Tuesday St Stephens Day, we start at Kempton. The feature race was for the King George it went to the eccentric Might Bite. The race itself saw Bristol De Mai attempt to make all, however, he folded very quickly. Might Bite kicked on from Bristol De Mai setting sail for home pretty early. Might Bite eventually ran out a one-length winner from Double Shuffle and it was two lengths back to Tea For Two, with Thistlecrack fourth. I thought Might Bite looked glad of the finishing line. The jury would be out in the Gold cup for me. It was a good race for our members. Might Bite was advised to our members' 3pts win at 6/4. Tea For Two was advised to our members' 0.25pts each way at 28/1. There were a couple of other grade ones at Kempton. The first one saw Black Corton and Byrony Frost take the Kauto Star in tremendous style. Black Corton jumped for fun and strung the field out to win by a length and a half from Elegant Escape. The Grade one hurdle on the card was the Christmas hurdle it went to Buveur D'air who readily saw off The New One by two and a half lengths. Buveur D'air was completing a Grade one double for Nicky Henderson on the day. I cannot see beyond Buveur D'air for the Champion Hurdle regardless of what Faugheen does between now and Cheltenham
At Leopardstown, Grade one action was again the order of the day. The Grade one Racing Post novice chase went in breathtaking fashion to Footpad who bolted up by eleven lengths from Any Second Now. There was the last fence fall for Death Duty, however, he was well beaten at the time. Footpad looks to these eyes to be the Arkle winner in waiting. The Grade 2 juvenile hurdle went to Espoir D'allen who looks a top class prospect for Gavin Cromwell. The rest of the card was dominated by Henry De Bromhead who had a treble with Ellie Mac, Paloma Blue, and Tisamystery.At Limerick, there was a double for Rachael Blackmore on board Lady In Lavender. The Grade 2 novice chase went to Dounikos for Gordon Elliott.It was a fortunate win as Al Boum Photo was going to win but for the last fence fall. At Down Royal, there was a four-timer for Gordon Elliott with Sutton Manor, Minelladordollars, Stooshie, and Cubomania. The hunter chase went to Gilgamboa who could have a lucrative career as a hunter.
At Wetherby, there was a double for Richard Johnson on board Petticoat Tails and Dalaman. There was also a double for trainer Micky Hammond with Only Orsenfoolsies and Caraline. The feature race the Rowland Meyrick went to Get On the Yager for Dan Skelton seeing off Wakanda by a head. At Market Rasen, the Lincolnshire National went to Cyclop. At Huntingdon, Jonjo ONeill was on target with Cloth Cap. The listed mares bumper went to red-hot Anthony Honeyball with Dunhallow Gesture. At Wincanton, Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson had a winner each with If You Say Run and Protek Des Flos. At Sedgefield, Harry Bannister and Harry Whittington had a double with The Dubai Way and Octagon. At Fontwell, Gary and Jamie Moore had a double with Aiguille Rouge and Knockanuss. At Wolverhampton, there was a winner for Godolphin with Ocean Of Love.
Wednesday, we start at Kempton. It was to be a good day for Paul Nicholls as he landed a double. Politologue took the Desert Orchid chase in good style following the departure of Special Tiara. The Nicholls double was completed by Cyrname who jumped really well on route to victory. The mares handicap hurdle went to Midnight Tune for Anthony Honeyball. At Wetherby, Brian Hughes was in double form winning on board Albert's Back and Lisdoonvarna Lad. The feature race the Castleford Chase went in great style to Just Cameron who went two places better than last year to win for Micky Hammond. At Wolverhampton, there was a winner for Irish trainer Michael O'Callaghan with Hello Brigette. The Welsh Grand National card was abandoned and will now be run on January 6th.
At Leopardstown, it was Paddy Power Chase day. The feature race went to Anibale Fly for Tony Martin and JP McManus. This was a very good effort with 11 stone 8 on his back. It further advertised the strength of last seasons novice chasers. The Grade 1 novice hurdle turned into a shambles. Mengli Khan ran out at the second last when looking in charge. Sharjah (who looked sure to win) came down at the last as did stablemate Reel Steel. After all, that mayhem Whisky Sour came through to win. The Grade 1 two-mile chase saw Min disqualified and Simply Ned get the race rightly so in my view. I was far from impressed with Min throughout the whole race. There was a treble for Willie Mullins on the card the win of Whisky Sour was followed by impressive wins for Mr. Adjudicator and Carefully Selected both looked smart prospects. At Limerick, there was a double for Cathal Landers on board Allez Kai and De Benno.
Thursday, we start at Leopardstown for the feature race of the meeting the Christmas chase.I was in attendance myself.It saw Sizing John backed as if defeat was out of the question. It was not to be for Sizing John who was never going and trailed in seventh. Sizing John was found to be post-race abnormal. It was even worse for Yorkhill who ran like a fella trying to escape from prison and trailed in last of the 8 finishers. The race went to Road To Respect who continues to get on with his job. This time leading a Gigginstown 1-2-3 home with Balko Des Flos and Outlander filling the places.It was a head-scratching result in some ways which surely means a drop back in trip for Yorkhill. It also is back to the drawing board for Djakadam who pulled up. Road To Respect looks to me to be a serious player for the Gold Cup. The win for Road To Respect formed a double for Noel Meade as Snow Falcon took the beginners chase. There was also a double for Joseph O'Brien with Alighted and Hardback. The last trainer for a double was Gordon Elliott who won with Flawless Escape and Apples Jade. The race Apples Jade won saw a great battle with Supasundae. Apples Jade will now go for the mares race at Cheltenham. Mine Now took the Pertemps qualifier. Turbojet ran a cracker and was advised to our members' 0.5pt each way at 25/1
At Limerick, Joseph O'Brien and Gordon Elliott were on target with High Sparrow and Duca De Thaix. At Lingfield, Joseph O'Brien made it a remarkable across cards four-timer on the day taking the finale with Art Nouvelle. At Catterick, there was a double for Micky Hammond with Paddling and Shalamzar.
Friday, we start at Leopardstown. I was in attendance a couple of close friends went with me introducing their children to horse racing. It was wonderful to see the kids enjoying the racing. It took me back to when my parents took me racing in my childhood years. The children had more success then your correspondent which as always shows how racing will keep your grounded. I start by saying Sarah, Patrick, Caelum and Michael Jnr congratulations on your success. I hope its the start of a lasting interest in racing. On to the track. The opening contest saw the well-backed Spider Web take the race for the sponsor JP McManus. I had a decent bet on Lasoscar and he ran a cracker to finish third. Lasoscar was advised to our members' 1.5pt each way at 9/1. The second race saw Henry De Bromhead kick off a double. The first leg was Dicey O'Reilly who took the maiden at 18/1(well done Sarah and Patrick).There looked to be no fluke about it as Dicey O'Reilly made most of the running and ran out a ready three-length winner. The second leg of the De Bromhead double was In Minds Eye (well done Michael Jnr) who took the handicap hurdle from Darkest Flyer and Snugsborough Hall. I thought this looked a good race, the placed horses are for the horse tracker for sure.
Lets Dance kicked off a double for Willie Mullins. I was never happy with Lets Dance despite taking the evens which looked too good to pass. I thought Lets Dance was never going and her jumping was very sloppy. In my view, the class of Lets Dance got her through here. The concluding bumper completed the Mullins double. I thought before the race Daily Tiger set a strong standard. It did not work out that way as Minella Encore and The Gunner Murphy left Daily Tiger for dead. I was very impressed with Minella Encore (well done Caelum).It looks significant this horse will stay racing in bumpers now. The two feature races looked to have very strong favorites going into them. Faugheen was in the Ryanair hurdle, he looked in trouble down the back straight. So it proved as Faugheen pulled up. The race itself went to Mick Jazz who saw off Cilaos Emery. I actually could see Mick Jazz running well at a big price in the champion hurdle. Mick Jazz travels and jumps as well as having run well at Cheltenham before. The Neville Hotel chase was the other Grade 1 Monalee went to post a strong favorite. However, like so many over Christmas, it was not to be as Monalee crashed out at the tenth fence. The race went to Shattered Love (well done Sarah and Patrick) who saw Jury Duty off in good style. I thought Bon Papa despite racing with the choke out for much of the race ran a nice race in third. A strongly run race at one of the festivals could really suit. The victory for Shattered Love gave Gordon Elliott a Grade 1 double following the win for Mick Jazz earlier.
At Limerick, it was a bad day to be a layer with five market leaders obliging. There was a double for Willie and Danny Mullins with Fabulous Saga and Kate Appleby Shoes. The other two winners to impress were Beyond The Law and Off You Go. At Southwell, there was a double for Robert Winston with Foolaad and Declamation.
Saturday, very much after the lord mayors show. We start at Taunton. There was a double for Sam Twiston- Davies with Dan McGrue and Burrenbridge Hotel. I was really impressed with Attest who took the handicap hurdle. The feature race the mares listed Novice hurdle went to Maria's Benefit who turned the race into a romp winning by thirty lengths. Maria's Benefit is a top price of 10/1 for the mares novice hurdle at Cheltenham. In my view, it will take a good one to stop Maria's Benefit in this mood. At Haydock, the going was horrendous. There was a double for Donald McCain with Lastbutnotleast and Waterlord. The feature race the Last Fling chase went to Emperors Choice for Venetia Williams. At Newbury, the Challow hurdle a Grade one was the feature it went the way of Poetic Rhythm by a short head from Mulcahys Hill. The Mandarin handicap chase went to Daklondike for David Pipe. At Lingfield, there was a double for Oisin Murphy with City Gent and Dubai One.
Sunday, we start at Punchestown. The year ended as it should with Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins making the headlines. It was Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell who had the treble. Monbeg Notorious took the beginners chase in good by seven and a half lengths. The second leg of the treble was Robin Des Mana who may have been fortunate as Surrogate Lad looked to be putting in a serious challenge when falling at the last. The juvenile hurdle completed the treble as Veneer Of Charm saw off Les Arceaux by three parts of a length. They were eleven lengths clear of the third horse. I thought this looked a really good race I will be keeping these two horses on my side. Les Acreaux advised to our members' 1pt each way at 9/2. The Willie Mullins winner was Killutagh Vic who made a really good comeback after over 700 days. Killutagh Vic was entitled to win by the conditions of the race but did so in great style. Killutagh Vic will probably be aimed at the Gold Cup or Ryanair, the next run will tell us more back over fences. I thought Diamond King ran a lovely race back in third despite having to make the running. I hope Gordon Elliott sticks over hurdles and has a go at the Coral cup again. Diamond King advised to our members' 1pt each way at 8/1
At Lingfield, Steve Drowne brought the curtain down on his career with a win on Met By Moonlight. At Uttoxeter, there was a double for Kerry Lee and Jamie Moore with Sir Will and Town Parks. At Warwick, I was impressed with the bumper winner Kingsplace who came off a strong pace to win for Nigel Twiston - Davies. The year has ended it has been a vintage horse racing year. The highlight for ourselves is obviously our syndicate horse Mokhalad, we look forward to seeing what he does next. We end the year with a profit of 143 Points. We hope you enjoyed 2017 and look forward to 2018. On we go.