Monday, we start at Carlilse where there was a double for Sue Smith and Danny Cook with Palm Grey and Just Minded. Philip Hobbs sent Onenightinvienna to Carlilse for the three mile graduation chase.It ended up a two horse race Onenightinvienna won it by just under two lengths. Kempton was over the jumps, however the card had small fields because of the very dry weather. There was a double for Dan Skelton with Oldgrangewood and Herons Heir. There was a good prospect for Paul Nicholls in the novice hurdle in the shape of Coastal Tiep. I thought this horse looked to have a lot of ability winning well despite running very green. At Newcastle, there was a dead heat between More Beau and Wahaab. I have no statistical evidence to back this theory up. I do reckon there are more dead heats these days then when I started out. At Fairyhouse, there was an interesting card. It was to turn into an unbelievable day for Barry Geraghty who would ride a four timer his first ever in Ireland. The horses were Woodford Island and Fire in his Eyes both for Gordon Elliott. The other two winners were for JP McManus with Irish Bulletin and Landofhopeandglory both obliging. It was the performance of Landofhopeandglory that stood out traveling supremely well as well as jumping efficiently. Landofhopeandglory was an eased down one and a half length winner from stable mate Big Ben who ran a lovely race. I think Landofhopeandglory sets a high standard the 12/1 for the Triumph hurdle looks very fair.
Tuesday,we start at Huntingdon. There were winners for Neil Mulholland and Tom George with Prettylittlething and Max Ward. These two stables are firing in the winners. At Lingfield, it was the jumps there were six winning favourites in seven races. Tim Vaughan and Alan Johns had a double with Galros Lady and Theligny. At Sedgefield, the 2 miles 3 furlongs handicap hurdle went to Theatrebar for Dan Skelton . The 2 miles 3 furlongs handicap chase went to Apterix for Brian Ellison. I really liked the chasing debut of Apterix behind Double W's at Wetherby. Apterix jumped very well that day only fading out on the run to the last fence. Brian Ellison trainer of Apterix wasted no time going for a handicap here at Sedgefield. Apterix ran out a comfortable winner and could be called the winner some way out. Apterix was advised to our members 1pt each way (9/2), the result kept up my good start to November. There was nothing that caught my eye at Newcastle.
Wednesday, we start at Ayr. Lucy Alexander sustained a broken collarbone in a fall in the opening race at Ayr. There was a treble for Paddy Brennan on the day with Miss Maiden Over, Viva Steve both of which were trained by Fergal O'Brien a trainer in form. The third leg of the Brennan treble was Lochnell for Iain Duncan. At Bangor , Stephanie Francis could hardly have been more impressive in winning the Mares Novice Chase for Harry Skelton winning hard held by 9 lengths. Valadom made every post a winning one when storming to victory in the Anne Duchess Of Westminster Memorial Handicap Chase. Valadom is to be aimed at Aintree I can totally see that. Beg To Differ got loose beforehand and was withdrawn. I like this horse it was a shame he did not race. At Exeter, Drumlee Sunset proved too strong for Aux Ptits Soins in the 2 miles 3 furlongs novice chase. I am not sure what to make of it to be honest. Drumlee Sunset hung badly at the last two fences possibly a small physical problem. Aux Ptits Soins looked flat out all the way I reckon he needs further. Paul Nicholls did unleash a useful horse in the concluding novice hurdle over 2 miles 5 furlongs as Anchor Man bolted up by 9 lengths. I liked the look of this horse.At Kempton, there were winners for Andrew Balding with Simoon and Mark Johnston with Dominating. At Dundalk, there was a double for Michael Halford and Shane Foley with Chestnut Of Fire and Duhessofflorence. There was also a double for Wayne Lordan Tooreen Dancer and Isheabayorgrey.
Thursday, we start at Ludlow where Ballyhill looked a good prospect for Nigel Twiston -Davies winning the 2 miles 5 furlongs introductory hurdle by 3 lengths. There was a shark attack at Ludlow as Shark Hanlon sent over Linger to win the Juvenile hurdle by 7 lengths from Lord Huntingdon. At Southwell, there was another winner for Keith Dalgleish on the week with Showdaisy. At Towcester it was average fair, I was impressed with Milgen Bay who won readily from Jimmy The Jetplane and Always On The Run. At Chelmsford, Saaed Bin Suroor kept up his splendid recent run with High Waves who took the 7 furlong maiden.
We start at, Cheltenham for day one of the Open Meeting. The veterans chase saw Astracad continue his love affair with the open meeting winning well from Ericht .The two mile handicap was run at a tremendous pace it looked for a long way like Irish raider Pairofbrowneyes would land the good market support. Pairofbrowneyes was mowed down late on by the former Willie Mullins trained Un Beau Roman with Bally Longford back in third. I thought Sizing Codelco was very disappointing in this race. I think the attitude of Sizing Codelco is open to question. The Steel plate and sections novice traditionally a very informative contest saw the debut of Barters Hill. The race was to prove the end of Barters Hill season as he had a tendon slip off a hock. The race went to O O Seven who despite running at the grandstand in the closing stages still won by 10 lengths. O O Seven could be alright I reckon. Rock The Kasbah ran on from a long way back he could make into an RSA horse long term. The Neptune novice hurdle went to Irish raider Peregrine Run who has been on a real roll. Peregrine Run got the better of Wholestone in a great battle up the hill. Peregrine Run was giving Roger Loughran a first winner at Cheltenham. Wholestone was advised to our members 1pt each way (9/2). I reckon Wholestone is a serious Albert Bartlett contender, that said he will need to tidy his jumping up. I have noticed when they are going at the quickest in a race Wholestone jumps his best. David Pipe captured the Amateur riders handicap chase with What a Moment who won by 2 lengths from Troika Steppes who belted the third last when going well. Troika Steppes was advised to our members 1pt each way (11/1) . I thought Fayette County ran an eye catching race for JP McManus, this horse is going on the list for Cheltenham Festival handicaps. The Kim Muir looks a likely long term target.
At Lingfield, Saeed Bin Suroor kept up his recent form up with a double the horses were Hersigh and Team Meeting. At Newcastle, mercifully we were back over the jumps. There was a double for jockey Brian Harding with Sam Spinner and St Gregory. The win for St Gregory was her third on the spin. St Gregory is clearly a very good mare. At Wolverhampton, Saeed Bin Suroor was on the mark again with Commander Cole. At Dundalk, the 2 mile handicap was the feature it went to Winter Lion under Wayne Lordon who did it well from Venezia.
Saturday, we start at Cheltenham for day two of The Open Meeting featuring the Bet Victor Gold Cup. The Triumph hurdle trial started the day off it went in very impressive fashion to Defi Du Seuil for Philip Hobbs, Barry Geraghty and Jp McManus. This is a decent looking horse.The 3 mile novice chase featured Thistlecrack as he was bidding to boost his Gold Cup credentials . I was not one bit impressed, Thistlecrack guessed at a number of fences including having a major blunder at the fifth. There is no doubting the bravery of Thistlecrack , however I do not see that as an asset in this case. The Cheltenham Gold Cup is no place for guessing. I say to the people who want to back Thistlecrack at 7/2 good luck to them , however I think it is an awful price as it stands now. The 3 mile 3 furlongs handicap chase was a very good race on paper. It went to Viconte Du Noyer for Cloin Tizzard and the Potts family. Viconte Du Noyer stuck at it well seeing off Warrantor and a fast finishing Minella Rocco. Fourth Act advised to our members 1pt each way (12/1) placed in fourth. I thought the front four are all horses to take forward. Le Reve as a loose horse caused a very nasty pile up Cogry, Midnight Prayer and Racing Pulse were all brought down.
The feature , the Bet Victor Gold Cup was competitive as always. More Of That and Frodon headed the market as punters once again charged in on the hype horses. More Of That was pulled up , it is surely major trouble now for the former world hurdle winner. More Of That is simply not a healthy horse these days. Frodon the four year old did his best but his inexperience found him out when push came to shove. The race went to Taquin Du Seuil who on his day is very classy. Village Vic took the field along at a good pace up until after the last when Taquin Du Seuil pounced. Taquin Du Seuil had a neck to spare over Village Vic in a cracking finish . Buywise ran on from a mile back to get third. Aso had looked a massive threat but got the last two fences wrong. Aso will get his turn in the winter. Taquin Du Seuil gave Jonjo a welcome winner his stable are in wretched form. The mares bumper saw a tremendous finish between Irish Roe and My Khaleesi , it was to finish in a dead heat. Irish Roe was advised to our members 1pt each way (6/1).
At Lingfield, Saeed Bin Suroor had another winner with Team Talk. At Uttoxeter, there was a double for Evan Williams and Leighton Aspell with Report To Base and Pobbles Bay. At Wetherby, there was a treble for jockey Brian Hughes aboard The Dutchman Lough Salt and Wells De Lune. At Wolverhampton, there was a remarkable victory for Andrassy Avenue who on entering the home straight literally headed for the car park. Adam Kirby somehow got Andrassy Avenue straightened up going on to win easily by 3 parts of a length. If you have not seen it go on to the At The Races website and watch it. At Naas, the first four races were of major interest. The maiden hurdle went to Saturnas for Ruby Walsh and Willie Mullins. I was really impressed with Saturnas. The Grade 3 hurdle went in very impressive style to Missy Tata who landed her first Grade Three with an authoritative display.Missy Tata kicked the last two hurdles out of the ground she appears to have got bigger over the summer. it surely is a matter of time before she goes over fences. The Beginners chase saw Prince Of Scars make his debut over fences. The 2 miles 3 furlongs trip appeared to be too sharp for him. Road to respect readily brushed Prince Of Scars and General Principle aside. Keppols Queen ran a nice race in fourth. Road To Respect could be very decent there looked to be no fluke about this win. The maiden hurdle over 2 miles 3 furlongs went in impressive style to Gordon Elliott who brought up a century of winners in Ireland this season when Baltazar D'allier overcame a long absence in good style to win .The five-year-old gelding was last seen winning a point-to-point for Elliott at Maralin in April 2015. The achievement of Elliott is truly remarkable, a terrific trainer who could have an incredible season in front of him still.
Sunday, started with the news Sprinter Sacre would be retired Nicky Henderson was in tears today as he announced the retirement of Sprinter Sacre. Scans have revealed that one of greatest two-mile chasers in the history of the sport has a minor issue with his near fore.A younger animal would have been fine to come back after a spell of recuperation but with the dual champion rising 11 years of age, Henderson and owner Caroline Mould had no hesitation in calling time on a mesmerising career which has taken him and jump fans on a magical journey. Henderson made his announcement to the media in Box 4038 on the fourth floor of Cheltenham. He choked up on several occasions and the tears that initially welled in his eyes rolled down his cheeks as he relayed news that will leave a huge void in his life.“It’s been a great journey, we are going to miss him,” he said. “Life goes on without him but it’s been a pretty emotional time over five or six years but we’ve loved every minute of it and all good things have to come to an end.“Sprinter was the horse of a lifetime. Here is the epitome of the horse who looks the part, moves the part and was peerless. For a two-year period he was simply unbeatable.” Henderson stated. I would say from my own viewpoint that Sprinter Sacre was great twice. Sprinter Sacre had a great career till 2013 then two years in the wilderness. The comeback in 2015 /2016 season to me confirms his real greatness. I will write in more detail about Sprinter Sacre later in the week.
We start the action at Cheltenham for day three of The Open Meeting. The first race saw the Supreme Novice trial last year won by Altior. This years event went to 2015 Champion Bumper winner Moon Racer who got an excellent ride from Tom Scudamore seeing off Mirsale by 2 and a quarter lengths. The ones in behind got in each others way Ballyandy clearly needs further. I thought Movewiththetimes was unfortunate in running. I am not convinced Moon Racer jumps well enough to win a supreme he jumps a little high, its only a slight concern now. Moon Racer was advised to our members 2pts win (9/4).The Racing Post Arkle trial was next up. Some Plan was still in major contention when he fell at the second last. This allowed Le Prezien to come home 4 lengths clear. I thought Le Prezien jumped sticky enough , I do no t think Le Prezien is a two miler. Le Prezien was advised to our members 4pts win (8/11). The Shloer Chase was next up it went in spectacular fashion to Fox Norton for Colin Tizzard and Alan Potts. Special Tiara was well backed but could not see it through. The race gave race fans another kick as Simonsig suffered a fatal fall in the Shloer Chase. It was cruel luck Simonsig had never previously fallen under Rules and lost his life the first time he had the misfortune to do so. Fox Norton will now go for The Tingle Creek but it is impossible not to think about Simonsig who paid the ultimate price. The Greatwood Hurdle was the feature. It went to Dan Skelton as his North Hill Harvey fought off Modus , Song Light and A Hare Breath in a thrilling finish. Song Light was advised to our members 1pt each way (20/1). Dan Skelton sees North Hill Harvey as a chaser so it is unlikely this race will ripple the champion hurdle market. I hope Song Lights connections protect his mark the county hurdle looks a good long term target.
At Fontwell, there was a treble for Paul Nicholls with Aerial who captured the Southern National after a long lay off. The final two legs of the treble were more Bucks and Peak To Peak. At Navan , Labaik captured the For Auction Novice hurdle for Gordon Elliott and Ruby Walsh from Mick Jazz who ran a blinder. The Lismullen hurdle went to Snow Falcon for Noel Meade who picked up De Plotting Shed from the back of the last. Shaneshill looked liked he needed the run , however Ruby let the others get first run despite staying on really well the bird had flown. The Fortria produced a heartwarming result. The Vincent Halley trained Arctic Skipper struck a blow for the smaller yards when landing the featured Grade 2 beating off Gilgamboa by a short head with Ballycasey back in third. The Beginners chase saw a great finish between Gurteen , Martello Tower and Anibale Fly who came out on top. This race is one for the Sky plus as it will produce plenty of winners.