Donald reflects on Cinders And Ashes' defeat at Newcastle - a rare reverse in a week in which everything else has gone according to plan.
"The plan is now to go for the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton – the ground there should be better and, even if it’s soft, it won’t be anything like heavy going at Newcastle!"
I might have been bemoaning a frustrating spell at the end of November but it's fair to say December has started with a bang.
Eight winners last week was a timely boost and it's great to see the younger horses coming to the fore. Picking up a Listed race with She Ranks Me was particularly nice as she is a real trier and showed a tremendous attitude to get up close home.
We've got a cracking team of youngsters here at the moment and they all seem to be in good health at present - while it's going well, you have just got to kick on and hope that they stay sound and healthy.
Obviously amongst all the winners it was a shame Cinders And Ashes couldn't make a winning reappearance in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle but I am far from despondent about it.
Look, he's been beaten but to my eye he was hating every minute of it on the ground and I think he probably did well to get as close as he did.
There was absolutely no benefit in him standing in his box any longer - he was ready to run and it was the right race for him - so although he has been beaten, it's not the end of the world.
I said throughout last season that he would be a better horse on better ground and Saturday was final confirmation to me that he doesn't want it that deep.
The plan is now to go for the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton - the ground there should be better and, even if it's soft, it won't be anything like heavy going at Newcastle!
I haven't lost any faith in him and there will be other days for him to show what he can do.
Talking of other days, it was very frustrating to have to miss Sandown on Saturday with Overturn. He's absolutely bouncing at home and it looked a suitable race for him, but I am not going to run him on that ground for the sake of it.
There are no firm plans with him in the short term but he's in absolutely cracking nick and something suitable will turn up;
We have a big team lined up for Aintree tomorrow and I was there recently trialling the modified fences ahead of this meeting.
My initial thoughts were that they might just prove to be a bit more forgiving - they look the same as the old fences but when they knock the top off, there is a nice surface underneath - and I suppose that is the purpose of them.
They are based on an Easyfix body and my old man was one of the first to use Easyfix equipment - I have always been a fan and they do look the part.
All the horses seemed to jump them well enough and hopefully they will do the job they have been brought in to do.