Monday, we start at Ayr. The feature race went to Irish trainer Noel Kelly with Hear No Evil. The Novice Hurdle saw Castle Rushen continue his upward trajectory by winning by 26 Lengths under Brian Hughes. At Fakenham, there was a double for trainer Chris Gordon with Pasvolsky and Can't Stop Now. At Kempton, Zaajel was on target for Jim Crowley. At Wolverhampton, Moonlight In Paris was on target for John Gosden and Ryan Moore.
Tuesday, we start at Limerick. The Henry de Bromhead-trained Allbarone dug deep in the closing stages to grind out victory in the three-mile handicap hurdle. At Lingfield, Top Gamble rolled back the years to win for Kerry Lee. At Southwell, over the jumps. There was a treble for Paul Nicholls with Barbado's Bucks, Lucky One and Glajou. At Newcastle, there was a double for Andrew Mullen with Esticky End and Rohaan. At Wolverhampton, there was a double for Hollie Doyle with Beauty Stone and Regal Eagle.
Wednesday, we start at Dundalk. Oisin Orr brought up a 46/1 double on the day, aboard Sarah Lynam’s Juyush. Orr had earlier been victorious on board Tynamite. At Lingfield, there was a double for Mark Johnston with Desert Boots and Rochester House. At Haydock, Royal Pagaille was on target for Venetia Williams owned by Susanah Ricci which is an intriguing development. At Ludlow, VenetiaWilliams was also on target with Roll again. At Kempton, Johnny Drama made it four wins on the spin under Silvestre De Sousa. It also meant that Johnny Drama kept his unbeaten record on the all-weather surfaces.
Thursday, we start at Clonmel. Second in the race last year Mary Frances stepped up to the number one spot in style in the Jim Strang & Sons Kilsheelan (Peugeot) Hurdle at Clonmel today. Completing a day of days for trainer Martin Hassett she was bringing up a 26 and a half to one double for the local handler. Hassett sent out No Grey Area’s to win the previous heat under Pa King, and it was Rachael Blackmore that did the steering on Mary Frances. Rachael Blackmore was completing her own double, after winning the opener on Epson Du Houx for Henry de Bromhead. At Market Rasen, there was a double for Richard Johnson with The Mauscript and Sissinghurst. At Leicester, One True King continued his excellent campaign when winning the novice hurdle. At Wincanton, there were doubles for Robbie Power and Colin Tizzard with Striking A Pose and Darlac. At Chelmsford, there was a dead heat between Power Of States and Arij.
Friday, we start at Dundalk. The Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate were doubly represented tonight at Dundalk. Stanhope 400 Dundalk and Trading Point 730 Dundalk. Both horses have won at Dundalk before. As always it will be hard as Dundalk is ferociously competitive at the moment. Stanhope actually won this very race in 2018. So tonight brings back wonderful memories from that night. Stanhope has been running alright except for his last run when he couldn't get competitive from a wide draw over 6 furlongs. Stanhope has already won this July off a handicap mark of 80 at Navan. Indeed Stanhope won this race off a mark of 79 in 2018. Stanhope did not get into contention after a really hot pace finishing ninth. We will freshen him up and have a look early in 2021 and go from there.
Trading Point has been running very well since switching to Adrian McGuinness. You can put a line through his last run the ground was atrocious at the Curragh. Trading Point was very unlucky at Listowel in September losing a photo finish to Master Matt (who has won twice since). Trading Point is a course and distance winner here at Dundalk. We welcomed young Cian MacRedmond on board for his Galaxy debut. Adrian McGuinness has a lot of confidence in Cian. We have been admiring Cians work at Dundalk he already has a couple of winners. Thanks to Cian claiming seven pounds Trading Point will actually carry 8 Stone Seven Pounds. This is the lightest weight Trading Point has carried ever in his racing career. Trading Point was also drawn from stall 2 tonight. We wanted to make use of the draw. Trading Point is fresh and well. The yard was very happy with him going into tonight.
Trading Point ran a cracker in the feature race to finish fourth. He did not get the rub of the green at the start with a slow break. That said young Cian MacRedmond did not panic. Trading Point travelled brilliantly through the contest, he showed an excellent turn of foot. If anything Cian and Trading Point got to the front too soon. It was not a mistake by Cian. I think the horse just took him into the race with Trading Point enjoying a real good gallop to run at. We ran into a resurgent Settle For Bay a Royal Ascot winner. We look forward to Trading Point's next run.
Star Gate maintained his unbeaten record as he took a step up in class in his stride with a stylish success in the Ballymore Winter Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown. The love affair at Sandown continued for Darebin as he was on target for the Moore team. I was impressed with Alnadam for the Skelton team who took apart the novices handicap chase. At Exeter, Jimmy and Byrony Frost combined to win the Long-distance Chase with Findusatgorcombe. At Sedgefield, The Late Legend made it two in a row at Sedgefield. At Newcastle, there were doubles for Danny Tudhope and David O'Meara with Daniel Deronda and Tigerhorn.
Saturday, we start at Sandown for Tingle Creek day. Politologue gave Paul Nicholls a record 11th victory when leading home a one-two for the Ditcheat trainer in the Betfair Tingle Creek Chase. There was a lot of social media comment on Altior not running. My view is really straight forward. It is a matter for Nicky Henderson and the owners. Altior belongs to them. I am involved in owning horses prior to that I must admit how unaware I was of what can go wrong. Anyone who has ever been involved in trying to get a horse to go back racing after taking a chance on running when you are not 100% on the conditions. They will tell you its nearly always the wrong choice.
As for Politologue a horse I have always liked, he is not nearly as loved as Altior however his owners will not care. Politologue is a top-class horse a twice Tingle Creek winner and a Champion Chase winner. There is nothing wrong with that. Allmankind put in an exemplary round of jumping to maintain his unbeaten record over fences in the Planteur At Chapel Stud Henry VIII Novices’ Chase at Sandown. This was very good to be fair. I don't see him winning the Arkle Cheltenham is not his track in my view.
At Aintree, Vieux Lion Rouge rolled back the years to win the William Hill Becher Handicap Chase for David Pipe. The other race over the National fences went to Beau Bay for Dr Richard Newland. Lake View Lad upset a trio of Cheltenham Gold Cup contenders to claim top honours in the William Hill Many Clouds Chase at Aintree. Low sun ruined the race with a heap of fences taken out. I thought Native River and Santini ran very well, to be honest considering what a mess it was. At Wetherby, Paul Gilligan made it a very Merry Christmas for his followers with a second successful raid at Wetherby in a matter of weeks. This time it was Rock On Barney who bolted up. At Chepstow, Secret Reprieve took the Welsh Grand National trial by eleven lengths. At Navan, Flooring Porter absolutely routed the opposition in the €90,000 Grade B Handicap Hurdle for Gavin Cromwell. Conflated ran away with Navan's beginners' chase in a race where very few horses threatened. The Big Getaway (8/15 favourite) and Conflated dominated proceedings and were clear tackling the third last. Conflated has to go left-handed this lad could be one for the festival plate at Cheltenham.
Sunday we start at Punchestown. Min recorded his third successive victory in the John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown, as he led home a Willie Mullins one-two-three in the Grade One feature. The amazing story of Skyace (28/1) continued at Punchestown today as she landed the Listed Voler La Vedette Mares Novice Hurdle. A 600 pound buy out of the Willie Mullins yard in November 2019, the Westerner mare had already secured successes at odds of 15/2, 10/1 and 66/1 since joining John ‘Shark’ Hanlon. That 66/1 win was in a Grade Three last time at Down Royal on October 30th, but she still went off outsider of the field on this occasion, as she endeavoured to give weight away all round.
Following an inspection of the course at Punchestown by the Acting Stewards after the running of the third race, the track was found to be unfit for racing to continue due to poor visibility as a result of fog. The Stewards therefore used their powers under Rule 10 to abandon the remainder of the meeting in the interest of safety.
At Cork, Chacun Pour Soi justified long odds-on favouritism to make a winning return to action in the Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase. The Grade Three Kerry Group Stayers Novice Hurdle saw Sayce Gold put up an impressive performance for Michael Winters. Denis O'Regan partnered a first Grade 3 winner for trainer Gordon Elliott at Cork today as he steered Mount Ida to win the Kerry Group Irish EBF (Mares) Novice Chase. At Kelso, the Borders national went to Dino Boy for Iain Jardine.