The Racing Week That Was 24/2/16


Thursday, we start at Clonmel. The Gordon Elliott bandwagon rolled on with a double .The first leg arrived in the shape of De Plotting Shed who won by 47 Lengths in what amounted to a public schooling gallop, that said this horse looked decent in bumpers De Plotting shed could be a decent horse. Charlie Byrnes and Davy Russell combined again to land yet another gamble as Alto Esqua ( 10/3 to 4/6) won what his trainer described post race as "the worst maiden hurdle of the year". Mount Gunnery won the Beginners chase in commanding style , Mount Gunnery will be now aimed at a handicap at the Cheltenham Festival. Altiepix won the Handicap chase by 20 Lengths to complete the Elliott double as well as a double for Bryan Cooper. In the UK, Kelso was the highlight .The Morebattle hurdle was the feature , Top Notch got back on the winning trail here winning readily by 12 lengths Top Notch will go for the Champion Hurdle there will be worse 25/1 shots in festival week. The Ivan Stalker chase saw Unioniste win well by 9 lengths he will now head for Aintree if his owners let him take his chance. There was a sad postscript to this contest  as the lovable veteran Neptune Equester sadly dropped dead after the race of a heart attack. Neptune Equester was a two time winner of the borders national, who done me a few good turns go well old friend. Shades Of Midnight won the 2 miles 6 furlongs handicap hurdle by 26 lengths it was good news for our members who were advised  a 1pt each way at 4/1.

Fontwell was on as well, Alcala won the novice hurdle for Paul Nicholls he looks like he is marking time before going over fences. Chef d'oeuvre won the 2miles 5 furlongs novice hurdle by 21 lengths looking a good prospect. At Leicester I was very impressed by Stilletto who should have won at Wincanton on his previous run falling when bang in the hunt. Stilletto to me looks really good prospect for a  handicap at the Cheltenham festival, a strong travelling type he has had 4 runs over fences this season as well as a very good hurdles run  behind Rock The Kasbah at Haydock . I would be keen to be with Stilletto which ever handicap he pitches up in at The Cheltenham Festival.


Friday, we start at Sandown. The handicap chase Fairy Rath won the handicap landing some decent bets (12/1 to 15/2). The Grade 2 Jane Seymour Novice Hurdle went to Jessber's Dream who made all the running winning by 8 lengths in very  brave fashion. Jessber's Dream was turning out quickly having finished second at Warwick 6 days earlier a real good effort. Katie Too was favourite but well and truly put in her place here.This race perfectly demonstrated that the Mullins team have very little to worry about  from the Uk mares in the mares races. The novice hurdle went to Proteck Des Flos for Nicky Henderson.  The 3 mile Handicap Chase went to Beg to Differ who is owned by Coolmore he won this very well, Beg To Differ was value for a further winning margin here.  I think Beg To Differ has to be of interest for a handicap at the Cheltenham Festival. Fakenham also raced on Friday Harry Skelton had a double with Willow's Saviour and Work in Progress. Dundalk raced on Friday there was a treble for Michael Halford with Russian Soul being the star of it. There was also a double for Jim Bolger. I also would point out with one eye on Cheltenham many of the top UK yards are having lots of winners.


Saturday, we start at Ascot. The Neptune novice hurdle went to Yala Enki  who is improving race after race for Venetia Williams. Mr Mix ran very well, Aloomomo will be of interest back over fences he ran a cracker here, Premier Bond was a bit disappointing here. The Reynoldstown went to Vyta Du Roc who did it well fighting off Minella Rocco who finally got his act together over fences. Minella Rocco will go for the four miler at Cheltenham. The fancied horses Drumacoo and Onenightinvienna cut each others throats going way too quick here , we can put a line through that run for both. The Celebration Chase went to Sausalito Sunrise who stayed on really strongly to win by 12 Lengths. There is chat about being supplemented to the Cheltenham Gold Cup for Sausalito Sunrise, I am not sure about that to be honest. The handicap hurdle went in breathtaking style to Different Gravey who turned this into a pres session winning by 16 lengths, Montdragon showed potential but in truth this was a one horse race. The Grade 1 Betfair Ascot chase saw a tremendous win for Silviniaco Conti who got into a great rhythm jumping superbly to win by 20 Lengths. Dynaste plodded on for second it was a weak Grade 1 but Silviniaco Conti was much the best. Triolo D'Alene and Ma Filleule were disappointing back in the field.

At Haydock, the juvenile saw Fixe Le Kap put his reputation on the line. The race turned into a bit of a sprint Fixe Le Kap tried hard ,however he could not haul back Frodon who did it well another smart juvenile for Paul Nicholls. The handicap hurdle  saw Reve De Sivola got back on the winning trail, winning by 3 quarters of a length from One Track Mind who looks a very nice horse. It was another day to forget for At Fishers Cross who dropped out tamely. The Grand National Trial went to Bishops Road who stepped up in trip , he looks to be improving the ability to stay further opens up a lot of options for this horse. Broadway Buffalo stuck on well with Cloudy Too in third. The ground was appalling here to be fair and only three horses finished.  The Pertemps qualifier hurdle went in commanding style to Mr Moonshine by 12 lengths in the context of the ground, I think this form is worth little in terms of the final at Cheltenham. At Fairyhouse the handicap hurdle saw a real good performance from Squouateur who is a handicapper on the upgrade, he will be of massive interest at Cheltenham. Mall Dini clipped heels in behind and his turn should be coming. The Boobyjo chase went to Boston Bob, who got the better of On His Own in a driving finish. Mala Beach was very unfortunate  travelling really well when coming down at the second last he could be one for the Irish Grand National. The beginners chase went to Vedettariat who deservedly got off the mark over fences. The hunters chase went to Salsify who wont go to Cheltenham as he has not run in the required number of races this season.


Sunday, Naas was the focus. Vigil won the maiden hurdle finally getting off the mark he will be entered at all the big festivals, Couer Joyeux ran ok in second , he can win a maiden soon. The handicap hurdle went to Conright Boy, I was impressed with Swamp Fox in third the Fred Winter could be his target I would like him at this stage. The Nas Na Riogh novice chase went to Marlbrook who slammed the field by 6 lengths it was good news for our members who were advised a 1pt each way bet (4/1). Vicangelome ran really well in second he is a really nice horse. Marlbrook could be a graded horse in my view people should note his form with Noble Endeavor.  The Grade 2 Novice Hurdle went in impressive style to Ball D'arc boosting the form of Min in the process who had beaten Ball D'arc previously. Moon Over Germany ran really well , the fav Don't Touch It did not fire on the day. The two mile Grade 2 chase went to Days Hotel for the third year in succession , UK raider Simply Ned was well put away in third. The bumper went to Avenir D'une Vie who boosted the form of, New To This Town who beat Avenir D'une Vie last time. Avenir D'une Vie won this bumper by 14 lengths.


Monday, we start at Carlilse, Fionn Mac Cul won the novice hurdle for Venetia Williams. Courtown Oscar won the handicap by 12 lengths , again with the ground being so heavy its very hard to know the value of the form. Swing Hard won the 2 miles 4 furlongs handicap chase landing a few tidy bets in the process (7/4 to 5/4) . A quiet day overall


Tuesday, the day started with the news that Arctic fire will miss the Champion Hurdle with a chipped bone. It is not a serious injury Arctic fire will be back .It is of course a blow to Willie Mullins but the race now has a betting angle to it.  At Taunton, the Novices handicap chase went to The Brock Again, despite a heroic effort from Sonny The One and Tom Scudamore who had no irons for the last two fences. The national hunt novices hurdle went to Antartica De Thaix for Paul Nicholls who has his string in fine form. Royal Vacation won the handicap hurdle for Colin Tizzard, just seeing off Qualando in a good finish.


Wednesday, we start at Doncaster. The handicap hurdle went to Fingerontswitch who did it well , this horse could win again. The Graduation Chase went to Saint Are who was a good winner staying on really well, just seeing off Grandads Horse. The hunters chase went to Paint The Clouds who will have Cheltenham on his agenda, where he will be among the market leaders.