Monday, we start at Huntingdon. Philip Hobbs continued his good form as he took the mares Novice Hurdle with Katy P. The handicap hurdle went to Ryeolliean for Gary and Josh Moore. I think Ryeolliean was very lucky though as Caid Du Lun would have won in my view if not for jinking after the last and unseating Daryl Jacob. At Kelso, Brian Hughes was the man in form riding a double on board Morning Royalty and Midnite Grace. At Ludlow, Dan and Harry Skelton continued there recent good form with a double . The horses were Shantou Rock and Hestina both odds on. There was a welcome winner for Nigel-Twiston Davies with Tintern Theatre. The day finished with the very sad news Point-to-point rider James McNeile has died following a fall at Larkhill on Saturday.
Tuesday, we start at Kempton over the jumps where two in form trainers kept up recent good runs. Nicky Henderson was on the mark Laurium in the novice chase. Jonjo O'Neill made it a hat trick of wins with Timeforwest in the Three mile handicap hurdle. Jonjo O'Neill has a very good record at Aintree so clearly is one to watch this weekend. Pat Murphy was back in business as Cloudy Bob took the Three Mile handicap chase. It was Pat's first winner for 381 days. Bugsie Malone and Cloudy Bob had fought out a finish at Kempton a few weeks ago. Cloudy Bob was weighted to reverse form and so it proved as they filled the first two places again. Cloudy Bob was advised to our members 1pt each way at 6/1. At Southwell, Silvestre De Sousa was on target again with Arzaak.
Wednesday, we start at Wincanton where there was a double for Daryl Jacob on board Demographic and Dance Floor King. There was also a double for Paul Nicholls and Harry Cobden with San Satiro and Diamond Guy who took the bumper by twenty eight lengths. At Carlilse, Nigel Hawke continued his yards excellent run as Lord Ballim took the conditional jockeys handicap hurdle. At Kempton, there was a double for Oisin Murphy with Archers Arrow and Glory Of Paris. At Wolverhampton, there was a double for Franny Norton with A Sure Welcome and Jukebox Jive. At Leopardstown,it was student race day an all ticket affair. There was a double for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen with Ace Of Diamonds and Rose De Pierre who took the listed Heritage Stakes. Rose De Pierre got the better of Marshall Jennings and OnenightIdreamed in a good finish. OnenightIdreamed was advised to our members 1pt each way at 7/2. It was another day to forget for the once very promising Forgotten Rules who was again turned over at a short price in the finale by Torcedor who impressed on debut run for Jessica Harrington. Forgotten Rules has lots of ability and may have needed the run, however he looks one to be careful of for now.
The next three days blog will focus at Aintree. The Grade 1 Manifesto Novice Chase went to Flying Angel who despite being headed got back up to beat Cloudy Dream who traveled really well by a length. Top Notch was third I would forgive him he has been on the go since September and ran his usual game race. The Juvenile hurdle a Grade 1 went to Defi Du Seuil who backed up his Triumph hurdle win and made it 7 from 7 over hurdles. Divin Bere ran very well in second backing up his excellent Fred Winter run. Divin Bere was advised to our members 1pt each way at 5/1. The Aintree Bowl a Grade 1 saw Cue Card trying to get another big win. Cue Card kicked on early and looked to have it all under control. Tea For Two and Lizzie Kelly made the move on the approach to the last. Lizzie Kelly got Tea For Two up to deny the rallying Cue Card by a neck. Cue Card will continue racing next season and is being aimed at Haydock. The Grade 1 Aintree hurdle went to the brilliant Buveur D'air who traveled superb and won really well from My Tent Or Yours by five lengths.
The Foxhunters over the National fences went to Dineur who saw off Balnaslow with the remarkable Big Fella Thanks who once again ran brilliant at Aintree. Pacha Du Polder was fourth and On The Fringe pulled up. The Red Rum Chase is the Grand Annual at Cheltenham's cousin. It went to Double W's who saw off Theinval and Bun Doran . Yorkist ran well in fourth. The finale a grade 2 mares bumper went to Dame Rose who saw off Oscar Rose with Petticoat Tails and Shearling finished third and fourth.
Day two of the Aintree festival. The opening race the Alder Hey Childrens Charity Handicap Hurdle. The race went to Rather Be who gained compensation for being brought down at Cheltenham last time out. The places were filled out by Dream Berry, Geordie Des Champs and Thomas Campbell. The Grade 1 Top Novice Hurdle went to Pingshou for Colin Tizzard and Robbie Power, who saw off Mount Mews and The Unit readily. River Wylde was disappointing in fifth. The Betway Mildmay Grade 1 novice chase saw a rematch with Might Bite and Whisper who fought out the RSA at Cheltenham. Might Bite turned in a good performance to beat Whisper by two lengths. Might Bite has a massive amount of talent. I think Might Bite is going to be really exciting for next season, it will be interesting to see how he develops.The JLT Melling Chase a Grade 1 saw Fox Norton bolt up for Colin Tizzard and Robbie Power from Sub Lieutenant by 6 lengths. Traffic Fluide stayed on for third. I thought Gods Own was very disappointing.
The Topham Chase over the national fences saw Colin Tizzard complete a treble on the day with Ultragold winning at an eye watering 50/1. The places were filled out by Katnap , Portrait King and OO Seven. The Grade 1 Sefton Novice Hurdle went to The Worlds End who stuck at it really well to see off Beyond Conceit and Debece with Constantine Bay right there in fourth. Beyond Conceit was advised to our members 0.5pt each way at 16/1. The Bumper went to Lalor at 33/1 who saw off Enniscoffey Oscar and Western Ryder.
Saturday, we start at Aintree for Grand National Day. I was in attendance it was my first visit since the modifications in 2013. I walked the track beforehand with a group of my friends. I noticed the modifications for sure . If anyone gets a chance to go to Aintree you must walk the track it is an incredible experience. The weather was incredible in Liverpool on Saturday 19 degrees. The opening race was a very competitive handicap hurdle it went Fountains Windfall who blazed along in front. Fountains Windfall was eight lengths clear of No Comment , Dadsintrouble and No Hassle Hoff filled out the places. The Mersey Novice Hurdle over Two Miles Four Furlongs saw Finian's Oscar claim another Grade 1 prize for Colin Tizzard and Robbie Power. Finian's Oscar saw off Captain Forez and Messire Des Obeaux . Brio Conti traveled really well but flattened out badly. Messire Des Obeaux was advised to our members 1pt each way at 13/2. The Maghull Novice Chase went to San Benedeto who beat Forest Bihan by a head. The unlucky horse was Politologue who was in the lead over the last but stumbled 50 Yards after the fence and fell. Charbel jumped poorly and was well beaten.The Ryanair Stayers Hurdle saw redemption for Yanworth who saw off Supasundae and Snow Falcon. Yanworth won through by a length . Yanworth will go chasing now apparently, he is a talented horse who will hopefully kick on. Supasundae was advised to our members 1pt each way at 13/2 to our members. Snow Falcon was advised to our members 1pt each way at 10/1.
The big one itself the Grand national was as always a great spectacle. It was victory for Scotland as One For Arthur claimed the Grand National in very impressive fashion for trainer Lucinda Russell. One For Arthur was held up a long way off the pace jumped brilliantly throughout. I reckon at one stage around five furlongs out One For Arthur was 25 Lengths off the leader Blaklion who went off favourite. Blaklion committed for home three out in what looked a decisive move. Cause Of Causes ran a blinder in second, Saint Are again ran really well at Aintree with Blaklion finishing fourth. The other placed horses were Gas Line Boy and Vieux Lion Rouge (some bookmakers paid six places), former Gold Cup winner Lord Windermere ran a very rspectable race in seventh. I thought Pleasant Company was a little unlucky a really bad mistake at Valentines second time around saw him lose his chance. One For Arthur was advised to our members 1pt each way at 16/1.The best news was for the fifth year in a row we had no horse fatality. The final race of Aintree went in impressive style to Chesterfield in the conditional riders handicap hurdle.
In a very strange decision Leopardstown hosted its classic trial card in competition with the Grand National. The 2,000 Guineas trial went to Orderofthegarter for Aidan O'Brien. This horse had really impressed at Naas last time out. The 1,000 Guineas trial also went to Aidan O'Brien as Hydrangea won by a head from Winter. The Ballysax Stakes a good Derby trial traditionally went Rekindling for Joseph O'Brien with Harzand winning this race last year , the merit of it as trial is obvious.
Sunday, we start at Market Rasen which felt like after the lord mayors show. There was a treble for Aidan Coleman and Jonjo O'Neill with Cake de L'isle , Sigurd and A Little Magic. I was really impressed with A Little Magic, who could easily be a player in the summer plate here. There was a double for Paul Nicholls with Dreamcatching and Contre Tous. Paul Nicholls looks beaten in the UK trainers championship , however he deserves great credit for being so close to Henderson without a genuine grade 1 horse. At Ffos las it was a winner each for Nicholls and Jonjo again completing an across the card treble and four timer for both trainers. The horses were Earthmoves and Upswing. At Naas, there was a double for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen with Tocco D'amore who was really impressive in the 1 miles 2 furlongs maiden. The second leg of the double was Sorelle Delle Rose who won well also. Ralph Beckett enjoyed a raid to Ireland as his Diamond Fields picked up the group 3 Gladness stakes.At Tramore, the feature race saw Willie Mullins (Bellow Mome) and Gordon Elliott (Flaxen Fare ) about to fight it out.The race was coming to the boil when both horses crashed out independently. Akito picked up a very fortunate win.