LAST weekend really could not have gone any better for Sheena West.
The Falmer-based trainer saw her stable star Golan Way win a notable Listed chase at Sandown and her youngsters Be All Man and Brilliant Barca win their respective races whilst displaying plenty of potential in so doing.
The success of Golan Way was a step toward fulfilling the high level of belief that his trainer has always had in him and his front running style and fluent fencing really took the eye at Sandown.
“He has got an entry in the King George and it wasn’t a haphazard thing,” said West.
“But he had to show what he could do before it and he has – we’ve got to go there. He jumps so well and jumped the last as well as the first.
“When he refused to race there was a mix up with the jockeys and he takes some knowing. Marc knows him well and that helps,” said the trainer post-race.
Golan Way beat only an average field for a Listed contest but he did it well and though the championship pace of the King George will undoubtedly prove a much more exacting assignment, it would appear to be an excellent preparation for the Racing Post Trophy in February which is also run at Kempton.
As I mentioned last week, it is a valuable event that, given decent ground, I feel the seven year old gelding would have all the attributes for.
Meanwhile, Be All Man went a little way to justifying his £26,000 price tag when showing great tenacity in winning his first race at Warwick and Sheena was rightly pleased with his attitude.
“I thought there was a bumper in Be All Man after his second at Ascot and he has proved me right.
“He has had some quick runs and will have a break now before going hurdling in the New Year.”
Brilliant Barca will need to sharpen up his hurdling but he really finished with a flourish to overcome that deficiency in his game and claim his victory.
It was his hurdling debut so it would be reasonable to assume he can benefit from the experience and Sheena can obviously be relied upon to sharpen up his technique at home.
As a mile and a quarter winner on the flat in the March of his three year old campaign, it was not unsurprising to hear Sheena talk of a step up in trip for the horse in time.
“Brilliant Barca is workmanlike rather than flashy and we will try to find him another of these under a penalty at a galloping course, but later on I would think he will need 2m4f.”
At the Plumpton meeting on Monday, Invictus proved himself the best quality individual of the day as well as posting clearly the most impressive performance of the afternoon.
His win came in the 2m4f novice chase and, after jumping and travelling well throughout the contest, he was asked to quicken through a gap at the top of the straight, which he did before going clear to put his seal on the race in a matter of strides.
Considering the second placed Gift of Dgab had an entry in a Grade One event the previous day, it is fair to say that Invictus was not beating trees here and has a future at a higher level.
After the race his trainer Alan King commented on the son of Flemensfirth.
“He was a promising horse last year but has matured a lot this year. He has schooled well and jumped well today.
“He will stay at or around 2m4f for now but three miles is likely in time.”