Monday, we start at Catterick. There was a double for Sue Smith on the card with Sharp Response and Straidnahanna who took the feature race for the second time in three years. At Plumpton, there was an impressive win for Harmonise in the mares novice hurdle. At Wolverhampton, there was a win for Dubawi Fifty in the feature race a class 2 handicap. I think Dubawi Fifty is a stayer going places.
Tuesday, there was only one meeting Southwell an all-weather flat card. It was another win for Star Ascending who took the apprentice handicap in great style. Coeur De Lion booked a ticket to the Cheltenham Festival for Alan King with a victory over Mixboy in the two-mile handicap. Mixboy was advised to our members' 1pt each way at 7/1. In other news, Douvan was entered for Gowran park at the weekend which was a slight surprise. Disko was ruled out of Cheltenham with a stress fracture. These updates officially start the silly season that is the run up to the Festival.
Wednesday, we start at Fairyhouse. There was a double for Davy Russell with Pat's Oscar and Nicole's Milan. At Musselburgh, Keith Dalgleish and Brian Hughes had a double with Silver Concorde and Delegate. This is an angle that Dalgleish is working well-buying horses from top Irish connections. At Towcester, there was another winner for Ben Pauling with Delire D'estruval. At Lingfield, it was a day to remember for Oisin Murphy as he rode a four-timer on board Carouse, Mighty Mac, Poetic Imagination and Red Verdon. At Wolverhampton, there was a winner for Ivan Furtado with Oneroa. In other news, Coneygree was ruled out for the season with a stress fracture. Sara Bradstock is "not giving up" on Coneygree despite ruling the 2015 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero out for the rest of the season due to a stress fracture of his tibia.
Thursday, we start at Kelso for one of the big days for the Scottish track. The two feature races usually go to decent horses. The first one up was the Morebattle Hurdle. It had been won last year by Cyrus Darius. It was to be the same story again as Cyrus Darius bolted up by twelve lengths to give Ruth Jefferson her first win since taking over the yard from her father. Cyrus Darius was advised to our members' 2pts win at 11/4. The other feature race on the card was the Ivan Straker memorial chase. This went in impressive style to Big River for Lucinda Russell and Derek Fox. There was a double on the card for Keith Dalgleish with Taxmeifyoucan and Mac N Cheese. At Leicester, Nigel Twiston -Davies ticked another winner off as Colin's Brother took the feature race a handicap chase. At Fontwell, the Colin Tizzard team marched on with a double. The horses were Bramble Brook and Jaytrack Parkhomes. At Chelmsford, Beautiful Memory was an easy winner for Godolphin.At Meydan, the UAE 2,000 Guineas went to Godolphin as Gold Town destroyed the field by 10 lengths.
Friday, we start with the news Douvan will now go straight to Cheltenham. On the track it was Sandown. The feature race was the Jane Seymour mares novice hurdle it went to Midnight Tune for Anthony Honeyball. The Royal Artillery Gold Cup is a great tradition. It was to be captain Guy Disney's day again as he rode Rathlin Rose to victory. At Lingfield, there was a double for Daniel Muscutt on board Regicide and Tom's Rock. At Fakenham, there was a double for Richard Johnson on board Calipso Collonges and Melekhov. At Newcastle, Ode To Autumn was on target for John Gosden. At Dundalk, Plough Boy took the opener breaking the heart of our trainer Damian English whos Bluesbreaker ran another blinder in second. There was only ahead in the margin at the line. Master Speaker bolted up by five and a half lengths in the feature race for Aido McGuinness. The finale went to California Lad for Fergal Birrane who is based in Mayo. I think Fergal Birrane is a trainer to watch. I have spent a lot of time in Dundalk this winter and have been observing Birrane in action he is very impressive. California Lad is still on the upgrade in my view. California Lad advised to our members' 1pt each way at 6/1.
Saturday, we start at Ascot. The Reynoldstown chase a grade tow for novice chasers. It went in emphatic style to Black Corton who was eight lengths clear Ms Parfois. The campaign of Black Corton has bee remarkable whatever beats Black Corton at Cheltenham will have to fight for it. The Black Corton and Bryony Frost partnership is a formidable one.There was a return to form for Regal Encore who took the handicap chase.The feature race the Betfair Ascot chase a grade one produced a fantastic contest. It saw Cue Card bounce back to form under Paddy Brennan. Cue Card saw off all comers bar the progressive Waiting Patiently who picked Cue Card up on the run to the last. Waiting Patiently is by no means certain to line up for the Ryanair Chase at Cheltenham despite maintaining his perfect record over fences in the Betfair Ascot Chase. The trainer of Waiting Patiently Ruth Jefferson stated that Cheltenham is not the be all and end all for that yard. Waiting Patiently was advised to our members' 2pts win at 9/4.
At Haydock, the Grand National trial went Yala Enki for Venetia Williams. It was a real war of attrition only three finishers. The margins were 54 Lengths and 74 lengths. The Pertemps qualifier went to Tommy Rapper for Dan Skelton. At Wincanton, the Kingwell hurdle a grade 2 went to Elgin who has had a great season having won the Greatwood earlier in the season. Elgin did it well here and looks likely to be supplemented for the champion hurdle. At Lingfield, there was a double for Fran Berry on board Contrast and Brother Tiger. At Kempton, the great week for Charlie Fellowes continued as he captured the feature race with Carolinae. At Gowran, there was a decent card a double for Willie Mullins with Some Neck and Saldier who now heads for the Triumph Hurdle. The two graded races produced a double for Jessica Harrington. Our Duke took the Grade 2 Red Mills chase over two and a half miles. Our Duke on a trip short of his best saw off Presenting Percy who was getting seven pounds by a length. I think both camps will be delighted with Our Duke and Presenting Percy. The Red Mills Trial hurdle went to Forge Meadow who completed the Harrington double by seeing off Identity Thief by a length and half.
Sunday, we start at Navan. It was another day to remember for Gordon Elliott who had a four-timer on the day. Diamond Cauchois led home a one-two for Gordon Elliott in the Ladbrokes Ireland Boyne Hurdle. Monbeg Notorious followed up his Thyestes Chase success with a narrow call over stablemate Mossback in the Ten Up Novice Chase. The four-timer was completed by Lackaneen Leader and Master Of Tara who took the bumper. At Ffos Las, the feature race went to Paddy Brennan on board Jennys Surprise. At Market Rasen, there was a treble for Dan and Harry Skelton with Solomon Grey, Captain Chaos, and Must Have A Flutter.