We caught up with Tom George to talk through his team for the season ahead, including an update on superstar his exciting hurdler, Summerville Boy.
Delighted with the way he is training. He had a trip away a week or two ago just to hit the cobwebs away from him a bit with the jumping. He has been very quick over his hurdles recently, and that’s the way we’re going to stick with him for the time being. He’ll probably start odd at Aintree in the two and a half mile Conditions Hurdle, and then whether we step him up a trip after that, or maybe go to Ascot, there’ a two and a half mile hurdle there as well. We’re still open planned about which distance we’re going to stick with him.
We are very happy with him. He’s had an away day as well recently and his first major plan is the Haldon Gold Cup, which is a race we have won three times before. He needed much more rain down there. After that, we’ll stick to the two-mile division. He’s rated 158 now so he’s limited where he can go but obviously, he had a big payday last Christmas time winning the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton. He’s in good form and we’re looking forward to the season ahead with him.
He ran a great race at Aintree last time out in the Old Roan Chase. He looked like he was going to win jumping the last but just got collared on the run-in. He’ll have improved a lot the run and he seems to be progressing really well now. He was placed in an Arkle but at the end of the day, he’ll be a stayer in the making as well. So I can see further improvement as the season goes on with him.
He had a frustrating time last winter as we missed the Cheltenham Festival waiting for Aintree, that never happened. He won a novice chase early on in the season. Was placed in the big novice chase at Newbury and the grade one at Kempton on Boxing Day and he hasn’t run since then. But his first major target’s going to be the Ladbrokes Trophy and that’s what it’s all be aiming for at this stage of the season.
He had a great time over fences last season until he got to Cheltenham when the ground was probably a bit too quick for him. He’s a complete out-and-out stayer and loves the soft ground. The Welsh National will be high on our list for him. He’s a horse with a bit of class about him as well and, as I said, stamina is going to be his forte.
He started last season really well, winning a novice handicap chase at Ascot and then slightly fluffed his lines at Kempton. We never really got to the bottom of why he wasn’t enjoying it much, but his season ended early, which a lot of the other horses’ had done as well. He’s come back in good form and there’s a lot of talent there. I’ve just got to get it back on the racecourse on the right day and I’m sure there are more races to be won with him.
Espoire De Teillee
He only had a couple of runs last season. He won really nicely, first time at Ludlow, very impressively. Then we had to take him all the way up to Musselburgh, which wouldn’t have been his type of track, we were just looking for the better ground as it was so wet all winter. He’ll cope with good, soft winter grounds, but definitely wouldn’t want it heavy. He’s a horse that’s got a lot of talent and there’s no reason why he can’t carry on from where he started off last season, which ended rather early for him.
He started last season beating Truckers Lodge in the Novice Chase at Newton Abbot and then just wasn’t really enjoying it afterward and never really sparkled at home or on the racecourse. He then got a severe case of colic over the summer and had to have surgery and maybe that had been playing on him for a bit and he seems to be back in good form now. He had a nice comeback run over hurdles and hopefully, we can start building up to where he was a year or two back.
The old boy is turning 11 now. He’s been here since he was a four-year-old. Obviously, we all know he’s been second in a King George, it’s been hard to win with him. He can now run in these veterans’ races and just hope the old sparkle’s still there. He owes us nothing and there’s no reason, the way he is at home, he can’t show it on the racecourse as well.