Harry Derham is dreaming of saddling his first runner at the Cheltenham Festival following Shared’s victory at Doncaster recently.
Previously assistant to Paul Nicholls before setting up base at Frenchman’s House in Lambourn and taking out his own training licence, he has sent out six winners from just 27 runners since Seelotmorebusiness got his training career up and running in style at Huntingdon on Boxing Day.
A third of those victories have been provided by Shared, who has won two of his three starts for the young handler since being bought for a mere 16,000 guineas in the autumn.
In between those two triumphs – firstly at Wetherby and then when striking late in the hands of Paul O’Brien at Town Moor – he was a creditable fifth in Listed company at Musselburgh and Derham hopes he has done enough for the handicapper to allocate him a mark high enough to ensure a spot in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle – also known as the Fred Winter – at Prestbury Park.
“That (the Boodles) is the ambition and dream and you would like to think after winning two and only beaten four lengths in a Listed race, you would get in,” said Derham.
“He’s the type of horse that is tough and hardy, has experience off the Flat and jumps slick, you would like to think he would run a nice race.
“He travels really well which helps in a race like that. He’s a tough little horse so I don’t think he would be worried by plenty of runners. I think he is going to keep progressing – he came to us when he was just going the wrong way on the Flat and was maybe not enjoying it, but he’s really enjoying his life and his job now and I would like to think with another win and more confidence, he can keep progressing.”
Not only has Derham tasted plenty of Festival success while assistant to the 13-times champion trainer, he also guided Salubrious to success in the 2013 edition of the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle during his short career in the saddle.
Now he has the chance to join the exclusive list of men to both ride and train a winner at National Hunt racing’s flagship event and hopes Shared is able to reward the support given to him by owner Colm Donlan in the early stages of his fledgling training career.
He continued: “Obviously he has to get in and then he has to get there, but to have my first Cheltenham Festival runner in my first season would be pretty cool and also for his owner Colm who is a great owner, great friend and a very, very nice man.
“He bought the horse with me in October with a crazy dream of trying to sneak into a Fred Winter and I’m absolutely delighted for Colm, because he’s such a lovely man and for him to support me in my first season is incredibly good of him and appreciated. It’s great to have a little bit of success for him.”