Monday we start at Kempton, all eyes were trained on the brilliant Altior who was making his debut over fences. The thing that struck me about Altior was how much bigger and stronger the horse has got,Altior has filled out into his frame. Altior went off 2/13 fav he had no trouble in landing the odds coming home 63 lengths clear of his only rival Black Corton. Altior jumped very well in the main , Altiors technique reminded me of that of Azertyuiop quick clean and efficient. There is clearly a long way for Altior to go , however this was a start which would give hope he will make it over fences. Altior formed part of a Nicky Henderson double with Lough Derg Spirit producing a very nice performance to win the Novices hurdle. The mares listed hurdle over 3 miles was a decent contest given the rain the horses really had to stay. Rons Dream looked certain to win between the last two flights. Surtee Du Berlais was staying on from an unpromising position. Surtee Du Berlais swept passed Rons Dream after the last. Rons Dream had given her all , Surtee Du Berlais went on to win just over 3 lengths for Oliver Sherwood and Leighton Aspell. The 2 mile 4 furlong handicap chase was incident packed with four of the eight runners falling. On the run to the second last Uhlan Bhute had taken command of the race by 4 lengths going well only to crash out. It was a sickner for our members who were on at 7/1. The race went to Mercers Court who despite mistakes stuck at it winning by 3 lengths from Dusky Lark.
At Ludlow, Evan Williams kept up his recent good form with another double the horses were Old Salt and Tornado In Milan who was particularly impressive putting a decent field away easily. There was also a double for Nigel -Twiston Davies with Tintern Theatre and Scotchtown. At Chelmsford , Hairdryer won for Andrew Balding and former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.
Tuesday, we start with Southwell on the all weather which was abandoned due to torrential rain the night before. At Lingfield, it was over the jumps. On the day Monbeg Dude was retired Tom Scudamore had a double with Daklondike and Grace Tara which fittingly came for his brother Michael . There was also a double on the day for Colin Tizzard with Billy No Name and Royal Vacation in his first handicap chase. Royal Vacation ran a good race at Wetherby last time out behind Zeroshadesofgrey. Royal Vacation was advised to our members 2pts win (9/4). At Sedgefield,there was another remarkable day for Brian Hughes who rode a four timer. The horses were Waiting Patiently, Discoverie, Stilo Blue Native and Nortonthorpelegend. The latter two horses formed a double for Rebecca Menzies. There were also winners on the day for Evan Williams with Oxwich Bay and Dan Skelton with The Bay Oak. At Wexford, there was a double for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh with Crack Tiepy and Daisys Gift. It is very hard to tell how good Crack Tiepy is on this evidence, there appears to be a decent engine however. Cloudy Morning made it three handicap wins in a row when taking the handicap hurdle. There were winners for Jessica Harrington with Forge Meadow and Sutton Manor for Gordon Elliott, both horses look of interest for the future.
Wednesday, we start at Wetherby where Brian Hughes continued his good run with a double with Kalaniti and Cooking Fat. Alan King had a winner with Coeur De Lion in the juvenile hurdle. Alan King completed a across the card double with Midnight Tour in the two mile handicap hurdle at Hereford. There were winners at Hereford for Dan Skelton with No Hassle Hoff and Evan Williams with Copper Birch. The horses of Dan Skelton and Evan Williams are running really well just now. At Wolverhampton, there was a four timer for Martin Harley the horses were Nonios, Flower Of Love, Geraldine and Zumurdee who won for Marco Botti. At Kempton, Marco Botti completed an across the card double with Al Reeh.
Thursday, we start at Taunton there were winners for three in form trainers. Harry fry got a winner with Misterton in the novice hurdle who saw off Winningtry by a length and a half. Rebecca Curtis and Jonathan Moore got a winner with Relentless Dreamer who turned a competitive novices chase handicap into a procession. There was a rare 12/1 winner for Paul Nicholls as his four year old Clic Work shouldered 11 stone 12 to victory in the handicap hurdle over two miles. At Towcester, there was another Shark Attack on a UK racecourse as the Shark Hanlon sent Adarenna across from Ireland to win the Novices Handicap Chase. There was a double for Fergal O'Brien and Paddy Brennan with Druid's Folly and Lord Of The Island who picked up really well to win the 2 mile 4 furlong handicap hurdle from Movie Legend who traveled very well in the race. Movie Legend was advised to our members 0.5pt each way (14/1). At Chelmsford, there was nothing to catch my eye.
At Thurles, the empire of Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh continued to strike back. There was a treble on the day. The first leg arrived courtesy of Bellow Mome who jumped like an old hand to readily outpoint the 8/11 fav General Principle by 4 and a half lengths. Bellow Mome was advised to our members 2pts win (2/1). The second leg of the treble came courtesy of Champagne Fever. The Willie Mullins charge having his first run since April 2015 fighting out a titanic finish with Lord Windermere , also having his first run since April 15. These two horses are of course no ordinary horses both being dual Cheltenham festival winners with Lord Windermere a former Cheltenham Gold Cup winner.Champagne Fever saw off Lord Windermere in a pulsating climax by a head. This races sums up how great this sport is the two festival heroes served up an absolute cracker. I really hope both Champagne Fever and Lord Windermere can go on from here as both horses have given me great days.I would like to see Lord Windermere try the King George.The third leg of the Mullins and Walsh treble saw Augusta Kate get off the mark Over hurdles in really impressive style. The Dawn Run mares novice hurdle at Cheltenham looks a very logical long term target. The odd thing about Willie Mullins now is since the split with Gigginstown. I find more people are routing for Willie then ever before. I think that sums the Irish people up perfectly. The good news is Willie will give his legions of supporters plenty to cheer about in the months ahead.The other race of note saw Billy's Hope take the 2 mile 7 furlongs novice hurdle by a length and a half for Jessica Harrington from Dounikos. Billy's Hope travels well in her races long term I could see Billy's Hope running well in either of the Mares races at Cheltenham. Jessica Harrington will certainly know what to do.
Friday, we start at Newbury which hosted the first day of The Hennessy meeting. There was a double for Nicky Henderson and a treble for Barry Geraghty. The Henderson double came courtesy of Jenkins who won the maiden hurdle by 5 lengths. Jenkins has always been held in high regard this was a very good start, Jenkins can go on to better things. The second leg of the Henderson double came in the 2 mile 4 furlong novice hurdle which went to Reigning Supreme.This horse was impressive. The third leg of the Barry Geraghty treble came on the brilliant Uknowhatimeanharry who easily put Ballyoptic and Menorah by 6 lengths and 6 lengths. Uknowhatimeanharry has to be stuck with until beaten , he is tremendously admirable horse with a lot of ability. The only unknown of this race was Snow Falcon who was cruising when crashing out at the third last hurdle. Snow Falcon looked sure to be involved, however you have to jump. The 2 mile 3 furlong novice chase went in very taking fashion to Clan Des Obeaux for Paul Nicholls who bolted up by 10 lengths from Virgillo. Clan Des Obeaux is of serious interest going forward. There was also a double on the day for Noel Fehily with Roman Flight and Solomn Grundy. The feature of the Solomn Grundy victory was the run of favourite Behind Time who took and age to get going. Solomn Grundy turned the Cheltenham form around in no uncertain terms.
At Doncaster, The Unit took the novice hurdle for Alan King by a head from Ballycrystal. There was another tight finish as Jonjo O'Neills Festive Affair beat Olivers Gold by a neck. The 3 mile handicap hurdle went in taking style to Lough Derg Leader who won by 8 lengths for Tom Lacey and Richie McLernon. At Newcastle, there was a treble for Tom Queally with Native Soldier, Just For You and Hackney Road. At Wolverhampton, there was a double for Graham Gibbons with Coquine and Volunteer Point. At Dundalk, there were three doubles for jockeys. Pat Smullen with Twistandturns and Hes Our Music. Wayne Lordan with Adieux and More Kudos. There was also a double Colin Keane with Plough Boy and Burning Brightly.
Saturday, we start at Newbury for Hennessy Gold cup day the last one after 60 years. Hennessy are puling out of the sponsorship deal which is a shame. The Mares listed hurdle went the way of La Bague Au Roi who was a commanding 3 length winner over Dusky Legend who placed in the mares novice at Cheltenham last season. La Bague Au Roi will be confronted by the formidable Irish battalions at Cheltenham. Thistlecrack continued his education over fences with his most polished display yet. Thistlecrack according to Tom Scudamore was not out of second gear. It presents the Tizzard team with a dilemma do they kick on and go for the King George or do they go for the Feltham. I think whichever way they go there are more solid Gold Cup horses the Thistlecrack in Djakadam and Native River who we will get to later. The Gerry Felden hurdle is traditionally a good race it went in very impressive fashion to Who Dares Wins for Alan King and Wayne Hutchinson. Makethedifference had set a blistering gallop, however Hutchinson did not panic picking Makethedifference up between the last two flights.
The feature race The Hennessy Gold Cup was up next it was a cracking renewal Native River was heavily backed before the off from 6/1 into 7/2. Native River jumped off handy under Richard Johnson and led most of the way. Double Ross headed Native river on the run to the second last. Johnson galvanized Native River who moved into a six length lead after the last. Caroles Destrier came with a wet sail , however he could not get to Native River who held on by a half a length. Hadrians Approach ran on well for fourth Blaklion ran a credible race in fifth. Native River was advised to our members 1pt each way (6/1). I think Native River has to be aimed at the Gold cup. as far as I am concerned Djakadam and Native River are good prices for the Gold cup compared to the current rivals. The Tizzard's day unbelievably got better as Ultragold survived an X rated mistake to win the Jim Joel trophy over 2 miles by a half length from Parsnip Pete It meant a treble on the day for Colin Tizzard. These are brilliant days for this yard who seem to be really nice down to earth people. The Tizzard's have three Gold Cup horses in my view it will be an interesting few months for them.
At Newcastle, it was Fighting Fifth day. There was a treble on the day for Darryl Jacob with Elgin , Domperignon Du Lys and Calett Mad. The two feature races were the Fighting Fifth and the Rehersal Chase. The Fighting Fifth produced a great finish. Petit Mouchoir who Bryan Copper had selected of the Gigginstown trained pair had moved into the lead at the third last and crashed out when going well. Irving had been the first off the bridle moved into the lead two out as Sceau Royal faded. Irving had to survive a late charge by Apples Jade and Jack Kennedy who fell short by a nose. It was a great race as well as a great success for young Harry Cobden and Paul Nicholls. As for the future Irving is limited this was his day, Apples Jade will step up in trip and there is more to come from Petit Mouchoir. The Rehearsal chase is a cracking contest it went this year to the Venetia Williams trained Otago Trail who got the better of Bristol De Mai by 3 and a half lengths. Definitley Red was backed as if defeat was impossible 10-3 to 6/4 he never really looked like winning. At Doncaster, the mares novice hurdle went to Snow Leopardess who made hard work of it at times but got it done at 2/9. The novices handicap chase went in good style to Gold Present for Nicky Henderson and Andrew Tinkler.
At Bangor, there was a double for Nigel Twiston- Davies with Colins Brother who landed some nice bets (9/4 - 11/10). The second leg of the double was I am Colin giving young jockey Zak Baker a double. There was nothing of note at Wolverhampton. At Gowran, it was very foggy however sterling work from the course officials with a mobile camera insured we saw it all nearly. Willie Mullins unleashed some serious artillery. The first one up was Invitation Only a very good bumper horse. Invitation Only was smashed in the betting (8/13 - 1/4). Invitation Only won well and looks to have a serious engine. Bellshill started off in the 2 mile 4 furlong beginners chase and won as he liked by 10 lengths. There will be stiffer tests ahead for Invitation Only and Bellshill, however this was a good start for both in new disciplines. The 2 Mile 4 Furlongs conditions chase saw Zabana get back in the winning grove seeing kitten Rock off by a length and half. Zabana will go for the Lexus at Christmas we will know more then.
There is only one place to start Navan with the Gordon Elliott six timer on Troytown chase day. A remarkable day in the history of the sport in Ireland from a remarkable trainer. Elliott understandably was thrilled in the aftermath. Elliott said: "Any day you have a winner is great but to have six on one card, I can't believe it. I had seven winners in a day before between Bellewstown and Perth."We'll enjoy it today. I have a great bunch of staff and good owners but I'll keep my feet on the ground and hopefully let the results do the talking."To win six races at my local track is brilliant, and they are good races as well."It is thought that Elliott's achievement — six winners on the one card in Ireland — is a record.
The day started off with leg 1 of the Elliott six timer, Brelade taking the maiden hurdle under Jack Kennedy seeing off Joey Sasa by a neck. I reckon both of these horses are good. Battleford went off 1/3 for Willie Mullins but could never get competitive this horse stayed on well, I would be amazed if Battleford is not stepped up markedly in trip next time out. Leg 2 was Death Duty who bolted up by 7 and a half lengths in the Monksfield Novice Hurdle over 2 miles 4 furlongs. This looked a good race on paper I am not so sure it will work out that way in the long run. Leg 3 saw a 1-2 for Elliott as Bull Ride held off Dawerann by a nose in the 2 mile handicap hurdle. Leg 4 was the Troytown Handicap chase a great race in the Irish calendar. Gordon Elliott sent the favourite to post in Noble Endeavor heavily backed from 11/1 during the week to 7/2 fav on the off. The race went to Gordon Elliott with Empire Of Dirt who bolted up under 11 stone 8 pounds under Bryan Cooper. This was a real good performance from the Cheltenham festival winner.Abolitionist and Bonny Kate ran crackers in second and third. Noble Endeavor did everything he could running very well to finish fourth. Noble Endeavor was advised to our members 1pt each way at (5/1).
Leg 5 of the Elliott six timer arrived in the 2 mile 6 furlong handicap as Jury Duty bolted up under Jack Kennedy. Jury Duty was a very progressive hurdler last season running several good races. The race that stands out was the race at the Punchestown Festival on 28-4-16 when Jury Duty traveled and moved through the race like a serious horse. Jury Duty got mugged by Cup Final on the line that day.There were no mistakes here Jury Duty won with loads in hand as illustrated by a spectacular jump at the last. This horse will win again soon. Jury Duty was advised to our members 1pt each way at (6/1). Leg 6 came in the mares listed bumper as Three Swallowsnick saw off Glens Harmony by 3 lengths. The winner count at the end of the Gordon Elliott six timer was four winners for Gigginstown, three winners for Bryan Cooper and a double for Jack Kennedy. The one thing that stood out about Gordon Elliotts effort he had 25 runners, he is not afraid to let his horses race each other. This could be very significant over Christmas especially leading to some very competitive racing. My own take on Gordon Elliott is having met him twice he is a very nice bloke first of all. The thing that stands out about him as a trainer is that he has a horse for every type of race Monday night at Sedgefield in May or the Cheltenham Gold Cup. There was one interruption to the Gordon Elliott bonanza as Min took the beginners chase over two miles . This is the same race Vautour and Douvan won. Min was very impressive, however the Arkle looks competitive however Min will go on many shortlists after this.
In the UK ,Carlilse was abandoned a frozen track being the reason. At Leicester there was a double for Adrian Heskin and Tom George with Forgotten Gold and Rocklander. Jonjo o'Neill continues to emerge from the doldrums he was on the mark with Westendorf.