Monday, we start at Haydock. As 2019 draws to a close, Haydock racegoers witnessed arguably one of the most unlikely finishes of the decade on Monday, as Buster Edwards came from the clouds to win the Bryn Gates Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle for David Pipe. Lord Du Mensil followed up his pre-Christmas win in the Tommy Whittle, with an equally impressive win in The Last Fling Chase. It was good news for our members Lord Du Mensil was advised to our members (2pts win) 11/4. At Taunton, Lightly Squeeze made a very Happy Christmas for his connections with his second win of the festive period. David Pipe completed an across the card double with Great Tempo. The listed Mares novice hurdle went to Maries Rock for Nicky Henderson she looks a smart prospect. At Lingfield, Lady Dancealot took the feature race for David Elsworth and Hayley Turner.
Tuesday, we start at Punchestown. Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Sizing John suffered a fall on his long-awaited return to action as Irish Grand National winner Burrows Saint dominated from the front in the Bet With Tote At Punchestown Hurdle. Salsaretta made it two from two over fences with an assured victory in the Tote Proud Sponsors Of Punchestown Mares Chase to give Willie Mullins a double. Salsaretta 1240 Punchestown advised to our members (3pts win) at 5/6. Gealach reversed the previous form with favorite Pasley, and Top Line Tommy, when victorious in the 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle. I think this is a live one for Gordon Elliott for The Fred Winter. At Warwick, Wilde About Oscar was a very impressive winner of the bumper for Dan Skelton. At Uttoxeter, Shannon Bridge completed an across the card double for Dan Skelton. At Lingfield, Richard Fahey had a double with Another Touch and Furzig.
Wednesday, we start at Tramore. Al Boum Photo delighted a large crowd at Tramore by justifying odds-on favoritism in the Savills New Year’s Day Chase and in the process strengthened his position at the head of the ante-post market for the Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup. The win completed a double for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend who had won the opener with Saint Roi. Tom Queally teamed up with his father, Declan, to score over hurdles at Tramore with Owenacurra Lass. At Fairyhouse, there was also a double for Willie Mullins with Drury and Castlebawn West.
At Cheltenham, Midnight Shadow benefited from the late fall of odds-on favourite Champ to claim the Dipper Novices’ Chase. Summerville Boy returned to the scene of his finest hour to win the Relkeel Hurdle. Oldgrangewood prevailed by the narrowest of margins in an exciting three-way finish with Saint Calvados and Lalor in the Paddy Power Handicap Chase. Doing Fine gained compensation for the victory he was denied at Sandown last time – by demonstrating that stamina is his forte in the Markel Insurance Handicap Chase. At Musselburgh, there was an excellent double for Irish trainer John McConnell with Never Do Nothing and Fred The Foot. It was a frustrating sort of day punting wise with again many selections running well but just not winning. Cogry 1250 Cheltenham (1pt each way) 9/2 placed Murphys Law 140 Musselburgh (1pt each way) 16/1 (4 place special) placed Project Bluebook 215 Musselburgh (1pt each way) 9/1 placed Favori De Champdou 345 Fairyhouse (1pt each way) 5/1 placed (rule 4).
At Fakenham, the feature race went to Pam Sly with Haafapiece. At Exeter, Harry Fry had a double with Captain Drake and King Roland. There was also a treble for jockey Bryan Carver with Tile Tapper, Sir Psycho, and Daytime Ahead. At Catterick, there was a double for Connor O'Farrell with Island Villa and Summer Lightening. At Southwell, there was a treble for Michael Appleby with Zapper Cass, Airshow and Xian Express.
Thursday, we start at Ayr. There was a double for Olly Murphy with Champagnesuperover and Endlessly. At Lingfield, there was a double for Luke Morris with Kyllachy Gala and Music Major. At Chelmsford, Al Maysan was on target for Godolphin and Adam Kirby.
Friday, we start at Musselburgh. There was a double for Lucinda Russell with Order Of Thistle and Blooriedotcom. At Wolverhampton, there were doubles for Jack Mitchell and Roger Varian with Invitational and Nehaall. At Hereford, the last two races were abandoned however Dr. Richard Newland was on target earlier in the card with Broughtons Admiral. At Southwell, Bill Cody was on target for Julie Comacho. At Dundalk, it was a night of doubles John McConnell had a double with Magic Gal and Happaugue. There was a double for Colin Keane with Outside Inside and Phoenix Open. The Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate put a claim in for Phoenix Open we were not successful, he would have been a good one to get.
Saturday, we start at Sandown. Silver Forever enjoyed the perfect dress rehearsal for her first venture into Graded race company by returning to winning ways in the Unibet Mares’ Hurdle for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden. Fiddlerontheroof devoured the testing conditions at Sandown for the second time in four weeks to extend Colin Tizzard’s fine recent record in the Tolworth Novices’ Hurdle. Anthony Honeyball saw his patience rewarded as Jepeck pulled off his long-term masterplan with a dramatic victory in the Veterans’ Handicap Chase series final. On the betting front for the members, Totterdown 335 Sandown advised to our members (1pt each way) at 6/1 placed.
At Cork, the brilliant run of Gordon Elliott continued with a four-timer. Minella Till Dawn sauntered away with the MansionBet Proud to Support Irish Racing Handicap Chase. In first-time blinkers, Minella Till Dawn was looking good from some way out and the 5/1 shot eventually accounted for Great Khan and Debuchet by thirteen lengths and two and a quarter lengths. Elliott’s earlier winners were Texard (Jack Kennedy) Recent Revelations (Kennedy as well) and Escaria Ten (Adrian Heskin). Meanwhile, McManus and Walsh took the featured handicap hurdle with the Jessica Harrington-trained Morosini."It has been a great day, four winners. He was probably going to be second the last day when he fell at the last but I'd say the blinkers woke him up today so it was grand,” said Elliott.
At Newcastle, Olly Murphy enjoyed another double this time with Alpha Carinae and Overthetop. At Wincanton, there was a double for Jonjo O'Neill Jnr on board Molineaux and Arrivederci. At Lingfield, Sky Defender was a very impressive winner for Mark Johnston. At Kempton, Rainbow Dreamer was an impressive winner by two lengths for Alan King in the 25 K feature race.
Sunday, we start at Naas. Envoi Allen maintained his unbeaten record with a stylish display in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle. Winning for the second time at the highest level over hurdles on just his third outing, Upped to two and a half miles Envoi Allen won his third Grade One and remains unbeaten after eight starts all told (including his ‘point’) after Naas feature race success in the Lawlor’s Of Naas Novice Hurdle. Envoi Allen is 5/4 favourite from 13/8 with Paddy Power for the Ballymore Novices Hurdle at Cheltenham, after the ‘fours on’ chance here disposed of Elixir D’ainay and Longhouse Poet by three and a half lengths and the same.
Gordon Elliott stated after the race “That was a proper test, they went a proper gallop turning past the stands,” said Elliott.“Davy said he learned more today than he ever learned. He jumped well and he just does what he has to do when he gets to the front.“He'll be entered in everything at Cheltenham. He could go to two miles or go this trip, I couldn't see him going much further.“We'll try and split them all up and he could go either way.“I'd say over two-and-a-half he'd find it very easy if you drop him in and ride a race. Over two miles you'd have to be forcing it the whole way.“I'd say that was a fair race, they went a fair lick the whole way.“He'll only ever win by a length or two, that's all he ever he does every day he runs.”On a possible tilt at the Champion Hurdle:- “He'll be entered in everything at Cheltenham but I'd imagine we'll keep him in his own grade this year.“If I was a betting man I'd say we'll keep him in the grade he's in.
I am a bit biased as I have a very good position for the Ballymore and the Supreme so hopefully, he gets there in one piece. My own view is that Envoi Allen should go for the Ballymore. Cash Back ran out an impressive winner of what could prove an informative Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Chase for Willie Mullins. Zero Ten advised to our members (1pt each way) 6/1 placed. I liked the performance of the first two here. I think Zero Ten could be a real Punchestown horse. A sister to 2009 Irish Grand National hero, Niche Market, Caravation today got off the mark over the larger obstacles in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Mares Beginners Chase at Naas. Billed as a match between the William Flood owned and bred Caravation (13/8 into 6/5 second favourite), and Good Thyne Tara (4/6 out to 4/5), the two miler went that way out on the track. Not surprisingly Good Thyne Tara seemed to have a bit more pace between fences than Caravation. The favourite was in front, but the outcome was far from decided when she fell three out. Caravation was advised to our members (3pts win) at 13/8.
At Plumpton, Colin Tizzard was happy to continue the festive celebrations as Christmas In April made most of the running to win the Sky Sports Racing Sussex National Handicap Chase under Harry Cobden. Lightly Squeeze added a third win over the festive period for Harry Fry winning by fourteen lengths.