Diakali in Devastating Form at Fontwell
Written by George Gorman, Tuesday, 12th June 2018
It’s been a busy couple of weeks at Cisswood with thirty runners in the lasts fortnight. Going back to the Thursday before last, Hint Of Grey became the latest of Catherine Reed’s horses to get off the mark since joining us at Cisswood when making short work of a Class 6 field at Lingfield on the turf. She’s been better known for her exploits over hurdles in recent years, going two years without winning on the flat, but she ended that streak in decisive fashion, going to the front two furlongs from home and drawing clear easily. Soft ground looks to be the key to her so we may need some rain before she runs again but her proficiency over hurdles and the fact she’s never run over fences opens up those avenues to us, should we need them. Fast forward six days and we would see a performance at Fontwell that would make Hint Of Grey’s win look hard fought. Since arriving from Willie Mullin’s Diakali had finished well down the field in two Graded hurdles and had not won since last April, his victories previous to that occurring in 2015 and 2014. However the man in charge at Cisswood made the decision to try running him over fences, admittedly in a race in which he was very well treated, and it looks like it might just pay dividends. Having been schooled by Gary himself, Richard Johnson took over the reins at Fontwell in a rare ride for Cisswood and gave the horse a perfect ride. Allowing him to use his tremendous cruising speed and pinpoint accurate jumping, Johnson soon found himself well clear of the field and there he stayed. Diakali thundered up the straight to win by an unchallenged 29 lengths ahead of a rival rated 125. It’s hard to take that form literally given the nature of the race and the early pressure he inflicted on novices but he earned a chasing rating of 145 and if he can consistently hit a mark near that, it’s hard to envision any novice chaser beating him this season. This blog is normally centered around the horses of Cisswood but it would be remiss of me to not mention the debut of our newest apprentice jockey last week in Rhys Clutterbuck. Although his mount Compulsive was fairly unfancied in the betting ring and placed accordingly Rhys approached the event with composure and maturity and showed a great deal of style and intelligence throughout the race. He will no doubt have learned a lot from the experience and will grow into a very useful member of our jockey roster and follow in the footsteps of Harry Bentley, Hector Crouch and Jason Watson in riding a great deal of winners for the yard.
Looking towards the back half of this week, we have Diakali entered again this Friday at Newton Abbot in another Novice Chase. This will be a different prospect altogether from last time as there are horses rated closer to his own mark, even with one higher rated in John Constable, potentially competing. However, he is entitled to have learned from his chasing debut and we believe he will have gained a huge amount of confidence from such a decisive win. Added to that, his attritional running style will test the resolve and jumping proficiency of any novice, no matter how highly rated. Sing Out Loud holds two entries, at Sandown on Saturday and at Goodwood, the scene of his most recent success, on Friday. It has to be said, he’s one of our most exciting three year olds and he’s improving all the time. We very much hope he will find more wiggle room off his mark of 86 and continue his rise up the ranks for owners Mike George and Susan Neville. Also holding an entry at Sandown this weekend is Gossiping, who will attempt to bounce back from a disappointing effort at Goodwood a few weeks ago. We believe we know the reasons for his defeat that day and with the ground drying out, things look to be stacking in favour of him returning to the form that saw him go very close at Chester in a good handicap on his penultimate start.
Double up at Gloomy Goodwood
Written by George Gorman, Sunday, 27th May 2018
In my blog earlier this week I hinted that our runners at Goodwood could make for a very good Thursday for Cisswood and they did not disappoint. Canberra Cliffs kicked the afternoon off for us as Jason Watson took advantage of the knowledge he gained from the horse’s yard debut last month. Having settled the horse in towards the rear Watson delivered the horse smoothly up the outside before butting back in through the middle of the field to ensure she wasn’t in front too soon. Finally, he went for everything inside the final furlong to get up by a neck. As she was off a mark of 90 she will now have to go up in grade but there’s every reason to think she could keep improving as we’re learning more about her all the time. Sing Out Loud made it two winners for the afternoon at Goodwood as Jim Crowley made the most of a rare ride for Cisswood. Another cool, dropped in ride looked like going wrong when he ran into traffic two furlongs out but a strong ride and an honest partner enabled the horse to get up by a length anyway. He displayed a great attitude that day and it was great to see this son of Vocalised continue his improvement from last season and it will be really exciting to see how far he can go. However, the afternoon wasn’t yet finished for Catherine Reed, owner of Canberra Cliffs, as over at Lingfield Hollywood Road was about to give her a second winner. This time the pilot would be Hector Crouch, who held up this son of Kodiac before delivering him down the outside under a strong drive on the outside two furlongs out. After battling hard for two furlongs the gelding got up to lead in the dying strides and won by a neck. Off the mark he was on there’s a good chance we’ll get another shot at the same handicap bracket again so hopefully he hasn’t finished his winning yet this season.
Antony probably leads our chances this weekend at Fontwell in a bid to follow up on his bloodless win at the same track last month. It looks a competitive race and he’s markedly up in trip but many of them are of a similar standard to Junction Fourteen, whom Antony had beaten off before he fell two out last time. A two-pound rise in the handicap could prove to have been generous looking at the horses he beat that day. On Monday Pride Of Angels returns to polytrack at Chelmsford, having won her last start on the surface at Lingfield. She was only beaten a short head on the turf at Brighton last time and will have to contend with a higher all weather mark than two starts back but she’s a progressive mare with a great attitude and we’re certain she will give her running as usual for Michael Baldry. Finally, Stormingin is engaged on Tuesday at Brighton having been touched off at Sandown on Thursday for in-form owner Catherine Reed. He seemed to not travel particularly well through the race before staying on very strongly from a long way back, with this in mind a bit of rain and a slower pace might help him travel a bit better. Either way this is a much lower quality of race so it’s reasonable to expect that the pace won’t be as hot this time and he could definitely go one better.
Mr Muddle 2:50 Fontwell
Roll Of The Dice 3:25 Fontwell
Antony 4:00 Fontwell
Remind Me Later 4:15 Uttoxeter
Royal Hall 4:35 Fontwell
Mr Fickle 4:35 Fontwell
Waikiki Waves 5:45 Fontwell
Searching 5:45 Fontwell
Now Listen Here 5:45 Fontwell