham in a Listed Handicap Hurdle, staying on to win the battle for the minor honours.
He followed that up with another good effort to finish third in a Pertemps qualifier at Exeter, narrowly missing out on second place.
In the Pertemps itself, Boyhood was travelling nicely and jumping well in midfield before losing touch with the main body of the field down the hill.
He managed to ignite his usual resilience up the finishing straight to stay on to finish in 15th place.
Despite the Pertemps being run over three miles, it can be a messy and muddling race which Boyhood was never able to get involved with.
We’re still very pleased with this stout staying hurdler and are happy for his owners, Stephen Smith and The Gabbertas Family.
Black Op was our second runner on the day in the Stayers’ Hurdle.
He finished last season in the best way possible, with a win in the Grade 1 Mersey Novices’ Hurdle.
Previous to that, he had finished runner up to the highly impressive Samcro in the Ballymore at the 2018 Cheltenham Festival.
Black Op began this season by going chasing.
A horse of his size and stature, he looked made to be a chaser.
However, his jumping simply let him down over fences and it was his sheer ability that allowed him to finish third on both chase starts.
Following his run in the Dipper, we decided to take Black Op back over hurdles.
He lined up in the Cleeve Hurdle which, as Noel Fehily reported to us following his third place finish, was the horse’s first real race of the season.
He had run well but tired up the hill and we hoped he would come on for the run.
Black Op was running a decent race in the Stayers’ Hurdle, travelling in his usual, strong manner.
He then weakened between the final two flights and ended up finishing 12th.
We have since got him home, assessed him and hope to have him out again, back to his previous self soon for his owner, Roger Brookhouse.
Our final runner on Thursday was Sumkindofking in the Kim Muir, ridden by Noel George.
Sumkindofking has been an understated star for us- as consistent as they come, a great jumper and always gives his all.
He got his season off to a great start by winning first time out in a Novices’ Handicap Chase at Ludlow.
He followed that win up with three placed finishes in a row and a fourth on his final start before the Festival.
He ultimately, finished 14th in the Kim Muir as the ground had probably gone against him on the day due to the week’s wet weather.
Very much a good ground horse, Sumkindofking’s best form has always been on good or good/firm.
In a race such as the Kim Muir, it is an achievement in itself to finish so we are pleased he could get around and come back in one piece, ready to go again soon for his owner, David Fox.