Monday there is only one place to start Fairyhouse for the Irish Grand National. As always it was a great occasion. Willie Mullins kept the pressure on Gordon Elliott with a double as Diakali won by twenty lengths, Jezki tried in cheek pieces trailed in last of five. Renetti was the second leg of the Mullins double ,Renetti has a lot of ability when on a going day and today was just that. Showem Silver landed a nice gamble in the two mile six furlongs handicap hurdle. Black Zero was advised to our members 1pt each way at 16/1 placed in second. The Grade 2 Juvenile hurdle went to Project Bluebook who produced a tremendous surge to get up late on . I have thought a lot of Project Bluebook all season. I reckon he might stay in Ireland for Punchestown . Project Bluebook was advised to our members 2pts win at 9/2. Other winners to impress on the card were Slowmotion who took the Grade 3 mares chase, winning at Fairyhouse for the second Easter Monday in a row. The bumper went in spectacular fashion to Samcro by seventeen lengths from Gordon Elliott.
The feature race the Boylesports Irish Grand National looked competitive , Gordon Elliott saddled nine runners alone , Gigginstown ran thirteen. It mattered not as the race went to Our Duke in spectacular fashion. Our Duke won by a stunning fourteen lengths with the result never in doubt on the entire second circuit. Jessica Harrington said, “I can’t believe it, I really can’t. I may look calm but I’m shaking inside! He was up there all the way, he may have made one mistake but he jumped beautifully and Robert rode him with such confidence. He was absolutely convinced that he was going to stay and he rode him like that.“He actually loved the ground as I was a bit worried about it drying out. I could see the three of them were going away and he just kept going. At the fourth last the pack seemed to be closing and he just changed gear again. I knew he was so relaxed and Robbie knows him so well. For a horse having just his fourth run in a chase it was a great performance.
“We all have to get there but he looks a Gold Cup horse. That’s why he didn’t go to Cheltenham this year as we wanted to wait and go to the Gold Cup next year. We’ll keep him and Sizing John apart and see what happens. I haven’t raced him much and he has very few runs under his belt.“It’s hard to comprehend winning the Gold Cup and the Irish National. It’s taken me a long time to get the hang of training these staying chasers!"
As for the rest Bless The Wings ran a blinder in second , as did Abolitionist in third. Thunder and Roses ran with great credit in fourth and it now looks as if he would have run very well in the Aintree National if not for being knocked over at the ninth.It was a one horse race though and that horse was Our Duke brilliant stuff. Our Duke was advised to our members 2pts each way at 6/1 . I also had Bless The Wings advised to our members 1pt each way at 16/1 placed in second.
At Cork, there was a treble for Jamie Codd as Sizing Solution , Double Portrait and Lackaneen Leader all did the business. The last two named horses giving Gordon Elliott an across the card treble. At Wolverhampton, there was a double for Silvestre De Sousa with Original Choice and Lightly Squeeze. At Huntingdon, Dan Skelton kept up his great run with a remarkable four timer . The horses were Hatcher, Hestina, Honkytonktennessee and Sierra Oscar. The first three named winners formed a treble for Harry Skelton. At Fakenham, there was a double for Tim Vaughan and Alan Johns with Ballyrock and Glimpse Of Gold. The good form of Jonjo O'Neill continued as Join The Clan took the three mille handicap chase. At Plumpton, there was a double for Neil Mulholland and Tom Scudamore with Most Celebrated and Perfect Timing. An old favourite of mine Pearls Legend bounced back to form to take the two mile handicap chase by eight lengths. At Chepstow, there was a double for Philip Hobbs with Copper Kay and Ink Master. There was also a double for Paul Nicholls and Sam Twiston- Davies with Dolos and If You Say Run. At Redcar , Mick Easterby and Nathan Evans had a treble with Stubytuesday, Roller and Carlton Frankie. At Market Rasen, Movie Legend finally got his head in front taking the novices handicap chase. There was a double for trainer Neil King and jockey Trevor Whelan with Saffron Wells and Myplaceatmidnight. There was also a winner for Philip Hobbs with Louis Vac Pouch completing an acroos the card treble for Hobbs.
Tuesday, we start at Fairyhouse for the third day of the Easter festival. There was a double for Gordon Elliott with Potters Point and Cracking Smart who looked a really smart prospect in the bumper. The €55k Grade B novice handicap hurdle went in great style to Returntovendor, this horse might be one to keep on side for Punchestown. Billys Hope and Sutton Manor ran well in second and third. Billys Hope was advised to our members 1pt each way at 14/1. The Grade A €100K handicap hurdle saw a brilliant performance from Thomas Hobson under Ruby Walsh for Willie Mullins. Thomas Hobson saw off Veinard, After Rain with Modem running a nice race in fourth. Veinard was advised to our members 1pt each way at 8/1. At Newmarket, Charlie Appleby and William Buick had a double with Night Circus and Sound and Silence. There was also a double for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori with Jewel House and Khalidi who took the Feilden Stakes .
At Kempton, over the jumps . There was a double for Nicky Henderson with La Dauphin and Stowaway Magic. At Southwell, Scrafton took the 1 mile 6 furlong apprentice handicap. At Ludlow, there was a third winner on the day for Nicky Henderson with War Creation. Paul Nicholls picked up a winner with Alcala. At Exeter, the fields were very small and in one case a walkover.Paul Nicholls had a treble with Rouge Devils, San Satiro(walked over) and Trevisani. There was another winner for Dan and Harry Skelton with Ashoka who backed up a recent Stratford win.
Wednesday, we start at Cheltenham where there was a double for Nicky Henderson with William Henry and Silverhow. The Silver trophy chase went to Henryville for Harry Fry who saw off Foxtail Hill by four lengths. Village Vic ran a rare bad race and pulled up. At Newmarket, there was a double for Frankie Dettori and John Gosden with Dancing Breeze and Daban who took the Nell Gwyn. The day was finished by Gosden completing a treble and Middle Kingdom. There was a good win for Whitecliffsodover for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore who took the free handicap listed seven furlong race. At Beverley, John Gosden got a fourth winner on the day with Stradivarius who bolted up by six lengths. There was a double for Richard Fahey and Paul Hanagan with Almane and Bengali Boys. At Sedgefield, there was a double for Danny Cook with Crackdeloust and Karisma King. At Wolverhampton, there was a double for Mick Easterby with Space War and Gulf Of Poets.
Thursday, we start at Cheltenham. There was an Aidan Coleman 349-1 treble. The horses were Upswing , Brillare Momento and Plaisir D'amour. At Newmarket , it was the Craven stakes day. The Craven itself went in good style to Eminent a son of Frankel who it well. I thought Benbatl ran a very nice race in third. Eminent to my eyes would have a solid each way chance in the 2,000 Guineas. The victory Eminent formed part of a double for Jim Crowley the other leg of the double was Tamleek. There was also a double on the card for Silvestre De Sousa with Victory Angel and Tomyris. At Ripon , Richard Fahey and Paul Hanagan were at it again as Maggies Angel was on the mark. The card was concluded with a dead heat between Foxtrot Knight and Black Grass, for two in form trainers Ruth Carr and Mick Easterby.
At Lingfield, there was a double for Adam Kirby with Major Crispies and Agathonia who ran out a very impressive winner for Godolphin. At Taunton, Frozen Over was an impressive winner of the 2 mile handicap hurdle. A strong travelling horse Frozen Over could win again soon. At Tipperary, there was a double for Aidan O'Brien with Alluringly and Venice Beach. Patrick Mullins closed the gap on Jamie Codd to two winners in battle for Ireland's champion amateur jockey crown. The win came on board Robin Des Foret. It will be hard for Patrick Mullins to overhaul Codd , however it seems he will at least 10 rides in professional races. The battle between Patrick Mullins and Jamie Codd, as well as the battle between Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins will mean an intriguing finish to Ireland's jump season.
Friday, we start at Ayr for the Scottish grand national meeting. There was a double for Paul Nicholls and Sam Twiston -Davies with Winningtry and Give Me A Copper.Two Taffs looked an unlucky loser at Cheltenham. Two Taffs made amends here by winning the £50K novice handicap chase by three lengths from Theinval . It continued Dan Skelton's fine run. Two Taffs was advised to our members 2pts win at 3/1. At Newbury, John Gosden and Frankie Dettori continued there great form as they had a double with Shutter Speed and Gracious Diana. Thee was a double for William Buick on board Gold Town and Bacchus. The five furlong sprint went to the well backed Sir Robert Cheval who saw off Bowson Fred and Lady Macapa in a good race. Bowson Fred was advised to our members 1pt each way at 9/2. At Fontwell, there was a double for Paul Nicholls with Southfield Vic and Pilansberg.
At Southwell over the jumps, Knocklong was a commanding winner of the hunter chase. Riddlestown continued his love affair with Southwell by taking the two mile four furlong handicap chase. At Bath, Priceless destroyed the field in the fillies listed race by five lengths. There was a double for Brian Meehan with Priceless Nia and International Law. There was a dead heat in the last race with Mr Pocket and Goodwood Crusader. At Dundalk , there was a double for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane with Harbour Beacon and Glastonbury Song. At Kilbeggan, there was a double for Paul Townend with Creative Talent and Prince Garyantle. There was also double on the day for Gordon Elliott with Isabella Liberty and Fridaynightlights. Lucky Pat ran out an impressive winner of the two mile three furlongs handicap chase. Lucky Pat was advised to our members 1pt each way at 10/1. There was a dead heat in the bumper between Ben Brody and Lambs Lane.
Saturday, we start at Ayr for Scottish Grand National meeting. The future Champions Novice Chase went in good style to Cloudy Dream who held of Theinval who was turning out twice in 24 hours. The Scottish Champion hurdle went to Chesterfield who was making it two big festival wins having won at Aintree. Chesterfield saw Zubayr off by a short head with Mohaayed back in third. Chesterfield was advised to our members 1pt each way at 12/1. There was a double on the card for Nicky Henderson with Vaniteux and Pym. Vicente joined the list of dual Coral Scottish Grand National winners after getting up in the final stride at Ayr. It was a vital win for Paul Nicholls in the battle for the UK trainers title. Cogry ran a cracker in second with Benbens and Alvarado filling out the places, Lessons In Milan got the fifth place concession. At Bangor, there was a double for Donald McCain and Will Kennedy with Midnight Walk and Clondaw Draft.
At Thirsk, Richard Fahey continued his incredible form with a treble with Gabrial's King, Rene Mathis and Noah Amor. At Newbury, John Gosden has had a breathtaking start to the season he kept it up with a treble . The horses were Face The Facts, Dubyah who took the group 3 Free stakes and another group 3 with Muntahaa. At Nottingham, Richard Fahey made it four winners on the day as Simmy's Copshop who took the five furlong novice stakes.At Wolverhampton, there was a double for Silvestre De Sousa on board Annie Salts and Al Zaman. At Limerick, there was a double for Colin Keane and Ger Lyons with Mollie The Moo and song Of Namibia. Colin Keane completed a personal treble with True Valour. There was also a double for Shane Foley and Michael Halford with Shannon Soul and Surrounding.
Sunday, we start at Navan where Jessica Harrington continued her golden spring with a double on the day for herself and Colm O'Donoghue. Khukri took the listed Power Stakes . The second leg of the double came in the Vintage Crop Stakes a group 3. Jessica Harrington supplemented Torcedor for the race, her faith was rewarded as Torcedor made all the running to win by one and a half lengths. Order Of St George went off odds on fav but could not close down Torcedor. Jessica Harrington once again showed her versatility as a trainer. There was also a double on the day for Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning with Vociferous Marina and Pirolo. At Wincanton, there was a treble for Paul Nicholls with Dreamcatching, San Satiro and Capitaine. At Stratford, there was a double for jockey Paige Fuller with Sgt Bull Berry and Our Three Sons. There were also doubles for Tom George and Adrian Heskin with Storming Stumpet and Baraza. At Wetherby, there was a double for Donald McCain with Dear Sire and Viserion. Donald McCain is having a fine run just now.