Monday, we start at Plumpton where Kid Commando was an impressive winner for Anthony Honeyball. At Kempton, there was a double for Hollie Doyle with Mistress Nellie and Starlight Romance. At Newcastle, there was a treble for Brian Hughes with Tesscomponentstrig, Dunly, and Clondaw Caitlin. At Wolverhampton, there was a double Ben Curtis with Eglish and Last Enchantment.
Tuesday, we start at Exeter. Richard Johnson is to have an operation on his broken right arm after a fall at Exeter — but is “very positive” he will recover in time for the Cheltenham Festival. The champion jump jockey suffered the break in a fall from Westend Story at the sixth fence in the Dare To Dream Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase. Trainer Philip Hobbs, for whom Johnson is the stable jockey, later confirmed the extent of the injury. Johnson was assessed in an Exeter hospital — and after speaking to him, Hobbs said: “He has broken his right arm in between the elbow and the hand.“He is going to have an operation on it, to have it plated, either tomorrow or Thursday. “He expects to be off for a month or so. He sounded very positive about Cheltenham.”Johnson, the champion jockey in each of the last four seasons, trails Brian Hughes by three winners in their title battle. This year’s Cheltenham Festival is due to get underway on March 10. This is surely a great chance for Brian Hughes to build up a decent lead in the battle for the jockeys' championship. On the track at Exeter, there was a double for Anthony Honeyball with Lily The pink and Gustavian. At Newcastle, Sunshine Fantasy was on target for Hollie Doyle. The meeting at Leicester was abandoned.
Wednesday, we start at Catterick. Evan Williams was thrilled to secure the 1000th winner of his career as Annsam was on target. At Warwick, Main Fact was an impressive winner for David Pipe. At Lingfield, there was a double for Hollie Doyle with Felix and Paddleyourowncanoe. At Kempton, the tremendous run of Hollie Doyle continued with a victory on board London Calling making it an across the card treble on the day for Doyle.
Thursday, we start at Gowran for Thyestes day. Total Recall bounced back to form with a vengeance to run out a ready winner of the Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase for Willie Mullins. An eighth Thyestes win for Willie Mullins, and a first for his nephew Danny, 16/1 chance Total Recall led home a one-two for Mullins, beating Class Conti (50s into 33s) by five and a half lengths. Ex-Patriot advised to our members (1pt each way) 10/1 placed in the race. Benie Des Dieux ran out a hugely impressive winner of the John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran, in which Apple’s Jade was a bitter disappointment. Gordon Elliott has hinted that Apple’s Jade could end her illustrious career with a run in the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival having pulled up today in the Galmoy Hurdle. Benie Des Dieux could now go for the stayers hurdle at Cheltenham. I still think she will go for the mares at Cheltenham.
The long journey to Fakenham was worthwhile for Christian Williams with the trainer's first treble of his training career. The winners were Strictly dancer, Massini's Dream and Cap Du Nord. Brian Hughes stretched his lead over the injured Richard Johnson to four in the National Hunt jockeys’ championship at Wetherby onboard Charmant. Hughes will be taking nothing for granted, however, this looks a great opportunity for Brian Hughes to win the title. At Newcastle, there was a double for Jason Hart onboard Rebel Redemption and Bugler Bob. At Southwell, there was a double for Rawlinson and Appleby with Forseti and Merryweather. Equilateral put his name in the hat for top sprint honours this season with an impressive performance to win the Dubai Dash Listed Handicap at Meydan.
Friday, we start at Dundalk. There was a double for Adrian McGuinness with Rock On Aidan and War Hero. There was also a double for Joseph O'Brien with Never Before and Calidus Mirabilis. At Lingfield, there was another winner for Hollie Doyle with Lets Go Lucky. At Doncaster, Glynn was a really impressive winner for Nicky Henderson. At Huntingdon, there was a treble for Dan and Harry Skelton with Third Time Lucki, Maire Banrigh and West Cork. At Wolverhampton, Griggy was on target under Adam Kirby.
Saturday, we start at Cheltenham. Paisley Park stretched his unbeaten run to seven with another professional display in the Cleeve Hurdle. Paisley Park is getting more like Big Bucks every day hits a flat spot wins. Paisley Park will win at the festival. Harry Senior ran out a ready winner of the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle to give Colin Tizzard another smart Cheltenham Festival prospect. This was good but he has his work cut out in the Ballymore. Santini got the better of an exciting duel with Bristol De Mai in the Paddy Power Cotswold Chase. For most of the race, Bristol De Mai looked the happier of the two, jumping exuberantly out in front for Daryl Jacob. From some way out Nico de Boinville was niggling on Santini, but when Bristol De Mai stumbled on landing over the third last, Santini was left in front. However, a slightly slow leap at the penultimate obstacle from Santini allowed Bristol De Mai to retake the lead after jumping the last, looking sure to win at the course for the first time. Nicky Henderson’s lightly-raced eight-year-old dug deep though, with Santini finding plenty to come home three and a half lengths clear. Betfair cut the winner to 13-2 from 8-1 for the Gold Cup. I have liked Santini all the way along for the Gold Cup. I think he has a great chance.
At Doncaster, Lady Buttons landed the Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle at Doncaster for the second successive year in fine style. Ok Corral returned to winning ways when coming out on top in a thrilling battle with Fingerontheswitch in the Sky Bet Chase. This was a good ride from Derek O'Connor Mister Fisher gave owner James Potter a welcome tonic with victory in the Lightning Novices’ Chase. Mister Fisher was advised to our members (2.5pts win) at 6/4. At Fairyhouse, Allaho booked his ticket for the Cheltenham Festival when landing prohibitive odds in the Beginners Chase. The Cheveley Park Stud-owned gelding was competitive at the top level over hurdles last season and readily got off the mark here over fences at the second attempt. Honeysuckle really put her name in the spotlight when landing the Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle 12 months ago and the same connections of Kenny Alexander, Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore were again on the mark in this Grade 3 feature at Fairyhouse as Minella Melody landed the spoils. At Lingfield, there was another winner for Hollie Doyle with Too Shy Shy. At Kempton, Hollie Doyle rode a double at Kempton with Vibrance and Comeatchoo. Doyle is on an incredible run.
Sunday, we start at Naas. Billaway powered away on the run-in to land the Naas Hunters Chase and complete a four-timer on the day for trainer Willie Mullins. The Big Getaway completed a quick treble at Naas this afternoon for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend when running out an easy winner of the Maiden Hurdle. A mistake at the last had cost him, dear, on his hurdling debut at Leopardstown over Christmas but he made no mistake today. Carefully Selected survived a blunder three from home to land the odds in the Naas Racecourse Business Club Novice Chase this afternoon. Willie Mullins' charge was sent to post a 4/6 shot in the three-miler having won his first two starts over fences. The win today means that Carefully Selected now qualifies for the National Hunt Chase at Cheltenham. The Willie Mullins-trained Stormy Ireland quickened away in style before the final flight to run out an impressive winner of the Limestone Lad Hurdle. At Sedgefield, The King Of May was on target for Brian Hughes who put another winner between Hughes and Richard Johnson. At Fontwell, there was a double for Gary Moore with Chain Smoker and Full Back.