Monday, we start at Huntingdon. There was a winner for Olly Murphy with Rock The House. At Windsor, Edraak gave a winner to Oisin Murphy. At Redcar, Richard Fahey took the feature race with Defence Treaty. At Wolverhampton, Sean Davis continued his good start to the season with a winner onboard Mac McCarthy.
Tuesday, we start at Southwell. Harry Skelton’s title hopes were boosted by a Southwell treble that left him two wins ahead of Brian Hughes in the jump jockeys’ championship. Skelton was trailing his rival by one ahead of the card, but his full book of rides produced three victories while Hughes drew a blank. At Fairyhouse, Grand National history maker Rachael Blackmore moved within nine of sidelined Paul Townend in the race to be champion jockey with success in the rated novice chase at Fairyhouse this evening. She got Somptueux home in front for Henry de Bromhead. It was good news for our members Somptueux was advised 1pt win at 5/1 to our members. On her first ride, Laura Ward struck a spectacular success in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Auction INH Flat Race at Fairyhouse aboard her uncle Vincent’s newcomer Mary’s Pride.
At Newmarket, it was the start of the Craven meeting. Highland Avenue led home a one-two for trainer Charlie Appleby in the bet365 Feilden Stakes. Mutasaabeq emerged as a potential Classic contender after making an impressive start to his campaign at Newmarket. A winner at the track on his sole juvenile start in October, the Charlie Hills-trained colt was a 7-2 chance on his return to the Rowley Mile for the bet365 British EBF Conditions Stakes. Ridden by Jim Crowley, the son of Invincible Spirit – owned and bred by the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum – was sent straight to the lead and it was impossible not to be impressed by the way he extended six lengths clear at the line.
Wednesday, we start at Newmarket. Sacred staked her claim for next month’s Qipco 1000 Guineas with a decisive victory in the Lanwades Stud Nell Gwyn Stakes. Settled in behind the pace-setters for much of the race by Ryan Moore, the 6-1 shot briefly looked as though she could be all dressed up with nowhere to go racing out of the dip. Winning trainer William Haggas was completing a quickfire Group Three double, following the success of My Oberon in the preceding Earl Of Sefton Stakes. Tactical set up a return to Royal Ascot as he provided the Queen with a poignant winner in the bet365 European Free Handicap.
At Leopardstown, Lope Y Fernandez comfortably produced a long-awaited victory when taking the one-mile Listed Heritage Stakes. Running gallantly in second was Ado McGuinness’ consistent Saltonstall, with a 50-1 shot Koolasice coming home in third place for Leigh Roche and Ross O’Sullivan. At Cheltenham, Harry Skelton drew stumps with a three-winner advantage over Brian Hughes in their electric title-race battle after both enjoyed victories at Cheltenham on Wednesday. Skelton teamed up with brother Dan for the victories of Faivoir and Proschema, while reigning champion Hughes posted a single success on Domaine De L’Isle. At Beverley, Sean Davis continued his good start to the season with a win on board Victory Angel.
Thursday, we start at Newmarket. Bellosa under Oisin Murphy looked a filly with a real future as she proved the market right in the Rossdales Maiden Fillies’ Stakes. Summerghand for David O'Meara finished with a flourish to deny hot favourite Oxted back-to-back victories in the bet365 Abernant Stakes. Master Of The Seas got the better of stablemate La Barrosa as Godolphin dominated the finish to the bet365 Craven Stakes. At Cheltenham, Form from the Festival played its part as Her Indoors for Alan King came out on top in the NAF Fillies’ Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. At Limerick, Hold up tactics were seen to good effect again at Limerick this afternoon as Cratloe ran out another last to first win in the Patrickswell Handicap Hurdle. It was a big day for the McDonagh family as the winning trainer Michael is father of Mark McDonagh, owner of the previous winner on the card Jody Ted, and grand-father of rider Mark.
Off the track, some really sad news. Owner Philip Reynolds paid an emotional tribute to Presenting Percy as he confirmed his "horse of a lifetime" has died after suffering from a blood infection. Owned by Philip Reynolds, Presenting Percy — who died on Thursday, aged 10 — had looked a superstar in the making when producing a scintillating display under Davy Russell to win the 2018 RSA Chase, adding to the pair’s victory in the Pertemps Final 12 months earlier at the 2017 Festival. He went on to win a second Galmoy Hurdle the following season and was twice ridden by Russell in the Cheltenham Gold Cup, starting favourite in the 2019 renewal. Presenting Percy was put down following a three-month battle with a blood infection. My own Cheltenham trip has been shared for many years by a group of friends from Galway. They loved Presenting Percy those days and nights in 2017 and 2018 will always be special. Presenting Percy created those memories go well old friend for you gave much.
Friday, we start at Ayr. Brian Ellison was delighted to see Nietzsche bag his biggest victory over fences to date with a battling performance in the Hillhouse Quarry Handicap Chase. It was good news for our members as Nietzsche was advised 1.5pts win at 6/1. Our only bet on the day. At Ballinrobe, Rachael Blackmore cut sidelined Paul Townend's Jockeys' Championship lead to eight winners (95-87) as the Grand National winner landed the McGrath Limestone Works Handicap Hurdle on the Denis Hogan trained Zoffanien (6/5f). At Bath, Declaring Love made it three wins from four starts since joining John Butler with victory in the Whitsbury Manor Stud/British EBF Lansdown Stakes. At Newbury, Hurricane Lane further strengthened Charlie Appleby’s potential Classic hand with a gutsy success.
Saturday, we start at the Curragh. Lancaster House became just the second dual winner of the Group Three TRI Equestrian Gladness Stakes as he made a fine seasonal return. Broome had to work hard to justify odds-on favouritism in the Holden Plant Rentals Alleged Stakes. Wordsworth made it four on the day for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore. The other winner in the O'Brien and Moore four-timer was Glounthaune who showed a nice attitude when making a winning debut. The racing in the UK was badly hit by The Royal funeral. The only thing of real note was a double for Harry Skelton at Bangor in the race for the jockeys' title.
In Australia, William Haggas is “savouring the moment” after Addeybb won his latest battle with great Australian rival Verry Elleegant to take the Group One Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes for the second successive year at Randwick.
Sunday, we start at Dundalk. It was a brilliant run from Fastman yesterday at Dundalk. Our horse has run a brilliant race to finish second to Alhaazm (who was winning his fourth race in a row). Fastman was defeated by a margin of a head. It is massive pride we are left feeling for the courage of our horse. Fastman gave absolutely everything under a brilliant ride from Shane Foley. The frustration for ourselves is we got everything right. The tactical plan was vindicated as was the riding instructions. When you are an owner of a horse there is always a potential to be biased, however, we felt the market has overreacted to the last two runs of Fastman. If Fastman could produce what we thought was his ability he was a massive player. We now must wait for the handicapper's verdict, however away from Dundalk now. We will not fear wherever Fastman goes we know we can now think about taking on Premier handicaps. There is much to look forward to with Fastman.
At Ayr, Harry Skelton secured another valuable winner in the jockeys’ title race as he guided Allmankind to a runaway success in the Jordan Electrics Ltd Future Champion Novices’ Chase. Mighty Thunder provided Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell with victory in the Coral Scottish Grand National. At Newbury, Chindit is Newmarket-bound after getting on top close home to win the Watership Down Stud Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes. Alcohol Free booked her Qipco 1000 Guineas ticket as she narrowly came out on top from Statement in a tight finish to the Dubai Duty Free Stakes. John and Thady Gosden unleashed a smart prospect at Newbury when the well-bred newcomer Glen Savage scored on his debut and now has Royal Ascot already in his sights. Snow Lantern ran out a cosy winner of what is sure to be an informative Dubai Duty-Free Tennis Championships Maiden Stakes.