Tag Archive for: jamie snowden

Snowden has Scottish National ambitions for Git Maker

Jamie Snowden is eyeing a shot at the Coral Scottish Grand National with Git Maker after his gallant second at the Cheltenham Festival.

The eight-year-old has proven a stout stayer since upped to three miles and was tasked with the challenge of the Kim Muir at Prestbury Park, where he was partnered by top amateur Will Biddick.

He led three out, but had no answer in the home straight once passed by Gavin Cromwell’s Inothewayurthinkin who proved his class by carrying top-weight to a wide-margin victory.

However, Snowden is taking plenty of positives from the performance – especially how far the front two pulled clear of the remaining finishers – and feels his charge could now be ready for a challenge such as the Ayr marathon on April 20.

“I think he bumped into a graded horse in a handicap,” said Snowden.

“The two of them were 20 lengths clear of the third horse as well, so it was a fair performance. You hope the handicapper doesn’t crucify him for it, but he could now be a nice one for the Scottish National maybe.

Trainer Jamie Snowden feels Git Maker is ready for marathon contests
Trainer Jamie Snowden feels Git Maker is ready for marathon contests (David Davies/PA)

“He’s won six of his 11 starts and knows how to win, he’s a tough and hardy sort who stays well. He’s probably ready for a test like that (Scottish National), but we’ll let him get over the Kim Muir, it was a fairly hard race and we’ll have to see how he is and go from there.

“But I suppose the Scottish Grand National could be something to look forward to now.”

Ga Law team roll the dice in search of Ryanair spoils

Jamie Snowden is excited to see Ga Law strut his stuff at the Cheltenham Festival after connections paid the required supplementary fee to add him to Thursday’s Ryanair Chase.

The eight-year-old is a dual winner over fences at Prestbury Park, landing last season’s Paddy Power Gold Cup and another lucrative handicap on his most recent visit in late January.

Ga Law was not beaten when fifth behind Envoi Allen in last year’s Ryanair and as Snowden feels he is in a better place mentally and physically this time around, he was added to the field at Friday’s confirmation stage at a cost of £15,000.

“The original entries for the Ryanair came out before Trials day at Cheltenham in January and he was very impressive that day, winning off a big weight. The handicapper has now put up to a point where it makes sense to have a crack at this,” said the trainer.

“We were fifth in the Ryanair last year when we were perhaps not in the same sort of form that we’re in now. We obviously won the Paddy Power that winter, but we took a nasty fall in the Sky Bet Chase and he probably wasn’t in the same kind of form that he’s in now 12 months ago and he still ran a belter.

“We do feel he’s in far better order now and hopefully he can go a few places better.

“Obviously Envoi Allen won it last year and the reports are that he’s in great order this time around as well. It certainly looks a competitive race, but forgetting the opposition, we hope that we’re coming into it in far better form than we did last year.”

Envoi Allen and Rachael Blackmore will bid for back-to-back Ryanair Chase victories
Envoi Allen and Rachael Blackmore will bid for back-to-back Ryanair Chase victories (Mike Egerton/PA)

Ga Law and Envoi Allen are among 12 horses in contention for the Ryanair, with Banbridge, Star Star and Capodanno also among the leading contenders.

Willie Mullins has confirmed El Fabiolo for the two-mile-five-furlong contest, but he is expected to line up as a hot favourite for the Queen Mother Champion Chase the previous afternoon.

The other feature on day three of the Festival is the Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle, with Gordon Elliott’s ante-post favourite Teahupoo one of 18 confirmations.

Elliott has also left in Irish Point, but has raised the possibility of him being switched to Tuesday’s Champion Hurdle, while Flooring Porter is on course to bid for a third Stayers’ Hurdle after his trainer Gavin Cromwell confirmed his intention to switch his stable star back to the smaller obstacles.

Flooring Porter is back for another Stayers' Hurdle
Flooring Porter is back for another Stayers’ Hurdle (Mike Egerton/PA)

Grand National hero Noble Yeats (Emmet Mullins) is another major challenger from Ireland, while the home team includes 2019 Stayers’ Hurdle hero Paisley Park (Emma Lavelle) and his Long Walk conqueror Crambo (Fergal O’Brien).

Grey Dawning (Dan Skelton), Ginny’s Destiny (Paul Nicholls) and Iroko (Oliver Greenall and Josh Guerriero) are the three chief British-trained contenders for the opening Turners Novices’ Chase, with Willie Mullins leaving in Facile Vega, Gaelic Warrior, Il Etait Temps and Sharjah.

The Ryanair Mares Novices’ Hurdle, meanwhile, promises to be one of the races of the week, with Elliott’s Brighterdaysahead, the Mullins-trained Jade De Grugy and O’Brien’s Dysart Enos all set to put their unbeaten records over obstacles on the line.

Monday Musings: Pauling’s Triple Salvo

It’s tough to sneak into the leading trainers’ groupings pretty much anywhere in the world, writes Tony Stafford.  In the UK and Ireland, the same few names finish atop both the flat and jumps tables year on year, and on the flat, certainly, it takes an upstart, such as George Boughey, and a massive intake of horses and major owners to break into the top ten.

He had 163 horses listed for last year’s campaign which brought tenth place in the table, but ironically fell 33 wins short of the 136 of the previous year. That earlier explosion was the catalyst for the massive increase in George’s string.

In jumping, the top ten have a familiar look about them both in Ireland and the UK. We know it’s Mullins, Elliott and De Bromhead with few recent encroachers making the list in Ireland, although Emmet Mullins has the look of somebody who can be making his way higher up the standings. Helps when, like Gordon Elliott, you train a Grand National winner early on and Mullins (E) did just that with Noble Yeats two years ago.

In the UK, apart from Olly Murphy and Joe Tizzard, neither of whom started from scratch, there’s nobody else. Ollie had considerable family buying power from the start, and Joe took over lock stock of father Colin’s team. Gold Cup wins and the memory of them have kept Joe in the limelight and dad is still around when needed. Plus ca change, plus la meme chose, as the French say.

Higher up, indeed sandwiching now the hitherto private battle at the top between Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson, is Dan Skelton, who also needed the start provided financially by show jumping father Nick, and the schooling for several years as assistant to Nicholls.

When brother Harry gets off a winner, and no doubt probably also one that didn’t run up to expectations, he has no hesitation in declaring potential upcoming races for the horse, whether Dan is there or not. This is a family operation par excellence and nicely bedded in now.

The other perennial challengers for the title cannot be there for ever you would think. Nicholls at 61 has so much drive and ambition that one would hardly think he would be reducing his energies towards training jumpers; indeed he has been recruiting at the top end of the market for the partnership headed by the considerably older (even than me!) Sir Alex Ferguson.

Henderson, despite being 73 is similarly unlikely to be withdrawing from the daily grind as long as he has horses of the calibre of Constitution Hill, Shishkin and Jonbon in his care. However well or otherwise that high-profile trio fares at Cheltenham next month, he has the four-year-old Sir Gino as the horse likely to become his eighth winner of the Triumph Hurdle and, if he wins, all the future that status predicts.

Given the depth of competition, especially after a spell where a decent proportion of the better meetings have succumbed to the weather, it must have been rare indeed for a stable outside the top echelon to land a hat-trick of winners on a single Premier Raceday card.

At Ascot on Saturday, Ben Pauling had five horses entered, two in one race. Neither of those got the call, although first string Bad would have done if not on the wrong end of a heads-up, heads-down winning-line dance.

The other three individual representatives all scored, for a combined treble return of 730/1. If Bad, the naughty boy who had his head up at the wrong time, had instead been on better behaviour, the resulting four-timer would have stretched to 4,020/1. All four horses were ridden by Ben Jones, benefiting from the absence through suspension of first jockey Kielan Woods.

Big Ben, he’s well over 6ft, rather than the jockey, and his owners collectively won £78k for linking a novice hurdle, Pic Roc, 11/2, beating a Nicholls hotpot; the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Chase – fast-track often to Cheltenham glory – Henry’s Friend, completing his own hat-trick, 13/2; and a handicap hurdle with Honor Grey, 14/1, a horse coming back from almost two years off. Bad’s race was very tough, too.

In the middle of the time since departing Nicky Henderson’s yard, where he had been joint assistant along with Tom Symonds, Pauling had a couple of campaigns when his horses were afflicted by viral problems. Last season’s tally of 80 wins, almost double his 2021/22 score, suggested that the worrying period was behind him.

Pauling will need another 24 in the remaining nine weeks of the present term to match that, and a couple of hundred grand in prizes to pass the earnings figure. He would have been much nearer it had jump racing not lost so many fixtures to the weather.

Nevertheless, standing in the table on 11th place and with £728k doesn’t have anything near the impact that his all-televised Saturday Ascot trio (and a near-miss) undoubtedly had. Many more people watch ITV racing on a Saturday than the number that assiduously study the Racing Post stats I would imagine, let alone buy the ‘paper every day.

Pauling has invested shrewdly in his future, moving a few years ago to the Naunton Estate, 20 minutes by car from Cheltenham and close to Nigel Twiston-Davies. The Paulings bought a property which adjoined a golf course, and which is now part of the family business.

It necessitated redirecting a couple of the holes to accommodate one of the gallops, but now it’s as though – apart from the stable area looking so spic-and-span – the yard had been there for decades.

You would think, golf-loving owners with runners at the Festival (or not!) might be checking in next month for nine holes and breakfast before making the last leg to Prestbury Park. Saturday was a landmark day in his development The seven entries in the early-closing races might not have the look of potential winners but you can be sure that when the handicap entries come out, he will be one of the UK trainers aiming to make the sort of impact that Dan Skelton has done in recent seasons.

Another former Nicky Henderson assistant was making a mark last week at Sandown, and as he described it, “it was a wonderful day for me in my own little world”.

The self-effacing trainer responsible for those words was Jamie Snowden and, looking again at the list of trainers, he stands 14th coming up towards £600k.

Why his “own little world”? Jamie had just followed winning the Grand Military Gold Cup at Sandown three weeks earlier with Farceur Du Large, over the same course and with the same ex-Irish horse, in the Royal Artillery Gold Cup.

A former soldier, Jamie had tried in vain to win either race since his retirement as an amateur jockey, having claimed both races  from the saddle four times. He might say it was his own little world, but I used to love going to both days’ racing in the old days, always meeting up with my old pal, the late Broderick (The Cad) Munro-Wilson.

He used to ride his own horses in those races and the other two military events that now are offered to professionals, from the 1970’s, and his style of riding always amused the experts in the stands.

Munro-Wilson always loved Sandown and rode loads of winners there. I think he was a territorial rather than a career military member and made his money in the City. He had one unbreakable theory about Sandown: “You jump the Pond (three out) and however well your horse is going, take a pull! Seeing how he got horses to rally up the hill when seemingly having lost their race, with arms, legs, and anything else he could bring to the party moving at full pace, remains in my memory after all these years. As an aside, Sally Randell, who is Fergal O’Brien’s partner and assistant, was one of the very good riders around Sandown and she didn’t start riding in races until she joined the army.

Farceur Du Large was the object – I assume – of some very thoughtful planning. The upper limit for qualification for the two races – both weight-for-age events – is 130, a mark the nine-year-old had dropped to from a peak of 136. He had been owned by Gigginstown House Stud having run unsuccessfully in the Irish and Midlands Grand Nationals along with the Galway Plate. Off since that race, Jamie had him primed for the Grand Military.

Appreciating the drop in class, steady pace and the effective riding of Major Will Kellard, he romped home for RC Syndicate II before reappearing under a partnership of 12 Regiment Royal Artillery and RC Syndicate.

The Rules in my early days, when literally many hundreds of men resplendent in immaculate uniforms would stroll the lawns and enclosures, were strict. Gradually, to qualify as owners, leases became the way to go and it seemed that even anyone who had ever eaten their breakfast egg with soldiers just about qualified.

Whatever the future of Farceur Du Large, he has allowed Jamie Snowden to tick off a large item on his wish list. A winner with You Wear It Well at Cheltenham last year, he hoped for a pre-Festival warm-up win for her at Haydock on Saturday, but she made one bad jump that stopped her in her tracks. That left Coquelicot to pick up 2nd and 6k, making this column’s editor happy that he had made the dash back from a skiing holiday, arriving just in time.

 - TS

Ga Law set to be supplemented for Ryanair

Jamie Snowden is considering adding Ga Law to the Ryanair Chase field after his taking Cheltenham success on Trials day.

The eight-year-old finished fifth in the Festival Grade One last season, his second run at the track following victory in the Paddy Power Gold Cup earlier that term.

He returned to Prestbury Park to run over the same trip in a valuable handicap on January 27, the last meeting there before the Festival, and prevailed by a length and three quarters in a pleasing performance under Gavin Sheehan.

That run has inspired connections to think about putting Ga Law forward for another run in the Ryanair Chase at the Festival, for which he will require supplementing as the entries have closed.

“I think we’ll end up supplementing him for the Ryanair,” said Snowden.

Ga Law and Gavin Sheehan after winning the Paddy Power Cheltenham Countdown Podcast Handicap Chase
Ga Law and Gavin Sheehan after winning the Paddy Power Cheltenham Countdown Podcast Handicap Chase (Nigel French/PA)

“He won the Paddy Power Gold Cup the previous year and he would have won the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster but he had a nasty fall at the last and that kind of derailed us a bit last season.

“He still finished fifth in the Ryanair last year but he probably wasn’t in the sort of form he’s been in this time around.

“It was nice to see him back on track winning the feature handicap on Trials day and off the back of that the Ryanair looks the right race for him.

“He won the Paddy Power on the Old course but I think he ran an even better race the other day on the New course.

“The New course, which is more of a test of stamina, perhaps suits him more than the Old course, which is more of a test of speed.

Ga Law earlier in his career at Exeter
Ga Law earlier in his career at Exeter (David Davies/PA)

“He ran well in the Ryanair last year when not in the form that he’s in now so hopefully he can go there and run a decent race.”

Snowden also provided an update on Reach For The Moon, who was bred by the late Queen and is owned by Queen Camilla and Sir Chips Keswick.

Twice placed at Royal Ascot in his days on the Flat with John and Thady Gosden, he made his hurdling debut at Sedgefield earlier this month and finished fourth when coming home lame.

Snowden said of the gelding: “He was a bit sore off the back of that first run over hurdles, we’re going to give him a moment to get over that and take him out of the Supreme Novices’.

“We’ll give him time to get over it and then come back in the spring.”

You Wear It Well poised to put weather woes behind her

Jamie Snowden’s You Wear It Well will head for the relocated Ashton Mares’ Hurdle at Haydock on Saturday after a campaign disrupted by adverse weather.

The seven-year-old was the winner of the Jack De Bromhead Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival last season and made a good start to this term when taking the Listed bet365 Mares’ Hurdle at Wetherby on debut.

In Grade One company she was third home in the Fighting Fifth when it was relocated to Sandown, the first of several occasions when her plans were interrupted by the ramifications of the British weather in winter.

Outings to Sandown, Lingfield and Ascot were all scuppered due to conditions, and the Warwick meeting that originally included the Ashton Mares’ Hurdle was also abandoned last weekend.

Haydock will now host that contest this weekend, with the two-mile-three-furlong Listed event attracting five runners.

Gavin Sheehan and You Wear It Well after Cheltenham success
Gavin Sheehan and You Wear It Well after Cheltenham success (Tim Goode/PA)

Snowden said: “She’s in great order, she’s done some work on the grass and she’ll hopefully be heading to Haydock on Saturday.

“She was meant to go to Sandown, that was cancelled, she was meant to go to Lingfield, that was cancelled, she was meant to go to Ascot, that was cancelled, she was meant to go to Warwick and that was cancelled!

“Finally we’re going to be able to get the run, let’s hope Haydock survives the weather as well.”

You Wear It Well holds an entry for the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and the race remains the likely target, though Snowden may also give her an entry in the Coral Cup.

He said: “As ever each race determines the next race, that’s the nature of racing, but the Mares’ Hurdle is probably the obvious race to go for, though I might give her an entry in the Coral Cup as well.”

Reach For The Moon under the spotlight at Sedgefield

All eyes will be on Reach For The Moon, who is jointly-owned by the Queen, when he makes his hurdling debut at Sedgefield on Wednesday.

A Group Three winner and runner-up in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot as a juvenile on the Flat for John and Thady Gosden when owned by Queen Elizabeth II, he was also second in the Hampton Court Stakes at the Royal meeting as a three-year-old, having had to miss the Classics following a setback.

He lost his way somewhat in three runs after that and was sent to Jamie Snowden for a jumping career following his unplaced effort in the Royal Hunt Cup. After taking his time with his new recruit, Snowden feels now is the time to test the water, before a potential Cheltenham Festival outing.

The King and Queen cheer on their Royal Ascot winner Desert Hero
The King and Queen cheer on their Royal Ascot winner Desert Hero (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The King and Queen clearly enjoyed their runners last year, winning at Royal Ascot for the first time with Desert Hero and travelling to Doncaster to see the same horse finish third in the St Leger, although Reach For The Moon now runs for the Queen in her colours and is jointly-owned by former Arsenal chairman, Sir Chips Keswick.

“He’s taken well to jumping. He came to us last summer and we did a fair bit with him and then he went back to Sandringham for a holiday. He came back to us November-time and he’s done very well,” said Snowden.

“He enjoys his jumping, he jumps very neatly and accurately and his work has obviously been very good, as you would expect from a talented Flat horse, and we thought it was time to start and tip away gently.

Queen Elizabeth II with Frankie Dettori and Reach For The Moon at Royal Ascot
Queen Elizabeth II with Frankie Dettori and Reach For The Moon at Royal Ascot (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“I don’t see why he wouldn’t stay the trip, there’s stamina in his pedigree, obviously the ground will be a little bit softer than he has been used to in the past and he’s got to get used to jumping eight flights of hurdles. But if he can translate what he has done at home to the track then hopefully he should go well.

“As far as the horse is concerned we’ve got to start somewhere and see where he takes us.”

Snowden also saddles a second runner on the day owned by the Queen and Sir Chips Keswick in Schematic, who makes his third career start in the Racing Welfare EBF “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle at Ludlow.

Bred by Queen Elizabeth II, the six-year-old was well beaten on his hurdling debut at Chepstow in October, but there was more promise in his fourth-placed finish at Taunton last month.

Snowden confirms Mares’ Hurdle date for You Wear It Well

You Wear It Well remains on course for a crack at more Cheltenham Festival glory in the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle after running with credit in defeat at Doncaster last weekend.

Jamie Snowden’s charge produced her best effort as a novice at Prestbury Park when making all to see off 20 rivals in Grade Two company last March, scoring at generous odds of 16-1 under Gavin Sheehan.

She kicked off this term by getting the better of Luccia at Wetherby over two miles before being a well-beaten favourite in the rearranged Fighting Fifth at Sandown.

Snowden opted to step her up to an extended three miles in the Warfield Mares’ Hurdle, with a change of tactics deployed, as she was held up at the back early on.

You Wear It Well came through to challenge Marie’s Rock at the final flight but just found the 2022 Mares’ Hurdle winner too strong on the run-in.

“I think we just got beat by a better horse on the day in that set of circumstances,” said Snowden.

“It was our first try at the trip and the ground was a little bit quicker than ideal. It turned into a little bit of a sprint from three out and we had a bit of ground to make up.

“But Marie’s Rock is rated 150, we’re rated 140, we were carrying the same weight and we only got beat a length and a half, so it was a decent performance and I was glad to get that run into her, it was a nice run.

“The Mares’ Hurdle is the plan and we might look at the Warwick race (February 10) on route.”

Snowden and Kellard team up for Grand Military Gold

Jamie Snowden rekindled his love affair with the Grand Military Gold Cup as Farceur Du Large provided the trainer with a fifth victory in the Sandown feature.

Formerly a captain in the King’s Royal Hussars, Snowden landed the prize four times in six years as a jockey between 2002 and 2007, with three of those wins provided by champion trainer Paul Nicholls.

Having enjoyed spells as pupil assistant to the Ditcheat handler and later as assistant to Nicky Henderson, Snowden began his own training career in 2008 and is fast approaching the 400-winner mark.

With Major Will Kellard in the saddle, Farceur Du Large was an 11-1 shot to get the Snowden name back on the Grand Military Gold Cup winner’s board and found plenty for pressure from the final fence to see off the challenge of 85-40 favourite Rose Of Arcadia by four and a quarter lengths.

Farceur Du Large was making his debut for the Snowden stable, having been bought for £16,000 from Gigginstown House Stud in August with this race in mind.

“It was a very good race to me as a jockey during my short service time in the army. To come back and win it as a trainer is great as it is where it all started off,” said Snowden.

“If it wasn’t for these kinds of days I wouldn’t be where I am today. I remember a day at Sandhurst when I was on officer training and there was a knock on the door of the guards’ room I was in. I was ushered up to the commandant’s office thinking I was in trouble.

“It turned out that the jockey that was supposed to be riding the Royal Irish Hussars horse the following day was stuck in a mortar attack in Northern Ireland and I got the call up.

“The following day instead of going into the gas chamber (for a training exercise), I went into the commandant’s car to Sandown to ride the winner of the Grand Military Gold Cup. I then ended up at the Royal Lodge (Windsor) having a drink with the Queen and Queen Mother.

“Throughout my whole army career I ended up riding horses from that one day, and it has catapulted me into the position that I am in today.

“It is not the most prestigious of races we have been lucky enough to win, but in my heart it is a very special race.”

Kellard, 32, saluted the crowd after passing the post in front and was clearly elated.

Major Will Kellard celebrates on Farceur Du Large
Major Will Kellard celebrates on Farceur Du Large (Andrew Matthews/PA)

He said: “That is my first winner full stop. I’ve been riding since about 2015. I’ve finished second in this, and I’ve come third in it. I’ve come second in point-to-points. I’ve hit the crossbar that many times so it has been a long time coming. It is some feeling.

“I would have been happy to keep on riding around here and never ride a winner, but to win the Grand Military Gold Cup is something else.

“I hope we come back here in a few weeks for the Royal Artillery Gold Cup. I’m still serving so it is a challenge to fit it all in, but to ride a couple of times around here each year makes it all worth it.”

Major Charlie O’Shea partnered Georgi Girl (7-2 favourite) to victory in the Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle.

Having won the Grand Military Gold Cup on the same card two years ago aboard Rolling Dylan, O’Shea again hit target as he guided this Philip Hobbs and Johnson White-trained mare to a 19-length victory.

Georgi Girl and Major Charlie O’Shea after winning at Sandown
Georgi Girl and Major Charlie O’Shea after winning at Sandown (Andrew Matthews/PA)

O’Shea said: “They said to me coming in that she was in good order and the stable is in top form. The hard work was done before me - I had loads of horse turning in.

“Johnson gave me a call a few weeks ago and said ‘why haven’t you been to ride out as we have got a couple of nice horses for you’. I said I would come in and this was the payback.

“When a yard like that does all the hard work for me, I just turn up, steer her around and come in grinning.”

Gary Moore enjoyed a double on the card, with Ballybentragh (6-1) initiating the brace when landing the Cardinal Wolsey ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle for his ebullient owner-jockey David Maxwell.

The point-to-point recruit coped well with conditions on his debut under rules and proved two and a quarter lengths too strong for the 30-100 favourite Southoftheborder.

Ballybentragh (right) on his way to victory
Ballybentragh (right) on his way to victory (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Moore said: “He has always worked like a nice horse and he loves his jumping. I’ve not had him that long to be honest with you and a lot of the credit must go to Noel Fehily, who has pre-trained him with David Crosse.

“I’d like to think he can improve a bit for today. He is a lovely, big horse and he should be jumping a fence. He will go chasing next season.”

Moore doubled up with the Niall Houlihan-ridden Kotmask, who comfortably justified 3-1 favouritism in the Long Water Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase.

Harry Cobden booted home the last two winners of the day, landing the Hampton Court Handicap Hurdle on Havaila (100-30) and the Anne Boleyn Novices’ Handicap Hurdle on Gyllen (5-1).

Reach For The Moon could yet be a royal representative at Cheltenham

One-time Derby hope Reach For The Moon could yet have a starring role for the royal family after being entered for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

The five-year-old had been viewed as a potential Classic contender for the late Queen in 2022 after winning the Group Three Solario Stakes as a juvenile, but an injury dashed those hopes and the son of Sea The Stars struggled to regain his form.

Out of luck in five subsequent starts, Reach For The Moon was last seen when beating just three horses in last year’s Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, on what transpired to be his final start for John and Thady Gosden.

Now with Jamie Snowden, Reach For The Moon has yet to jump a hurdle in public, but his trainer feels his Flat rating of 105 merits at least having the Festival option, should things fall into place ahead of the March 12 feature.

Queen Elizabeth II with Reach For The Moon at Royal Ascot in 2021
Queen Elizabeth II with Reach For The Moon at Royal Ascot in 2021 (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Snowden said: “He was obviously a very good horse for John and Thady Gosden and he was a leading contender at one stage for the 2022 Derby.

“He had a few little issues on the Flat hence the reason why he has ended up jumping with us as opposed to doing anything else.

“With a horse that has that kind of rating on the Flat, we have to give him an entry in the Supreme, but we will see how he takes to everything over the next month to six weeks.

“Racing is steeped in the tradition of the royal family. The Queen Mother loved it, and the late Queen was a big supporter of the sport.

“It is wonderful that the King and the Queen are supporting racing as much as ever before.

Desert Hero was a winner for the King and Queen at Royal Ascot last year
Desert Hero was a winner for the King and Queen at Royal Ascot last year (David Davies/PA)

“They have got a nice team on the Flat, and it was great to see them have a Royal Ascot winner last year in Desert Hero, who won the King George V Stakes.

“We have got some nice horses for them and hopefully Reach For The Moon can fly the flag high. We are lucky to have a horse of his talent and hopefully we can do him justice.”

Snowden has been satisfied with Reach For The Moon’s recent progress but has yet to decide on a starting point over obstacles for the gelding, who is owned by the Queen and former Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick.

Snowden added: “He is a very talented individual and has taken well to his jumping. He did a lot of jumping when he came in off the Flat and then he went for a bit of a break back at Sandringham.

“He worked around the bowl (a gallop in Lambourn) nicely and his jumping is great. Hopefully he will be ready to run mid-February.

“We will see how he progresses and runs first time out over hurdles and then we will make a decision.

“We don’t need to make any big decisions just yet, but we have stuck the Supreme entry in as if you aren’t entered, you can’t run.

“He is a very exciting horse to have in the yard and it is great to have the support of the royal family.”

Next outing for Colonel Harry likely to decided Festival target

Colonel Harry has options at Sandown and Warwick for his next outing, with Jamie Snowden weighing up the Scilly Isles Novices’ Chase and the Kingmaker.

While he clearly handled the step up to two and a half miles in winning the Grade Two Towton Novices’ Chase at Wetherby on Saturday, Snowden would not be put off dropping back down in trip if the ground is soft.

He will have entries for the Arkle and the Turners Novices’ Chase at Cheltenham, and how he fares in his next run will go a long way to deciding which race he goes for at the big meeting in March.

While he was no doubt helped by Kim Bailey’s Trelawne hanging badly right-handed at Wetherby, it was nevertheless a pretty smooth performance and backed up his second to Le Patron in the Henry VIII at Sandown.

Colonel Harry with winning connections at Wetherby
Colonel Harry with winning connections at Wetherby (Nick Robson/PA)

“I thought the step up in trip really seemed to suit him and he did it nicely,” said Snowden.

“The Scilly Isles would definitely have to come into consideration now.

“He’s not short of speed by any means, it depends on the ground at the time because there is still the Kingmaker as an option at Warwick the following week.

“I think we’ll be looking at those two races. He does love it soft and depending on the ground I would not be averse to dropping him back to two miles at Warwick, but the Scilly Isles does look the obvious race.

“The Cheltenham entries close tomorrow (Tuesday) and I’ll put him in both the Arkle and the Turners and we’ll just have to see how he gets on in his next race, whether it be Warwick or Sandown, and that will determine where he goes for the rest of the season.”

Gavin Sheehan with Jamie Snowden (left) and Hew Glyn Davies (owner) after Datsalrightgino won the Coral Gold Cup
Gavin Sheehan with Jamie Snowden (left) and Hew Glyn Davies (owner) after Datsalrightgino won the Coral Gold Cup (Steven Paston/PA)

The same GD Partnership silks were carried to victory in the Coral Gold Cup in November by Datsalrightgino, and Snowden has now decided where his next outing will be.

“He’s on target for the Cotswold at Cheltenham at the end of this month,” said Snowden.

“He wouldn’t want the ground too deep so we’ll just have to bear that in mind when it comes to that race.

“If it came up soft or heavy at Cheltenham then we might reroute for the Denman at Newbury, but as things stand he’s on target for the Cotswold all being well.”

Snowden’s Cheltenham Festival winner You Wear It Well has a couple of options this weekend and is in at Lingfield on Friday and Ascot Saturday. But with question marks over both meetings, no plans have been made.

“The ideal race for her was the one at Sandown a couple of weeks back, but they didn’t reschedule it so we’ll have to go for something which is perhaps less ideal now. We’ll just see what happens with the frost before we make a plan, she’s got the options anyway,” said Snowden.

Datsalrightgino firmly in the mix for big spring targets

The Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham and the Denman Chase at Newbury are the two options under consideration for Coral Gold Cup hero Datsalrightgino’s next outing.

The eight-year-old benefited from a masterful Gavin Sheehan ride to win one of the season’s biggest prizes at Newbury in early December and he has justifiably been given an entry for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

His credentials for the blue riband are likely to be tested further on his next start, with a couple of recognised Gold Cup trials under consideration.

Jubilant scenes at Newbury
Jubilant scenes at Newbury (Steven Paston/PA)

Datsalrightgino is also a 33-1 shot for the Randox Grand National, which is not being ruled out by his trainer Jamie Snowden.

He said: “It will be the Cotswold Chase or the Denman, they would be the two races for him depending on how he is and the ground at the time.

“Obviously he’s got an entry in the Gold Cup and we’ll put an entry in the Grand National as well.

“He still thinks he’s the king!”

Snowden contemplating several options for You Wear It Well

Jamie Snowden is considering the next plan of attack with You Wear It Well after a waterlogged track scuppered an intended outing at Sandown on Saturday.

Winner of the Mares Novices’ Hurdle at last season’s Cheltenham Festival, the seven-year-old is being prepared for a return to the Cotswolds in March, with the Grade One Mares’ Hurdle her objective.

She made a successful start to the current campaign in a Listed event at Wetherby in November before finishing third as favourite for the rearranged Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Sandown last month.

Snowden had been planning to lower his star mare’s sights back in Listed company at the Esher track this weekend, but with the meeting called off and the powers that be deciding against rescheduling the race, the Lambourn-based trainer must now go back to the drawing board.

He said: “I spoke to the BHA (British Horseracing Authority) and they were keen to reschedule, but The Jockey Club and the Levy Board didn’t see the need to fund the race, which is frustrating.

“You need the good races for the good horses, everyone is complaining the Irish have got a better programme than we have and it’s just a shame we can’t reschedule good races.

“We’ll have a little think and see where we go from here. I suppose there are three options – we either go to Lingfield for the Winter Million weekend, go to Doncaster for a two-mile Listed race there or wait for Warwick next month.”

Snowden felt You Wear It Well underperformed in the Fighting Fifth, but is confident she is back firing on all cylinders.

He added: “You should have seen her on the schooling ground yesterday – she was full of it. She’s in great order and bursting out of her skin to run again.”

You Wear It Well to be kept to calmer waters

You Wear It Well will go back against her own sex in the new year after failing to really fire in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Sandown on Saturday.

With the Grade One contest rescheduled following the abandonment of racing at Newcastle the previous Saturday, and Constitution Hill and his stablemate Shishkin withdrawn on account of testing conditions, everything appeared to be falling into place for Jamie Snowden’s star mare.

The six-year-old had already shown her well-being this season by landing a Listed prize at Wetherby, and with Snowden having won the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury the previous weekend with Datsalrightgino, You Wear It Well was favourite to provide him with another major Saturday success in Esher.

Ultimately, though, the daughter of Midnight Legend was well beaten in third place behind the popular veteran Not So Sleepy and fellow mare Love Envoi, and Snowden feels his charge underperformed.

He said: “I think the handicapper had it on form that she had to improve to win that race, even without the two defections. She ran all right, but probably hasn’t run her race, I would have said.

“Her price was probably skewed by the form of the yard and this, that and the other, but she’s run OK in the circumstances.

“She goes on soft ground, but that really was terrible ground on Saturday and she didn’t really get into any great rhythm. She was a bit keen early on and missed a couple of hurdles.

“Take nothing away from anyone, but it probably wasn’t her true running.”

You Wear It Well’s main objective is to secure a second Cheltenham Festival success in the Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle in March, having last season landed the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

You Wear It Well (left) chases Not So Sleepy at Sandown
You Wear It Well (left) chases Not So Sleepy at Sandown (John Walton/PA)

What route she takes to Prestbury Park is uncertain, but she appears unlikely to take on the boys in the meantime.

“I think going back against her own sex makes sense really,” Snowden added.

“Due to a lack of a realistic opportunity for her in December, we thought we’d take our chance in the Fighting Fifth, and the fact that she went off favourite suggests it wasn’t a ridiculous decision to go down that kind of route.

“It didn’t quite work out, but we’ll dust ourselves down and go again. There are mares’ races for her at Sandown and Doncaster and Warwick, so there are plenty of opportunities between now and March.”

Cotswold Chase on the cards for Datsalrightgino

Cheltenham’s Paddy Power Cotswold Chase is the likely next stop for Datsalrightgino following his Coral Gold Cup heroics at Newbury.

Racing over a staying trip for the first time, the seven-year-old produced a brilliant performance in the hands of Gavin Sheehan to take advantage of his unexposed handicap rating and provide Lambourn-based handler Jamie Snowden with a famous local victory.

However, the handicapper has now had his say with an 11lb rise, leaving Snowden seeing a trip to Prestbury Park on Festival Trials Day (January 27) as the logical next step on the gelding’s journey.

The trainer said: “He came out of Newbury really well. He was a bit tired on Sunday and after he went out for a bit of a leg stretch, he went back to bed and had a bit of a pyjama day.

“He was quite tired afterwards but is enjoying the adulation from everyone and has been down through the village to the stream and had a bit of a splash around and then a gentle canter back, so he’s in good order.

“He’s up 11lb, which isn’t ideal, but he was fairly unexposed at that trip and the handicapper has probably had his say accordingly.

“He’s up to 159, which makes life a little bit trickier and kind of forces us into Graded company, so I would say we will end up in the Cotswold Chase, which is the obvious race to go for from here. But we will see how he is and make a plan accordingly.”

Reach For The Moon will go hurdling with Jamie Snowden
Reach For The Moon will go hurdling with Jamie Snowden (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Snowden has made a bright start to what is shaping up to be a fruitful season and could have more firepower to look forward to in the new year following the arrival at Folly House of Reach For The Moon.

The one-time Derby favourite spent some time honing his craft with Henrietta Knight upon leaving John and Thady Gosden, but has recently arrived at Snowden’s base in preparation for the next stage of his career.

He added: “It’s really early days, but I’m looking forward to learning a bit more about him.”

Top mares ready to take on Fighting Fifth test

Two Cheltenham Festival-winning mares are lining up to take their shot at the rearranged Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle, with You Wear It Well and Love Envoi also proven performers at Sandown.

Whether or not Constitution Hill competes, You Wear It Well is heading back to this venue at the peak of her powers.

Jamie Snowden’s six-year-old tasted Grade Two glory at the track last season before showing all her class to follow up at the Festival in March.

She raised her game once again on her Wetherby reappearance to down Luccia in convincing style and tee-up a crack at this Grade One prize for a yard firing on all cylinders.

“She’s in a great place and obviously had a phenomenal season last year in her novice season, winning two Grade Twos and winning at Cheltenham under a penalty,” said Snowden.

“She had a good summer holiday, came back and put in a really good performance up at Wetherby and perhaps a career best really, again under a penalty in a Listed race, beating Luccia, who came out and ran well in the Greatwood.

“She’s in the form of her life and she’s in great order. She has a run under her belt, which of course helps when running in a race of this nature, but we’re under no illusions taking on some smart horses here that she has a tall mountain to climb.”

Although putting together a highly-respectable sequence of results during her short career to date, You Wear It Well will head to Esher the lowest rated in the field of six, 11lb below the next on the ladder, Not So Sleepy.

However, she does receive a 7lb allowance and the programme book left a vacancy for a December outing, so Snowden was more than happy to take his chance against some of the best operators in the hurdling division.

He explained: “The mares’ programme sets itself out quite easy for November, January, February and March, but lacks a race in December, so in the absence of a suitable race, we thought we would try our hand in a big one and see where we get to.

“She’s a hardy mare and likes soft ground and has winning form round Sandown, but it’s a mighty good race and all of the opposition are very smart.

“On ratings, she has a lot to find with all of them, but I suppose there are a few question marks about a few of them.

“Constitution Hill is a champion and we’re under no illusions about what we have to achieve to win a race of this magnitude.

“However, we are in it for sport and she’s a racehorse and fit and well and there is no point giving horses like Constitution Hill a walkover.”

It was the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle that You Wear It Well landed at Prestbury Park in March, a race won the previous year by Love Envoi, who chased home Honeysuckle at the latest Festival and is another with smart course form to her name.

She suffered an injury in her most recent outing at Punchestown in April, but Harry Fry’s stable star is fit and ready to make her return, as connections eye another profitable campaign from their consistent performer.

“She loves Sandown. Obviously, Constitution Hill is in the race, but she’s ready to run, is in great form and her work’s been very good, so it’s time to get on and run,” said Noel Fehily, in whose syndicate colours Love Envoi runs.

Love Envoi has a great course record
Love Envoi has a great course record (Steven Paston/PA)

“Everyone is in the same boat taking on a horse like Constitution Hill, but we’re just looking forward to getting our mare started. There’s some good races for her after Christmas and the timing of this race is going to work out well, so we’ll roll the dice and see how she gets on.”

Hughie Morrison’s Not So Sleepy dead-heated with Epatante in this race in 2021 but has a chequered overall record in the race.

Goshen was not in the contest when it was due to take place at Newcastle last Saturday, but with it now staged at a venue where he has won on three of his four visits, trainer Gary Moore was keen to add his enigmatic seven-year-old into the mix when it reopened on Monday.

Soft ground and heading right-handed are both in Goshen’s favour, but Moore is another anticipating the sternest of tests if up against Nicky Henderson’s unbeaten superstar.

Goshen will take his chance in the rearranged Fighting Fifth Hurdle
Goshen will take his chance in the rearranged Fighting Fifth Hurdle (John Walton/PA)

The trainer said: “He is a little bit better going round there (Sandown) than anywhere else and it is the first time he has had his ground in God knows how long, really.

“He was fine (after Ascot) and the ground was probably too good for him there.

“I’m well aware he has a near impossible task taking on Constitution Hill and he’s probably running for place money.”