The horses running under the Potter Group/Walters Plant Hire ownership continue to run extremely well and since Mario De Pail scored at Wetherby on 14th November our subsequent five runners have all finished placed so at least you can say we are consistent!
Exelerator Express travelled up to Wetherby on Wednesday and, stepping back down to two miles, we thought he’d take plenty of beating but sadly he bumped into a potential smart type in the shape of Funambule Sivola who was having his first run since a wind operation and put up a fine performance to score on Chase debut, but it’s worth pointing out Venetia Williams’s inmate was in receipt of 7lbs from our runner, although in all fairness we doubt that really made much difference. We were, however, extremely pleased with Exelerator Express who continues to ply his trade very well and with a bit of luck his winning opportunity won’t be far away.
Our Power is a pleasure to own and once again he showed his usual guts and determination to finish well in a very competitive Handicap Hurdle at Haydock last Saturday. The ground was quite testing which wasn’t ideal and he got hampered by a faller three from home but that didn’t stop the momentum and Sam Twiston-Davies certainly earned his riding fee to claim third close home. The Handicapper has put him up a pound (to 137) which is not great news and means he’s now off a career high mark so he may end up going novice chasing sooner rather than later.
La Reine Poutine made her seasonal/hurdles debut at Lingfield on Thursday and showed ability to finish fourth for Sam Thomas whose horses continue in excellent form. There’s no doubt she is a stayer through and through and will certainly be winning races, but this was an extremely encouraging start and there’s sure to be more to come from this daughter of Kapgarde once she’s given a handicap mark.
Looking ahead to this weekend and Potterman bids to go one place better than his superb second in the Badger Beer Chase at Wincanton last time in the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury live on ITV.
The ground will be absolutely ideal for this son of Polly Potter (whose dam was James and Jean Potter’s top class broodmare Potter’s Gale) and bearing in mind he’s 5lbs ‘well in’ we are hopeful he can acquit himself with great credit for owners James and Jean Potter Ltd. In fact, we actually popped down to Barbury Castle Stables on Wednesday to see the man himself but sadly we chose the worst day weather wise so struggled to see much through the rain, fog and gloom, but we did manage to catch a glimpse of him striding out well in a final pipe opener along side the classy Midnight Ginger on the All Weather gallop and he goes into 3m2f showpiece with a very realistic each way shout. Speaking of Midnight Ginger, she is in action in the Listed Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle tomorrow so keep an eye on how she fares at 12:10.
Other runners this weekend for Potter Group include Stolen Silver who has his third start over fences in Bangor’s Beginners Chase at 12:15 and judged on his first two runs this season behind Eldorado Allen at Newton Abbot and Allmankind at Warwick, and the fact he’s stepping up to two and a half miles, the dashing grey looks very much win material with ‘our man’ Sam doing the steering once again.
Moving away from Wales and Two Taffs (see what we did there) travels to the East Midlands for the Veterans Chase at Leicester on Sunday (2:28) and while he hasn’t won since April 2017, the evergreen 10-y-o, who is extremely lightly raced for his age, still shows plenty of zest in his work so we’re looking forward to seeing him make his Twiston-Davies debut and hoping a change really is as good as a rest!
The good news this week was that a limited number of crowds will finally be allowed on some racecourses from December 2nd onwards. This is a big step forward in our battle with COVID-19 and an encouraging sign for our industry going forward but you don’t need me to remind you how all of this depends on infection rates and the behaviour of those who do attend the tracks. Realistically, the revenue it will bring in to racecourses will be minimal, in fact I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the courses are still out of pocket once overheads are taken into consideration and it’s still a desperate situation but nevertheless a positive move and maybe a more significant number will be welcomed back in the spring once a vaccine is properly rolled out.