After bagging both bragging rights and £10,000 for charity, Tote caught up with Lydia Hislop to discuss her victorious Tote Ten to Follow stable. With an impressive 723.40 points securing her place at the top of the charity league, we wanted to find out just how she picked her ten.
How did you pick your stable?
For the jumps, I kind of went for the obvious and that seemed to work. On the Flat, I’ve gone for the older horses with my stable on the basis that I thought I knew more about them. When you go with three-year-olds, it’s slightly more risky in that other horses can catch up with their two-year-old form and overtake it quite quickly.
Who was the first name on your list?
The very first one was Chacun Pour Soi, who scored well for me, but I just don’t think he likes the track at Cheltenham. It’s too tight for him and I’m not sure he’ll ever do well there. There is another school of thought that he should have been ridden more aggressively, like he was at Punchestown, so it’s reasonable to give him another chance at the Festival under those tactics, but I wonder whether he’ll always be vulnerable there.
Did you consider transferring Minella Indo?
I didn’t consider transferring him out, purely because I had two other underperformers who needed transferring first! I did lose faith a little bit and started to see the argument again a couple of days beforehand in that maybe if the horse was ridden more assertively he could bounce back. At the start of the season, I really liked him and Allaho after the RSA. When I look back at the stable I chose at the start of the season, I think many of my ideas were better then than they were at the end!
Who were your transfers?
I transferred out Benie Des Dieux and Asterion Forlonge for Shishkin and Paisley Park. I would urge people to make use of the transfer window as bringing in Shishkin proved to be fruitful!
Is Shishkin your idea of the Champion Chase winner next year?
Yes, I think so. I think he’d done quite a lot by the time he got to Aintree and I think the effort of winning the Arkle in that fashion, where they went so hard, took a fair bit out of him and contributed to a workman-like performance at Aintree. I think he is the likeliest winner, bearing in mind how I feel about Chacun Pour Soi. Allaho didn’t seem to be equipped for 2m at Punchestown and I don’t think Energumene will like the old course at Cheltenham either. I’d like to see him in the Ryanair.
I think Shishkin would be the first name on my list if I had to pick my stable now.
Honeysuckle was your biggest point scorer - where does she rank for you amongst recent Champion Hurdlers?
I think she’s very good indeed, but I don’t think she’s better than Istabraq. She’s got to defend her title first and if she wants to equal Istabraq she has to defend it twice. Maybe she’s in a shallow division of 2m hurdlers but you could arguably level that at Istabraq too.
She’s so dominant and she’s getting better all the time. Her technique has improved and I can see her readily defending her title. She’s run up this unbeaten sequence, but there’s more to achieve before she starts being spoken of alongside Istabraq.
Can you tell us about your chosen charities?
Cystinosis is a very rare disease which struggles to get mainstream funding, so research is heavily reliant on donations. A couple of family members have got the disease and the things we would do as a family for fundraising we just haven’t been able to do. This funding was very much needed by Cystinosis Ireland so I’m delighted to give it to them. Crisis is a British homelessness charity. I think given the current situation, I think this is going to become a growing issue for the country so I’m really happy to support them.
Do you have a bet for us this weekend?
A horse I have a leg in, Mahanakhon Power, is running over 1m6f at Nottingham with a good chance. I also think Dreamloper will run well at Ascot over 1m.
Honeysuckle - 132.94pts
Abacadabras - 102.92pts
Minella Indo - 83.30pts
Put The Kettle On - 82.60pts
Shishkin - 79.42pts
Allaho - 78.22pts
Chacun Pour Soi - 76.74pts
Envoi Allen - 43.42pts
Epatante - 30.02pts
Paisley Park - 1.50pts