Monday, we start at Fakenham. It was to be an incredible day for trainer Olly Murphy who would have a four-timer on the card. The horses were Hurricane Rita, Wood Pigeon (ridden by Richard Johnson), Piri Massini, Bisoubisou (ridden by Fergus Gregory). At Wolverhampton, there was a double for Adam Kirby with Cross Counter and Maestro Mac.
Tuesday, we start at Leicester Optimus Prime continued his progression over fences for Dan Skelton with a victory by a head over Rayvin Black. The feature race the mares chase went to Got Away for Oliver Sherwood. The handicap chase went to Dontminddboys who was advised to our members' 2pts win at 11/4. At Southwell, there was a £20K sprint it went the way of Foolaad. At Wetherby, Dan Skelton made it an across the card treble with a double at Wetherby. The first leg was Solo Saxophone who took the novice hurdle under a winners penalty. The second leg of the Skelton double came in the novice hurdle as Destrier bolted up.
Wednesday, we start at Catterick. The opening contest was a dead heat between Jaunty Flyer and Teescomponents Lad. The feature race on the card the novices handicap chase went to Somewhere To Be for Martin Keighley and Aidan Coleman. At Lingfield, there was a winner for John Gosden with Briscola. At Kempton, there was a double for Simo Dow and Tom Marquand with Bobby Biscuit and Corazon Espinado.
Thursday, we start at Gowran. The Galmoy Hurdle at Grade 2 went to the brilliant Presenting Percy who picked up this big prize while taking a break from chasing. Presenting Percy will be hard to stop at Cheltenham in the RSA on this evidence. The Thyestes chase one of the great races in Ireland was the feature. The race went to Monbeg Notorious who won by eleven lengths for Gordon Elliott and Jack Kennedy winning by eleven lengths from Wounded Warrior, with Space Cadet back in third. Space Cadet was advised to our members' 0.5pt each way at 25/1. Gordon Elliott completed a double on the card as Edene D'arc took the bumper. There was a double on the card for Willie Mullins with Scarpeta and Montalbano.
At Kelso, there was a treble for Donald McCain with Craig Star, Whitsundays, and Shantaluze. At Warwick, there was a double for Henry Daly with The Artful Cobbler and Stoney Mountain. There were some good bets landed on King Uther (20/1 -15/2) who took the feature race a three-mile two-furlong handicap hurdle. There was nothing that caught my eye at Southwell. At Chelmsford, Sir Mark Prescott was on target with Alternate Route.
Friday, we start at Doncaster. The maiden hurdle went to the consistent King Of Realms who won by seven lengths. King Of Realms was advised to our members' 1pt each way at 7/2. There was a double on the card for Noel Fehily on board Wotzizname and Kansas City Chief. At Huntingdon, there was a double for Nicky Henderson and Jeremiah McGrath with Maestro Royal and Pougne Bobbi. The Pertemps qualifier went the way of Taj Badalandabad who bolted up for David Pipe. There was nothing that caught my eye at Lingfield. At Kempton, there was a double for Luke Morris with Rowlestonerendezvu and Sparkalot.
At Dundalk, there were two outstanding performances. The manner in which Clear Skies took the field apart in the one mile two furlongs handicap was really impressive. A five and half-length margin did not do justice to the superiority of Clear Skies. The other really good performance came from Settle For Bay who was an excellent winner. It was a flag night for our own trainer Damian English, who was the special guest on the Get In show on At The Races. Damian's performance has received widespread praise. I watched it back. I thought Damian was superb although I am obviously a little biased. On the track, Damian ran five horses they all got prizemoney. It was a great performance from the team at Grougha Stables. It was a real honor as well as a pleasure to be part of the night. The Grougha team, Galaxy team and the superb man that is Cathal McGuickin all really enjoyed the night. We have and are learning so much from Cathal, Joe, and Mary. The wonderful thing for us all is the inclusion, the team spirit all for one and one for all. There is also genuine delight in each others success. When Mokhalad won before Christmas Joe and Mary English, as well as Cathal McGuickin, celebrated Mokhald's win as if it was one of their own victories. Its the same for the Galaxy Syndicate people we get behind Groughas and Cathal's horses. When they win everybody at Galaxy is delighted for Grougha and Cathal.The five horses were Geological (3rd), Red Avenger(2nd), Alfirak (5th), Wild Shot (4th) and Bluesbreaker who won. These horses made it a night to remember for Damian English. We at Galaxy look forward to playing our part in future big days and nights.
Saturday, we start at Cheltenham. Apple's Shakira maintained her unbeaten record in the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle at Cheltenham, although she was made to work hard for her victory. I am not totally convinced by Apple's Shakira, however, she keeps winning and on balance deserves to be favorite. Frodon stormed into the Ryanair chase picture winning by seventeen lengths giving Bryony Frost another big Saturday winner. The places were filled out by Shantou Flyer and Kings Odyssey back in third. Kings Odyssey was advised to our members' 1pt each way at 7/1. Definitly Red is now in Gold Cup picture with determined Cotswold Chase victory according to some. I do not believe that I think Definitly Red had everything he needed here ground-wise and opposition wise. Definitly Red won by 8 lengths, however to me this race is more of a Grand National trial then a gold cup trial these days. The last horse to win the Gold cup from this race was Looks Like Trouble in 2000. That said it was a good result for our members. Definitly Red was advised to our members' 1pt each way at 7/1. Definitly Red 225 Cheltenham (7/1) & Kings Odyssey 150 Cheltenham (7/1) advised to our members' 0.5pt each way double both placed.
The Ballymore Novice hurdle saw Santini get on top late on to give Nicky Henderson a double following the earlier victory of Apple's Shakira. The Cleeve hurdle saw a tremendous battle between Agrapart and Wholestone. It was Agrapart who came out on top in the end under Lizzy Kelly. Wholestone in my view is a very good each way bet at 14/1 for the stayers hurdle. The concluding race a handicap hurdle went to Remiluc who saw off Huntsmans son and Our Merlin who ran another cracker. Its another good result for our members. Wholestone 300 Cheltenham(9/2) & Our Merlin 410 Cheltenham (10/1)advised to our members' 1.5pts each way double both placed. At Doncaster, Sceau Royal completed his Cheltenham Festival preparations with a comprehensive success in the Lightning Novices' Chase. Sceau Royal goes to the Arkle with a good chance. The Grade two mares hurdle went in heroic fashion to Marias Benefit who held off Irish Roe by three parts of a length. Marias Benefit advised to our members' 3pts win at 10/11. The River Don novice hurdle over three miles went to Enniscoffey Oscar who won by a head from Shannon Bridge. The Sky Bet chase saw one of the finishes of any season. The race went to Wakanda who got up by a head to beat Warriors Tale with the old rogue L'ami Serge up for third. The margins a head and a half-length at the line.
At Uttoxeter, Olly Murphy and Fergus Gregory continued the fine week for the partnership as Whiskey In The Jar won. At Lingfield, there was a winner for Adam Kirby and Godolphin as Celestial Spheres was on target. At Kempton, Adam Kirby made it an across the card double on board Higher Court. At Fairyhouse, there was a double for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend with Kemboy and Laurina. There was a brilliant recovery by Paul Townend as Kemboy survived an X rated mistake at the last to win. The form of Willie Mullins with the Dublin racing festival looming is ominous layers beware. I think Mullins is peaking his squad for this event. The finale went to Gordon Elliott and Poormans Hill who is a great little horse at this grade over fences and hurdles. This is a horse which illustrates Elliott's brilliance as a trainer. Gordon Elliott can train a grade 1 horse brilliantly and a horse like Poormans Hill equally as well.
Sunday, we start at Naas. It was a day dominated by Willie Mullins and Paul Townend. The duo had a treble with Sayo, Sandsend, and Ballyward. I cant remember seeing a horse jump as moderately as Ballyward and win for a long time. Ballyward is one to avoid next time out. The Grade three Woodlands Park Novice chase went to Moulin A Vent in an eventful contest. I am almost certain Mossback would have won but for falling at the last. Jury Duty stopped to a walk on the run in. After all that Moulin A Vent came through to win having been matched on Betfair for €4 at 1000/1. Moulin a Vent is maybe going for the four-miler at Cheltenham, although he stays very well his jumping will be under huge pressure. At Sedgefield, Donald Mccain was on target again as Princess Mononoke took the finale.