Monday , we start at Kelso which hosted a jumps card. The opening race the novice hurdle went to Sharp Rise who ran out a very impressive winner. Our Thomas who traveled really well but was outgunned by 9 lengths , both of these horses can go on to better things from here. The handicap chase went to Lowanbehold who was a good winner, he could be one to keep on the right side of. The 3 miles 2 furlongs handicap chase which was the feature race went to Nakadam who got a good ride under Richie McLernon who is very good pilot on these type of horses.
Windsor hosted a flat card on soft ground. Mountain Bell won the 1 mile 2 furlongs maiden by 10 lengths , this horse is bound for the Oaks certainly one to watch. There were lots of low grade handicaps on the rest of the card, it will be interesting to see if the form stands up when the ground dries out. The meeting at Redcar took place on heavy ground. The highlight was a double for Richard Fahey in the shape of Cullingworth who won the 2 year old novice stakes. The second leg of the double was Imshivalla who won the 1 mile handicap by 2 and a quarter lengths.
Tuesday, we start at Newmarket who opened the Craven meeting. The conditions stakes went to Thikriyaat who kept his unbeaten record intact with a battling display. The Feilsden stakes went in good style to Ventura Storm who stormed to victory under Ryan Moore. The Nell Gwyn went to Nathra in ready fashion who will go on to better things, Coolmore was a little disappointing back in fifth the victory of Nathra formed part of a treble for John Gosden . The day itself very much felt like the proper return of the flat with , a treble for John Gosden, a double for Ryan Moore and a treble for the resurgent Frankie Dettori. The flat racing at Southwell featured a win in the seller for the ever popular veteran Laylas hero.
At Exeter there was a decent jumps card . Barton Gift took the 3 miles 6 furlongs marathon chase who is a good performer at this discipline. There was a double for Harry Fry and Noel Fehily the first leg was Wotzizname who bolted in by 15 lengths looking a smart prospect in the process. The second leg of the Fry & Fehily double was Brotherly Company who won very well having tanked through the race. I think this horse is pretty decent, it was good news for our members who were advised a (1pt each way) bet at 11/2 continuing our good April to date.
Wednesday, we start at Cheltenham who staged a two day fixture. Mister Miyagi who finished sixth in the supreme paid you another compliment to Altior by winning the opener. Slostice Star ran a real good race , this horse has had a great season he must be a joy to own.Rock On Oscar ran well in third will be of interest as a novice chaser next season. The long distance chase went to the admirable Any Currency who backed up his cross country to win this from the favourite Conas Toi. The £5oK two and a half mile handicap chase went to Voix D'eau who did it well for Harry Fry, Art Mauresque ran very well in second. This was a bit more like it from Johns spirit in third, no doubt these horses will have November at Cheltenham in mind for the newly branded Bet Victor Gold Cup. The Weatherite novice chase went to Fox Norton who got a break from chasing Douvan. The performance of Fox Norton was good he saw off Dormello Mo who mounted several challenges, however he could not pass. I was a little disappointed with Presenting Arms in third.
At Newmarket , Mark Johnston picked up another two year old race as Sutter County got it done giving six pounds to Dream of Dreams.The Tattersalls Million sprint went in impressive fashion to Gifted Master who made all the running winning in impressive style getting the better of Waterloo Bridge who can improve for the run. The Earl Of Sefton Group 3 went to Mahsoob, this was another winner for John Gosden who has started really well. Mahsoob got the better of Air Pilot. I thought Mahsoob was very good in this contest, this is a horse worth following.
Thursday, we start at Cheltenham the mares novice hurdle went to Katie Too who stuck at it well to win by a neck from Actinpieces. The Mares handicap hurdle went to Briery Belle who saw off Debedebdeb by 3 lengths, I thought Unbuckled ran very well in fourth . I think Unbuckled is worth following. The 3 miles 2 furlongs handicap chase went to Perfect Candidate who continued his excellent record at Cheltenham. I thought Forgotten Gold ran well in second, Amigo was a little disappointing in fifth after a mistake two out finished him. The handicap hurdle went to Theeaglehaslanded won it for Paul Nicholls landing some nice bets in the process ( 12/1 -8/1) . Long House Hall who was looking to back up a good effort at the Festival ran a bit flat here.
At Newmarket , The Tattersalls Millions Trophy class 2 worth €200K was won by Linguistic who was well backed (9/2 to 3/1) to become another winner for John Gosden. Harlequeen stayed on well for second, Landofhopeandglory drifted in the betting (11/8 - 15/8), he faded tamely looking like he would come on for the run . I would expect Landofhopeandglory to emerge later in the season. The Craven stakes went to Stormy Antarctic who ran on impressive style to win by 3 lengths. The race saw the bubble of Foundation burst who was being touted as a Derby horse, it was a rare setback this week for the Gosden team. Shogun ran ok in third although I thought he carried his head a little high. At Ripon there was a double for David O' Meara . The second leg was Danydylekkie who has been bought from Ireland he can pay his way through the season. Richard Fahey who has started the season well had a winner with Dolphin Vista.
At Limerick , there was a decent jumps card. Bobbie's Diamond won the maiden hurdle for Tony Martin who saw off Pakman who keeps placing but finds winning hard. Stolberg won the Martinstown Handicap Hurdle , this horse likes Limerick. Some Drama won the Beginners Chase he deserved his turn after a great run at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday. King Blue won the handicap chase for Ross O'Sullivan , it was another winner for Jack Kennedy.
Friday, we start at Ayr for the start of the Scottish Grand National meeting. The opening race went to Welsh Shadow for Dan Skelton who had a obvious chance here at the weights. The handicap chase went to Definitly Red who landed some nice bets (7/2 to 7/4) getting back on track following a fall at Cheltenham, who battled on to win from Orbasa who ran very well. Rons Dream won the mares handicap hurdle in great style to win by 6 lengths. Artic Court won the handicap hurdle having finished second in this race last year, the unlucky horse was General Mahler who was going really well when falling 3 out. At Fontwell there was a double for Paul Nicholls with Saint Roque and Red Hanrahan, as Nicholls continues to fight Willie Mullins for the trainers title. The jumps card at Southwell was moderate , I did think Capard King looked impressive for Jonjo O'Neill in the novice chase. Capard King is one to keep on side. There was nothing at Bath that caught my eye.
At Ballinrobe Admiral Brian won the Novice hurdle , Admiral Brian did it well. There was controversy post race as Robbie Colgan was handed a 21 day ban for his ride on runner Definite Earl. I thought it looked a strange one as Admiral Brian and Ice Cool had it between them a long way out. I do think the Stewards in Ireland are trying to make a statement, we shall see how long it lasts. Vent De La Cote won the Novice chase in good style practically on the bridle. Vent De La Cote looks one to keep on side. Kylecrue won the handicap chase in good style from the front, Kylecrue had good back form he will go on to Punchestown now. At Dundalk there were 3 winning favs. Roconga made up for an unlucky run here last time out. Shukhov won the opener but the jockey on the runner up Elusive In Paris gave him a lot to do. Ask Dad held Oor Jock off by a neck, Oor Jock will be of interest in the coming weeks.
Saturday, we start at Ayr where it was Scottish Grand National day. The other big factor on the day was the battle for the UK trainers championship between Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins. The day was to prove an incredible day for Paul Nicholls who would have a four timer. The first race went to Vivaldi Collonges for Nicholls who was an impressive winner , jumping and travelling superbly throughout the contest winning easily by 5 lengths from Kilbree Chief. Vivaldi Collonges is not top class but will pay his way. The second race saw Bristol De Mai try and finish the season out strongly. Bristol De Mai did not fire on the day possibly feeling a long season. The race went to Le Mercurey in first time blinkers who won in authoritative fashion by 7 lengths, Le Mercurey is a horse with a big future as is Bristol De Mai. The Scottish Grand national went in very good style to Vicente who had looked a little unlucky in the 4 miler at Cheltenham. Vicente got the better of Seeyouatmidnight in a tussle after the last , Seeyouatmidnight faded into third passed Alvarado on the run in. Royale Knight ran well in fourth, Masters Hill ran a gallant race for much of the way backing out of it late on. Cause of Causes was never a factor and Measureofmydreams fell very early. The unlucky horse of the race was Folsom Blue who was brought down when starting to make his move 6 fences out. There was a sad postscript we lost Golden Chieftain who had to be put down. The former Cheltenham festival winner was a jumps stalwart go well old friend. The Nicholls four timer arrived in the bumper in the shape of Gibbes Bay.
The other big story at Ayr was the century mark of winners hit by Dan Skelton as a result of a double on the day at Ayr. The first leg of the double was Ch'tbello who won the Scottish Champion Hurdle from Cloudy Dream who ran an odd race dropped out and came charging. Clondaw Warrior was third for Willie Mullins. Ch'tbello had gone down by a length earlier in the season to the brilliant Altior who has had his form boosted time after time. The victory of Ch'tbello showed Dan Skeltons brilliance at placing horses again having put Ch'tbello away for months for this target. The Dan Skelton double and season century arrived in the shape of Two taffs who looked very unlucky at Sandown last time out. Two Taffs did it well here seeing off Missed approach and Arbe De Vie. The first three here have decent futures ahead in my view. Cork and Newbury were abandoned as the weather continues to hurt racecourses in the Uk and Ireland. Chelmsford stepped into save some of the Newbury races. The John Porter Stakes went to Dartmouth in commanding style by 4 and half lengths, for Ryan Moore, Sir Michael Stoute and her majesty The Queen. The Fred Darling went to Marenko , this was another winner for Ryan Moore.The Greenham went Tasleet who just saw off Knife Edge by a short head. The Spring Cup proved every dog has its day, as Gabrials Kaka got his head in front to win by 1 and 3 parts of a length. Darshini won the concluding handicap sealing a treble for Ryan moore and a double for Sir Michael Stoute.
At Nottingham the ground was testing .The apprentice handicap went to Lewisham by 6 lengths. The maiden was a winner for John Gosden as Coroberee turned over the the 4/7 shot September Stars. There was also a winner for Richard Hannon with Aldair and Dancing Years for Richard Fahey. Brian Ellison completed a cross the card double with Nietzsche winning by 6 lengths. At Thirsk , Off The scale won the six Furlong handicap for Brian Ellison. The Conditions Stakes went to Kelinni for Kevin Ryan. There was a double for Tom Dascombe as Reflektor and Cymro won the five furlong and mile handicaps respectively. The card at Bangor was moderate in truth. The maiden Hurdle went to Beware The Bear by 29 lengths for Nicky Henderson. The concluding bumper went to Our Dancing Dandy by 20 Lengths for Donald McCain who is remerging as time goes on after a hard time. I must say it is nice to see that for Donald McCain as he is an excellent trainer.
Sunday, we start at Wincanton where the battle for the UK trainers title took centre stage. The day was to prove an incredible day for Paul Nicholls who would have a four timer on the day, for the second time in the weekend. The four winners were Zubayr who got back on the road following his triumph hurdle flop winning at 1/8. Emerging Talent has been called a few names but he has got his act together recently , Emerging Talent won the novice hurdle easily, Kerrow ran well in second for Alan King. The Nicholls day was capped off with victory in the two bumpers , Movewiththetimes won Division 1 by 3 parts of a length he looks a nice horse. The Division 2 of the bumper went to Capitaine who tanked through the race before running out a thirteen length winner, this horse looks a very smart prospect. The shame for Nicholls was despite the four timer his lead only increased by £10K sterling which puts the UK prize money in perspective. I have always admired Nicholls as a trainer , however this weekend has confirmed how good he is. Paul Nicholls has nothing like the ammunition Willie Mullins has, it is some effort to be even trying to hold the Mullins machine off.
The card at Navan was strange from the point of view so many front runners won, I find the results questionable at best for future form perspective. Aidan O'Brien had a treble , his string are on fire. I must admit the only races that were of interest were the last two for me. The maiden featured Aasheq who had made a really good impression behind US Army Ranger at The Curragh on debut. The race itself saw The Gurkha win by 9 lengths in very impressive fashion. The Gurkha had run well when beaten just over 6 lengths by his stablemate Claudio Monteverdi at Leopardstown. The Gurkha looked really good in this race , Aasheq was beaten 27 lengths I reckon we can put a line through his run. The 1 mile 5 furlong handicap went to Next Bend who got first run but did it very well. The tactics on Prussian Eagle were bizarre given how well front runners had gone all day, Prussian Eagle made up a stack of ground to finish second. Prussian Eagle is the horse to take out of it and will be winning one of these type of races soon.