Warren Greatrex may well have another cracker on his hands.
Fly Du Charmil took the closing bumper at Newbury yesterday and has the looks to match a tasty pedigree. A son of leading French jumps sire Saint Des Saints, he is out of a Peintre Celebre mare. He’s a huge scopey four-year-old, every inch a chaser in the making. A winner of his only point to point in April, he was snapped up by team Greatrex on behalf of owner Max McNeill.
The IT supremo, CEO at Ultima Business Solutions, continues to assemble another decent squad, following on from the classy types that have carried those familiar colours over the past half dozen or so years. Walkon, Grumeti and Mille Chief have probably been the highlights of his venture in to racing thus far, but this latest French bred could prove special. More known for his juvenile hurdlers, the presence of Saint Des Saints in Fly Du Charmil’s pedigree virtually assures a future over fences.
A look at the sire’s offspring presently making their mark, points to this gelding’s potential. Djakadam was second in this year’s Gold Cup at the age of six. Another huge powerhouse of a beast, Willie Mullins will be confident that his young chaser can remain competitive in what is set to be a ‘stonking’ staying chase division.
Irish Saint had a terrific first campaign over fences for champion trainer Paul Nicholls. Sadly he’s one of a number at Ditcheat that will miss this season due to injury. Aux Ptits Soins is another son of Saint Des Saints that will be spending time on the ‘easy list’, though Nicholls hopes to get him back on track in time for a bid at the World Hurdle. Despite his inexperience and lack of a run in the UK, he was able to win the Coral Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in March, and is touted as a future star over fences.
Again at Newbury today, we are to be treated to the appearance of several more of the progeny, many of which are sure to appreciate the prevailing testing conditions.
The Pipe team will be hoping that Saint John Henry can stay on his feet in the Pertemps qualifier this afternoon. The five-year-old is clearly talented, but has hit the deck on his last two starts, one of those at Cheltenham last time when far too fresh on his reappearance. His three victories over hurdles have all come in soft or heavy ground, and if he settles better today he looks sure to run well. David Pipe was successful in the race last year with Tullyesker Hill.
In what looks a particularly competitive Fuller’s London Pride Novices’ Chase, Paul Nicholls will be hopeful that Sametegal can add to his seasonal debut success at Huntingdon. That was some performance after missing the previous campaign through injury. He and Dell’ Arca have to give weight to the rest, including Harry Fry’s talented five-year-old Activial.
The final race of the day may prove the most notable for the Saint Des Saints family. It sees the eagerly awaited return of Philip Hobbs’ powerful gelding Wait For Me. Last seen running a cracker in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, he’s a horse with a bright future. Sure to be stepped up in trip as the season progresses, he has a few decent types in opposition today, including Bun Doran from Tom George’s yard and Nicky Henderson’s Buveur D’Air. Whatever the outcome, Hobbs’ fella is one to keep an eye on over this winter and beyond.
Today’s action looks set to be favourable for the top French sire, but it will take a good performance to top that of Fly Du Charmil yesterday. It looked a better than average bumper that he won, and he could prove to be a high-class recruit for the World Hurdle winning trainer.