Trainer Anthony Honeyball has enjoyed plenty of success already this season and could be in for another profitable weekend with some of his stable stars.
Leading the way is Fountains Windfall, who is looking to bounce back after falling when running so well in a Grade 1 over Christmas, while Cresswell Breeze aims to continue her progression in the Classic Chase at Warwick.
Honeyball has plenty of other exciting horses in his yard to run over the weeks ahead and he gave us the lowdown on them all.
Fountains Windfall drops in grade for a handicap at Kempton on Saturday after his fall in the Grade 1 Kauto Star Novices’ Chase last time. How are things with him?
He’s come out of the race without a mark on him and it’s as if it didn’t happen. He’s ticked over since and he’s ready to have another go. It might seem a strange call to go for a handicap chase but the options we have mean he’d have had to have raced on really soft ground elsewhere. I think this is a good opportunity for him to win, although what we really want is to see him getting round and being bang there.
Fountains Windfall has fall on his last two starts. Is that a concern for you at all?
His jumping will actually win him races but he keeps falling at the critical moment in the race, which is frustrating. Perhaps under pressure he melts a little, but if you watch the Kempton race you’d rarely see a novice jump in a more assured way.
Cresswell Breeze is a leading contender for the Classic Chase at Warwick. How do you think she will get on?
She’s definitely upgraded this season and is a better mare. To this point she’s been running well on good to soft, soft as opposed to really tacky, winter soft ground but she keeps galloping. It’s a solid race and ultimately it’s a £75,000 0-139 handicap and it’s well worth a go.
Ms Parfois also runs at Warwick in the Listed chase. Can she complete the hat-trick?
We feel she’s in the sort of form she was at Newbury last time, and if she turns up and produces that sort of run she’ll take a lot of beating. She was so solid at Cheltenham when winning her penultimate start and was again last time. She’s got a bit of boot about her as well. I think she’ll go well.
Dullahow Gesture scored in a Listed bumper last time. What is the plan for her?
Dullahow Gesture’s in really good order. We’re going to go for the mares’ Listed bumper at Sandown on March 10 and if we want to run in another bumper we can go over to Ireland and run in a bumper over there at the Punchestown festival. She’s an exciting mare.
Acey Milan also caught the eye when winning a Listed bumper at Cheltenham. Will you be looking for something better for him this season?
He was very good at Cheltenham. He’s got lots of ability and his attitude is different class as well, he’s so professional. We’re going to aim him at the Listed bumper at Newbury on February 10 and if he finishes third, fourth or fifth – or something like that – we’ll probably rough him off and say what a great season we’ve had. If he won or was second we could look to Aintree or Cheltenham.
How are things with stable favourite Regal Encore after he was pulled up last time?
He had a little health blip when he ran at Ascot and Barry [Geraghty] wasn’t ever happy with him. He is another one of those horses who ran so well in the Ladbrokes Gold Cup but hasn’t backed it up. We’ll wait for the Grand National weights to come out and then have a free go at the Listed chase at Ascot on February 17 or the Haydock Grand National Trial the same day.
You are on course to have your best season. You must be happy with how it has gone?
We’ve had a very good season. To have had 24 winners from 35 horses is brilliant and a lot of our bumper winners and others have done fantastic. We just hope that we can keep it going and keep the horses firing.
And, finally, who else are you looking forward to running this season?
Midnight Tune has improved a lot this season and is one I really like. She goes for a Grade 2 hurdle next time out at Ascot in a couple of week. I’m looking forward to it, especially if the ground is testing.