StableTalk: “I’m really happy with him and there is no reason why he won’t run a big race”
Virgilio will really love the ground. He’s off a high mark which isn’t ideal but he’s won twice at this track, he’s in good form and missed Cheltenham; you can ignore what happened to him on New Year’s Day as our horses just weren’t in form. I’m really happy with him and there is no reason why he won’t run a big race.
North Hill Harvey ran a good race in the Supreme where he just hit two out and that stopped him, otherwise he might have been second or more likely third. He didn’t have a hard race after that mistake as it halted his momentum and Harry then wasn’t hard on him. He’s been working well at home, we’re really happy with him, and two miles around this track on this ground is just about perfect. Obviously Limini is in the race as are a couple of others with good form but I think we’ll run well; I’m not saying we’ll definitely win but he’ll run well.
Coming out of Cheltenham I thought we’d have about 20 runners at this meeting but it’s going to be more like 7 or 8, which shows how hard it is to run them back after Cheltenham so quickly. There will probably even be a couple I run which it turns out I shouldn’t, but that will be the same for all the other trainers; all you can do is make the right decision based on the information available. North Hill Harvey is well and I’m happy with him. Yes, you train the horses to peak at Cheltenham but some come out of the Festival with an excuse where they don’t have such a hard race, and North Hill Harvey is one of those. I think he’s got a good chance, but it’s been a long season for all of them.
Al Ferof’s run at Cheltenham was just magical for a horse that’s now eleven years old. If Vautour hadn’t turned up then he would have won, so it’s simple maths really. If Vautour doesn’t run his race or falls today then we should win, and if Vautour runs to form then we’ll likely be second . I could have saved him for Sandown on the last day of the season but that race isn’t going to be uncompetitive. Also if you win at Sandown its £28k to the winner and yet if you’re second here you win £42k. We thought we’d have a go and John and Lisa Hales, the owners, are keen to come here.
It’s getting to the end of the season for him, and I know he’s only had three runs but he does run really well when fresh. I have kept him as fresh as I can, we haven’t done much with him and I’m really happy with him. If Vautour wasn’t running I’d think we’d have a great chance of a Grade 1 victory. After Aintree I’m going to keep him going for a bit and he may end up going to the Prix La Barka.