Monday, Easter Monday. We start at the Irish Grand National. The ground was appalling as bad as I can remember. The card saw Willie Mullins capture a treble with Getabird redeeming his Cheltenham effort with a great win here by twelve lengths. Coquin Mans was the second leg of the Mullins double. The third leg was Un De Sceaux who had a race on when Doctor Phoenix crashed out at the second last. It also concluded a treble for Paul Townend. The Irish Grand National was going to have a big say in the destination of the trainer's title. The race served up an epic. Bellshill traveled through the race superbly jumping from fence to fence. The fav Pairofbrowneyes departed early enough and we had plenty of fallers on the way around. As the field headed for the last fence Bellshill was in the lead however jinked violently left. This caused a collision between Bellshill and Arkwrisht who collided with Folsom Blue totally impeeding that horse. David Mullins got Bellshill going again. The race ended up being a four-way go on the run in between Isleofhopendreams, General Principle, Forever Gold, and Bellshill. The verdict went to General Principle, by a head from Isleofhopendreams, Forever Gold was third and Bellshill fourth. The distances were a, head a half-length and a head. It was remarkable. Folsom Blue finished fifth and was most unlucky as he lost at least 3 lengths in the collision. The places were reversed with Bellshill and Folsom Blue. It was a good race for our members. Folsom Blue was advised to our members' 1pt each way at 11/1 placed. Bellshill was advised to our members' 1pt each way at 12/1 placed. The win for General Principle gave Gordon Elliott a first win in the Irish Grand National, Elliott completed a double on the card with Getaway John.
At Cork, Gordon Elliott made it a personal across the card treble on the day as Portnablagh took the bumper. Gordon Elliott is just different gear. A self-made man 200 winners on the board. An outstanding trainer, a horse for every type of race he just wants to win everything. I can only see Elliott kicking on from this point. There was another winner for Noel Meade with Stoneford. There was a pleasing return to the winner's enclosure for Adrian Maguire with Littlestickarubarb and for Phillip Rothwell with Shrewdoperator. It was good to see as both men are good trainers when given the right ammunition. There was no UK turf racing due to waterlogging.
Tuesday, Fairyhouse was abandoned as the wet weather kept its grip. The only meeting to survive in the UK was at Lingfield. There was a double for Tom Marquand on board Dotted Swiss and Le Torrent.
Wednesday, Leopardstown was abandoned which was very disappointing for ourselves as our syndicate horse Mokhalad was due to run. Mokhalad was favorite for the 635, the racing has been rescheduled for 16-4-18. Mokhalad will have options before then, however, it depends on the weather. On the track, the three all-weather meetings in the UK survived. At Lingfield, Oisin Murphy was on target on board Technological. At Southwell, there were winners for Nicola Currie and Silvestre De Sousa. The horses were Pearl Spectre and Monks Stand. At Kempton, Chloellie kept Franny Nortons winning run going.
Thursday, no turf racing in the UK and Ireland again. We start at Wolverhampton. The feature race went to Calder Prince who landed some very tidy bets (11/2 -2/1). Calder Prince bolted up by six lengths. It was good news for our members. Calder Prince was advised to our members' 1pt each way at 5/1. At Chelmsford, Extra Mile won for Godolphin, Oisin Murphy, and Saeed Bin Suroor.
Friday, we start at Fontwell. There was a winner for Colin Tizzard with Wizards Bridge. At Lingfield, Poets Society was very brave in victory for Mark Johnston in the seven-furlong handicap. It was good news for our members. Poets Society was advised to our members' 1pt each way at 6/1. At Chelmsford, Andulasite got the better of Satchville Flyer in a good finish by three parts of a length. It was a decent result for our members who had Satchville Flyer advised to our members' 1pt each way at 11/2. Our members also had Poets Society 430 Lingfield & Satchville Flyer 745 Chelmsford advised to our members 0.5pt each way double both placed.At Dundalk, I was in attendance myself. Have A Nice Day was a good winner of the seven-furlong handicap. I thought Ambassadorial ran a lovely race in second. There was a victory for Damian English with Alfirak who ran on like a tiger under Rory Cleary to land some nice bets (16/1 -10/1). Alfirak could be a nice horse for the turf it looks like he will need some nice ground. Our members will hear a lot more about Alfirak in the coming months.
Saturday, we start at Navan as Mokhalad was in action. Mokhalad gave his all as he always does. Rory Cleary thought he was going to win turning in however the heavy ground took its toll. On ground described as Heavy jumps ground by all the jockeys. Mokhalad came out of the race fine a little tired. We had to try Mokhalad on that type of ground and have no regrets over the race. Damian English and the team will assess Mokhalad, we will plan from here. We are hoping for a little drier weather. It is most unlikely we would race Mokhalad on the ground that has the word heavy in its description again. On the track at Navan, it was really hard going Downforce took the listed race over five furlongs. The trainer of Downforce Willie McCreery said afterward: "If it's barely raceable on Friday he may run again (rescheduled Gladness Stakes at Naas). That's his surface." That gives an insight into the surface at Navan. The finale went in impressive style to Prospectus for Gavin Cromwell.
At Uttoxeter, it was hard going as well. The good run for Nigel Twiston Davies continued as Ballyarthur took the Novice handicap chase. At Kelso, there was some great prize money. Smooth Stepper took the feature race by eight lengths from Baywing. The big handicap hurdle went to Kris Spin for Kerry Lee. Takingrisks advised to our members' 1pt each way at 7/1 placed in the same race. The handicap chase over two miles one furlong went to Caraline for Micky Hammond. It was good news for our members Caraline was advised to our members' 1pt each way at 9/2. It completed a good day for us Takingrisks 335 Kelso 7/1 & Caraline 410 Kelso 9/2 advised in a 0.25pt each way double both placed. At Fakenham, there was a treble for Nico De Boinville on board Le Breuil, Step Back and Before Midnight. The Paul Nicholls trained Act Of Valour got his season back on the road with a victory in the novice hurdle. At Wolverhampton, there was a double for Tom Dascombe Sha La La La Lee and Fire Diamond. At Kempton, William Buick was at the double with Dathanna and A Momentofmadness.
Sunday, there is only one place to start. We are delighted to announce the purchase of Alfirak for the Galaxy Horse Racing Syndicate. We are delighted to have secured Alfirak who is an ex Sheikh Maktoum horse and of course a winner on Friday night. Alfirak will stay in training with Damian English. We have admired Alfirak for some time, we see potential in Alfirak. We are looking forward to getting Alfirak going on the turf. We are grateful to all the team at Grougha Stables for getting the deal done. A special thanks to Joe, Mary, Craig and Damian English. Alfirak will live next door to Mokhalad, we look forward to seeing what both our boys can do in the months and years ahead.
On the track, there were two meetings in the UK. At Exeter, there was a double for Evan Williams with Under The Woods and Holdbacktheriver. The two-mile handicap hurdle went in very good style to Show On The Road who won by eleven lengths. Show On The Road advised to our members' 1pt each way at 6/1. At Carlisle, the feature race went to Sue Smith with Cracking Find.