David Bridgwater must know he is a trainer on the up. He has been at the job for fifteen years, recording a steady flow of winners from his Cotswold stables. Last year he trained the Gold Cup runner up in The Giant Bolster. This year, Wyck Hill is a possible runner in the race.
One man who will have a big say in whether Wyck Hill runs in the Gold Cup or takes up his other Festival entry in the JLT Specialty Handicap Chase is his new owner, none other than JP McManus. Bridgwater had received several offers for Wyck Hill since the horse won a Listed handicap chase at Ascot in December, beating the highly thought of Katenko. As a part owner of Wyck Hill, Bridgwater was well placed to advise his fellow owners, and collectively they accepted a cheque from McManus.
He may have Wyck Hill in mind as a Grand National horse, as he lost Synchronised in that race last year. Wyck Hill’s first run in the famous green and gold hoops comes on Saturday in the Racing Plus Chase at Kempton, a race for which he is 11/4 favourite. Bridgwater, said: "The deal is complete now, it's all done and dusted. I presume Tony McCoy will be riding him at the weekend, they have their own jockey and it's their choice. But he stays with me and it's very exciting. I just hope he's as successful for them as he has been so far for us.”
McManus has suffered the loss of several of his star horses over the past 12 months, most recently his Champion Hurdle hope Darlan. He hasn’t been afraid to splash the cash in buying new horses to replace them, and Wyck Hill becomes the third major purchase of recent months, joining the first two in the William Hill Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, Jezki and My Tent Or Yours.
Speaking for the owner, racing manager Frank Berry said, “He’s a nice prospect and, touch wood, he seems to be a sound jumper, which is a big positive. At this stage he seems more of a National horse than a Gold cup one, but I’m sure Saturday will tell us more. It’s our first horse with David Bridgwater and fingers crossed he’ll be a lucky trainer for us.”