Monday, Easter Monday. There were plenty of meetings on. We will start at Chepstow. The handicap chase went to Pressurize for Venetia Williams who saw off Quite By Chance. Colin's Brother was another winner for Nigel Twiston- Davies. At Cork the ground was very testing Booby's Kitten was an 8 length winner for the Weld and Smullen combination. Salsify won the Hunter chase on ground he would have hated at prohibitive odds of 1/6. I saw nothing to note at Fakenham, ditto Huntingdon and Market Rasen. The turf flat season kicked into action at Redcar. There was a winner each for some of the top northern yards Esterby, Reveley, O'Meara, Barron and Swinbank all among the winners.
I was on duty at Fairyhouse where I was doing the tipster in the box of first race race Sponsors REA Grimes Property. The day itself was top class racing wise with a very nice crowd in the box who I managed to get some winners for. The REA Grimes Property hurdle went to Slowmotion who was really impressive winning by 7 lengths from Rashaan, Joseph O'Brien has a smart horse on his hands in Slowmotion. The Grade 2 novice hurdle looked a decent race on paper , so it proved. The race went to Sutton Place who had made a big impression at Naas on his previous start. Sutton Place settled down to fight it out with Royal Caviar, as they jumped the last flight there was an X rated mistake from Sutton Place. I certainly thought that was it but Barry Geraghty gathered up and Sutton Place fought back to win by a snug half length.The result was great for our members who were on, it was also my strongest bet of the day for the Sponsors box attendees. Sutton Place looks a really smart horse, I think he will make a nice chaser. The Grade 2 handicap hurdle was a competitive looking race, it went to Value at Risk for Dan Skelton. I must tip my hat to Dan Skelton who spotted this really good opportunity . The victory of Value at Risk was good news for our members who had a (1pt each way bet at 5/1 SP 11/4) , Marchese Marconi ran very well this horse is of interest at Punchestown. I thought Sort it out ran a lovely race in fourth who will be of major interest at Punchestown.
The Irish Grand National was a tremendous contest the race went to Rogue Angel who was brilliant here making nearly all the running. Rogue Angel held off Bless The Wings by a short head in an epic finish, I thought Ruby Walsh gave Bless the Wings a brilliant ride. Ballyadam Approach ran a cracker in third, Folsom Blue gave our members a great run advised 1pt each way 28/1 sp 20/1. I thought Venitian De Mai ran like a non stayer. The race was a disaster for horses with more then 11 stone yet again. The Irish Grand National is a very strong trends race , punters need to accept that and stick with the trends. The race advertised the talents of Mouse Morris who has few equals when it comes to getting a horse ready for a big race. The Mares novice chase saw Emily Gray get the better of Uranna, it was nice to see Kim Bailey get a winner I have always admired him as a trainer. The bumper was a good contest with three good horses Death Duty, Blow by Blow and Sunni May. The race went to Blow By Blow this horse looks a future Albert Bartlett horse to me with the scope to be a chaser. I still think Death Duty and Sunni May will make up into useful horses.
Tuesday, we start at Fairyhouse for Day 3 of the Easter Festival. The Beginners chase went to Mr Diablo who was well on top at the line , he will pay his way over the summer. The Normans Grove chase went to Top Gamble by 7 lengths for Kerry Lee who once again showed she had read the programme book . Top Gamble won in ready fashion from Sizing Granite who showed a little more then recently here. The victory of Top Gamble was good news for our members who had a (4pt) win at 5/4. The €55K novice handicap hurdle went Coney Island who ran out a good winner, Coney Island looks one to watch for Punchestown. Stowaway Shark (12/1 to 7/1) ran well for "The Shark Hanlon" , Jury duty ran well for Gordon Elliott , as did the frustrating Space Cadet. The €50K handicap hurdle went to Clondaw Warrior who Ruby Walsh gave a very good ride to , producing him on the rail to win by a comfortable 3 lengths, The Plan Man and Modem ran well both go in the Punchestown notebook. Desoto County ran fine in fourth but may well be one of those frustrating horses, he was flat out all the way here. The bumper saw Gordon Elliott unleash a smart horse in the shape of Miracle in Medinah, got on top late with a very nice turn of foot to see off the frustrating Some neck who in fairness did little wrong here.
In the Uk , we start at Hexham where two Irish raiders picked up the prizes. The £10K handicap hurdle went to See Double You who ran out a comfortable winner for trainer/jockey Ronan McNally. I think See Double You can win another of these type of races. The handicap chase went to Gibbstown who won handily by 5 lengths with 14 lengths back to the third he could win again soon on a raid in the north of England from his Irish base. At Southwell My Little Cracker ran out an 11 length winner of the mares novice hurdle there is more to come from this horse. The novice hurdle saw Churchtown champ go off a short priced favourite for Dan Skelton, this horse was well beaten off. The race went to Aqua dude who despite looking beaten at various points got the job done. Aqua Dude is one to keep on side at these sort of venues.
Wednesday,we start at Exeter. There was a double for the David Pipe team Twentytwo's Taken defied top weight to win the handicap hurdle , this was a very game performance. The second leg of the double was Brook , the french bred five year old ran out a ready winner by 7 lengths he must be a horse to keep an eye on in the coming weeks. The Hunter Chase was a tremendous result for jumps fan as the lovable veteran at 14 years young Big Fella Thanks won the race. I have to say as jumps fans we love this kind of result. There wasn't anything at Lingfield that caught me eye, the same goes for Southwell and Kempton. At Downpatrick there was a double for for Gordon Elliott with Buyer Beware and Le Grand Chene. The Winkler got his turn in the Beginners chase . The bumper went in very taking style to Bel Sas for Willie Mullins, Bel Sas looks a horse to follow in the future.
Thursday, the novice hurdle went to Belami Des Pictons for Venetia Williams by 13 lengths. Itshard To No kept the good run of Kerry Lee taking the handicap hurdle with Richard Johnson on board. Kerry Lee also had a winner at Ffos Las as Alfie Spinner won the handicap chase. The bumper went to Geordie Des Champs for Rebecca Curtis, this horse finished 18th of 23 in the Cheltenham in the bumper. Geordie Des Champs will now head to the sales. At Chelmsford Dark Red landed a bit of a punt (5/2 to 6/4) under Ryan Moore, Dark Red looks a horse to be with going forward. At Clonmel the maiden hurdle went to the Mouse Morris trained Alamein by 18 lengths. The Beginners chase went to Owenacurra Milan who had been running well in handicap hurdles. The Suir Valley chase went to Bright New Dawn who won very easily by 12 lengths the Job Is Right ran pretty well in third , that horse will be of interest stepping back up in trip. Mtada Supreme won the handicap chase , this horse no doubt will be aimed at a banks race at Punchestown. The runner up King Blue should get a turn soon in a similar contest.
Friday, we start at Newbury. The novice hurdle went to Bigbadjohn for Rebbeca Curtis the first leg of a double for Curtis, Hell's Kitchen went off 1/3 was well beaten off in second by 9 lengths. The second leg of the Curtis double was Potters Cross who won the handicap chase just holding off Viva Steve in a super finish. There was also a double on the day for Nigel Twiston Davies . The first leg was Thunder Sheik who won the handicap hurdle beating off Gala Ball and Montbazon by 3 lengths and 10 lengths respectively. The novice handicap hurdle was the second leg of the Nigel Twiston Davies double, it went to Florrie Boy who won easily by 7 lengths. At Fontwell there was yet another winner for Colin Tizzard who has had a great season to date, Satorial Elegance won the handicap hurdle with Paddy Brennan on board. There was nothing of note at Wetherby, Wolverhampton or Lingfield. At Dundalk there was a double for Aidan O'Brien with Long Island Sound and Washington DC both winning in good style. There also a winner for Dermot Weld with Tilly Trotter.
Saturday, we start at Doncaster which saw the start of the flat season proper. The Lincoln was the feature race the ground was very soft at Doncaster. The Lincoln itself went to Secret Brief who won the race for Godolphin , I thought Birdman and Emell ran well in behind. The Brocklesby was supposed to see the clash of the Wesley Ward trained Create A Dream and The Last Lion. The race was robbed of some of its intrigue when Create a Dream was declared a non runner, I don't think it would have mattered in any event as The Last Lion bolted up here. The Mark Johnston two year old's have been flying , The Last Lion looks to be the best of them he bounced out made all winning eased down by nearly 2 lengths. The card at Newbury was a jumps card. The 3 mile 1 furlong handicap went to Benvolio for Paul Nicholls and Sam Twiston Davies winning by 11 lengths from Ned Stark. The next race saw Thomas Crapper who missed the cut at the Cheltenham Festival record his first win over fences getting the better of Fox Appeal by 1 and 3 quarters of a length. The EBF mares final went to Briery Queen who got the race in the stewards room after Lady Of Lamanver was correctly disqualified having severely interfered with Briery Queen on the run in. Duke Street who ran a decent race for a long way in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham won the Juvenile Handicap hurdle in tremendous style by 8 Lengths from Cobra De Mai.
At Kelso, the handicap hurdle went to Silsol for Paul Nicholls and Jack Sherwood who got the better of Shades Of Midnight in a good race. I reckon Shades Of Midnight will go for the Scottish National now next. Savello ran really well in the Grand Annual at Cheltenham , he got his just rewards for the season here with a decisive win over Dormello Mo by 5 lengths. At Kempton there was a double for Marco Botti with Crazy Chic and Kyllachy Queen being the winners. These two horses were ridden by Andrea Atzeni who actually had a four timer on the day. There was nothing of note at Uttoxeter to my eyes. At Navan the Tony Martin revival continued as Heathfield won a handicap hurdle. I would imagine Heathfield, will be aimed at the Scottish National or the Long Distance Chase at Punchestown he won last season. The Webster Cup went to Smashing who saw of Road To Riches by a half a length in second , with Foxrock charging home in third. I reckon all three horses will head to Punchestown.
Sunday, we start at The Curragh. The Big Bob Gladness Stakes went to OnenightIdreamed who held off Flight risk on the run to the line. Dick Whittington who was making a comeback run after injury ran alright and will come on for this. The Alleged Stakes went to Zhukova (8/1 to 6/1) who went right away to win by 4 and half lengths in the last furlong, for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen who have started the season well. The concluding maiden saw plenty of chat for Aasheq for Dermot Weld and Us Army Ranger for Aidan O'Brien. The race itself was an interesting watch with Aasheq travelling beautifully in the race , however US Army Ranger picked Aasheq up late on to win by 3 parts of length. I think Aasheq and Us Army Ranger are two potentially smart horses. I would also point out US Army Ranger was winning the same maiden Ruler Of The World won on route to winning the Epsom Derby in 2013. I think if US Army Ranger goes to Chester next it will be a massive hint. At Doncaster Roudee won the six furlong handicap by a short head, this horse likes Chester keep an eye on him when he goes to that track. Soldier in Action was a good winner for Mark Johnston in the 1 Miles 2 Furlongs handicap. Sandro Botticelli was an authoritative winner of the Doncaster Shield under Frankie Dettori by 4 Lengths.
At Ascot, there was a jumps card. The juvenile handicap hurdle turned into a romp for Adrien Du Pont who hacked up by 6 lengths. The veterans chase went to Forgotten Gold who stayed on strongly to win by 8 lengths from Mon Parrain with Shotavodka 9 lengths back in third. The conditional jockeys handicap hurdle went to Taj Badalandabad who stuck at it well holding off Shalmanzar and Return spring in a good finish. The Hunter chase went to the old rogue Polisky who got his head in front here. There was nothing of note at Carlilse to my eyes. The card at Limerick looked low key but it would produce the story of the day. The second race went to Velocity Boy who stole a huge lead from the outset. The bird had flown Velocity Boy advised to our members 1pt each way (4/1 ) sp 2/1.The whole field basically ignored Velocity Boy who won by 11 lengths from Noble Emperor with the pack only giving chase with 3 hurdles to run. The post race saw the stewards interview all the losing jockeys. The inquiry saw Barry Geraghty get suspended for 30 days , his mount Noble Emperor suspended for 60 days and trainer Tony Martin fined €3,000 euro. I must say watching the race I thought Barry Geraghty did not do that much wrong , he was also 15 Lengths clear of the third horse Cliff House. I would have suspended all the jockeys for the effort they made on the losing horses. Barry Geraghty will appeal his suspension means he will miss Punchestown. I would reckon Barry will win the appeal. I do think the stewards have picked a funny one to go after when we all have seen much worse transgressions with no action taken. The rest of the card saw an excellent win for Avant Tout who won the Grade 2 Novice Chase by 2 lengths from Lord Scoundrel . I like Avant Tout and he is a horse who I believe will make into a smart horse in time.