We start at Leopardstown. Flooring Porter was given a fabulous front-running ride by Jonathan Moore to win the Leopardstown Christmas Hurdle. Supplemented for the Grade One having easily won a handicap last time out, Moore judged his fractions perfectly in front aboard Gavin Cromwell’s five-year-old. The Storyteller was up for second advised to our members 1pt each-way at 9/1 (rule 4 deduction). This was brilliant for the Flooring Porter Syndicate who supplemented the horse. Willie Mullins’ domination of the Leopardstown Christmas meeting continued on Monday as Gaillard Du Mesnil initiated a four-timer. Mullins and Townend then won the Pertemps Qualifier with 16-1 shot Dandy Mag. Mrs Milner finished fourth advised to our members 1pt each-way at 17/2.
The Big Getaway, who ran so well behind Envoi Allen at Cheltenham in March, put a disappointing chasing debut behind him. Sent off the 4-5 favourite in the Ballymaloe Foods Beginners Chase, he made every yard of the running for Townend, and his jumping got better the quicker he went. Cedarwood Road Advised to our members 1pt each way at 11/2 placed. our members also had 0.25pt each way Trixie Mrs Milner 1240 Leopardstown 17/2 , The Storyteller 115 Leopardstown 9/1 Cedarwood Road 300 Leopardstown 11/2 completing a very decent day for our members. Patrick Mullins then donned the Donnelly silks in the closing Midland Legal Solicitors INH Flat Race on the long-absent Ramillies (15-8 favourite). This made it five winners on the day for Willie Mullins - four at Leopardstown (Gaillard Du Mesnil, Dandy Mag the other ones) and Ciel De Neige in Limerick.
The feature race of the week was the Savills Chase. It was a vintage line up as strong as I can remember. The race was run at a very good pace. A Plus Tard finished with a flourish to collar Kemboy in the final strides in a vintage renewal of the Savills Chase at Leopardstown. Kemboy looked sure to win the race for a second time in three years, having helped set a strong gallop in the early stages before stablemate Melon took over the lead with a mile to run. Melon went well clear at one stage, but David Mullins did not panic on Kemboy and when Melon stuttered into the second last, Kemboy reclaimed the lead. It looked sure to be a Willie Mullins-trained winner as at that stage Allaho was third, but as he dropped away, A Plus Tard could be seen making ground. Stepping up to three miles for just the second time, Henry de Bromhead’s A Plus Tard (15-2) hit overdrive having jumped the last with many lengths still to find and he ended up providing jockey Darragh O’Keeffe with the biggest win of his career by half a length. The race lost some of its lustre when the front two in the betting, Minella Indo and Delta Work, departed within two fences of each other early on the second circuit.
My take on the race was it was a superb race. A Plus Tard will surely go for The Gold Cup. I was delighted with Melon I have backed him Ante Post for the Ryanair at 22/1 earlier this for a nice few quid. As long as nothing happens to Al Boum Photo. I should have a live bet. Kemboy ran really well, I have never warmed to him. This was a very good run to be fair. Delta Work does not jump well enough in my view, I was not totally surprised he fell. I do not think Allaho stays this trip, I expect him to head for the Ryanair swapping with A Plus Tard who was a beaten fav in the Ryanair at the festival 2020. I have backed Minella Indo for the Gold Cup at 14/1. I could not back Minella Indo at 2/1 or 5/2 here. It was disappointing to see him fall. It was a bad fall as well hopefully his confidence is not broken. I would like to see Minella Indo have another run before Cheltenham.
At Limerick, following Ciel De Neige winning the opener. Jody McGarvey completed opening races double and completed the feat as a substitute in the rescheduled Grade 2 Lyons Of Limerick Jaguar Novice Hurdle, on the Gordon Elliott trained winner Farouk D'alene.
We start at Leopardstown, Sharjah and Patrick Mullins made it a fabulous hat-trick when displaying a fantastic turn of foot in the Matheson Hurdle. Ridden cold by Mullins, he was dropped out at the rear as Rachael Blackmore attempted to make all on Aspire Tower. Saint Roi, a Willie Mullins stablemate of the winner, had no excuses on this occasion – but well-positioned by Mark Walsh, his jumping did not stand up to the test in the highest company. Another Willie Mullins inmate, Saldier – having his first run for more than 400 days – ran well for a long way before dropping away after the last. But Gordon Elliott’s Abacadabras disappointed and never looked like winning at any stage. Briefly Blackmore and Aspire Tower looked as if they might have slipped the field, but Sharjah (11-2) arrived on the scene still on the bridle before quickening up to win by two lengths. Petit Mouchoir ran on for third.
Concertista confirmed her superiority over Minella Melody with another smooth win in the Advent Insurance Irish EBF Mares Hurdle. Dropped in off the pace by Paul Townend as Rachael Blackmore set a stiff tempo on Minella Melody, the 4-5 favourite made ground easily before coming away to win by six and a half lengths and continue Willie Mullins’ domination of the meeting. Monkfish again outdid his old rival Latest Exhibition in the Neville Hotels Novice Chase. There was nothing between them as they raced at full pelt around the final bend and approached the last fence – and both met it on a decent stride. After the last Monkfish (1-2 favourite) just had a bit more speed, though, and Willie Mullins’ giant pulled three lengths clear as the champion trainer registered yet another notable Christmas success. 2.5pts win Double Concertista 115 Leopardstown (1/1) won Monkfish 150 Leopardstown (1/2) won. The Mullins four-timer was completed by Stattler, giving Paul Townend a treble.
At Limerick, Grand Roi registered a Grade Two success for Gordon Elliott on just his second start for the yard in the Grant Thornton Hurdle. Giving Elliott and across the card double following the victory for Hollow Games in the bumper at Leopardstown. At Newbury, Bravemansgame continued his surge up the ranks with a very impressive victory in the Challow Novices’ Hurdle for Paul Nicholls. I have to say this horse is a very impressive type; he could be anything. Bravemansgame was advised to our members (2pts win) 5/2. At Doncaster, Annie Mc made the most of racing against her own sex again as she ran out a convincing winner of the Yorkshire Silver Vase Mares’ Chase. At Kelso, Rock On Fruity was on the mark for JP McManus.
Wednesday, we start at Limerick. Second to subsequent Leopardstown winner Master McShee last time, Atlantic Fairy won race four at Limerick to bring up a double for Henry de Bromhead and Rachael Blackmore. Following on from the win of Kalkas in the opener. Fourth in the Foxhunters at Cheltenham in March Staker Wallace was very smooth in justifying odds of 4/7 in the Earl of Harrington Memorial Maiden Hunters Chase. At Market Rasen, the Lincolnshire Grand National normally run on the 26-12 went to Who's In The Box for Charlie Hammon, I thought Cyclop looked unlucky in third. At Taunton, Talking About You took the listed novices mares hurdle no mean feat for a three-year-old.
Thursday, the end of 2020. We start at Punchestown, Longhouse Poet dug deep to get off the mark over fences in the opening beginners' chase. I think this lad would be a good candidate for the National Hunt Chase or the Irish Grand National. It proved plain sailing for hotpot Bachasson as he recorded an easy win in the conditions hurdle at Punchestown this afternoon. Stone And Roses ran out a convincing winner earlier in the card, giving Willie Mullins a double. Humble Glory gave Gordon Elliott a double on the card at Punchestown today when staying on stoutly to land the concluding mares' bumper. Riviere D'etel made an impressive debut for Gordon Elliott when running out a facile winner of the juvenile maiden hurdle.
At Warwick, Shearer provided trainer Paul Nicholls with his 100th winner of the season — going one better than on his debut as he took the final National Hunt race of the year. At Lingfield, Fox Duty-Free took the feature race. At Newcastle, Anif took the feature race.
The year finished with the sad news that former Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate racehorse Lottieloveheart passed away, we sold Lottieloveheart in October. It was still a jolt when the new owners kindly phoned us to tell us. Our sincere condolences go to the current owners of Lottieloveheart. It is dreadful luck for them. She was a lovely tempered horse who was very much loved and popular with our Syndicate members. Her finest hour for ourselves came when she was beaten by a diminishing neck at Galway 8-9-20 into second by Khafaaq who is now rated 80. This was a fantastic run. We will always be grateful to Lottieloveheart as she was the first horse we got to work with Leanne Breen on. This will be Lottielovehearts legacy to ourselves. Go well Lottieloveheart like all our horses we will not forget the role you played in our story.
Friday, we start at Musselburgh. There was a treble for Donald McCain with Fiveandtwenty, Navajo Pass and Blakeney Point. At Tramore, there was a double for Willie Mullins with Mr Coldstone and Al Boum Photo. There was a lot of chat about this performance. I personally thought this was very good. Dual-Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo completed a hat-trick of Savills New Year's Day Chase wins at Tramore today as Willie Mullins' gelding is now set for a more important treble attempt at Cheltenham in March.
Al Boum Photo jumped well and while he didn't travel with the authority of a dual-Gold Cup winner, nevertheless went by Acapella Bourgeois at the second last and beat that 156 rated rival easily, by 19 lengths. Afterwards, Mullins, reported, “it's a big relief- it was nerve-wracking watching him going around there."He jumped very well and Paul said he was just so idle on his own in the middle of the race, he didn't even think he was in the race. “He had to roust him up down the back but once he got racing he was fine. Lack of company was a bigger worry for Paul than anything else.” I thought Djingle went very quick early causing it to be run at a very strong pace. The win was trainer Mullins and jockey Paul Townend's second of the afternoon, and Mullins' own 20th since Christmas Day. Itsalonglongroad gained a sixth career win at Tramore today for Galaxy trainer John McConnell and jockey Simon Torrens. The meetings at Exeter and Cheltenham were abandoned.
Saturday, we start at Sandown. Jamie Moore celebrated his 800th winner in Britain following the front-running success of Hudson De Grugy in the Juvenile Hurdle. Whitehotchillifili took her career to new heights after opening her account for the season with a tenacious success in the Mares Hurdle. This win initiated a double for Harry Fry which was completed by Metier maintained his unbeaten record over obstacles with a facile victory in the Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle. Metier looked really impressive here. Sandy Thomson enhanced his reputation for restoring horses to their former glories as he sent out Seeyouatmidnight to land the Veterans’ Handicap Chase. There was an impressive win for Ibleo for Venetia Williams. This was a very good ride by Charlie Deutsch. It was a decent day for our members from 4 bets Crosspark 300 Sandown (1pt each way) 8/1 placed, Monsieur Lecoq 335 Sandown (1pt each way) 7/2 and a 0.5pt each-way double. The day was rounded off with Ibleo 150 Sandown (2.5pts win) 2/1 won.
At Cork, Koshari continued Willie Mullins’ amazing run of recent success when taking the featured GAIN Handicap Hurdle. The champion trainer was sending out his 21st winner since Christmas which included six at Grade 1 level, and this latest success was all the more meritorious as the gelding was reappearing after an absence of 875 days. Treacysenniscorthy regained the winning thread when making all and surviving a terrible mistake at the last in the GAIN Handicap Chase at Cork. The Robert Widger-trained gelding was highly progressive last season winning five times including a valuable handicap hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival in Leopardstown. At Lingfield, there was a double for Mark Johnston with Bravado and Coupe De Champagne.
Sunday, we start at Fairyhouse. Royal Kahala displayed a potent turn of foot as she notched a Fairyhouse hat-trick with victory in the Mares Hurdle. Agusta Gold gained a deserved success in the John & Chich Fowler Memorial EBF Mares Chase under Danny Mullins. At Plumpton, Seaston Spirit showed an abundance of stamina to maintain his unbeaten record this season in the Sky Sports Racing Sussex National Handicap Chase for trainer Oliver Sherwood. Benovelendictator was advised (1pt each way) 9/2. Tributes have been paid to trainer Zoe Davison, who died on Sunday after a long illness, shortly after two of her horses claimed wins at Plumpton. If ever a day put things into perspective this was it. At Catterick, there was a treble for Brian Hughes with Bareback Jack, Sigurd and The Herds Garden. Two of the winner's Bareback Jack and The Herds Garden continued Donald McCain's rapid start to 2021 with a double.