Monday, we start at Carlilse. It was a bad news day on one level as we lost the talented Beg To Differ who sustained a leg injury mid race. It was a shame as, I feel Beg To Differ had real talent and could have won a big handicap at Cheltenham. The card itself saw Venetia Williams get another winner with Kap Jazz winning by ten lengths in the handicap chase. The string of Dr Richard Newland has been in good form Catamaran Du Seuil kept the run up winning by twenty three lengths, this is a horse going places. At Lingfield, over the jumps on very heavy ground. The new Surrey National went to Coolking by twenty three lengths from Delgany Demon and Krackatoa King was a further nine lengths back in third.The maiden hurdle went to Groundunderrepair for Warren Greatrix who has a great strike rate at Lingfield. At Wolverhampton, Josephine Gordon was on target againwith Bush House.
Tuesday, the big news of the day was that Thistlecrack will not run again this season after suffering a tear to his tendon. It is gutting for the Tizzards, the Snooks (Thistlecracks owners), Tom Scudamore and all associated with Thistlecrack. The courage of the campaign embarked upon this novice season has brought the consolation of the King George victory, however it must be very hard to take for all involved. The sad thing for racing is that Thistlecrack is one of three really talented horses right now with Douvan and Altior being the others. The festival show will go on , it will however miss the presence of Thistlecrack. I wish him a speedy recovery.
On the track we start at Taunton. The mares novice hurdle went to Nicky Henderson with Verdana Blue who ran out an eight length winner. The feature race a class 2 handicap hurdle went to Tommy Silver for Paul Nicholls and Stan Sheppard who saw Bertimont off by a length. Paul Nicholls nominated the Martin Pipe at Cheltenham afterwards with Stan Sheppard keeping the ride. Bertimont was advised to our members 1pt each way at (4/1). The bumper went to Harry Fry as his If The Cap Fits won by nine lengths under the winners penalty. If The Cap Fits could be smart potentially. At Wetherby, Jerrysback took the novice hurdle over two miles three furlongs for Philip Hobbs and Barry Geraghty. Jerrysback won under the winners penalty which is never easy in novice hurdles. Venetia Williams continued her good February the victory of Plasir D'Amour in the One Mile Seven Furlongs handicap chase under top weight. At Southwell, there was a double for Michael Appleby and Alistair Rawlinson with Bounty Pursuit and The Lock Master.
Wednesday, we start at Punchestown which saw Limini and Apples Jade clash. It was Limini who showed a smart turn of foot to get the better of Apple's Jade in the Quevega Mares Hurdle. Limini looked very impressive winner here with Willie Mullins claiming Limini ran a stone above expectation. What happens next , I hear you say. Limini could be supplemented for the Champion hurdle on a line through Buveur D'air they know where they have to get to. Apples Jade looks a very solid each way horse for thye mares at 7/2. It will be very interesting. The very next race Gordon Elliott turned the tables on Willie Mullins as Mossback got the better of Castello Sforza by a neck. Mossback was advised to our members 1pt each way at (6/1). The bumper saw Joseph O'Brien book Patrick Mullins in a bumper again this is turning into a good angle. Early Doors won well by nine lengths looking smart in the process.
At Doncaster, Nicky Henderson and Nico De Boinville had a triumph hurdle possible candidate in Soldier In Action. This former smart flat horse won really well by fourteen lengths clearly learning plenty from his debut. At Ludlow, it got very heavy. Harry Fry took the maiden hurdle with Ridgeway Flyer who was an impressive seven lengths winner. William Money was on the mark for the second time in a week for Tim Vaughan and Alan Johns. William Money can go in again I reckon. At Lingfield, there was a double for Oisin Murphy with Remember The Man and Falcon Cliffs. At Kempton, there was a winner for Sir Mark Prescott with Alabaster.
Thursday, we start at Huntingdon which was abandoned due to high winds. At Sedgefield, David Pipe has a decent record he added to this with Mr Clarkson who took the conditional novices hurdle. Evan Williams has his string going well at the moment On the Road captured the novices handicap chase for Williams winning by thirty eight lengths. At Thurles , the feature was the Michael Purcell memorial novice hurdle. The race went to Tin Soldier for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh. This was an outstanding ride from Ruby as Tin Soldier was never going . The persistence of Ruby Walsh paid off as the duo claimed Moulin A Vent at the last going on to win by a length. Sutton Manor won the Three Mile handicap hurdle for Gordon Elliott and Lisa O'Neill in good style.Sutton Manor could go for the Pertemps final at Cheltenham, if he gets in. At Wolverhampton, Jamie Osbourne and Adam Kirby had a winner with Retrieve. At Chelmsford, Jamie Spencer was on the mark with Veena.
Friday, we start at Exeter which had a decent card. The Devon National over Three Miles Six Furlongs was the feature race. The race went to Michael Scudamore and Ben Poste with Kingswell Theatre who toughed it out to win by a neck from Millicent Silver. The favourite Spookydooky was back in third.The novices handicap chase saw a small but select field . The race went to Alan King with Label Des Obeaux winning by four lengths from Herbert Park, in good style. Harry Fry and Noel Fehily had a winner with Any Drama in the novice hurdle winning by fifteen lengths. At Warwick, there was a double Nick Williams and Lizzie Kelly with Coo Star Sivola and Night Of Sin. At Lingfield, Andrew Balding who has been getting plenty of winners lately he was on the mark again with Casablanca. At Wolverhampton, Jamie Spencer was on the mark again winning on board Gilgamesh. At Dundalk, there was a treble for Michael Halford with Chestnut Fire, Zinat and Shannon Soul. Pat Smullen rode a treble on the night on board Zinat, Beat The Bank and Serefeli. There was also a double for the Levins and O'Connor combination with Arlecchino's Rock and Brokopondo.
Saturday, we start at Kempton. The Adonis hurdle saw Charli Parcs looking to add to the good impression he made last time at Kempton. It did not happen Charli Parcs was never really going and was despite drawing level for the lead crashed out at the second last. The race went to Master Blueyes for Alan King who came home an eleven length winner from Evening Hush. I think Master Blueyes has improved all season, however the jury is out on Charli Parcs now. There was more bad news for the McManus team as Barry Geraghty was carted off to hospital with a punctured lung and a cracked rib. Barry Geraghty now faces a race against time to be fit for Cheltenham. Frodon continued his great season when winning the Pendil novice chase giving Paul Nicholls his ninth victory in the Pendil. River Wylde trained by Nicky Henderson took his form to new heights with victory in the Sky Bet Dovecote Novices' Hurdle seeing off Elgin by two lengths. Elgin was advised to our members 1pt each way at (4/1). The feature went to Pilgrims Bay who created a 25-1 surprise as he strolled away to a cheeky success in the BetBright Chase beating Double Shuffle by a cosy half length with Theatre Guide back in third. Double Shuffle was advised to our members 1pt each way at (6/1).
At Newcastle, it was Eider chase day the going was really heavy. There was a double for Brian Hughes with Teo Vivo and Gold Opera. The feature race the Eider went to Mysteree giving Michael Scudamore his second long distance chase in 24 hours. Mysteree won by four lengths from Knockanrawley with Shotgun Paddy and Harry The Viking running game races in third and fourth. At Chepstow, there was a double for Jonjo O'Neill with Forza Milan and Lad Of Luck. There was also a double for Evan Williams with The Gipper and Gayebury who took the Pertemps qualifier. Gayebury ran out a thirteen length winner from Jury Duty for Gordon Elliott. Jury Duty was advised to our members 1pt each way at (11/2). I still really like Jury Duty for the final. At Lingfield, the winter Derby went to Convey for Sir Michael Stoute and Andrea Atzeni with Convey. At Wolverhampton, Hollie Doyle was on the mark again this time on board Pulsating.
At Fairyhouse, Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh landed the At The Races Bobbyjo Chase for the fourth time in the last six years with Pleasant Company.There was a half length between former Irish Grand National winner Thunder and Roses and Plesant Company at the line. A long term plan continued at pace as Presenting Percy won the Two Mile Four Furlong handicap hurdle with a bit in hand from That's A Wrap. Presenting Percy has followed the exact path of his victorious stablemate Mall Dini who won the Pertemps final at Cheltenham. I have backed Presenting Percy at 16/1 for the final I am very happy with that position. The Grade 3 Juvenile hurdle went to Dinaria Des Obeaux after a stewards inquiry. I thought Landofhopeandglory ran well in third on ground he would have hated. Aupcharlie was a ready winner of the Hunters chase under Jamie Codd.
Sunday, we start at Fontwell for the National Spirit hurdle. Camping Ground led from the drop of the flag blazing along putting his rivals to the sword on his first run for Gary Moore. The other horses could not lay a glove on Camping Ground who won by Twenty Nine lengths from Le Rocher with Twenty Two Lengths back to L'ami Serge in third. Camping Ground will go to the stayers hurdle now. Kilcrea Vale got the better of As De Mee in the novice chase. At Southwell, over the jumps there was a double for Adam Nicol and Philip Kirby with Cleve Cottage and Nautical Nitwit. At Naas, there was a double for Gordon Elliott with Monbeg Worldwide and Morgan. There was also a double for Henry De Bromhead and David Mullins with Adreamstillalive and Alsier D'irlande. The feature race the Woodlands Nas Na Riogh novice handicap chase went the way of Edwulf in very impressive style. Edwulf was nine lengths clear of Space Cadet. It looks like Edwulf will head for the four miler at Cheltenham now. The Grade 2 Novice hurdle saw a superb win for Forge Meadow who was a good winner for Jessica Harrington. Forge Meadow was eight lengths clear of Joey Sasa and Any Second Now who to be fair was trying to give nearly a stone to the winner. Forge Meadow will now head for the Dawn Run novice hurdle at Cheltenham.