Monday, we start at Warwick. The Tourad Man backed up his good run at the Cheltenham festival to win the Three Mile one furlong handicap hurdle. Dan Skelton kept up his great run as Not That Fuisse captured the bumper. At Pontefract, Paul Hanagan got another winner on board Red Tea. At Kempton, Corinthia Knight was very impressive in the Novice auction Stakes. At Windsor, John Gosden was on the mark again with Wasatch Range. At Lingfield, there was a four timer for Luke Morris with Frank Cool, Bouclier, Rum Swizzle and Dusty Blue. At Navan, Washington DC got back to form in the listed 5 Furlong Stakes. Washington DC saw off Ardhoomey by a neck ,with Primo Uomo taking a while to get organized in third. Primo Uomo was advised to our members 1pt each way at 13/2.
The next five days blogs will focus on Punchestown. The first banks race of the meeting Enniskillen finally got a turn having been runner up the last two years. This was an important winner for Jamie Codd. The Herald Champion Novice hurdle the first Grade 1 of the week. Labaik once again blotted his copybook by refusing to race. Labaik simply cannot be trusted, I also do no think punters should be refunded for Labaik. The reason for Labaik being 5/2 is that he refuses to race.The race itself saw a rare misjudgment by Ruby Walsh who fired Melon up a long way chasing a crazy gallop with Pingshou. The fact that Melon eventually won the protracted duel was no consolation as Cilaos Emery picked Melon up after the last and won by a length. Cilaos Emery has above average ability, who was well backed (16/1- 8/1). Pingshou ran a good race in third. The handicap hurdle over two miles went to Western Boy who saw off Light That and Adreamstillalive.
The feature race the boylesports champion chase saw Un De Sceaux go off fav. The race went in good style to Fox Norton who has had a great spring. Robbie Power gave Fox Norton a very good ride . Un De Sceaux tried very hard in second , he is just not as good on quick ground. God's Own ran a creditable race in third. I thought Rock The World ran well in fourth. Sir Valentino was a little disappointing. The Land Rover bumper went for the second year in a row to Robert Tyner with Vision Des Flos who held off Hollowgraphic by a neck. Early Doors ran well in third . Rapid Escape looked a stayer and will be a good race for the future. The Growise Grade 1 Novice Chase always produces a good winner . The race here was no exception as Disko did the job really well. Disko brought the best form into the race a one length defeat to Our Duke. Disko won by 5 lengths from Anibale Fly with A Genie In Abottle back in third. Acapella Bourgeois did not like the ground. There was also the news Sandra Hughes will cease training at the end of the season, another warning for Irelands national hunt scene. The concluding bumper went to Gordon Elliott with Roaring Bull who was a huge drifter (8/1- 25/1) . It was a rough race in which Stooshie looked unfortunate having been milled late on.It was a strike back for Elliott on a day when Willie Mullins had much the better of the exchanges. This battle for the trainers title is going all the way to Saturday.
Wednesday,it was day two of the Punchestown festival. The opening handicap hurdle saw Jessica Harrington in the winners enclosure yet again. Magic Of Light saw off Blast Of Koeman by a head with A Rated in third. Ben Dundee was advised to our members 1pt each way at 20/1 placed (5th place special). The Louis Fitzgerald hurdle saw C'est Jersey dropping back in trip after a creditable hurdle in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham. C'est Jersey made all the running to defeat Battleford by Three and a half lengths. C'est Jersey was advised to our members 1pt each way at 7/1. The Grade 1 Novice Hurdle over three miles saw Gordon Elliott strike back. The worst horse Michael O'Leary owns according to himself is Champagne Classic, the horse belied that title yet again. Champagne Classic won the race by two and a half lengths from Penhill with Tin Soldier in third. Presenting Percy was very disappointing and probably has had enough for one season.
The feature race the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup saw one of the great races . Coneygree took them along at a fierce gallop with Djakadam stalking, Sizing John never traveled as well as he can. As they faced up to the last Coneygree and Djakadam got it slightly wrong. Sizing John rushed up and fought out a tremendous finish with Djakadam winning by a short head, Coneygree ran a cracker in third. It continued a golden run for Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power who are having the time of their lives. It completed a double on the day for Harrington. Sizing John was advised to our members 2pts win at 1/1. The Grade 1 champion Bumper saw Fayonagh step back into action. The truth of this race is Fayonagh dictated from the front and never looked in any real trouble. Fayonagh who is related to the brilliant Solerina won by five and half lengths from Paloma Blue. Fayonagh was advised to our members 2pts win at 7/4. Fayonagh completed a double for Gordon Elliott.Sizing Granite continued the Potts team brilliant season and Punchestown. Sizing Granite won by five lengths from Vicomnte Du Noyer with Irish Cavalier in third completing a 1-2-3 for the Uk raiders. Irish Cavalier was advised to our members 1pt each way at 12/1. Minutestomidnight captured the Grade 3 Mares bumper by a half length from Mystic Theatre as Jamie Codd made it a double on the day. Minutestomidnight will now be sold later on this week, hopefully her connections get a good price and the trainer Jonathan Sweeney keeps the horse. Minutestomidnight was advised to our members 2pts win at 11/4. This result completed an excellent day for us with 4 winners and two places and a 19 point profit.
Thursday, day 3 of the Punchestown festival. The opening JLT handicap hurdle went to Bobabout who got up late on to win by a nose from Runyon Rattler. Pinkie Brown , Highland Fling with Stamp Your Feet picking up the fifth place extra place concession. Bobabout was advised to our members 1pt each way at 14/1. Stamp Your Feet was advised to our members 1pt each way at 8/1 placed (5th place special).It was another triumph for Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power, Bobabout had a troubled passage and would have been an unlucky loser for sure if not getting up.Jessica Harrington did not have to wait long for a double as Don't Touch It, took the very next race by a half length from Caolaneoin. The La Touche Cup went to Treo Eile (who won on Tuesday) , who got the better of Cantlow by a head with First Lieutenant third who was retired after the race. Mtada Supreme was in with a great chance at the third last when running out.
The feature race the Ladbrokes stayers hurdle saw UnowhatImeanharry gain revenge on his Cheltenham conqueror Nichols Canyon by a head with Footpad third. UnowhatImeanharry and Nichols Canyon were eighteen lengths clear of Footpad in third .I do think if Ruby had his time again he would have taken on UnowhatImeanharry earlier. It was a great triumph for Harry Fry and Noel Fehily who did not have to wait long for a double as Minella Awards took the handicap hurdle from No Comment. The places were filled out by Screaming Rose and Showem Silver. Once again the UK raiders as the previous days handicap chase showed they can dominate handicaps when they come over. Showem Silver was advised to our members 1pt each way at 10/1. The Grade 1 Ryanair novice chase went to Great Field in spectacular fashion winning by eleven lengths to Ordinary World with Ball D'arc in third. Great Field was advised to our members 2pts win at 5/4. The mares novice hurdle went Asthuria under a masterful front running Ruby Walsh ride. It was a 1-2-3 for Willie Mullins as Pravalaguna and Good Thyne Tara filling out the places. Good Thyne Tara was advised to our members 1pt each way at 7/1.The bumper went to Dead Right for Jonjo O'Neill jnr and Neil Mulholland by four and half lengths from Next Destination. The week is going well for me to date but still a long way to go.
Friday, day 4 of the Punchestown festival. This was to be a day never to be forgotten. Gordon Elliott going into the day had the lead by over €200,000 by the end of racing willie Mullins would have a lead of over €90,000 . The Novice Handicap chase over Two miles five furlongs went in tremendous style to Woodland Opera who held off Arbre De Vie and Balko Des Flos in a wonderful finish.It was another winner for Jessica Harrington and Robbie Power. Woodland Opera was advised to our members 1pt each way at 9/2. Balko Des Flos was advised to our members 1pt each way at 7/1.The Grade B mares handicap chase saw Gordon Elliott on the mark as Definite Ruby won well fromSlowmotion with Elusive Ivy in third . Elusive Ivy was advised to our members 1pt each way at 15/2. The feature race the Betdaq Champion hurdle saw Vroum Vroum Mag go off fav. The race went in tremendous style to Wicklow Brave under Patrick Mullins who saw off the gallant My Tent Or Yours by a length and a half with Arctic Fire third and Labaik who consented to race fourth. Wicklow Brave built up a tremendous lead and they just could not peg him back. Arctic Fire advised to our members 1pt each way at 9/2. The postmortem of the race was that Vroum Vroum Mag was lame and Labaik sustained an injury which he means his career might be over.
The Tattersalls Ireland Grade 1 novice hurdle saw Finians Oscar back in action. Finians Oscar looked certain to win approaching the last, however a slow jump saw Bacardys under Patrick Mullins who got up in the shadow of the post to win by a short head.The Hunter chase saw On The Fringe try to recapture the winning thread he never went a yard however. The race was fought out by Balinaslow who go the better of Mendip Express by a neck. The two mile novice hurdle saw Willie and Patrick Mullins complete a treble .Montalbano got the better of stable mate Riven Light by a neck. Montalbano was advised to our members 1pt each way at 11/2. A 535/1 treble for Willie and Patrick Mullins was completed on the day. I have been following Willie Mullins since the days of Florida Pearl, what he did tonight was incredible.Determination, desire, humility & brilliance in equal measure.Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins are both remarkable trainers, Mullins just gets Punchestown right like no other trainer.
Saturday, day 5 of Punchestown. It was all about the battle for the title between Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott. The first key battle came in the Mares champion hurdle . Apples Jade for Gordon Elliott was a brilliant winner for Gordon Elliott by 14 lengths from the Willie Mullins trained Airlie Beach. The third , fourth and fifth were all trained by Mullins. The AES champion hurdle was the next key battle . Bapaume took the race for Willie Mullins from Landofhopeandglory who got an inefficient ride. I thought Meri Devie could be one to take out of the race, with Mega Fortune only fourth. This effectively sealed the title for Willie Mullins. The three mile handicap chase went in really good style to Sizing Codelco who was a brilliant winner at Aintree backed up here for Colin Tizzard. The placed horses were Forever Gold and Heron Heights who bought ran well. The €100,000 handicap hurdle proved a triumph for Willie and Patrick Mullins again. The race went to Open Eagle who fought of Dream Berry by a half length with Livelovelaugh in third. The title went to Willie Mullins who mounted a brilliant comeback this week. Jamie Codd took the amateur jockeys title by one winner from Patrick Mullins. Ruby Walsh was the Champion jockey with Rachel Blackmore champion conditional jockey.
At Sandown , it was the end of the UK season over jumps. Nicky Henderson and Richard Johnson claimed the trainers and jockeys title. It was fitting that Nicky Henderson had a treble and Richard Johnson had a double.The Henderson treble consisted of Call Me Lord . The second leg of the Henderson double was the brilliant Altior , who beat the champion chase winner Special Tiara by eight lengths. Altior has the world at his feet. The treble was completed by L'ami Serge who has been called plenty of names.The Richard Johnson double saw Menorah win the Oaksey chase for the fourth time and was retired afterwards. The Johnson double was completed in the last race of the season on board Wait For Me. The Bet 365 gold cup which as a race has fallen a long way. The race went to Henllan Harri for Peter and Sean Bowen who saw off the Nicky Henderson trained Vyta Du Roc , Theatre Guide and Benbens by a head, neck and neck.
Sunday, a low key day after Saturday. We start at Gowran. Somehow overcame trouble in running to land Listed honours in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Victor McCalmont Memorial Stakes at Gowran. Somehow fought her way through showing a good attitude to beat off Sea Swift by one and a quarter lengths. Somehow was advised to our members 2pts win at 6/4. The golden run of Jessica Harrington continued as Red Label saw off Taj Mahal by a neck. At Limerick, Harrington made it a double on the day with Hyperdrive who took the one mile three furlong handicap. Aidan O'Brien completed a double on the day also as Homesman took the concluding maiden. There was a double for Dylan Hogan on board Dandys Gold and Hailstone. At Thirsk , there was a winner for David O'Meara with Musicka.At Salisbury, there was a double for John Patrick Shanahan and Tadhg O'Shea with Sharp Defence and The Tartan Spartan. There was a winner for Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore with Adamant who showed a really good attitude. Adamant was advised to our members 2pts win at 13/8. I had two winners from 2 selections on Sunday.It gave me a good finish to the month a 37 points profit.