Next Race 

April 20th

Ayr (Going; Soft)

Scottish Champion Hurdle ( A Limited Handicap) (Grade 2) 2m

Willie Mullins has sent eighteen horses to Ayr with four of them among the fifteen due to face the starter in this Grade 2 Limited Handicap. L'Eau Du Sud was beaten 1l by Absurde in the County Hurdle at Cheltenham having gone down by 2l  to Iberico Lord in the Grade 3 Betfair at Newbury in February. He's been consistent without winning in six starts since arriving from France where he won twice in five runs.  Alan King, Trainer of Favour and Fortune, is hoping the ground dries out at he believes his horse is better on sounder surface albeit he won on Heavy ground at Wtherby last November. He was almost 10l back in sixth in the Supreme behind Slade Steel having finished half a length behind Fun Fun Fun in a Listed Exeter Hurdle. Prior to that he was beaten just under 3l by Jango baie in the Grade 1 Tolworth at Aintree in December with the third 12l back. Whether Good Novice form can be carried into Handicap company remains to be seen although Rubaud did win it as a Novice last season. The latter returns off a 14lb higher mark and has to carry top weight on Ground which, unless it dries further won't be to his advantage. Bialystock looks the pick of the Mullins quartet with Paul Townend in the Saddle. He won his maiden at Naas in February '23 and a Handicap Hurdle next time at Punchestown before finishing just under 6l behind the winner in the Galway Hurdle. Three runs later he was a 3l fourth in the Royal Bond  and was 20l behind the winner in the County Hurdle. Paul Nicholls is claiming a valuable 5lb off Afadil with Freddie Gingell. He was over 4l back in fifth in the County before finishing 3l back in third in the Conditional Handicap Hurdle at Aintree last week where he was slowly away which I don't think would have helped him. The quick turn around is a concern. First Street hasn't run since over 10l back in third behind Lossiemouth at Cheltenham at the end of January. He's had a wind op (his fourth) in the interim. He's 20lb better of with Rubaud after finishing 18l behind the latter in this last year and had a wind op after that, then went down by just over 4l to Rubaud when getting 2lb from him. He hasn't won in eight starts since November '22 and is best watched. Florida Dreams won the Aintree Bumper last year and is one from four over Hurdles his win coming over this course and Distance last December. He was badly hampered by the fall of Farren Glory at the second last in Tolworth at Aintree and wasn't knocked about after that to finish 16l behind the winner although I think he was held by Favour And Fortune at the time. He gets 10lb from the latter. He was novicey in his jumping on his latest start when beaten 12l at Musselburgh in February. Westport Cove was conceding Effernock Fizz 19lb when beaten almost 5l at Fairyhouse over Easter having Pulled Up in the County. That's twice he's pulled up going left handed which is a concern here. Carl Millar will claim a valuable 7lb off Effernock Fizz who no doubt will be the pace in the race. Cracking Rhapsody has gone up 13lb in the ratings following two wins, both at Kelso, and it remains to be seen if he can maintain that progress. The only other one to interest me is Petit Tonnere. Winner of two of three starts in France he beat the now 150 rated Heart Wood on his Final start there before moving to Jonjo O'Neill. He was beaten 6l in last year's County Hurdle off a mark of 140 and has now dropped down to 132. He wears first time cheek pieces having worn a visor in this year's County Hurdle where he was prominent turning in but faded up the straight without coming under any serious pressure. Given connections market moves should be noted. Plenty of ifs and buts about this race including the Going and trying to figure out who might have a bit up their sleeve. I definitely think Petit Tonnere is worth keeping an eye on in the betting while the Going report Saturday morning will be informative. I think by post time it may be good to soft. The Aintree Bumper last year won by Florida Dreams has thrown up a host of winners and as a course ad distance winner has to be respected. He's attracting some market support and he gets a sporting selection.

Selection; Florida Dreams (12/1 with most bookies or 17/1 on the exchange)

Best Alternative; Favour And Fortune












April 13th

Aintree (Going; Soft)

Mersey Novices Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m4f

Nine go to post and Brighterdaysahead who ran a great race in the Dawn Run where she had to concede 5lb to the winner, only going down by just under 2l, steps back up in trip in an attempt to add a Grade 1 to her CV. Prior to Cheltenham she was unbeaten in two Bumpers and three Hurdles. Up against here here is her half brother, Caldwell Potter, who was bought at the Caldwell Dispersal sale in February by connections for an eye watering €740k. He was last seen winning the Grade 1 Novice over 2m at the Leopardstown Christmas meeting. Jimmy Du Seuil appears to be the pick of the Mullins team. A 13l runner up to Ballyburn in the Baring Bingham with Ile Atlantique over 3l further back in third. Jimmy Du Seuil had won his maiden at the second attempt and was a surprise runner up at Cheltenham going off at odds of 66/1. Prior to Cheltenham Ile Atlantique had gone down by a neck to Readin Tommy Wrong in the Lawlors. and had useful Bumper form against Firefox and Stellar Story. Mahon's Way won his maiden over 2m3f but struggled in Grade 3 company over extended trips before dropping back to the minimum and finishing over 6l back in second to Fun Fun Fun in a Naas Grade 3. This is a much tougher assignment. Staffordshire Knot wears first time cheek pieces having made numerous mistakes when going down by 4l to Largy Hill at Thurles last time. Purchased at the Calwell Dispersal for €500k he had finished just over 2l back in third behind Readin Tommy Wrong on his racecourse debut and went on to win a Bumper and Maiden Hurdle, the latter by 21l, which were all his four starts. I'll stick with Brighterdaysahead

Selection; Brighterdaysahead

Best Alternative; Ile Atlantique (Each Way)

Liverpool Hurdle (Grade 1) 3m149y

Sire Du Berlais returns to try and win this for the third succesive year. He's been lightly raced this season, understandably for a 12yo, finishing down the field in his two starts. Flooring Porter finished 7l ahead of him in the Cheltenham Stayers when finishing almost 4l back in second to Teahupoo. Crambo was over 14l behind the winner in the Cheltenham race having won the Long Walk by a short head from Paisley Park in December. Hiddenvalley Lake returned to form winning the Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle at Navan in February and having swerved Cheltenham comes her a fresh horse. Buddy One was fourth at Cheltenham 8l behind Teahupoo. He's been improving all season and was runner up in a Grade 3 Handicap at last year's meeting. Strong Leader hasn't run since finishing just over 1l behind Noble Yeats in the Cleeve at Cheltenham in January, his first time at the trip. He's been well beaten the two times he's won on Soft and Heavy, although he is a course winner here. Ground would be an issue for me. Hewick runs here instead of the National and again ground is an issue. Monkfish pulled up in the Gold Cup having bled from the nose. He had returned in January winning the Galmoy. Botox Has ws over 5l behind the winner in the Cleeve but won the Rendlesham at Haydock next time. He's had a break since then and I think Aintree will suit him as he's won twice around Haydock. Dashel Drasher looks held on recent form with some of these while 12yo Champ is fitted with first time cheek pieces. Having been placed in the last two running's Flooring Porter might be able to get his head in front.

Selection; Flooring Porter 

Best Alternative; Botox Has (half point Each Way)

Maghull Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 1m7f76y

Ten go to post and Bookies have made Found  A Fifty a clear Favourite. He finushed 0ver 8l back in second behind Gaelic Warrior at Cheltenham in the Arkle having won the Irish equivalent by a neck from Il Etait Temp who was 5l behind him at Cheltenham with Matata a further 6l back in fourth. Hercule Du Seuil hasn't run since October when he completed a five timer, the last three in Grade 3's. He won a Grade 2 Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse but this is a step up and lack of a run is a worry albeit he won off an extended break previously. Etalon completed a hat trick at Sandown last February and has had a break since. This is a big step up but he is a strong traveller who seems to jump well. Nickle Back only knows one way to run and that is to Buck out and try to make all. He's won three and been placed second twice in his five starts over fences , however those wins came at 2m4f. On his latest he had Djelo 7l back in second place. Quilixios was well beaten at Cheltenham having missed the start however I don't think that can be an excuse as he made the ground up and and was up with the placed horses  coming down the hill but dropped out tamely. Djelo drops back to 2m after finishing 10l behind Grey Dawning at Cheltenham and is a course and distance winner but has a bit to find on ratings. Master Chewy stumbled and fell two out in the Arkle when still in with a shout of a place while Liberty Hunter looks outclassed. It's Found A Fifty for me

Selection; Found A Fifty

Best Alternative; Djelo ( half point each way)

Weatherby's National Hunt Flat Race (Grade 2) 2m209y

Nineteen runners and Mister Meggit has been installed as favourite at 9/4 and they go 8/1 and better the rest. This is a race where only one favourite has won in the last nine runnings and five of the winners have been returned at double digit figures. Mister Meggit has won his two starts by a canter returning impressive Racing Post Ratings and a few winners have come out of his first race. Ma Shantou changed hands after finishing third in a Fairyhouse Bumper and won his only start since in impressive fashion at Huntingdon with the field strung out behind him. Castle Ivers won his Point in Ireland and is two from three in Bumpers with his only defeat coming on the All Weather at Lingfield. His two wins have been comfortable  and he seems to go on most ground. Good And Clever has had just one start and beat a previous winner 12l into second. The Dam is a Half Sister to multiple Grade 3 winner Grangeclare Lark. Horaces Pearl has won his two starts, both on Good To Soft but hasn't run since November. No Questions Asked won his onloy point two years ago and wasn't seen again until last month when going off 7/4 favouirte in a five runner race and was a comfortable winner. He has to be respected coming from a yard in great form. Sorceleur has a tough task as a 4yo. He was third on his first two starts before dropping in class and winning comfortably by 15l at Taunton. The rest have mixed form with Small Town Hero having his racecourse debut having won his only Point. I'm going against trends by selecting Mister Meggit who could be anything.

Selection; Mister Meggit

Best Alternative; Castle Ivers (Half Point Each Way)







April 12th

Aintree (Going; Soft, Heavy in places)

Mildmay Novices Chase (Grade 1) 3m210y

Just six runners for this and the market is headed by two Cheltenham winners. Inothewayurthinkin benefitted from the step up in trip when winning the Kim Muir by a comfortable 8l. Prior to that he was 30l back in ninth behind Heart Wood over an extended 2m5f at the DRF and 7l behind Gaelic Warrior over an extended 2m3f in the Grade 1 Faugheen at Limerick in December. He ran off a mark of 145 at Cheltenham and the Handicapper has bumped him up to 158. Chianti Classico won the Ultima Handicap Chase at the Festival and has risen 11lb to a mark of 154. Having pulled up in the Albert Bartlett last Season he returned this season over fences and has now won three of his four runs and was runner up in the other. Clearly he's a progressive sort who seems to go on any ground. Iroko disappointed in Graded company two seasons ago and was sent handicapping last year running up a hat trick when winning the Martin Pipe. He then went to Aintree for the Grade 1 Sefton and was just over 3l back in third behind Apple Away. He resumed over fences in November winning over 2m4f but suffered an injury and wasn't seen again until the Turners last month when he was 0ver 14l back in fifth behind Grey Dawning. Having been off the course for twelve month acfter finishing 4l back in second behind Hollow Games on Chase debut and his first start since coming from France, Heart Wood was runner up, beaten almost 3l, to Grangeclare West in a race where four of the fences were ommitted. He was then a 9l second to Blood Destiny over 2m4f before going to the DRF and winning the Leopardstown Chase by 14l after Percival Legallois fell at the last. It's hard to believe he only carried 10st1lb there, as in the race at Naas he had Corbett's Cross behind him and the winner went on to win a Grade 1 at Leopardstown at Christmas. Broadway Boy hasn't run since finishing 32l behind Grey Dawning at Warwick in January. His previous three starts had been at Cheletnahm finishing second to Flooring Porter in the first and beating Threeunderthrufive over 3m2f in a Handicap Chase in December. He wears first time cheek pieces and is a front runner which usually helps around here. Giovinco unseated on chase debut before winning over Course and Distance here in November. He was runner up to Stay Away Fay in the Esher at Sandown before pulling up in the King George. He had a break until February and won at Newcastle before finishing third in the Brown Advisory 6l behind Fact Or File. A tricky contest but I'm going with Heart Wood who comes her a fresh horse.

Selection; Heart Wood

Best Alternative; Inothewayurthinkin

Top Novices Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m103y

Mystical Power is a worthy favourite having finished runner up to Slade Steel in the Supreme at Cheltenham, beaten over 1l, with Firefox over 3l behind in third and Mistergif over 7l behind the winner. Prior to Cheltenham Mystical Power was unbeaten in a Bumper and two Hurdles starts. Firefox beat Ballyburn in a Maiden Hurdle in December but disappointed at Naas in the Lawlor's. In the Supreme he was travelling well into the straight but suffered interference before running on again from the last. Dysart Enos went lame before the Dawn Run at Cheltenhma having run up a Hat Trick over Hurdles. On her final start last season she won the Grade 2 Mares on the Opening day of this Meeting beating Golden Ace 9l into second. She's unbeaten in all six starts under rules. Prior to the Supreme Mistergif won his Maiden at Limerick in Heavy ground by 18l. That was his first since arriving from France. Golden Ace was no match for Dysart Enos in the Bumper here last year but has won her three strats over hurdles since, culminating in a victory in the Grade 2 Dawn Run where she beat the highly regarded Brighterdaysahead. Lump Sum is three from four over hurdles, his only defeat coming when just over 1l behind Jeriko Du Reponet in a Grade 2 at Doncaster and comes here fresh having had a break since winning the Grade 2 Dovecote at Kempton last February. Lookaway wears first time cheek pieces after disappointing last time at Newbury. He's some decent form before that mixing it between 2m and 2m4f. He won a Grade 2 Bumper at this meeting two years ago. Personal Ambition won a Grade 2 at Kelso early March but faces stronger opposition here. It's a difficult choice here with a couple of good Mares getting a valuable allowance. In the Supreme Firefox was going as well as anyone turning in for home and was upsides Mystical Power when suffering that interference so I'm going to take a chance that he can get on top here.

Selection; Firefox

Best Alternative; Mystical Power

Melling Chase (Grade 1) 2m3f200y

Seven are due to face the Starter here with Jonbon heading the early Market albeit there's very little pricewise between the first three in the Market. Jonbon is shading favouritism as I write and I think we have to see how the Henderson runners on Thursday perform to decide on him. He jumped poorly the last day when beaten a neck by Elixir De Nutz at Cheltenhma in January. Prior to that he'd run up a four timer starting with the Maghull at this Meeting last year and completing it in the Tingle Creek last December. This is his first time at this trip although he won his Point over 3m and his brother, Douvan, won over 2m4f. Protektorat won the Manifesto over 2m4f here three years ago but was then campaigned over longer distance winning just once in nine starts before dropping back down to 2m4f to win the Ryanair at the Festival with Envoi Allen 4l back in second and Conflated almost 3l further back in third. Pic D'Orhy won this last year and since getting his wind done in July 2022 he's six wins from eight starts and two from three this season, his only defeat coming when finishing second beaten almost 2l by Banbridge at Kempton last January. He swerved Cheltenham so comes here fresh. Envoi Allen ran a decent race in the Ryanair last month but hasn't won in four starts since last year's victory at Cheltenham and a 10yo age could be catching up with him. The same could be said of Conflated who wears first time cheek pieces and who hasn't won in seven starts since winning the Savills in December 2022. Easy Game has his first start since winning the PWC at Gowran last September and is probably best watched while Minella Drama who was third in this last year has done nothing since to show he cab improve on that. Horses older than 8yo don't have a good recent record in this with Boston Bob (9yo) in 2014 the last one to win. Now that Sir Gino has won, Jonbon who is 8yo, on his best, should be capable of winning here.

Selection; Jonbon

Best Alternative; Oic D'Orhy

 Sefton Novices Hurdle (Grade 1) 3M149Y

Having completed a four timer including the Grade 1 Lawlor's Readin Tommy Wrong pulled up in the Albert Bartlett with the Jockey reporting that he had stopped quickly. That run was to bad to be true given the way those in behind performed at the Festival. The Jukebox Man was a head behindn Stellar Story in the Albert Bartlett having been beaten almost 2l in the Challow. Prior to that he had completed a hat trick around Ffos las. Dancing City was just over 7l behind Stellar Story in the Albert Bartlett having had the latter 11l behind in forth in the Grade 1 over 2m6f at the DRF. Looks to be stables second choice. Shanagh Bob won his point and was bought for £200k afterwards. He's won both his starts over hurdles the last back in December in the Grade 2 Bristol Novices at Cheltenham. Croke Park was very disappointing in the Lawlors having won his two starts over hurdles and has been given a break since. I'll give Readin Tommy Wrong another chance.

Selection; Readin Tommy Wrong

Best Alternative; Shanagh Bob











April 11th

Aintree (Going; Soft; Heavy in places)

The going at Aintree is going to be pretty testing and with more rain forecast today and overnight it's not going to get any better. We're four weeks since Cheltenhma and it's worth bearing in mind that last year 10 of the 21 races were won by horses who hadn't run at Cheltenham while the previous year it was 11of the 21. So thread cautiously if your betting.

Manifesto Chase (Grade 1) 2m3f200y

Just five go to post for this and four of them running at Cheltenham with three of them meeting in the Turners where Grey Dawning got the better of Ginny's Destiny by 2l with Colonel Harry over 17l behind the winner. Two runs before Cheltenham Grey Dawning made a bad error at the second last but rallied to just go down by three parts of a length to Ginny's Destiny who could be considered a fortunate winner. On his next start Ginny's Destiny had Blow Your Wad 23l back in sixth with the latter receiving 6lb. Il Etait Temps was over 13l back in third behind Gaelic Warrior at Cheltenham in the Arkle having got to within 5l of him over an extended 2m3f at Limerick on Heavy over Christmas so it's easy to see why he's back up in trip here. It all depends how these came out of Cheltenham and Blow Your Wad who didn't run there has to find plenty at the ratings. On the face of it it's hard to see Ginny's Destiny, whose trainer Paul Nicholls is 0 from 15 runs in the race , turning the form around. The 6yo Il Est Temps meets a lot of the trends for this and only has to find a couple of lbs on ratings. However he'll have to jump better than at Cheltenham and maybe a slower gallop over this trip will help. Grey Dawning likes to race prominently and around here that is essential I think and he just about shades the selection.

Selection; Grey Dawning

Best Alternative; Il Est Temps


Anniversary 4yo Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m209y

Another small field of six and Sir Gino heads the market here and if he's recovered from the virus that affected Seven Barrows early last month he'll be hard to beat. Winner of all three hurdle start6s he was very impressive at Cheltenham in January, his last start, when beating his main rival Burdett Road impressively. Kargese won the Juvenile at the DRF beating Storm Heart with Intelletto 9l behind the winner. Majborough who was almost 2l back in third behind her at the DRF then turned the tables at Cheltenham beating her by over 1l with Nurburgring almost 14l behind the winner. Kalif Du Berlais is unbeaten un three hurdle starts. On his latest start at Kempton in February he beat Gimmefive by three parts of a length in the Grade 2 Adonis. We can ignore the latter's latest run at Fairyhouse where he was very keen and faded having raced prominently. If Sir Gino is fit he'll be hard to beat while those who might not fancy him could do worse than have a small interest in Kalif Du Berlais who won at Kempton and form around there is often replicated at Aintree with both being flat sharp tracks albeit going on opposite directions.

Selection; Sir Gino

Best Alternative; Kalif Du Berlais

Bowl Chase (Grade 1) 3m210y

Just seven go to post but it's a quality field. Heade by Gold Cup runner up Gerri Colombe who won the Mildmay around here last year. That win came after a hard race in the Brown Advisory at Cheltenham but this field has greater depth than last year's Mildmay. Prior to the Gold Cup he was very disappointing at the DRF having won the Ladbroke Gold Cup at Down Royal in November. Like Sir Gino we have to take Shishkin's fitness at face value. He beat Ahoy Senor by over 1l in this last year but refused to race on is seasonal debut last November. Unlucky to unseast in the King George he gave 6l and a 4l beating to Hitman in the Denman at Newbury last February. Corbetts Cross has been improving all season and was impressive in winning the National Hunt chase by 17l on Heavy ground. On ratings he has a fair bit to find but should have more improvement in him. However he is still a Novice albeit he has had five starts over fences on the track and three in Points. Paul Nicholls fits Cheek Pieces to Bravemansgame who was a disappointing 19l behind the winner in the Gold Cup. He was runner up in his three previous starts including the King George. Ahoy Senor won the Mildmay here two years ago and was runner up in this last year. He also won a Grade 1 Hurdle here so obviously likes the place. However he's been disappointing this season pulling up on his first two starts and was well beaten in the other three having been dropped back in trip in the last two. Gentlemansgame beat Bravemansgame in the Charlie Hall last November but pulled up in the Gold Cup, his only starts this season. He's had his problems this season and is best watched. Thunder Rock beat Minella Drama at Kelso early March but has a bit to find on ratings. Again it all comes down to how the Cheltenham runners have come out of their races while the Henderson horses still come with a bit of a health warning coming back from illness. I'll take a chance with Gerri Colombe who backed up here after Cheltenham last year and that run in the Gold Cup was best of all these.

Selection; Gerri Colombe

Best Alternative; Corbetts Cross

Aintree Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m4f

Eight go to post and bookies appear to make it a two horse race between Bob Olonger and Impaire Et Passe. On their last start they met at the DRF in the Champion Hurdle where State Man beat Bob Olinger by over 5l with Impaire Et Passe another 5l back in third. Prior to that Bob Olinger had won a Grade 2 at Cheltenham beating Maries Rock by 7l and before that had beaten Zanahiyr 1l at Navan. Impaire Et Passe had been beaten just over3l by State Man at Christmas and in the Hatton's Grace went down by 1l to Teahupoo on seasonal debut. He had won all four of his Novice Hurdles, three of them between 2m3f and 2m5f. Langer Dan has risen 10lb in the ratings for getting over his Ulcers and winning the Coral Cup at the Festival. That still leaves him with a fair bit to find on the top two. Luccia was third, beaten over 3l, to State Man in the Champion Hurdle and gets a valuable 7lb Mares allowance. She won't be inconvenienced by the Heavy ground but it's her first time beyond 2m. Nemean Lion was over 17l behind State Man at Cheltenham but had won the Grade 2 Kingwell the run before on Heavy and might be place value while Mahons Glory looks outclassed and Beacon Edge has become unreliable. Impaire Et Passe is only a 6yo and has more improvement in him and is the selection.

Selection; Impaire Et Passe

Best Alternative; Bob Olinger

Mares National Hunt Flat Race (Grade 2) 2m209y

A large field of seventeen going to post as connections look for some valuable Black Type. But beware, in the last ten runnings only two favourites have won with four of the winners being returned at double digit figures in the betting. With so little form to go on it is probably a race best watched. Baby Kate's dam, Augusta Kate, was runner up in this in 2016 but is a Grade 1 winner over Hurdles. Baby Kate herself is a small mare but has won her two starts to date. The latest was last November at Cheltenham in a Listed race from which a number of winners have come. Honky Tonk Highway won her Point by 3l from subsequent Listed Bumper winner Diva Luna and went on to win a Listed Bumper herself at Sandown in early March. Listentoyourheart was beaten three parts of a length in that listed Bumper to Diva Luna. Jubilee Alpha, whose Dam, was fifth in this back in 2014, has won her only start by 2l on Good to soft with the runner up going down by almost 6l to Honky Tonk Highway next time. Trained by Paul Nicholls she should come on for her only start. Mongibello was disapointing at the DRF but previously had beaten Sporting Glory by 13l with the latter running a big race next time behind Romeo Coolio, who was runnerup in the Champion Bumper,  then winning at Fairyhouse in February. Speculatrix runs in the Gigginstown colours and they don't often contest these Bumpers. She won her only start when getting home by a nexk on Yielding ground at Punchestown last February. Metkayina ran twice for Sam Curling being placed third and then winning at Ludlow before being sold to current connection for £100,000. Her dam won a Bumper and three Hurdle races and was a 7l eight in the 2014 renewal of this. In a wide open race Mongibello has some very good collateral form and at 10/1 is woith a little each way.

Selection; Mongibello (half point each way) 10/1 available at numerous Bookies

Best Alternative;  Honky Tonk Highway









April 1st

Fairyhouse (Going; Heavy)

O'Driscolls Irish Whiskey Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m

Eight go to post with four of them having met in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham. Ndaawi finished best of them finishing just over 2l in third with the winner receiving 12lb. Miss Manzor was a further 9l back in fifth with Batman Girac way back and Karia Des Blaises took a heavy fall at the fourth. Miss Manzor had previously beaten Ndaawi around here in January. Bottler'secret won two of three starts on the flat and was thrown in at the deep end for his hurdles debut in the Grade 3 Winning Fair at Naas last February. That didn't stop him and he was an 11l comfortable winner despite not jumping well in a four runner race. He wears first time cheek pieces here. Givemefive is owned by Golfers Graeme McDowell and Brooks Koepka. He's two from three over hurdles and was not disgraced when going down by three parts of a length in the Adonis. The rest look to have it all to do and I think Ndaawi, who had a rating of 96 on the Flat, might have enough class to win this.

Selection; Ndaawi

Best Alternative; Bottler'secret

Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m4f45y

Just the six runners and Zarak The Brave is a shade of odds on as I write. He had some terrific form last year and won the Galway Plate in a driving finish, a big achievement for a 4yo. He was found to be clinically abnormal after pulling up in a Grade 3 in Tipperary last October and didn't reappear until the end of January when he won the Limestone Lad at Naas. His next start was in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham but he took a keen hold and weakened on the run in to finish over 9l back in fourth. Brewin'upastorm has been a great servant for connections but at 11yo he's vulnerable to younger horses and is 7lb worse off at the weights with the favourite. Thedevilscoachman wears first time cheek pieces having disappointed in the Galmoy over 3m at Gowran last January. On his penultimate start he was 3l back in second behind Sir Gerhard in a Punchestown Hurdle. He had a couple of poor runs before that but can't be ruled out if putting his best foot forward. Maxxum steps up in Grade from Handicxaps but has  to improve a bit. Beacon Edge is a bit of a monkey these days while No Looking Back wears a first time Tongue Tie having disappointed in a couple of runs since finishing just over 1l behind Irish Saint at Naas a year ago.

Selection; Zarak The Brave

Best Alternative; Thedevilscoachman

Fairyhouse Chase (Grade 2) 2m3f160y

Saint Sam has to carry a 6lb penalty for his win in the Grade 2 Red Mills at Gowran in February. That was his first run since falling at the last in a two runner race at Listowel. Prior to that he had completed a Hat trick and is highest rated here off a mark of 163. Journey With Me had some decent Novice form last season before falling at Punchestown in the Grade 1 Novice last April. He was off the course until Navan on March 2nd where he took a keen hold and had no chance with the comfortable winner Ash Tree Meadow and finished almost 4l back in third. He's sure to improve for that but jumping can be an issue with him and at the ratings he has a bit to find. Appreciate It won his first two starts over fences but has failed to win in seven runs since albeit he has been placed in five of those. He has won in testing conditions and gets 6lb off Saint Sam which puts him in the mix with the favourite. Fil Dor had two disappointing runs at the end of lasts eason and he disappointed again at Cheltenham this time as well. He had finished second on his two previous starts to Dinoblue and El Fabiolo. On ratings Espanito Belle and Rebel Gold have it all to do and it's Saint Sam for me.

Selection; Saint Sam

Best Alternative; Appreciate It






March 31st

Fairyhouse (Going; Heavy)

Honeysuckle Mares Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m4f

Eighten have been declared for this and the Willie Mullins Bingo Card has ten of them. Henry De Bromhead has four , Gavin Cromwell two and Jesse Harrington and Fergal O'Brien one each. Naturally Mullins has the early Favourite in Jade De Grugy who lost her unbeaten record at Cheltenham when she could only manage fourth having taken a keen hold in a slowly run race that turned into a bit of a sprint. She steps back up in trip here having won  her Maiden Hurdle impressively at Leopardstown at Christmas beating Butcher Hollow by 15l on Heavy going. She had A Penny A Hundred and Pink In The Park behind her next time at Fairyhouse in a Grade 3. Having won her Maiden over this course and distance by 15l Jetara went on to complete her hat trick winning a listed Mares and a Grade 3 Mares beating a number of today's opponents and showing she's effective in testing conditions in the process. She failed by 3l to continue the sequence in the Grade 1 Nathaniel Lacy at the DRF behind Dancing City and Predators Gold. Fun Fun Fun has won three from four over Hurdles with the latest coming in a Grade 3 at Naas but this is a tougher test. Bioluminescece attempts the hat trick having won a Grade 3 on Heavy Going  over 2m6f at Limerick three weeks ago. Stablemate Only By Night has won two Bumpers on Heavy and won her Maiden Hurdle at Naas but hasn't run since finishing third in a Novice at Lingfield in January over 2m. Springtime Promise travels over from Fergal O'Brien's yard and is unbeaten in three starts under rules the latest in a Grade 32 at Sandown. There are some unexposed Mares here as well so any Market moves should be noted. However I've a slight preference for Jetara who hasn't run since the DRF and might be be a fresher horse than those who went to Cheltenham.

Selection; Jetara

Best Alternative; Fun Fun Fun (Each Way)

Paddy Kehoe Suspended Ceilings Novice Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m4f

Twelve go to post for this but a few of them look like they're just making up the numbers with some fancy prices available for them. No Flies On Him was beaten 9l by Tullyhill on his last start back in February but had won his Maiden at Leopardstown at Christmas beating the ill fated D B Cooper by just under 2l. His only other start was in a Point which he won by three parts of a length from Jango Baie who is now rated 139. Dee Capo is two from three over Hurdles and beat Ashdale Bob by just under 2l at Leopardstown twenty eight days ago on his latest starts. He's act on the ground having won a Bumper on Soft to Heavy. Rushmount has had just two starts under rules going down by a neck to Lecky Watson at Thurles in November then winning by 8l around the same course in February. Both races were over 2m7f  so it remains to be seen if the drop in trip suits. Anotherway was well behind No Flies On Him at Leopardstown but won his maiden at Punchestown by 12l last January on Heavy ground but hasn't run since. Gold Dancer was very disappointing on stable debut at the DRF as was Loughglynn, who had beaten Stellar Story at Limerick, with his jockey reporting that he jumped poorly and hung left under pressure. Those two are best watched here. Mossy Fen Park hasn't run since winning his Maiden at Down Royal in December and this is a big step up in class.  The step up in trip should suit No Flies On Him and he is the selection.

Selection; No Flies On Him

Best Alternative; Dee Capo

Donoghue Marquees Novice Hurdle (Grade 2)

Eight go to post for this and the three Willie Mullins horses head the market. Mirazur West won his only Bumper start and was second to King Of Kingsfiels on hurdles debut before destroying the field in a Maiden Hurdle around here in January on Heavy ground. He was no match for Fun Fun Fun next time at Naas in a Grade 3 having jumped poorly and taken a keen hold. He got away with those issues at Fairyhouse and hopefully he'll get a good lead here although they might not go any pace in this ground. Tounsivator is two from eight on the Flat in France and won his only start over hurdles in a Maiden at Naas last month with the runner up winning since then. Western Diego beat Shoot The Blues 7l here in January his last start, The latter was beaten just ove r2l by Tounsivator at Naas. Western Diego is likely to be the pace in the race which could help Mirazur West. Ataboycharlie was second to Waterford Whispers at Galway back in October on rules debut and had two runs down the field after that before winning a Novice Handicap Hurdle at Leopardtown's Christmas meeting. He returned there for the DRF but took a heavy fall at the second last when in contention. He looks a bit of each way value if that fall hasn't affected his confidence. Angostura won his maiden on Heavy going at Gowran three weeks ago while Facile Mode is very inconsistent. One to keep an eye on is Sporting Glory. He makes his hurdles debut here having won one Bumper and been second in the other two. On his penultimate start around here in January he was second, just over 1l, behind Romeo Coolio who went on to be runner up in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham. The race may not be run to suit the favourite so I'm going to take a chance with Western Diego.

Selection; Western Diego

Best Alternative; Ataboycharlie (Each Way)

WillowWarm Gold Cup (Grade 1) 2m4f

Just seven runners here and the Bookies make it a match between Spillane's Tower and Blood Destiny. They've met twice with Spillane's Tower getting the better of Blood Destiny by 2l over 2m3f at Punchestown while theplacings were reversed best time at Navan over 2m with over 6l between them this time. Tactical Move is one from two in Bumpers, won his only Hurdle and two of his three chases.  A couple of those wins have come on Heavy and on chase debut he was a 7l runner up to Nick Rockett the favourite for Monday's Grand National. He's bred to stay further being out of a half sister to Denman. Zanahiyr has his seventh start of the season. However he was no match for Grey Dawning at Cheltenham finishing 0ver 12l back in fourth and Jack Kennedy has deserted him in favour of Saint Felicien. The latter was brought down at Cheltenham having won at Thurles on his previous start. The run before that he was runner up to Tactical Move beaten over 3l. There is nothing much between the top two but over this trip I'll side with Spillane's Tower.

Selection; Spillane's Tower

Best Alternative; Blood Destiny











March 23rd

Newbury (Going; Good To Soft)

"National Hunt" Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m4f118y

Nearly all who entered have ben declared to run leaving a big field of seventeen as they chase that elusive Black Type. They have all qualified through a series of races, only needing tio finish in the first six to be eligible, and as this is a Limited Handicap it's possible that a few have something hidden up their sleeves so to speak. Party Vibes has had just four starts over hurdles winning her last two having been runner up on the previous couple. She got an 8lb rise in the weights for that last win and her trainer is claiming 5lb of her back with Conditional Jockey Alice Stevens. El Elefante makes the long trip down from Scotland for Lucinda Russell. She won her last start when beating Kay Tara Tara in a Novice at Ayr. The run before that she was 14l back in fifth and last behind Jeriko Du Reponet in a Grade 2. Larchmount Lass won on epf her four Bumpers and has had just three starts over Hurdles winning at the third attempt  when she stayed on to win by 2l despite drifting right. The run before she had ben well beaten by Queens Gamble over 2m. Smiling Getaway picked up a bit of Black Type on her last run albeit she was 12l behind the winner in third. On her previous start she had stayed on to win at Warwick by 8l over 2m3f and on her hurdles debut at Ludlow in December she showed her liking for Soft ground when winning, with Lilting Verse conceding 7lb over 15l back in fourth and All The Glory, who was conceding 5lb under a 7lb claiming jockey, appearing to not act on the Ground a further 2l back in fifth. On this better ground I expect that last two to be closer here. On the start before that All The Glory was a 7l second to Shanagh Bob at Plumpton in November and the latter won his next start, a Grade 2 at Cheltenham and was one of the Market Leaders for the Albert Bartlett at the Festival  but was withdrawn by Nicky Henderson before the race. Kruger Park, 28l behind All The Glory at Plumpton has won since. Alan King sent Kay Tara Tara to Ayr in search of a bit of Good ground in an attempt to qualify for this and she was second to El Elefante  going down by just over 2l. Kay Tara Tara is now 11lb better off with the winner. Lindy Reilly is still a Maiden after three runs but has to be respected coming from the Skelton's and might appreciate the better ground here having run on Soft and Heavy. Ooh Betty carries top weight but is 6lb better of with Party Vibes having been over 5l behind last time. It's a wide open contest with plenty of each way value and I'll take a chance with All The Glory who could be a bit over priced with Kay Tara Tara an each way alternative but I'll be playing with very small amounts.

Selection; All The Glory (half a point each way)

Best Alternative; Kay Tara Tara










March 15th 

Cheltenham (Going; Soft)

Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m179y

Another version of the Willie Mullins bingo with seven of the fourteen declared runners coming from Closutton.  With Sir Gino now absent  his owners, the Donnelly's, have left Salvator Mundi in the race. He has had just one run when he was just collared by Sir Gino at Auteuil last April and in typical Mullins fashion has been given plenty of time. However Paul Townend has opted for Storm Heart. A winner at the fifth time of asking on the flat in France he was a private purchase after that win last March. He didn't reappear until December 31st when sluicing home by 22l in a Maiden Hurdle at Punchestown. He went off favourite for the Spring Juvenile at the DRF but got caught for pace turning into the straight and in the end went down by just over 1l to Kargesse who was getting the 7lb fillies allowance. The latter won twice at at Auteuil in the Spring and made her Irish debut at Leopardstown over Christmas going down by three parts of a length to Kala Conti with Nurburgring a nose away in third. The latter had previously beaten Kala Conti by half a length at Fairyhouse in the Grade 3 Juvenile. According to the bookies Majborough is the best of the Mullins team. He won a newcomers race at Auteuil impressively last April after which J P McManus bought him. The DRF was his first start since then and we can expect him to improve for the run and probably revert to the tactics of his win in France when he raced in Mid Division. Salver has won all four of his hurdle starts. He's a half brother to Saldier who won six for Willie Mullins. However the form of Salver's wins is modest and he only has a rating of 128. Fratas won four in a row on the Flat over the summer and won her only Hurdles start when beating Eagle Fang at Fairyhouse last November. Will probably come on for the run and is one to watch for the rest of the Spring Festivals. Bunting was fourth in the DRF race beaten just over 2l and was running on at the finish. Talked up by Ruby Walsh beforehand he had won his maiden hurdle at Limerick by 8l prior to Leopardstown. Ethical Diamond was never put into the DRF race and ran on to finish just over 5l behind the winner in sixth. Mighty Bandit beat Boodles winner Lark In The Morning by over 9l on hurdles debut but disappointed at Christmas next time with the trainer reporting a nasal discharge afterwards. He subsequently had a wind op and was sold at the Caldwell dispersal for €420k. The Spring Juvenile Hurdle has been a good pointer to this race down the years. Eight of the past twelve winners of the Triumph have run in it with three winning it. Six of the runners here contested it among them the first four who were covered by just over 2l. Probably the best view to take is to follow the market but I think Marjborough should improve for Leopardstown and gets the selection.

Selection; Majborough

Best Alternative; Bunting (Each Way)

Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle

Fourteen have been declared to go to post for this stamina test. Readin Tommy Wrong is the choice of the Mullins five for Paul Townend. Winner of his two Bumpers he scraped home in his maiden hurdle over 2m when odds on but seemed to improve for the step up in trip when having been held up in the rear he made steady headway from three out and stayed on to lead near the finish beating Ile Atlantique a neck with Lecky Watson over 7l back in third in the Grade 1 Lawlor's at Naas. He should have no problem getting this trip as his Dam is a half sister to Quito De La Roque. Dancing City was beaten 6l by Ballyburn in a Punchestown Bumper last April. Like a lot of the Mullins team he probably needed the run when finishing a distant fifth to Stellar Story at Navan in November but improved at the same track amonth later to win going away over 2m4f. He stepped up to an extended 2m6 at the DRF for the Grade 1 and beat stablemate and favourite Predators Gold by just over 1l and reversing the form with Stellar Story who was 11l back in fourth. Gidleigh Park won his first three impressively but had to battle when stepped up to Grade 2 company around here over an extended 2m4f where his stamina told in the end and he led near the finish to win by half a length. It was a slow run race that turned into a sprint and he should benefit from the step up in trip here. High Class Hero is unbeaten in all starts under rules but has not run in anything above Listed company. His latest start was at Thurles in January which came of the back of a three month break. He pulled hard that day, didn't jump well but cruised up in the straight and only had to be pushed out for the win. He could be anything. Captain Teague won the Challow in December, his last start, and strangely enough no winner of that Grade 1 has followed up at the Festival. He was third, beaten over 2l, in last yera's Champion Bumper. He's two from three over hurdles his only defeat coming around the OldCourse, which possibly didn't suit him. He idled on the run in at  Newbury so expect him to be produced late. Lecky Watson has a bit to find on the Lawlor's form but was only beaten half a length by Supreme winner Slade Steel the run before in the Grade 2 Navan Novice with Stellar Story over 4l back in third over 2m4f on Heavy. Johnnywho has been beaten 2l by Captain Teague in the Challow and almost 7l by Gidleigh Park here in January his last two starts. Search For Glory wears first time Blinkers replacing the cheek pieces he's worn in his last three starts which include two Grade 3 wins. A tough one to weigh up but Dancing City tick a lot of boxes and gets the selection.

Selection; Dancing City

Best Alternative; Gidleigh Park (Each Way)

Cheltenham Gold Cup (Going; Soft) 3m2f70y

A cracking race in store with eleven declared. Galopin Des Champs is a warm favourite to repeat that win and his preparation has gone to plan. Ignore his run in the Durkin when Fastorslow beat him oveer an unadequate trip. He demolished a below par Gerri Colombe in the Savills at Christmas and then was a comfortably winner of the Irish Gold Cup. Fastorslow had just those two runs and has had a wind op since. He's a superb jumper and is trained by Martin Brasil who is a very good target trainer. Gerri Colombe hasn't run since the Savills having won hisn only other start the Ladbroke Gold Cup at Down Royal. He has been trained specifically for this and the extra two furlongs should help. Bravemansgame has been second four times and third once since he won the King George in December 2022 but there have been too many excuses for my liking. L'Homme Presse has won seven of the nine chases he's completed. After the King George in 2022 hw was of until January this year and won over 2m6f at Lingfield but was beaten over 2m5 at Ascot bu Pic D'Orhy. It's a big test for him here. Corach Rambler won the Ultima on the old course the last two years beating Fastorslow in last years race. He won the Grand National after that but at the ratings has plenty to do. Last year's Brown Advisory winner The Real Whacker has been disppointing. I'll have to stick with Galopin De Champs and Gerri Colombe might be a bit of each way value.

Selection; Galopin De Champs

Best Alternative; Gerri Colombe (Each Way)

The Liberthine Mares Chase (Grade 2) 2m4f127y

Dinoblue was beaten in the Garnd Annual here last year but ended the season with wins at Fairyhouse and Punchestown. She reappeared at Naas last November beating Fil Dor and then won the Garde 1 over 2m1f at Leopardstown over Christmas. She was no match for El Fabiolo at the DRF finishing over 8l back in second.. Back in her own class I think she'll be hard to beat. Allegorie De Vassy was favourite for this last year but having gone a neck up after the last was outbattled by Impervious to go down by over 2l with the winner going away. She was beaten next at Fairyhouse and beaten again by Impervious this time by over 17l at Punchestown. She won twice this season beating Riviere D'etel by 4l at Naas in the Listed Mares last month having gone down by 33l to her over an extended 2m5f at Fairyhouse in January Limerick Lace, Brides Hill who completed a hat trick at Huntingdon last time and Riviere D'etel are all decent Mares who can run into a place but it looks to be between the top two and preference is for Dinoblue with Riviere D'etel for a place. 

Selection; Dinoblue

Best Alternative; Riviere D'etel (each way or for a place)


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March 14th

Cheltenham (Going; Soft, Heavy in places)

Turners Novices Chase (Grade 1) 2m3f168y

This is a tricky contest to work out. Facile Vega steps up in trip for the first time and having seen Gaelic Warrior win the Arkle it could be that the Mullins camp are confident he can step up here, He shares early favouritism with Grey Dayning. Facile Vega was runner up to Marine Nationale around the Old Course here last year in the Supreme before beating Il Etait Temps in the Grade 1 Novice Hurdle at Punchestown. He was no match for Found A Fifty at Christmas wher he was disappointing and on his latest start was just over 3l back in third to Il Etait Temps at theb DRF. Grey Dawning is two from four over fences and placed in the other two. Beaten almost 3l by Stay Away Fay on debut over 3m he dropped back to an extended 2m5f at Haydock and left Gaillard Du Mesnil over 9l back in second and was just touched off by Ginny's Destiny over course and distance in December before trouncing Apples Away by 14l at Warwick in January. He is rated 153 which is 2 point above Facile Vega. Ginny's Destiny has had a nice break since completing the hat trick beating Theatre Man almost 3l conceding 13lb . Rated 155 he's thre wins have come around here, twice over this course and distance. Iroko has had just one start over fences when winning at Warwick last November and that break is a worry. Zanahiyr beat Aspire Toweron Soft/ Heavy over 2m last Month but was no match for Fact To File at the DRF over 2m5f finishing 17l back in second. Djelo ran up a hat trick in his first three chase starts and on his last start was a 7l second to all the way winner Nickle Back at Sandown. It's a tricky contest but you would hope that having won a Cheltenham Bumper that Facile Vega can step up in trip and given that he is versatile Ground wise he gets a tentative selection while Ginny's Destiny might be an alternative.

Selection; Facile Vega

Best Alternative; Ginny's Destiny

Ryanair Chase (Grade 1)

Eleven go to post but there must be a doubt about Banbridge starting given the Going and I understand a decision will be made Thursday morning. Last year's winner Envoi Allen hasn't been seen since beaten a neck by Gerri Colombe over 3m in the Ladbroke at Down Royal in November. Last season he had a run in December prior to Cheltenham and he does run well fresh but at 10yo he is vulnerable to a younger progressive horse. Stage Star is joint favourite with Envoi Allen as I write. He was pulled up having slowed almost to a walk to jump the second last on Heavy ground in the Paddy Power on New Years Day of this course and distance so current ground conditions might be a concern. He mad a mistake at the last ditch and I think that they were minding him given that he was conceding 16lb and more to his rivals. He won his only other start this season in November and won the Turners around here last year. On the current going description Banbridge has to be a big doubt. He did win on soft back in his Novice hurdle days but that was summer soft and all indications since are that he needs at minimum Good To Soft to be effective. Conflated was just over 1l behind Envoi Allen in the Ladbroke at Down Royal. He's unseated at the last  in his two starts since behind Gallopin Des Champs over 3m and it could be that he was tiring at the time and dropping back in trip might help thoigh at 10yo age is against him. Capodanno won the Cotswolds here in January beating The Real Whacker by 3l but all is recent form is over 3m. Protektorat has been lightly raced in recent seasons and hasn't won in six starts since winning the Betfair at Haydock in November 2022. It could be that the drop back in trip will suit and he is a course an distance winner but he's not for me. Ahoy Senor pilled up on his first two starts this season and was 10l behind Capadanno in the Cotswolds. He failed to quicken last time when dropped nack in trip at Ascot. He's a great run at Aintree last April finishing second just over 1l to Shishkin in the Bowl. He is a Spring horse but dropping back in trip is a negative. Fil Dor has been second in his to Starts this season, to El Fabiolo and Dinoblue on Soft/ Heavy and Soft. Only one 6yo has won this in the last fifteen starts. He was very disappointing here on the Old course last year but that was sixth start that season and he has had just the two starts this one. That plus the fact he was runner up to Vauban on the New course in the Triumph makes him of interest as a possible place angle. He was purchased by current owners at the recent Caldwell dispersal for €620k which might be a tip in itself. Ga Law has good form at Cheltenham but has a bit to do on ratings and the same can be said of Hitman. With a few question marks re ground and age it's probably a race to just have a small interest and I'm interested in Fil Dor  as an Each Way Bet who is available at 16/1 with Paddy Power.

Selection; Fil Dor (half point each way 16/1 Paddy Power)

Best Alternative; Envoi Allen

Stayers Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m7f213y

Twelve go to post and the rain gods have hopefully smiled on Teahupoo. He was beaten three parts of a length in last year's race and Gordon Elliott blamed himself for running him in January at Gowran. This season he's had just one start beating Impaire Et Passe in the Hatton's Grace at Fairyhouse in December. Crambo took a big step forward in the Long Walk at ascot late December winning by a short head from Paisley Park with Dashel Drasher another 6l back in third. The Handicapper has raised him 24lb over the course of this season and it remains to be seen if he's right. Noble Yeats wears cheek pieces which will be the first time he's worn them with a tongue tie. He won the National with cheek pieces. On his last start he had a tongue tie when he beat Paisley Park by a Head over this course and distance in the Cleeve which is often a good pointer to this race. He's had two hurdles runs this season, all his starts apart from a Chase in Auteuil in May when he finished down the field.  Sir Gerhard won the Champion Bumper and the Ballymore but his chasing career went from good to bad and having fallen on seasonal debut at Naas he reverted to hurdles at Punchestown in December beating Thedevilscoachman over 2m3f on Heavy ground. The 2022 winner Flooring Porter is another reverting to hurdles. He won his first chase around here last October but has had two disappointing runs since. He nearly ran off the course in Punchestown and needs to go left handed. Home By The Lee was almost 4l back in fifth last year but pulled up at Aintree next time. He's had two starts this season finishing 5l behind Bob Olinger at Navan but 20l behind Irish Point in the Leopardstown stayers at Christmas. Paisley Park has been beaten by two heads and a short head in his three starts this season. His first of two wins in the race was 2019 and it's possible we won't see him after this. He'll run his usual game race but time might have caught up with him. The same can be said of last year's winner Sire Du Berlais although he usually comes good in the Spring. Conditions will favour Teahupoo who is the selection.

Selection; Teahupoo

Best Alternative; Noble Yeats

The Dawn Run Mares' Novices Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m179y

Eleven declared but bookies make it a three horse race. Gordon Elliott thinks the world of Brighterdaysahead who cost €310k as a 3yo at the Derby Sale. She's a half sister to Mighty Potter, Caldwell Potter and French Dynamite and has won all five of her starts. She started off winning two Bumpers. At Down Royal on her second hurdles start she took a keen hold and didn't jump with any fluency and despite a mistake at the last she only had to get one tap behind the saddle to keep up to her work and never looked like been beaten with Birdie Or Bust 25l back in fifth. She jumped much better on her last start winning a Listed Mares by 12l. Jade De Grugy represents the all conquering Mullins Team. She won a Bumper in France in October 2022 after which she was bought €230k. She was given a good break after this and reappeared at Leopardstown last Christmas winning her Maiden Hurdle by 15l. She then went to Fairyhouse in January for a Grade 3 which she won comfortably by over 6l. Fergal O'Brien thinks highly of Dysart Enos who has won her six rules starts, three Bumpers and three Hurdles. One caveat is that's she's never run on Heavy but has a course and distance win on Soft. She gets 5lb from the Top two but still needs to find a bit more on ratings. It's hard to see anything else winning although Majestic Force has just had one start over hurdle which she won to add to the win in her only Point and could be anything. Brighterdaysahead gets the nod.

Selection; Brighterdaysahead

Best Alternative; Jade De Grugy





March 13th

Cheltenham Old Course (Going; Heavy, Soft in places)

Baring Bingham Novices Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m5f

Eight have been declared and five are trained by Willie Mullins. Ballyburn is odds on to add to his winning tally. Four from Five under rules, his only defeat came on Hurdling debut when he went down by over 2l to race fit Firefox. Since then he's won by 25l in a Maiden Hurdle and bet Slade Steel by 7l in the Grade 1 at the DRF only having to be pushed out for a comfortable win. Ile Atlantique was beaten a neck into second in the Lawlors on his last start. Prior to tha he had won his maiden by 19l. He has some good Bumper form in the book particularly his final start last season when he was beaten three parts of a length by Firefox in a Fairyhouse Bumper  last April. He's had a break since the Lawlors in January and might appeal to som eas an each way bet. Predators Gold won his Bumper last Apriland didn't reappear until November when he won his Maiden hurdle with the runner up winning next time. He was beaten over 6l by Caldwell Potter in the Grade 1 at Leopardstown over Christmas and was then beaten just over 1l by stablemate Dancing City in the Grade 1 Nathaniel Lacy at the DRF. Handstands is unbeaten in three rules starts having also won his only point. On his latest win he beat the previously unbeaten Jango Baie by over 1l in a Listed Hurdle at Huntingdon. However he has plenty to find on ratings as does Jingko Blue who cost connections £225k after winning his point and is two from three over hurdles and also has the Henderson Stable form to worry about. Mercurey, another Mullins runner, interests me. He was an impressive winner of his first Bumber in January 2022 but was off from December that year until last January when he got tired in a Punchestown maiden finishing third to Lisnagar Fortune. He came on for that winning next time in a Maiden Hurdle by 22l. Jockey bookings suggest he's fourth choice of the yard at best but he is worth watching for the future. Ballyburn can't be opposed.

Selection; Ballyburn

Best Alternative; Predator's Gold (Each Way)

The Broadway Novices' Chase (Grade 1) 3m110y

A disappointing field of six runners for this stamina test but it has the potential to be a terrific race. Fact To File is  shade of odds on to continue his winning ways over fences. Having been runner up to A Dream To Share in two  Grade 1 Bumpers last season he was sent straight over fences on his return in November. However despite going of at odds on he was unable to peg back the enigmatic American Mike who put his best foot forward and won by just over. It's possible that like a lot of the Closutton runners he needed the run because he was very impressive in a Beginners at Leopardstown over Christmas beating Zanahiyr by 17l over 2m5f. Fact To File then went to the DRF where he had a bloodless victory in an unsatisfactory Grade 1 Ladbrokes with his only opponent Gaelic Warrior running a shocker and well beaten when unseating at last. There is a feeling among some that he should have gone for the Turners over 2m4f but connections seem convinced he'll stay this trip. One who definitely stays is last years Albert Bartlett winner Stay Away Fay who wears first time cheek pieces. Winner of his first two chase starts, both over 3m. On his next start he was thrown into open company in the Cotswold Chase and did ok for only his third start finishing third, over 3l behind the winner Capadanno and three parts of a length behind The Real Whacker. He hung right after the last but stayed on again. On his penultimate start he won the Grade 2 Esher at Sandown beating Giovinico, who was receiving 3lb BY over 1l. Monty's Star pulled up in the Albert Bartlett last year and has had just two starts over fences. In the first he was beaten just over 3l into third behind Corbetts Cross and Three Card Brag over an extended 2m5f. He turned the tables on the latter next time when stepping up to 3m beating him by over 5l. He was beaten 6l by Stay Away Fay back in December 2021 in a Point at Lingstown. After that Navan win over Fact To File, American Mike was a long way back behind Gaelic Warrior on a Limerick bog in the Faugheen at Christmas but stepping up to 3m next time he beat the useful Nick Rocket by just over 1l with 148 rated Minella Cocooner another 13l back in third in the TenUp at Navan. The Albert Bartlett third, Sandor Clegane has had three runs over fences. In twelve starts under rules he's won three and been placed in seven. For his chase debut he was sent out in a 2m chase and was beaten over 7l into fourth behind Imagine. He a 14l second to Favori De Champdou next time over 3m and again was second beaten 10l behind Embassy Gardens over 3m1f in a Naas Grade 3 in January. He is a big horse who maybe will make a better chaser than a hurdler and could cause a surprise here. French breds don't have a good record in this in recent times but he ticks a lot of other boxes so Fact To File gets the selection.

Selection; Fact To File

 Best Alternative; Sandor Clegane (Without the Favourite)

Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1)  1m7f199y

Eight go to post  for this  and El Fabiolo, winner of the Arkle last year over course and distance, is odds on to  win. He's had two starts this season winning at Cork in a Grade 2 and  then an easy victory in the Dublin Chase at the DRF beating Dinoblue by over 8l. He beat Jonbon  in the Arkle last year and the latter got this season off to a good start beating Edwardstone twice  but going down by a neck to Elixir De Nutz when the 1/4 favourite with his jumping letting him down badly. Apart from those two Jonbon defeats Edwardstone was well beaten by Banbridge when stepping up to 2m4f. He reverted to 2m for the Game Spirit at Newbury last month winning unopposed  helped by the fall of Boothill and Amarillo Sky pulling up  lame.  The tactics at Newbury ,where  he made the running will probably be repeated here. Boothill has fallen in his last two starts and needs a confidence boost while Gentleman Du Mee seems to find his form in the Spring. Nonetheless El Fabiolo, who can make the odd mistake jumping but who has never fallen, gets the nod while in the absence of any good news from Seven Barrows we have to ignore Jonbon and look at  Edwardstone as the Best Alternative.

Selection; El Fabiolo

Best Alternative; Edwardstone

Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1) 2m87y

A big field of twenty four for this and there are some expensive buys here. Wille Mullins has the early favourite in Jasmin De Vaux who has won his only point and went clear in the final furlong of his only Bumper start to win by 15l over an extended 2m2f at Naas on Heavy ground in January. The runner up in his Bumper was beaten over 21l next time by another Mullins horse again on Heavy ground at Gowran. Jalon D'oudairies cost £420k at the Festival sale here last year having won his point at Lingstown.. He's won his two Bumper starts, the latest at Leopardstown over Christmas, with the runner up going on to finish third behind Jeroboam Machin who may have been favourite for this before injury ruled him out. Romeo Coolio was another £420k buy at the Festival sale last year having won his point effortlessly at Belclare. He's highly regardes in Cullentra and won his Bumper on Soft ground in January at Fairyhouse despite a slow pace. He was reported to not being near full fitness for that and he could be the each way value. Teeshan came with a lofty reputation after winning his point at Loughanmore last October and reappeared at Exeter last month and easily won by 7l. The Yellow Clay won both his Bumpers last March and didn't reappear until the DRF last month. He was travelling as well as anyone but was almost brought to a standstill 2furlongs down dropping back to seventh and flew the last Furlong to finish fourth 7l behind the winner and a neck behind the third. With luck in running he should be in the mix. You Oughta Know wears a first time hood. He was second in that DRF Bumper having won his other two starts. In the first he beat Croke Park 11l and Danny Mullins gets the leg up. Cantico, the mount of Paul Townend won his point and was third in his first Bumper before winning easily on Heavy at Naas. Argento, in the same ownership as Cantico, has won his only start, getting home with plenty in hand by 7l at Fairyhouse in January under Brian Hayes who retains the ride. Fleur Au Fusil, another Mullins horse, won the Grade 2 Mares at the DRF and could be in the mix being two from two. There is aleways the potential for a shock in this as it is hasr to equate some of the form. Willie Mullins has nine it but Gordon Elliott with three holds a strong hand and  The Yellow Clay looks value for money at 10/1 and is the selection.

Selection; The Yellow Clay

Best Alternative; Jalon D'oudairies








March 12th

Cheltenham (Going; Soft)

Supreme Novices Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m87y

Twelve go to post and it's a tight enough contest if the early betting is right. Mystical Power and Tullyhill are joint favourites with Firefox just half a point bigger. The beautifully bred Mystical Power (by Galileo ex Annie Power) wears a first time hood. He won his only Bumper start last May and then won easily on Hurdles debut at Galway last July. He was quite keen at Fairyhouse, as he was in his other two starts, in January and his jumping wasn't always fluent. However it didn't stop him running out a convincing winner by 7l over Jigaro who was over 9l third to Tullyhill next time. Tullyhill won his only Point and his first Bumper before finishing runner uo to A Dream To Share in the Grade 1 at Punchestown last April. On his hurdles debut last November his jumping was poor to say the least and he was beaten 24l into second. He was better next time at Naas where he made all and only had to be pushed out for a comfortable win and it was a similar story next time when seeing off No Flies On Him and Jigaro by 9l. Firefox won three of his four Bumpers including a win over the well regarded Ile Atlantique. On hurdles debut in December he beat Ballyburn by over 2l after a slow run race turned into a bit of a sprint. He came there off the back of a Bumper win in November while Ballyburn was making his seasonal debut. Nonetheless he quickened nicely and Gordon Elliott thinks he's a natural two miler. You can draw a line through his run at Naas in January as he was a sick horse and he's worked well since. Slade Steel won his first two starts over hurdles before a 7l second to Ballyburn at Leopardstown in the DRF. His second win came over 2m4f when he beat the useful Lecky Watson half a length in the Grade 2 Navan Novice. It may be that as a point winner his future lies over further than this race but he might appeal to each way backers. He's an official rating of 147 and eight of the last ten winners were rated 150+. I can't back any Nicky Henderson horses while the stable is under a cloud so Jeriko Du Reponet is a watching brief only. Mistegif was a nine race Maiden on the Flat in France and had two runs over Hurdles at Auteuil before transferring to Willie Mullins. He sluiced home by 18l on Heavy in a Limerick Maiden in January and wears a first time hood here. The Costello Family will be hoping for a good show from Asian Master who will be ridden by Tom Costello. He ran in four Points winning one, then was runner up in a Bumper before finishing down the field in a Hunter Chase after which the family decided to hand over the training to Willie Mullins who duly worked the oracle producing him to win twice, the latter by 10l from Better Days Ahead who himself had been over 5l behind Slade Steel at Navan. It's hard to see anything else being involved. To sum up; Mystical Power races very keenly, Tullyhill's jumping is not fluent at times while Firefox looks to have a turn of foot and Slade Steel might be better over further. I'll take a chance with Firefox. 

Selection; Firefox

Best Alternative; Mystical Power

Arkle Novices Chase (Grade 1) 1m7f199y

Gaelic Warrior has been installed as the early favourite but note that he's been beaten in two starts around here. His tendency to jump right is not ideal and he was a beaten horse when unseating Paul Townend at the DRF. Prior to that he had beaten stablemate Il Etait Temps at Limerick after the latter tried an audacious move up the winners inside at the last and was impressive on chase debut at Punchestown when blowing the field away. Significantly both wins came going right handed. He wears a first time hood. Found A Fifty was beaten a neck by Il Etait Temps at the DRF having beaten My Mate Mozzie in the Grade 1 at the same track at Christmas. It looked like he was outstayed by the National winner I Am Maximus in the Drinmore with a clumsy jump at the last not helping while he had been a very easy winner on his chase debit at Down Royal. Il Etait Temps' best form has been around Leopardstown and he's been well beaten twice at Cheltenham. Hunters Yarn fell on Chase debut with the race at his mercy but romped home by 10l from Path D'oroux next time. He could be anything but with just two starts over fences may lack experience. Nonetheless the BHA Handicapper rates hin 153 and he wouldn't have to find much more to be involved. Quilixios is two from three over fences, his defeat coming when he didn't stay the 3m at Punchestown. On his latest win he beat Sa Fureur by just over 2l at Naas. He won the Triumph on the New course here and added four more wins over the smaller obstacles. Any market moves should be noted. JPR One is two from four over fences and was desperately unlucky when stumbling and unseating at the last over the course and distance last November. He was a bit disappointing next time at Sandown getting bogged on the Heavy ground according to his Trainer. However he bounced back in style at Lingfield next time where he travelled strongly and idled a bit in front before the line to beat Matata half a length. My Mate Mozzie is a course and distance winner having won his Novice here in October on Good ground. He was no match for Found A Fifty at Leopardstown at Christmas and wears first time cheek pieces here to go with the tongue tie he's worn on his last two starts. Master Chewy looks held by JPR One on Lingfield form. In a tricky contest slight preference is for Found A Fifty.

Selection; Found A Fifty

Best Alternative; Hunters Yarn (Each Way)

Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m87y

Eight declared to go to post and on the face of it State Man looks to have a penalty kick. Winner of ten of his thirteen starts over hurdles his only defeats came on his debut at Auteuil in May 2020, next time out in December 2021 he fell at Leopardstown and Constitution Hill beat him in this last year. At 4/11 he's not for most punters but there might be place value to be had and one of those is Irish Point. Some pundits think the 2m might be a bit sharp for him but he's by a Sire, Joshua Tree, who won over 7f as a 2yo and won the Group 2 Royal Lodge at Ascot over 1m and was campaigned mainly as a middle distance horse from 3yo up. Irish Point's dam won her two starts over 1m3f and 1m4f. Irish Saint beat Il Est Francais over 1m4f in Saint Cloud. There is no doubt he stays as he won the Christmas Hurdle in December and on his only other start this season won over 2m1f at Down Royal. Iberico Lord has been supplemented for this at a cost of £18k. However his best form has been in Handicaps , one of them over this course and distance. He does need plenty of juice to be effective as he's run poorly on a Good surface twice. It's hard to see any of the rest getting into it and State Man has 10lb and more in hand at the ratings but if you can get Irish Point without the favourite it might be worth a shot or even each way at 5/1 or better.

Selection; State Man

Best Alternative; Irish Point (without the favourite or Each Way)

David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle (Grade 1) 

Eleven go to post for this looking for some valuable Black Type before the go to the Breeding paddock. Lossiemouth is odds on to collect despite the fact she's never run over this distance. She's only been beaten once in seven starts and that was not one of jockey Paul Townend's finest moments. She made amends winning the Triumph next time and then the 4yo Champion at Punchestown. She's had just one start this season when bolting in around the New Course in the International here in January with Love Envoi over 9l behind. The latter was second to Honeysuckle in this last year but this looks a stronger renewal. However she has some appeal for place betting. Ashroe Diamond wears a first time hood. She finished last season with a couple of wins, the second in the Grade 1 Mares at Fairyhouse at Easter. She's had two starts this season finishing 13l back in third to Teahupoo in the Hatton's Grace and then winning the Grade 2 at Doncaster comfortably with Gala Marceau over 4l back in third. The latter looks held by Lossiemouth. Marie's Rock is from Nicky Henderson's and as said npreviously, with the stable under a cloud it's hard to fancy their runners. However if they have a winner early in the week things could change. She was beaten 15l in this last year. Telmesomethinggirl reverted to hurdles for her last two starts having appeared to lose her way over fences . On her latest she was runner up to Zarak The Brave in a Grade 3 at Naas. I'm not going to oppose Lossiemouth and for those who don't like backing shorties the alternative might be Love Envoi  without the favourite.

Selection; Lossiemouth

Best Alternative; Love Envoi (without the favourite)

National Hunt Amateur Jockey's Novices Chase (Grade 2) 3m5f201y

 Just seven runners going to post for this marathon and there's nothing between Corbetts Cross and Embassy Gardens in the betting as I write. Corbetts Cross ruined a lot of betting slips last year when running out at the last Hurdle in the Albert Bartlett. He's gone chasing this year and has been improving all the time. It was asking too much on debut to beat Grangeclare West over 2m4f at Naas and he finished 9l back in third with some Novicey jumping not helping either. He then went to Fairyhouse over an extended 2m5f and beat Three Card Brag and Monty's Star (who is third favourite for the Brown Advisory). He was then beaten 6l by Grangeclare West in the Grade 1 at the Leopradstown Christmas meeting and was unlucky when in my opinion was brought down (form book says bumped into and fell) at Fairyhouse. Embassy Gardens, having run too keenly early on, pulled up in the Albert Bartlett last year but on his recent start beat the third in that race Sandor Clegane 10l in to second over 3m1f at Naas. Prior to that he had beaten Lets Go Champ by 13l on Chase debut at Punchestown over an extended 2m7f. Both those runs were on heavy ground. Salvador Ziggy hasn't run since disappointing at Far Hills last October with Gordon Elliott saying it might have been a race too far. On his previous start he finished runner up to Desertmore House in the Kerery National having won his three previous starts. He was runner up in the Pertemps here last year. The going is a concern as most of his form is on Good or Yielding to Soft while the trip is also a concern with the lack of a recent run. Lucinda Russell has booked top point to point rider Bon O'Neill for Apples Away who gets the Mares Allowance. She completed a hat trick over hurdles at the end of last season when winning the Grade 1 Novice over 3m at Aintree earning a mark of 141. She's had four starts chasing this season winning once and finishing behind Grey Dawning twice both by the same margin 14l. On her last start, at Ascot, she made a number of jumping errors and looked beaten when making another mistake at the last. It's just twenty four days since that run and she looked to have had a hard race. Kilbeg King was a couple of lengths ahead of Apples Away at  Ascot and prior to that ran a career best when a 14l third in the King George. Henry's Friend who won the Ascot race was completing a hat trick but has a bit to find on ratings while Mr Vango, who wears first time cheek pieces, won on his second start over fences when romping home by 60l at Exeter on Heavy ground over an extended 3m6f. He won his only point by 25l beating a horse who is now rated 132 over hurdles. That was on Good to Soft. However he is an 8yo and has had just six starts under rules and only two 0f those were over fences. Both Corbetts Cross and Embassy Gardens wear first time hoods. Willie and Patrick Mullins along with Gordon Elliott have won it four times while Doc O'Connor has won it twice. Notwithstandin all that, experience over fences often counts in this race and for me Corbetts Cross just shades it.

Selection; Corbetts Cross

Best Alternative; Embassy Gardens









March 2nd

Navan (Going; Heavy)

Webster Cup

Inspection at 7.30 A.M.

If racing goes ahead at Navan conditions will be very testing. Just five declared for this and the Bookies have installed Journey With Me as an odds on favour despite not having run since falling at Punchestown last April. He had won two of his previous three races but he also fell on his only other start over the larger obstacles. Ash Tree Meadow returned after a break at Naas last Sunday in the Newlands Chase over 2m. He was set an almost impossible task giving eventual winner 9lb. He travelled strongly in an effort to bring his stamina into play but tied up between the last two over a trip that's probably on the short side these. I'm not sure ground conditions will suit either. Fighting Fit steps out of handicap company. His form is a mixed bag having won four and placed twice in thirteen starts over fences. On his latest run he was 40l back from the winner at Fairyhouse in January. On the plus side he has won on Heavy ground. He wore a tongue tie and cheekpieces the last day but the cheekpieces are left off here. His four wins over fences have all come with the tongue tie on. Lucid Dreams didn't see a racecourse until he was 8yo and has his seventeenth start since that debut last March. He's won six and been placed in six and while he was just under 4l behind Uncle Phil, well ahead of Fighting Fit, at Fairyhouse in January he was well beaten on his last two starts. Andy Dufresne has been very disappointing lately and Jockey bookings suggest he's best watched. It's not a race I want to be involved in and the favourite is plenty short enough. However the drop back in trip is a positive as is the fact he's run well on heavy ground previously and with question marks about the others he's the selection.

Selection; Jouney With Me

Best Alternative; Fighting Fit

Kelso (Going; Good To Soft)

Premier Novices Hurdle ( Grade 2) 2m2f25y

Twelve runners due to face the starter for this valuable pot. Nicky Henderson has the favoutite in Jango Baie but there is a huge question mark over the stables form. We all know about Constitution Hill but the Stable has only had ten runners in the last fourteen days and six have pulled up with just one winner and a third among the rest. It's a tricky one as the smart play would be to bet without the favourite or else wait as long as possible to see if there is any movement in the market. Jango Baie was runner up in his only point before winning his nest two hurdle starts, the second a Grade 1, and then was unable to concede 5lb to the unbeaten Handstands on his latest start in a Listed Hurdle at Huntingdon which might turn out to be not a bad run. He may have been fortunate in his Grade 1 win as Farren Glory was travelling stronglyb when falling two out. Ben Pauling's form has been outstanding lately and he has a 37% success rate in the last fortnight. His runner here, Personal Ambition, has won two of his three starts over but was well beaten in a Grade 2 at Sandown over 2m4f on Heavy. He beat Jinko Blue by over 3l on Hurdles debut and the latter has won his next two starts. Alnilam won four from eight starts on the flat and has just the two starts over hurdle winning at the second attempt when when cantering home by 13l. The runner up had won on hurdles debutand had just been beaten the previous run by the more experienced Asta La Pasta. Brucio is an interesting runner. She had an entry for the Morebattle later on the card but this might be an easier task. She gets the Mares allowance also. She didn't show much in two Bumpers and finshed third on Hurdles debut before stumbling after the last and falling next time when beaten. She then got a confidence boosting run when winning a moderate maiden at Catterick and then was a surprise winner of the Listed mares over 2m3f at the DRF beating Minx Tiara by 6l in receipt of 7lb. Cannock Park was 15l back in third behind Jingo Baie at Aintree having won his two previous starts. Having won two of his three starts in Bumpers and his only point Intense Approach and was weakening and been eased down when falling heavily at the last on his only start over hurdles. He's been given a long rest since that fall at Wexford last November. He wears a first time tongue tie and is probably best watched albeit his trainer John McConnell has sixteen wins from sixty four runs in Great Britain this season. On ratings you would fancy Jinko Baie but I'm going against him and siding with the Mare Brucio who is available at 7/1.

Selection. Brucio (7/1 Ladbrokes, Coral)

Best Alternative; Personal Ambition











February 24th

Kempton (Going; Soft)

Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m

The Bookies are taking no chances with the Paul Nicholls trained Kalif Du Berlais who has won his only start in Britain having been bought privately after winning in France last October. That race at Compiegne was his first and he cruised through between the last two Hurdles to go clear on the run in and beat the favourite by over 5l with another 6l back to the third. He was good value for the win only having to be shaken up after the last and ridden out hands and heels. He jumped out and made all over this course and distance Mid January and only needed one tap behind the saddle after the second last to quicken clear and win by over 7l. The third and fifth placed have won since. Givemefive has won his two starts over hurdles since moving to Harry Derham from Johnny Murtagh's where he won his last start. It's difficult to know if he beat much but the handicapper rated him at 126 following his 18l win at Warwick last month. The same can be said of Captain Marvelous who was second on debut around here in October and won by 23l on his only other start here in November. His two runs have come on Good and Good To Soft so the Going is the unknown. Peking Opera raced off a Flat mark of 105 when beaten 6l in to third place by Vauban in a 1m4f Garde 3 at Naas last August. He changed hands for 100k Guineas after that at the September Sales and made his hurdles debut at Sandown three weeks ago winning by almost 2l from a year older and much more experienced hurdler who had to concede the winner lumps of weight. The winner didn't jump all that fluently and took a bit of a hold but his class got him home and there should be plenty of improvement. Swift Hawk is the second Nicholls runner and won on Hurdles debut at Taunton late December his only start for the yard having been. The runner up, beaten 5l, was well behind Givemefive next time. Kalif Du Berlais has to concede 5lb to his rivals and is short enough in the betting, Better value might be Peking Opera who won on Soft ground at Navan and whose Flat class might be good enough (best price 17/2 Ladbrokes)

Selection; Peking Opera (17/2 Ladbrokes)

Best Alternative; Givemefive

Pendil Novices Chase (Grade 2) 2m4f110y

This is a tricky enough contest with less than 2 points between five of them in the betting. Having had a wind op over the Summer, Tahmuras was disappointing on his seasonal debut beaten over 18l by Colonel Harry. He had cheek pieces fitted next time and won a Novice Handicap conceding 10lb to the runner up who was 3l back. He then went to Exeter for his latest start thirteen days ago and looked a winner going to the last but hung left over to the rail and was run out of it by Crebilly  was getting 5lb. Tahmuras also has an awkward head carriage and I just wonder is his wind still an issue. Blow Your Wad wears first time cheek pieces after a poor effort last time after which his trainer said he was never travelling. Prior to that he won around here at Christmas beating Outlaw Pete and the time before finished 10l back in second to Le Patron who is 17lb worse off here. The latter had completed a hat trick when winning the Henry VIII at Sandown in December but was well beaten at the same track three weeks ago where his jumping wasn't always fluent. Arclight completed a hat trick when winning a Mares Listed chase in December, her last start. She won around here over 2m2f last October and gets between 6lb and 11lb from her rivals. Pembroke was 8l back in third behind JPR One at Lingfield last month. That followed a win at Aintree where his three rivals pulled up and  a walkover at Warwick. Prior to that he was well beaten over 2m at Aintree. Soul Icon was third of four beaten 11l by Master Chewy over the course in the Wayward Lad at Christmas and still has a bit to find with his rivals here and I'm not sure if the ground will suit. It's a tricky contest but I'm prepared to give Blow Your Wad a chance.

Selection; Blow Your Wad

Best Alternative; Le Patron

Dovecote Novices Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m

Just seven go to post for this. Lump Sum is a lightly raced 6yo who has had just five starts winning three and been runner up and third in the remainder. On his last start, at Doncaster last month, he was beaten just over 1l by Jeriko Du Reponet with Fiercely Proud three parts of a length back in third in the Grade 2 Rossington Main. Held up at the back of the five runners off a slow enough pace he seemed to be caught for toe when they sprinted at the top of the straight and almost jumped into the back of the winner at the last but ran on well. He was ridden more prominently in his two wins and tactics might change back to those here. Fiercely Proud was ridden prominently at Doncaster having won his two previous starts and with the Ben Pauling yard in such good form he can't be discounted. Secret Squirrel was flattered by the one and three parts of a length he finished behind Jeriko Du Reponet at Newbury in December with the winner being eased down near the line having quickened away from the last under hands and heels. The runner up had won two Bumpers and a Hurdle prior to that. On his latest start eighteen days ago he was beaten a neck at Taunton over 2m3f with the first two well clear of the rest. Interesting to see him back down in trip. Panjari has to give 3lb to his rivals. He's won four times on the flat in Germany. He disappointed first time out and had a hood applied for his next three starts winning one and placed in the other two. It was then left off and he disappointed so cheek pieces were fitted for his latest run and he was a convincing winner earning a 10lb rise from the handicapper. Idy Wood and Williethebuilder are closely matched on their run behind Lookaway in the Sharp Novices at Cheltenham last October with just over 1l seperating them in third and fourth. Idy Wood has been pretty consistent winning three and placed twice in his five starts under rules but drops down in trip after winning over 2m4f at Plumpton last time. Helnwein has won a Bumper and Novice Hurdle and was runner up in a Listed Hurdle at Sandown when last seen in December but has a bit to find on ratings. Lump Sum is the one for me.

Selection; Lump Sum

Best Alternate; Fiercely Proud







February 17th

Haydock (Going; Heavy)

Rendlesham Hurdle (Grade 2) 3m58y

Another 3m slog in the Haydock bog for the six declared here. Botox Has is a Course and Distance winner and is the top rated horse in the race. However he has to carry a 6lb penalty and concede that to all but one of his rivals. On his latest start he had to concede 6lb to the winner Noble Yeats and finished just oover 5l behind him. Two runs prior to that he had beaten Red Risk 1l while conceding 4lb to him. The latter is 2lb better off here and is a horse who needs a bit of time between races which he gets here. Butch has climbed 21lb in the ratings since last April and completed a hat trick when winning over 3m in Heavy ground a Cheltenham last time. He's a lightly raced 7yo who has taken time as he is a big unit and should still have improvement in him. Sounds Russian is rated just 2lb behind Botox Has and this is his first start since being brought down in the Gold Cup last March. Prior to that he had finished second to Ahoy Senor beaten just over 1l while in receipt of 3lb with Noble Yeats and Protektorat who were both conceding him 6lb behind him. Wakool has to carry the 6lb penalty having won last years race which wasn't as good a field as this in my opinion. Slight preference is for Botox Has with Red Risk an alternative,

Selection; Botox Has

Best Alternative; Red Risk

Prestige Novices Hurdle (Grade 2) 3m58y

Running a Grade 2 as the seventh race on the card on Heavy ground that will be completely poached is not a good look in my opinion especially for Novices. However Latenightpass, an 11yo, has up until last April been running in Point To points and Hunter Chases. He got his rules career under way with a second place behind Foxy Jacks in the Cross Country at the Cheltenham November meeting and followed up that by winning the corresponding race at the December meeting. He has been given a rating of 140 which is the highest of those rated in the field. Isaac Des Obeaux, who's Dam is a half sister to Clan Des Obeaux, won his first start in a Bumper and then disappointed somewhat the next two. He had a wind op over the summer and probably needed the first run but won his next two and then finished 6l back in third behind the unbeaten Gidleigh Park with the useful Johnnywho just behind. He steps up to this trip for the first time but has won on Heavy ground at Chepstow when beating Haiti Coleurs 6l. Mount Fugi Park cost connections £290k after winning his only start in a Point. He's won his two starts since, the latest on Heavy ground beating a previous winner by half a length with the pair pulling 17l clear of the rest. Now Is The Hour travels over from Ireland for Gavin Cromwell who has done well with his runners in Britain this season. He won his first run in a point very easily and then went down by a neck to Asian Master who has won his two runs over hurdles beating the 134 rated Better Days Ahead by 10l. Now Is The Hour's first two runs over hurdles were disappointing and then he fell two out at Limerick when looking to be going best of all. He finally got his head in front at Fairyhouse last month when being eased down for a comfortable 6l victory. Alcedo was half a length behind Mount Fugi Park having won his maiden at Exeter the run before. Great Pepper has won two of his three points having pulled up in the first and won his two starts over hurdles. Inox Allen has won his point and two hurdles, all his starts, and comes here after a wind op and wears a first time tongue tie. I'm interested to see how Bowenspark does stepping up in trip. He caught the eye in the Aintree Bumper last April looking green and running on close home to finish in fourth just over 2l behind the winner. Plenty of winners have come out of it so any market moves should be noted. It's probably not a race to get involved in but before he fell at Limerick Now Is The Hour was cruising on the Heavy ground and I'll take a chance here with him.

Selection; Now Is The Hour

Best Alternative; Isaac Des Obeaux

Ascot (Going; Good To Soft)

Reynoldstown Chase (Grade 2) 2m7f180y

Lucinda Russell makes the long journey from Scotland with her well bought Mare Apple Away. She finished out last season with a hat trick over hurdles culminating in the Grade 1 Sefton Novices at Aintree. She was beaten on her chase debut at Haydock last November over an inadequate trip to Grey Dawning but then trounced subsequent winner Makin'yourmindupat Leicester before being no match again for the impressive Grey Dawning who is one of the more fancied horses for two of the Novice Chases at Cheltenham. Kilbeg King is lightly raced for a 9yo and was off for a long time between his Bumper win and Hurdles debut both which he won.. He was campaigned in Handicap Hurdles lasts easonwinning twice including a Grade B at Punchestown in April. Sent over fences this season he's finished third in all three runswith the latest behind Il Est Francais in the King George with the step up to 3m helping him. Brave Kingdom is another lightly raced horse, winning five of his six starts with his defeat coming when 20l behind Lossiemouth (the Tom Lacey trained won) in December 2021. Henry's Friend wears first time cheek pieces as he tries for the Hat Trick. He'd some useful Novice Hurdle form but is stepping up in class here and has a bit to find on ratings. Apple Away making the long journey south is almost a tip in itself but I think Brave Kingdom might be better value and is the selection.

Selection; Brave Kingdom

Best Alternative; Apple Away

Ascot Chase (Grade 1) 2m5f

 L'Homme Presse made an impressive return from a thirteen month absence when beating Protektorat at Lingield last month. He's won seven of his nine Chases and will likely go off at odds on. Pic D'Orhy was unable to give 3lb to banbridge at Kempton last month going down by just under 2l. That followed an emphatic win on seasonal debut and his win in the Melling Chase at Aintree last April. Ahoy Senor has struggled this seasonpulling up twice and well behind Capodanno in the Cotswolds. If L'Homme Presse turns up in the whole of his health I think he'll win.

Selection; L'Homme Presse

Best Alternative; Pic D'Orhy

Wincanton (Going; Heavy)

Kingwell Hurdle (Grade 2) 1m7f50y

Just five go to post and it's a tricky little contest. Neman Lion has been consistent since switching to Hurdles. In seven starts he's won three and being placed in three. However he has to carry a 3lb penalty. Colonel Mustard is becoming frustrating to follow. In eighteen rules races he's won just two, been second eight times and third four. He's reverting to hurdles aftet two runs over fenceswhere he was a huge disappointment the second time having finished second to Found A Fifty on debut. he was unable to concede 8lb to Rubaud in the Scottish Champion Hurdle last April losing by 3l but is 14lb better off here. His two wins have come on Soft. Rubaud has won six of his eleven starts but none have come on Soft or Heavy and with the turn around in the weights with Colonel Mustard it's a big ask although he has won around this sharp track which suits him. I've given up on Goshen who wears first time blinkers while Guard Your Dreams returned after a twenty two month absence at Cheltenham last month and finished just over 1l behind Rubaud who was almost 11l behind the winner Lossiemouth with Love Envoi and First Stret ahead of them. I'm going to take a chance with Colonel Mustard.

Selection; Colonel Mustard

Best Altrenative; Nemean Lion

Gowran Park (Going; Heavy)

Red Mills Chase (Grade 2) 2m4f

Just Five go to post and the Bookies have it priced as a match. Saint Sam failed to complete a four timer at Listowel last September when he put in an indifferent round of jumping and fell at the last presenting the race to his sole rival. This si his first start since then. Riviere D'etel turns out again quickly after finishing 4l back in second behind Allegorie DeVassy over 2m at Naas last week. She had previously beaten that one by 33l at Fairyhouse on New Year's Day. That followed two runner up finishes which suggested she had put her problems of last season behind her. John Ryan doesn't wrap his horses in cotton wool and Lucid Dreams turns up here for his fourteenth start off the season having been well beaten at the DRF. However he's wrong at the weights on ratings and he would need something to happen for him to win. Embittered is very inconsistent but did win a Listed Handicap Chase of a low weight at Navan in December on Heavy ground. He holds an entry in the Aintree Grand National. If last week hasn't taken it's toll Riviere D'etel might benefit from race fitness,

Selection; Riviere D'etel

Best Alternative; Saint Sam





















February 15th

Sandown Going; Soft)

Jane Seymour Mares' Novice Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m3f173y

Aston Martini from the Nicky Henderson yard edges the market lead at 11/4. My early thoughts were that this was the stable second string with James Bowen up with De Boinville on Either Or. Aston Martini has won all her three starts, a Bumper, Maiden Hurdle and Novice Hurdle , all against her own sex. On her latest win she beat a number of previous winners by a nose and 6l at Lingfield over 2m having won at today's trip at Hereford on her previous start. She carries a 3lb penalty here conceding that to all the field. She's won on Good and Soft ground so that won't be an issue. Henderson should have a good idea where he stands with the Twiston-Davies trained Smiling Getaway as horses of his have finished second to her on her two hurdle wins. She also won her point and was fourth in a Bumper, all her starts. Nothing of note has come out of her two hurdle wins and the handicapper has given her a mark of 118. Little Miss Dante, having won her Bumper at the second atempt, won her first two starts over hurdles with a few subsequent winners coming from those in behind. She then went to Haydock for a Listed Mares, stepping up in trip to 2m3f, and having been on the heels of the winner turning for home she seemed to hit a flat spot and lost her position and ran on again from the last under mainly hands and heels to finish third. She ran off a mark of 123 at Haydock and has been left on that. Cherie D'Am represents the Skeltons who always have to be respected. She's run three of her four starts under rules while also winning her point. Obviously well regarded, she went off favourite on all her rules starts. Her latest win came when conceding weight all around in a Mare's Handicap Hurdle at Aintree at Christmas. Springtime Promise was unsuccessful in five points and a Bumper, then changed hands after which she was beaten in a Maiden Hurdle before winning two points. She then changed hands and moved to Fergal O'Brien and has won her two starts for him although the first was when in receipt of 7lb from the runner up. Either Or won her point at the fourth attempt and has had two runs under rules, finishing second in a Mares Bumper and then beating Victoria Milano, who was conceding 7lb,  by just over 2l. The latter runs in the 3.40 on this card so it will be interesting to see how the form works out. Jeune Belle has won a Bumper and Maiden Hutdle and been placed in a Listed Bumper but bled from the nose and was pulled up at Lingfield last month.  This is a difficult race to weigh up. Much depends on how much improvement these Mares have in them and some of them are lightly raced. We also have to consider the fact that owners will be quite happy to get some Black Type for finishing in the first three. So not a race I'd be inclined to get involved in but if inclined Little Miss Dante might be worth a small wager.

Selection; Little Miss Dante

Best Alternative; Cherie D'Am








February 11th

Navan (Going; Heavy)

Boyne Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m5f

For me this is probably a race best watched. Having won last year's running after a break of four hundred and twenty eight days Bookies are taking no chances with Blazing Khal here and he is a clear favourite to see off his seven rivals some of who are having a pipe opener before Cheltenham. Blazing Khal has obviously had his problems as he ran just three times in the Autumn of 2021 having returned after a nine month absence. He suffered a cut in last year's race , which completed a five timer, and may have been short of work when tiring in the straight in the Stayers at Cheltenham. Ashdale Bob hasn't won in sixteen starts since winning the Grade 2 Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse in April 2021. On his two starts this season he was beaten 7l into third behind Sir Gerhard at Punchestown over 2m3f on Heavy and third to Monkfish, beaten over 13l, in the Galmoy at Gowran over 3m on Heavy having weakened after the last and eased towards the finish. Beacon EdGe has been a bit disappointing since winning the Drinmore in 2021. He moved across to Gordon Elliott over the summer and has won once , pulled up and finishing over 13l back in fourth behind Irish Point in the Grade 1 Stayers at Christmas. Hiddenvalley Lake looked a decent Novice winning his first two and splitting Monty's Star and Search For Glory in a Grade 3 at Clonmel last February. However, wearing a first time tongue tie,  he weakened quickly after two out in the Albert Bartlet at Cheltenham and was eased down. He made his chase debut around here in December but fell three out when keeping on 2l down. Given his poor jumping that day it's no surprise to see him back over Hurdles. De Capo Glory has some pretty decent form in the book. He was just over 4l back in second to Grangeclare West at Punchestown last Apriland next time beat ASsh Tree Meadow over the same course and distance before finishing almost 6l back in third behind Fil D'oudairies in the Grade 3 Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary in July. However he got tailed off in the Galway Hurdle and was pulled up. He didn't reappear until last month in Cork on heavy ground and carried top weight to scrape home by a head. Sire Du Berlais hasn't run since April and was fourth , beaten 10l, here last year and it's likely he will need this as he prepares for Cheltenham an Aintree. Delta Work and Galvin are probably using this as a prep for the Cross Country at Cheltenham. A few of these have questions to answer but if all eight go to post then a small each way on Hiddenvalley Lake might pay dividends.

Selection; Hiddenvalley Lake (half point each way)

Best Alternative; Da Capo Glory (Each Way)

Ten Up Novice Chase (Grade 2) 3m

Just five go to post and the bookies seem to make it a two horse race between a Mullins pair. Nick Rockett looks the stable choice. He completed a three timer last year when bolting up in the Grade 3 Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse in April. He made his seasonal reappearance in a beginners chase at Fairyhouse last December and got squeezed for room when trying to get up the inside and subsequently jumped it poorly losing a bit of momentum eventually finishing a 5l fourth to Corbett's Cross. Having finished a long way behind Fact To File at Christmas Minella Crooner showed something like the form of two years ago when he won the Grade 1 2m6f Novice Hurdle at the DRF when he had a very comfortable win in a Beginners Chase on Soft To Heavy ground over this course and distance last month. American Mike looked to have recovered the form he showed in his early days when beating Fact To File over 2m4f here in November but was 25l back in fourth in the Grade 1 Faugheen at Limerick at Christmas. His stablemate, Favori De Champdou, completed the hat trick over hurdles in a Garde 2 at Limerick Christmas 2022 and then went straight to the Albert Bartlet in Cheltenham but pulled up having run too free early on and was well beaten by Gaelic Warrior at the Punchestown Festival. He showed well on chase debut at Galway in October just failing by over 1l to Affordale Fury over 2m6f. He overturned that next time when winning the Florida Pearl by 14l from Sandor Clegane but in the Grade 1 at Leopardstown at christmas he jumped right on occassions and weakened two out to finish over 33l behind Grangeclare West. Senecia was tailed off over 2m1f at the DRF and wears a first time hood here stepping back up in trip. Again it's not a race to be too involved in but I'll have an interest in Nick Rockett.

Selection; Nick Rockett

Best Alternative; Minella Crooner









February 10th

With Warwick off we have just two races to cover for Saturday and tricky is an understatement when previewing them.

Newbury (Going; Heavy)

Denman Chase (Grade 2) 2m7f86y

Five go to post but on ratings it's a two horse race. However, the question is which Shishkin will turn up? There were rumours last year that he was proving difficult to get on the Gallops and some credence was given to that when he refused to race at Ascot back in November. Whether he objected to the cheekpieces that day we'll never know but they were left off for the King George and he ran a cracking race until that unfortunate stumble after the second last where his jockey got unseated. He was jumping left at many of his fences at Kempton and going left handed here will suit. On ratings he's 8lb in hand on Protektorat who on paper is his main rival. The latter hasn't won in five starts since winning the Betfair in November 2022. However he's shown glimpses of a return to form in his last two runs. Disappointing on seasonal debut after a wind op he was much better at Cheltenham just failing by 3l to concede 19lb to the winner in a race that wasn't run to suit him. His next and only other start this season was at Lingfield last month in a valuable Chase when he had to give 4lb to a rejuvenated L'Homme Presse and went down by just over 2l. Hitman was runner up here last year off a mark of 160, beaten 7l by Zanza who has done nothing since. Does He Know was over 1l back in third of 158 and both have tumbled down the ratings since with Hitman having his second start here after another wind op, his fourth. Sam Brown won last time beating Aye Right having dropped 12lb in the ratings since falling in the Grand National last April and should be suited by the conditions but has a lot to find still on ratings. With five weeks to go to Cheltenham I wonder if Nicky wants a slog for Shishkin on this Heavy going, a surface that Protektorat will relish and the latter gets the nod but it will be for a small interest only.

Selection; Protektorat

Best Alternative; Shishkin

Game Spirit Chase (Grade 2) 2m92y

Another trick contest with questions to be asked about some of the runners. Edwardstone drops back to the minimum trip having disappointed over 2m4f at kempton last month. On his run prior to that he had finished almost 3l back in second behind Jonbon. However he hasn't won in six starts since December 2022 and has put in a couple of shockers in those six. Boothill seemed to take a keen hold in the Desert Orchid at Christmas but was still in touch with the leaders when he appeared to over jump the fifth last and fall. He had won his two starts prior to that his only other starts this season. Editeur Du Gite, who wears first time cheek pieces, has had four starts this season and has been beaten by big margins in three of them. However he came good in the Desert Orchid at Christmas where Boothill fell while Nuba Negra was 3l back in third with Elixir De Nutz a nose away third. Elixir De Nutz turned the tables on Nuba Negra next time in the Clarence House at Cheltenham beating him by over 10l back in fourth with Editeur Du Gite over 47l back last of the five in a race where Jonbon never jumped. Amarillo Sky has run since January last year when he was a 9l fourth to Editeur Du Gite  in the Clarence House where Edwardstone was a head back in second. He had won his two previous starts earning a rating of 153. He did win off a seven month break last year and if he's fit he could benefit from underperforming rivals. Funambule Sivola has been very disappointing in his six starts since winning this last year and on recent runs with Boothill is well held. Not a race to get too involved in if at all but Boothill, who receives 2lb from his main rivals, looks the one for me.

Selection; Boothill

Best Alternative; Edwardstone








February 4th

Leopardstown (Going; Soft, Hurdle Course, Yielding To Soft (Chase)

As I said yesterday it's not always the Mullins apparent first choice who wins and so it proved on Day 1. Expect more of the same.

Ladbroke Novice Chase (Grade 1) 2m5f107y

Five go to post, three for Mullins and two for Elliot and Gaelic Warrior is a shade of odds on as I write with stablemate Fact To File 2/1. The favourite has been impressive in winning his two chases this season. In the first, at Punchestown he took a keen hold and having passed the stands Townend let stride on and he went clear and ran out a 16l winner. He does have a tendency to go right at his fences and this caused a bit of drama in Limerick when his stablemate tried to go up his inside at the last but he survived to win by over 5l from Il Etait Temps with American Mike a further 19l back in fourth. After his Bumper exploits Fact To File went straight over fences this season winning one of two starts. In the first he was beaten by  American Mike by over 3l and then beat Zanahiyr by 17l over course and distance at Christmas. Grangeclare West had Corbetts Cross over 6l back in third on Chase debut at Naas in November and had him the same distance back in Second  over an extended 2m4f here at Christams. Found A Fifty beat Colonel Mustard 8l at Down Royal in November but was surpringly beaten by I Am Maximus by over 2l in the Drinmore. However he redeemed himself in the Racing Post (Grade 1) here at Christmas beating My Mate Mozzie by over 1l. Given the engine he has it's hard to oppose Gaelic Warrior although the tendency to go right at his fences is a worry. Fact Or File's profile gives him a chance if anything happens to the favourite.

Selection; Gaelic Warrior

Best Alternative; Fact Or File

Tattersals Ireland Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m

Ten go to post and another Mullins horse, Ballyburn, is favourite. Unbeaten in a point and two Bumpers he was beaten on Hurdles debut by Firefox at Fairyhouse in December but got off the mark over 2m4f here at Christmas when beating subsequent winner Cleatus Poolaw by 25l and the fourth Saddle Her Up also winning next time. Farren Glory was coming to win the Tolworth at Aintree when he crashed out at the last he won his other two starts this season beating stablemate King Of Kingsfield in the second one. Slade Steel won his point and a Bumper before finishing almost 8l back in third to Ballyburn at Punchestown last April.  He's had two hurdle runs winning both. In the first he beat King Of Kingsfield by over 5l and then got the better of Lecky Watson by half a length with Stellar Story and Better Days Ahead next. King Of Kingsfield finally got off the mark when beating the odds on Mirazur West here at Christmas. It's taken him a while to show his true form and connections believe he'll be their Supreme Hurdle horse. A change of tactics in the Royal Bond seems to have brought out the best in him. Daddy Long Legs won on stable debut and on foot of that went off favourite for the Grade 1 Novice here at Christmas but jumped poorly, never travelled according to his jockey and pulled up. The fact that they are running here suggests they still have faith in him and both him and King Of Kingsfield could be overpriced. I'm iffy about Farren Glory after that heavy fall at Aintree and will go for Ballyburn while I think King Of Kingfield is good each way value.

Selection; Ballyburn

Best Alternative; King Of Kingsfield ( 11/1 with Bet365)

Dublin Chase (Grade 1) 2m1f

El Fabiolo is short odds on to continue his winning run. He blew the cobwebs away at Cork in December and despite been a bit keen early on was too good for Fil Dor. His winning margins last season and who he beat speak for themselves and he's hard to oppose. Dinoblue beat Gentleman De Mee by over 7l around course and distance in the Grade 1 at Christmas with Saint Roi 47l back in third while Captain Guinness pulled.

Selection; El Fabiolo

Best Alternative; Dinoblue

Irish Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m

State Man is 1/3 to repeat last year's win. He resumed this season in the Morgiana where beat Echoes In Rain by a comfortable 5l having suffered a bit of interference turning in. He then beat stablemate Impaire Et Passe in the Grade 1 Matheson over course and distance at Christmas. The latter had resumed in the hattons Grace going down by 1l to Teahupoo. He was unbeaten in four starts last season the highlight beating Gaelic Warrior by over 6l in the Ballymore over 2m5f. It will be interesting to see how he copes at 2m if the ground improves. Bob Olinger returned to form winning over 2m4f at Naas by 1l from Zanahiyr in November and then winning very impressively by 7l, from subsequent Grade 2 Mares winner Marie's Rock, in the Relkeel at Cheltenham last month. I won't oppose State Man.

Selection; State Man

 Best Alternative; Impaire Et Passe

Irish EBF Mares I.N.H. Flat Race (Grade 2)  2m

Although Aurora Vega is clear favourite at 6/4 and 11/2 and better the rest it has the potential to be a banana skin with a lot of these Mares underexposed with the potential for a shock so the betting markets need to be watched. She's had three runs winning the first two in a canter and having a comfortable 3l win in the third. It will be interesting to see if she can be put under pressure and how she reacts. Mongibello represents the Crawfords who won this two years ago. She won her Bumper at the second attempt beating Sporting Glory by 13l at Down Royal being eased towards the finish. The runner up came out next time to finish second to the highly regarded Romeo Coolio. Fleur Au Fusil has won her only start with a comfortable 4l win with the runner up winning a similar contest subsequently. Femme Magnifique won her only start when coasting home in a Mares Bumper in December by 7l. The runner up had previously finished 13l behind Fleur Au Fusil. Baby Kate is an interesting runner. Daughter of the the Grade 1 winning Augusta Kate she won on debut at Ballinrobe in August then went to Cheltenham for a Listed Mares and won by over 4l from the runner up who had won the time before and won next time up. The fifth, Larchmount House, won a Novice Mares two days ago and is considered good enough to be aimed at a Grade 2 next. Barnahash Primrose and Miss Mini Bee have won their only starts while Holly Brook makes her rules debut having won her only point. As I write the favourite has drifted a bit while stablemates Fleur Au Fusil  and Baby Kate have shortened significantly. However this could just be a correction in the market. Aurora Vega and Baby Kate have to concede 3lb to the field and that might make a difference. I'll take a chance with Mingibello.

Selection; Mingebello

Best Alternative; Fleur Au Fusil




February 3rd

Sandown (Going; Good To Soft)

Scilly Isles Novices' Chase Grade 1) 2m4f10y

A cracking race in prospect albeit with just five going to post. Hermes Allen came up against one in the Kautio Star at Kempton over Christmas when Il Est Francais put in a blistering run to leave him trailing 11l back in second. However, on closer examination there was plenty to be happy about it. The winner is an exceptional horse and the winning time at Kempton was over four seconds faster than Hewick's in the King George. If we take the guidelines of 6l per second then Hermes Allen would have finished clear of Hewick in that race. Prior to Kempton Hermes Allen had beaten Nickle Back over 6l at Newbury with the latter having had the benefit of two runs the first in which he had beaten Kandoo Kin 24l. Nickle Back went on to be beaten by almost 5l by Master Chewy next time at Kemton. Djelo beat Master Chewy on chase debut by three parts of a length when in receipt of 3lb and completed a hat trick when beating the Kandoo Kid by 6l at Ascot in December. He got wiped out by the errant Matata at the first fence at Lingfield two weeks ago and if that hasn't dented his confidence expect a bold showing. Le Patron completed a hat trick when beating Colonel Harry over the 2m trip by just ove 1l at Wetherby in  December having beaten subsequent winner Blow Your Wad by 10l over this course and distance in November when receiving 12lb from the runner up. Colonel Harry went on to beat Trelawne at Wetherby last month with the runner up not helping himself by hanging badly right on some of the bends and looking a difficult ride. I've been a big fan of Hermes Allen and that second place at Kempton in hindsight was a terrific effort and he gets the selection here.

Selection; Hermes Allen

Best Alternative; Le Patron

The Dublin Racing Festival

Hopefully the DRF can live up to all the hype and there's no reason why it shouldn't. On Day 1 we have four Grade 1's a Grade 2 and two Listed races while on Day 2 we have four Grade 1's, a Garde 3, Grade 2 and two Listed races. No doubt we'll be shown Willie Mullins filling his car boot with prizes at the end of the meeting but remember, it's not always the stable's apparent first choice that wins. Whether you're attending or not I hope you find a few winners here.

Leopardstown (Going; Hurdles; Soft. Chase; Yielding To Soft)

Nathaniel Lacy & Partners Solicitors Novice Hurdle 2m6f78y

Just six go to post and Willie Mullins, who has dominated the race winning six of the last ten running's, has four of the runners headed by the favourite Predators Gold  who had won his Bumper and maiden Hurdle before going down by 6l to the impressive Caldwell Potter over 2m at Christmas on Heavy ground in a race where his stable mate Daddy Long Legs was the Favourite. His maiden win came over the extended 2m3f so no surprise to see him step back up. Loughlynn is the mount of Patrick Mullins. He won his maiden hurdle by 10l and then beat previous winners Stellar Story and and Search For Glory on Heavy ground at limerick over 2m7f in a Grade 2. He had finished over 12l behind A Dream To Share in the Cheltenham Bumper having beaten Firefox the run before. Connection obviously think highly of Jetara who is out of a half sister to Jezki amongst others and she has been highly tried with. She won her Bumper and was placed twice more in Bumpers before winning a Listed Mares Bumper in Navan. She ran in five Hurdle races, four of them Graded races before dropping in class to win her Maiden. The best of those runs in Graded company came at Fairyhouse in a Grade 3 Mares when beaten just over 1l by Ashroe Diamond. Having won her maiden she went on to complete the Hat trick at Leopardstown last month beating Pink In The Park byb over 7l. Stellar Story, beaten1l by Loughlynn at Limerick, wears first time cheek pieces and like Predators Gold wears the Gigginstown Silks. The latter finished a long way clear of the third at Leopardstown the last day with a number of winners in behind but I think Stellar Story, whose form reads pretty well, might be overpriced and that run in Limerick was on desperate ground

Selection; Stellar Story

Best Alternative; Predator Gold

Spring Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m

Eleven go to post with six of them trained by Willie Mullins. I'm not complaining as it offers each way betting which is what a lot of casual racegoers like and we need to keep these punters happy. Storm Heart representing the renewed Mullins/Giiginstown partnership is the 6/4 favourite and it's 13/2 qnd better the rest. The favourite had five starts on the flat in France, winning once and placed three times before being bought privately. He's had just the one run winning his Maiden at Punchestown on Heavy ground by 22l. I can find just the one start in France for Majborough when winning a maiden at Auteuil last April. I had to go to the sixth horse in that race to find a subsequent winner and that was Batman Girac who won next time and then transferred to Willie Mullins. He was beaten just over 5l by Kala Conti over course and distance at Christmas. Runner up to the latter was Kargesse who was just held by three parts of a length. That was the first run for Kargese since winning a Mares Grade 3 at Auteuil last May although the second and third haen't done much for the form since. Bunting won once in France before joining Mullins and won his only start here when winning by 8l at Limerick over Cheristmas. The runner up has been well beaten since while the fourth was over 6l behind Highwind at Punchestown last month. The latter made numerous mistakes in that race, his first over hurdles, but came back on the bridle after the second last and cruised to the front only to make an bad blunder at the last yet went clear again on the run in. The runner up had been beaten over 12l by Intelletto at Leopardstown over Christmas. Personally I don't think it's a race to get too involved in given that some of the fancied horses come here off the back of just one run and it could be dangerous to take the form at face value. Take Storm Heart for example. The third  horse behind him at Punchestown, Eagle Reign who was beaten over 26l, won a Handicap Hurdle two days ago off a mark of 113 giving 5lb to the runner up which if taken at face value would rate Storm Heart in the high 130's. Most of these have been on the drift in the early betting while the favourite has tightened slightly. Willie Mullins has won this five times in the last ten but only twice with the stable's apparent first choice. So the advice is to thread carefully. Highwind looked to have a big engine at Punchestown and it might be worth having a small bet on him while I wouldn't put you off the favourite either.

Selection; Highwind

Best Alternative; Storm Heart

Arkle Novice Chase (Grade 1) 2m1f

The talk all day Thursday has been the re routing of Gaelic Warrior to the Ladbroke Novice Chase on Sunday ostensibly because Facile Vega did a great piece of work during the week. He'll still have to beat Marine Nationale who is unbeaten in all codes after six runs and was impressive on chase debut at Christmas going clear on the run in to win impressively. He is currently trading at 4/9 with Facile Vega next best at 5/1. The latter won his first chase start beating Inthepocket at Navan but was very disappointing next time when last of four to Found A Fifty in the Grade 1 Racing Post at Christmas beaten just over 6l. The latter had beaten Colonel Mustard by 8l at Down Royal in November and that one has boosted the form since. Il Etait Temps wears a first time tongue tie. He was over 5l back in second behind Gaelic Warrior in the Grade 1 Faugheen at Christmas in Heavy ground having comfortably won on chase debut at Thurles. He's held on direct form over hurdles with the two market leaders. I'm firmly in the Marine Nationale camp and he's the selection.

Selection; Marine Nationale

Best Alternative; Facile Vega

Irish Gold Cup (Grade 1) 3m70y

Gallopin Des Champs is another Mullins runner who is odds on favourite to collect here. He could not have been more impressive when winning the Savills here at Christmas storming home by 23l from Geri Colombe and a head further back to Capadanno who franked the form somewhat when winning the Grade 2 Cotswolds Chase at Cheltenham last week. We can probably make excuses for Gallopin Des Champs defeats to Fastorslow at Punchestown last April and in the John Durkin where the former came after a gruelling Gold Cup at Cheltenham and the John Durkin trip of 2m3f probably too short and a lot of Willies needed their first run. Fastorslow hasn't run since the JohnDurkin. Conflated won this in '22 and later that year won the Savills, but following his good run at Down Royal where he was just over 1l behind Geri Colombe and Envoi Allen. He led into the straight in the Savills but tired quickly and blundered at the last unseating his rider. I Am Maximus was a surprise winner of the Drinmore beating Found A Fifty by over 2l but was 31l behind Gallopin Des Champs in the Savills. It's hard to oppose Gallopin Des Champs.

Selection; Gallopin Des Champs

Best Alternative; Fastorslow

Future Stars I.N.H. Flat Race (Grade 2) 2m

A Dream To Share is clear favourite to win this against nine opponents. Unbeaten in five runs including last year's running of this and the Cheltenham Bumper he hasn't been seen since winning at Punchestown last April having had a setback. I'm surprised he's running here as he's ineligible for the Cheltenham Bumper. The same applies to Redemption Day is a 7yo who has only run four times. He wasn't seen since Aril '22 when beaten just over 1l by Facile Vega at Punchestown until last Christmas when sent of 11/10 favourite but went down by almost three lengths to Jalon D'oudairies who had won earlier in the month at Fairyhouse. He looks to be the Mullins first choice. You Oughta Know has won both his starts, beating Croke Park by 11l at Kilbeggan in May and Too Too at Galway in August. The Enabler has won two of his three Bumper starts , the latest a Listed race where he beat a couple of previous winners. He is by Walk In The Park out of a dam who is is out of a half sister to Denman. Joystick won his only start when winning here at Christmas as did stablemate Hens Tooth at Limerick while Jeroboam Machin has won his point and Bumper. The Yellow Clay has won his two Bumpers but hasn't been seen since March. It's also interesting that Mullins runs My Great Mate here as this fourth run in a Bumper means he's ineligible for the Cheltenham equivalent. Plenty of support for A Dream To Share but I'm going to take a chance with You Oughta Know who is out of a half sister to some good winners including Pont Alexandre.

Selection; You Oughta Know (9/1 available at Bet365)

Best Alternative; The Enabler (10/1 at Bet365)












January 28th

Doncaster (Going; Good)

Warefield Mares Hurdle (Grade 2) 3m84y

Six go to post and it looks an interesting contest. Maries Rock is the highest rated horse in the race and heads the market. She stepped up to 3m for the first time at Aintree last April and was not disgraced when finishing just over 3l back in second behond Sir Du Berlais in the Grade 1 Stayers having lost a shoe during the race. After that she didn't reappear until December in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury and was not disgraced finihing over 5l back in fourth behind Dashel Drasher and Paisley Park. She then went to Cheltenham for the Relkeel four weeks ago and was 7l back in second to the rejuvenated Bob Olinger. West Balboa completed the hat trick when winning over 2m4f at Aintree in November. Her previous start had been over 3m at Aintree in the Grade 3 Handicap hurdle where she won by 5l. She's won four of her seven starts and been runner up twice. However she bombed out on her latest start when running to free in the Long Walk over 3m last month and weakened to finish last of the ten runners. Tweed Skirt has won three of her seven chases since she last ran in a hurdle race where she was one win from five starts over the smaller obstacles. She won her last start, a handicap chase, conceding weight all around. She looks the Henderson second string. You Wear It Well  was 13l back in third behind Not So Sleepy on her latest start, the recheduled Fighting Fifth at Sandown last month, over 6l behind the second Love Envoi. Prior to that she had beaten subsequent Garde 3 winner Luccia by 3l in a Listed Mares over 2m She is stepping up to 3m for the first time. Another Henderson horse, Theatre Glory wil be looking for a confidence boost having fallen at the last at Cheltenham last month. She's had a couple of decent place efforts in Graded company since winning a Listed Mares at Warwick a year ago. Slight preference is for Marie's Rock.

Selection; Marie's Rock

Best Alternative; West Balboa












January 27th

Doncaster (Going; Good)

Rossington Main Novices Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m128y

Five runners go to post for this and Jeriko Du Reponet is odds on to continue his unbeaten run. While he didn't win by far on those two wins he did it comfortably, ending the unbeaten run of Secret Squirrel in the latest. Connections won this race with Jonbon in 2022. Fiercely Proud has won his two hurdle starts and this is a step up for him. Lump Sum has won three of four starts under rules. His latest came last month at Wincanton at odds of 1/4. He's obviously highly regarded and has been well placed going off as favourite in all four starts. The Kalooki Kid was a Maiden after three Bumpers but has won his two his three hurdle starts. However this is a big step up as it is for El Elefante who won three Bumpers but has been beaten in two starts over hurdles. It's hard to oppose Jeriko Du Reponet.

Selection; Jeriko Du Reponet

Best Alternative; Lump Sum

Yorkshire Rose Mares Hurdle (Grade 2)

Six runners for this and Willie Mullins sends over two of them. Ashroe Diamond is the mount of Patrick Mullins while cousin Danny gets the leg up on Gala Marceau. Ashroe Diamond showed her potential finishing just over 4l behind Marine Nationale in the Royal Bond in 2022 and then was 9l back in third to Facile Vega. Back in her own class she won her next two stars including the Grade 1 at Fairyhouse at Easter. She reappeared in the Hattons Grace finishing 13l back in third to Teahupoo. That run could make al the difference as her stablemate Gala Marceau has her first start since May and has to concede 3lb and more to her rivals. She's had to chase home Lossiemouth in three starts and was fortunate to beat the latter at the DRF. Under Control has her first run back after a wind op having run a shocker at Newbury last month on her seasonal debut. She ran four times last season from March to April winning three but was well beaten in the Mares at Cheltenham. Say Goodbye has her first start for Nigel Twiston Davies. She is well exposed having won four and been placed six times in fifteen starts. She has Listed place form but pulled up in the Grade 1 at Fairyhouse in April 2022. It can sometimes be difficult for Juvenile hurdlers stepping into open company at five and jockey bookings swing me towards Ashroe Diamond.

Selection; Ashroe Diamond

Best Alternative; Gala Marceau

River Don Novices Hurdle (Grade 2) 3m84y

Welcome To Cartries won his point after which he was bought by current connections. He made his hurdles debut last November over 2m 3f and just failed by a neck to catch the winner Beat The Bat who had the benefit of a run when finishing second to a useful sort in Masaccio.  Welcome To Cartries then steped up in trip to an extended 2m5f and went clear inside the final furlong to win going away and the way he hit the line suggests he'll have no problem with the trip. Destroytheevidence has plenty of experience and is consistent in six runs over hurdles winning three and been placed in three. On his latest start in  a similar event at Cheltenham last month he led approaching the last but was headed on the  run in to go down by just over 1l to Shanagh Bob who was having just his second start under rules having won his first. I Love My Baie won at Ayr last time and is improving but needs more on ratings and the same can be said for Esprit Du Potier. One to keep an eye on is Range who makes the 400 mile round trip. He won on Heavy last time and on his previous start was a 7l runner up to Gidleigh Park who is third favourite for the Baring Bingham (Formerly the Ballymore) at the Festival. Welcome To Cartries should have plenty of improvement in him and is the selection. 

Selection; Welcome To Cartries

Best Alternative; Destroytheevidence

Cheltenham (Going; Good To Soft)

Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m179y New Course

Seven face the starter and the High class recruit from the flat, Burdett Road, is the early favourite. He's won his two starts over hurdles impressively. The third place horse in the first of them who was 31l behind has won his next two starts. Burdett Road for his second start stepped up into Grade 2 company and won readily by 6l with the runner up going on to win next time. The third horse that day Milan Tino, beaten 7l, comes back over from France to reoppose. Sir Gino beat Salvator Mundi at Auteuil last April and reappeared at Kempton last month to hose home by 14l having had a wind op over the Summer. The second and third have won since.  He's attracted some support in the Market. Excelero has had just one start when almost 3l back in second to Salver who has gone on to win his subsequent starts impressively. The Skelton's run Le Fauve who has had one start for them when a 9l third to Liari in a Listed Hurdle at Aintree last month. I can find one run for him in France when he went down by a nose to a horse who won by 7l next time beating a previous unbeaten horse. There's not much between Burdett Road and Sir Gino and market moves should be noted while it's notable that they're not afraid to travel bacl over from France with Milan Tino who gets 5lb from the top 2 but has yet to race on anything other than soft. Burdett Road has plenty of experience as opposed to Sir Gino. He also has winning form around here albeit on the Old Course so I'll take a chance with Burdett Road.

Selection; Burdett Road

Best Alternative; Sir Gino 

Cotswold Chase (Grade 2) 3m1f56y New Course

Paul Nicholls throws Stay Away Fay into open company to tackle five classy rivals. He's won both chases this season apparently doing just enough and winning by just under 2l each time. At Exeter in November he had The Changing Man and Grey Dawning back in second and third and the latter has won twice since.. Stay Away Fay then went to Sandown for the Grade 2 Esher and stayed on to beat Giovinco. Royal Pagaille beat a disappointing Bravemansgame at Haydock in the Betfair with  Paul Nicholls surmising that he ran the latter back to quickly after the Charlie Hall three weeks previously. For me Royal Pagaille needs plenty of juice in the ground which I don't think he'll get here and his record around Cheltenham is poor. Having run up a hat trick around Cheltenham when winning the Brown Advisory last march, The Real Whacker has had two disappointing runs this season and for me is a watching brief. Datsalrightgino won the Coral Gold Cup at Newbury last month off a mark of 148 and got an 11lb rise for it. Whether the hike was justified or not remains to be seen. Ahoy Senor has pulled up on his two starts this season. Stephen Mulqueen gets the leg up as regular pilot Derek Fox is injured. Reports state the the team are happier with the horse now so market moves should be noted. He's joint highest rated in the field off 166 and was up to 169 after finishing just over 1l behind Shishkin in the Aintree Bowl last April. He won last years renewal. Capodanno hasn't won in four starts since capturing the Champion Novice at the Punchestown Festival in 2022 and has been beaten a long way in his two starts this season although in the Savills he was just a head behind second placed Gerri Colombe. When ratings and  penalties are taken into account there is little between Ahoy Senor, Royal Pagaille and Capodanno while Stay Away Fay is rated 16lb lower than the first two so I'll take a chance with Ahoy Senor.

Selection; Ahoy Senor

Best Alternative; Capadanno

Clarence House Chase (Grade 1) 2m62y New Course

Jonbon is 1/3 fav to see off his four opponents with Editeur Du Gite next best at 15/2 and 16/1 bar those two. Jonbon has won his two starts this season comfortably beating Edwardstone twice and at Sandown last April he had Editeur Du Gite 30l back in fourth. The latter caused a surprise in this last year, coincidently saved from Ascot like this year's renewal.  Last year he led and maybe caught hisn opponents off guard as Edwardstone was given a lot to do making up a lot of ground in the straight and going a head up on the run in only to be chinned on he line. His first two runs this year were disappointing but he beat Nuba Negra at Kempton in the Desert Orchid last month with Elixir Du Nutz third. I can't oppose Jonbon

 Selection; Jonbon

Best Alternative; Editeur Du Gite

The International Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m179y New Course

Just Five go to post and it looks to between two Mares. Lossiemouth makes her seasonal debut having finished back in April with a win in the Champion 4yo at Punchestown. Her only defeat came when she got into all sorts of traffic problems at leopardstown and finished second to Stablemate Gala Marceau. She was entered in the Mares at Doncaster so it may be significant that she comes here instead. Love Envoi has the benefit of race fitness having finished an 8l second to Not So Sleepy at Sandown last month. She won seven of eight starts over hurdles before going down by over 1l to Honeysuckle at Cheltenham last March and then ran a shocker at Punchestown, probably feeling the effects of a hard race or maybe the ground which was Good To Yielding. Rubaud completed a four timer at Wincanton in November but then had to watch as Constitution Hill finished over 9l clear of him at Kempton at Christmas with First Street a further 2l back in third. Guard Your Dreams hasn't run since April 2022 and is best watched. Lossiemouth for me.

Selection; Lossiemouth

Best Alternative; Love Envoi

Cleeve Hurdle (Grade 2) 3M New Course

Seven go to post and four of clashed in the Long Walk Hurdle at Ascot last month but none of them were good enough to beat Crambo who is not here today. Paisley Park went down by a head with Dashel Drasher 6l back in third, Champ another 3l back in fourth and Botox Has another 2l back in sixth. The latter made a bit of a mess landing on all fours at the second last but I don't think he'd have won. Prior to that Dashel Drasher had beaten Paisley park by a head in tye Long Distance at Newbury and at Wetherby in November was almost 6l in third behind the winner Botox Has who made mistakes at the final two hurdles. Noble Yeats beat Dashel Drasher 3l in a chase at Aintree in December 2022 but hasn't won in five starts since. He ran well on his seasonal debut at Limerick over Christmas where a mistake at the last may have cost him although the winner won readily enough. He gets 6lb of the above horses here which theoretically puts him in the mix although he probably has bigger targets down the line. Strong Leader has first time cheek pieces as he steps up to 3m for the first time. He was disappointing behind Bob Olinger the last day and prior to that had been a 1l runner up to Blueking D'Oroux who was fifth in the Long Walk. He was only beaten less than 1l by Inthepocket at Aintree last April which is a fair level of form. I went for Botox Has at Ascot and I'll give him another chance here and 8/1 is available with Bet 365 and Coral.

Selection; Botox Has

Best Alternative; Paisley Park

The Classic Novices Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m4f56y New Course

Gidleigh Park is favourite to win this on the back of winning all three starts so far, a Bumper and two Hurdles. On the first of those hurdle wins he beat subsequent winner Range (who goes in the 2.40 at Doncaster)  by over 7l and it was a further 20l back to the third. On his last start, which was over this trip, he only had to be shaken up to go clear and win impressively by 9l over a field that had some well regarded horses. In both his wins over hurdles his jockey has had difficulty pulling him up. He's a very big horse who didn't appear on the racecourse until he was six and I would just be a bit worried if the ground became quick. Gavin Cromwell brings Antrim Coast over and he wears a first time tongue tie. He's won once in three starts over hurdles when he was good value for the 4l win over Mister Pink only having to be ridden out hands and heels. He then came to Cheltenham over the Old Course and was beaten a neck by Butch with th etwo pulling 12l clear of the third. Johnnywho was unable to complete the hat trick over hurdles when finishing 2l back in fourth in the Challow behind Captain Teague having beaten Moon D'Orange in impressive fashion the run before. Isaac Des Obeaux has had six starts, three Bumpers and three hurdles, winning one bumper and two hurdles. He was well beaten on hurdles debut here on the Old course back in October but that was hus seasonal debut and followed a wind op in July. He's won his two hurdle races easily and might be over priced given connections. He beat Range three parts of a length on his racecourse debut at Chepstow, where he's run five times, on Good To Soft but all his wins have come on Soft or Heavy. Lucky Place represents Nicky Henderson and has won once and placed second in three starts over hurdles. Beaten 14l in one and winning by 13l in the other he's currently 14/1 and probably best watched. I think Ground and track will suit Gidleigh Park while Johnnywho has yet to race on ground better than soft and Antrim Coast dropping back in trip with the tongue tie might be the best alternative.

Selection; Gidleigh Park

Best Alternative; Antrim Coast



January 25th

Gowran Park (Going; Heavy)

Galmoy Hurdle (Grade 2) 3m

Five go to post for what will be a gruelling test of stamina. Thedevilscoachman was a decent Hurdler winning the Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle and looked a nice type when winning three chases but the wheels seemed to come off when going into handicaps and he reverted to hurdles at Punchestown last December putting in a decent performance over 2m3f to go down be 3l to Sir Gerhard with Ashdale Bob another 2l back in third. The latter hasn't won since the Grade 2 in Fairyhouse in April 2021 and has been placed nine times in fifteen starts since including finishing a head behind Thedevilscoachman in a Grade 2 at Navan two years ago. Monkfish resumed last April after a two year break and put in a fine run finishing hakf a length in second to Stablemate Asterion Forlonge. However he made a number of mistakes next time in the Grade 1 Stayers at Punchestown losing touch before the last and finishing 42l back in last of the nine runners. This is his first run since and is probably best watched. Farouk D'alene was of the course from March 2022 to last November and returned with two runs over fences before reverting to hurdles at Leopardstown over Christmas where he just failed by a neck to concede 20lb to the winner. He will appreciate the trip and the ground and comes from a stable in terrific form. Summerville Boy was a 15l seocond here last year then went on to beat Asterion Forlonge next time and was 10l back in sixth in the Punchestown Stayers. He was beaten a long way on seasonal debut but improved next time to finish 7l back in second to the winner who was receiving 16lb. Hopefully the first time cheekpieces will help Thedevilscoachman who gets the selection with Farouk D'alene, who also has first time cheekpieces, the alternative.

Selection; Thedevilscoachman

Best Alternative; Farouk D'alene










January 21st

Lingfield (Going; Good To Soft)

Lightning Novices Chase (Grade 2) 2m

Just five go to post for what is a trappy race. Matata made all to win comfortably at Ffos Las on his Chase debut in October against a weak enough field while at Cheltenham on New Year's Day, his only other start, he was collared close home having made the running on heavy ground with the winner receiving 11lb from him. Djelo beat Master Chewy first time over fences getting 3lb from the latter and won his subsequent two starts impressively, the latest an Ascot Grade 2. He has to carry a 5lb penalty for that but at 6yo should continue to improve. JPR One got his chase career off to the perfect start when winning at Taunton. However he unseated his jockey with the Arkle Trial at his mercy at Cheltenham in November and then was beaten 6l in the Grade 1 Henry V11 at Sandown last month on unsuitable heavy ground. His chance here will depend on how the ground turns out after the thaw and if his jumping improves. Master Chewy is 3lb better off with Djelo for that earlier defeat and put up a good performance on his latest start beating Nickle Back almost 5l in the Grade 2 Wayward Lad at Kempton last month. However, like Djelo, he carries a 5lb penalty. Pembroke was well behind Master Chewy at Aintree last October and then had a walkover at Warwick before finishing alone at Aintree when his three rivals pulled up on heavy ground. He'll want plenty more rain to fall to help him here. A difficult one to weigh up but in the hope that conditions don't get any worse I'll take a chance with JPR One.

Selection; JPR One

Best Alternative; Djelo

Thurles (Going; Yielding) 2m4f

Silent Approach had the benefit of race fitness when beating Harmonya Maker by 3l and Hautiere 6l in a Grade 2 Mares at Cork last month. She reappeared at Punchestown seven days ago and put up a fine performance to finish third, 5l behind the winner Spillanes Tower. If this doesn't come too soon she should be in the mix. Hautiere went on to win her only other start when destroying the field in the Dawn Run at Limerick last month with a disappointing Harmonya Maker 37l back in third on Heavy going. The latter had opened her season with an emphatic win over Brandy Love over 2m on Heavy going at Gowran in November and it may have been the extended 2m6f at Limerick saw her stamina limitations. Law Ella has won three times in ten starts, a Bumper, Hurdle and Chase. The latter was won with a first time tongue tie which was left off next time at Exeter where she was very disappointing. It's reapplied here for this step up in class. More Info and Kilashee look outclassed. It's interesting the the take on Hautiere again with Harmonya Maker and maybe she wasn't right the last day but I'll kep a watching brief on her this time and go for Hautierre.

Selection; Hautiere

Best Alternative; Silent Approach

Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase (Grade 2) 2m4f

As I write Allaho is clear favourite to repeat his wins her in 2021 and 2022. He returned this season after an eighteen month lay off to win the Clonmel Oil beating Janadil by 9l. He then went to Kempton for the King George and he was still travelling well when Shishkin fell two out and hampered him slightly, Whether it was that or his stamina running out it was still a great effort. After winning the Ryanair at Cheltenham last March Envoi Allen but appeared not to stay in the Punchestown Gold Cup. He had a pipe opened in the PWC in October before running a big race in the Ladbroke Gold Cup at Down Royal, beaten a neck by Gerri Colombe. However he has to concede 4lb to Allaho. Appreciate It went down by half a length to Fastorslow in the John Durkin last November  which was his first starts since April. However he was 41l behind Gallopin Des Champs in the Savills last month and the drop back in trip should see him in a better light. French Dynamite has won just six of his twenty one starts under rules but significantly four of those have come around here. He was beaten almost 6l by Envoi Allen in the Ryanair last March and is 9lb better off here but wouldn't want any more rain as his best form has come on Yielding and Good. Capadanno and Stattler probably need further to be seen to best effect. If at his best Allaho is hard to oppose while French Dynamite might be worth a small bet for the interest.

Selection; Allaho

Best Alternative; French Dynamite









January 14th

Punchestown (Going; Soft)

Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m157y

Just five go to post and Mystical Power is a clear favourite. A son of the great Galilieo out of the brilliant mare Annie Power he's won his two starts, a Bumper and Maiden Hurdle the latter by an easy 7l from a subsequent winner. Jigaro represents the Elliott team. In hsi two starts since arriving from France he's been runner up in his first and then was a convincing winner of a Maiden Hurdle at Navan last month winning comfortably by 9l. Lombron won his only start for current connections having been placed in France. Again he was a comfortable 3l winner and none of the placed horses have won since. Facile Mode has been very disappointing since winning his Bumper at the 2022 Leopardstown Christmas meeting. He did win a maiden hurdle here in October but the placed horses have been well beaten since. James Gate is one to watch. He returned after a long lay off at Leopardstown over Christmas and was not knocked about to finish fourth having travelled wide into the straight made a bad mistake at the last. Mystical Power for me.

Selection; Mystical Power

Best Alternative; Jigoro










January 13th

Warwick (Going; Soft)

Hampton Novices Chase (Grade 2) 3m

Just five runners for this and it's a tricky little contest. Grey Dawning was beaten almost 3l by Stay Away Fay and The Changing Man on his chase and season debut at Exeter in October and improved for that run when beating Gaillard Du Mesnil by over 9l at Haydock in November over the extended 2m5f with Apples Away a further 5l back in third. Next time up he appeared to have every chance when making an horrendous error at the second last losing at least 5l but storming back up to Cheltenham hill to go down by three parts of a length to the winner who was getting 3lb. That was over the exended 2m4f but stepping up in trip should not be a problem and he is also a course winner. After that Haydock race Apples Away won a three horse affair at Leicester over 2m6f by 32l and may have been flattered by that as the runner up just couldn't handle the Heavy ground. Broadway Boy has won three of his four chase starts and was runner up in the other to Flooring Porter. The last win came over 3m2f in a Grade 3 Handicap Chase in open company at Cheltenham where he had Threeunderthrufive just over 1l back in second. He's very consistentand has won or been placed in nine of his eleven starts. After his run at Exeter behind Stay Away Fay, The Changing Man unseated on his only other start six fences out at Sandown. On ratings he has a fair bit to find but does receive weight from his rivals. The form of Carbon King in Ireland wouldn't inspire and his first two runs in Britain weren't convincing but he stepped up in trip at Ffos Las to win a Handicap chase. I think he'll be looking for crumbs here. The Skeltons, who won this lst year, would love nothing better than winning this at the local track and the trainer said after Exeter that this was the plan for Grey Dawning who gets the selection.

Selection; Grey Dawning

Best Alternative; Broadway Boy

Kempton (Going; Good To Soft)

Silviniaco Conti Chase (Grade 2) 2m4f110y

Five go to post including Pic D'Orhy who won this last year. Hoever this looks a much stronger race with four of the five Grade 1 winners. Banbridge heads the betting but hasn't run since last April when winning the Manifesto at Aintree. He's won eight of his fourteen starts and although he is rated 9lb below Edwardstone the latter has never raced at this distance over fences and only once over hurdles where he was third, beaten 5l, in a Pretemps qualifier conceding 21lb to the winner. However Edwardstone's trainer Alan King is confident he will be ok. His recent form hasn't been great and connections have drawn a line through his bad run at Cheltenham last March. He's also had the misfortune to come up against Jonbon on his two starts this season. Those runs could give him a fitness edge over Banbridge who hasn't always produced after a long break. Pic D'Orhy four of his five starts last season his only defeat coming when a 16l second to Shishkin at Ascot in February. He's had one run this season winning a four runner Grade 2 at Ascot by a wide margin last November when Shishkin refused to race. Notlongtillmay ran up a hat trick lasts eason before going down by 3l to Stage Star in the Turners at Cheltenham. He resumed in a big Handicap over 2m at Cheltenhamin October carrying top weigh and ran credibly to be fourth beaten over 3l by the winner and then was a 4l second to Stage Star in the Paddy Power at the same track in November. Janadil wears a first time tongue tie following his 9l second to Allaho in the Clonmel Oil in November. He should come on for that run, his first since April but his jumping has let him down on a number of occasions. It looks a fairly open contest and I'll take a chance on Edwardstone who might be a bit more match fit than the rest.

Seletion; Edwardstone

Best Alternative; Pic D'Orhy

Wetherby (Going;Soft)

Towton Novices Chase (Grade 2) 2m3f85y

Colonel Harry won on chase debut with Tahmuras disappointing 18l back in third. The latter stepped ip in trip next time to win well at Aintree. Colonel Harry himself was staying on next time when going down by just over 1l Le Patron who had won his two previous starts. The step up in trip will suit Colonel Harry on that evidence. Trelawne won three of his four Hurdle starts and got his chase career off to a winning start at Carlisle in November with a comfortable win in a modest chase. He stepped up in company next time and was probably held when making a mistake at the last before finishing third behind Ginny's Destiny and Grey Dawning who was unlucky.  The King Of Ryhope lost a shoe in the desperate conditions at Ffos La last month when finishing a long way back behind The Carbon King having won on debut at Chepstow the run before. Chasing Fire ran up a hat trick over hurdles last season and having led to the second last in the Supreme emptied quickly to finish near the rear of the field. He won first time up over fences but was well beaten next time out at Ayr and then unseated at the first at Aintree on his only other start and has been a drifter in the early betting. It's Colonel Harry form me.

Selection; Colonel Harry

Best Alternative; Trelawne










January 12th

Naas (Going; Soft To Heavy)

Lawlor's Of Naas Novice Hurdle Grade 1) 2m4f

Seven runners, four from Mullins, two from Elliott and De Bromhead trying to spoil the party. Firefox won three of his four Bumpers beating Ile Atlantique in the penultimate one back in April at Fairyhouse. He started off this season winning a Down Royal Bumper in November and then beat Ballyburn by over 2l in a Fairyhouse Maiden Hurdle last Month. The runner up hosed home in Leopardstown over Christmas by 25l. Ile Atlantique has had just the one start this season winning a Maiden Hurdle at Gowran by 19l. An Tobar won his Point and Maiden Hurdle before finishing third in the Royal Bond almost 3l behind the winner Farren Glory. That's  good form as the winner looked a likely winner of the Grade 1 Tolworth at Aintree before falling at the last. Chapeau De Soleil won his only Point and then went down by over 3l to Better Days Ahead and followed that up with a 14l tenth place in the Cheltenham Bumper. He's had one start this season winning by 9l in a Maiden Hurdle at Clonmel on Heavy going. Croke Park is a half brother to Farren Glory. He got his season off with a win at Clonmel last October on Heavy ground and followed up at Navan in November winning the Grade 3 Monksfield Hurdle. Jockey bookings suggests he's the second choice of the Elliott duo. Lecky Watson had mixed form in Bumpers the best of it was probably his fourth place in the Cheltenham Bumper which has thrown up numerous winners. He won his Maiden by a neck in November before going down by half a length to Slade Steel in the Grade 2 Navan Hurdle last Month where his jumping wasn't always fluent a trait that was also notable in his Maiden win. Reading Tomy Wrong won two Bumpers and his only hurdle start but steps up to this trip for the first time under rules. He's the outsider of the party having drifted like a barge since Markets opened. Mystical Power is absent from the declarations for this re scheduled race and we are now only three weeks out form the DRF but I've been a fan of Firefox for a while and he gets the selection here.

Selection; Firefox

Best Alternative; Ile Atlantique









January 1st

Cheltenham (Going; Heavy)

Relkeel Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m4f56y

Just four runners go to post for what will turn into a teat of stamina on rain soaked ground. Last year's winner, Marie's Rock, shades favouritism from Bob Olinger. She was well beaten over the same trip on the Old Course here next time before stepping up in trip and chasing home Sir Du Berlais in the Garde 1 Liverpool Hurdle. She was then off until December 1st at Newbury where she went off favourite for the Long Distance Hurdle but had to settle for fourth place over 5l behind the winner Dashel Drasher and Paisley Park Dropping back in trip shouldn't be an inconvenience. Bob Olinger has to carry a 6lb penalty for his win in the Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle twelve months ago. He was no match for Echoes In Rain at Naas last January and wasn't seen again until he resumed in Mid November with what looked like a return to form beating a race fit Zanahiyr by 1l in the Grade 2 Lismullen. He travelled beautifully and was brave when cruising up between the runner up and Home By The Lee and showed battling qualities when headed by the runner up inside the last furlong to quicken away. You would expect him to improve for that. A big plus is that he had winning form on Heavy Going which Marie's Rock doesn't. Strong Leader compelted a hat trick of wins over hurdles last season before finishing over 12l behind Marine Nationale in the Supreme. He followed up with what looked  a better run when beatem almost 2l by Inthepocket in the Garde 1 Novice at Aintree. He resumed in the Welsh Champion Hurdle at Ffos Las in October but after been prominent he faded from the back of the third last and finished last, 20l behind the winner. He then went for the Ascot Hurdle in November and was a 1l runner up to Blueking D'Oroux over the extended 2m3f. On ratings he has a bit to find and it will be interesting to see if he can improve in this open company. Brewin'upastorm was well beaten in this last year but went on to win the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell nest time. He resumed in November but was well beaten into runner up spot, 12l behind West Balboa and at 11yo his best days are probably behind him although he does have form on Heavy ground. I've no huge confidence in anything but his form on heavy ground swings it for Bob Olinger.

Selection; Bob Olinger

Best Alternative; Marie's Rock


December 30th

Newbury (Going; Good To Soft)

Challow Novices Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m4f118y

Willmount has won his Point, two Bumpers and a Novice Hurdle the latter by 13l around here last month having transferred from Neil Mulholland to Nicky Henderson during the summer. He cost £340k after winning his point in Ireland and has impressed a lot of good judges since. If he's to win this he'll have to buck a negative trend as only two of the last nineteen winners have done so after just won run over hurdles. Captain Teague has won a Point, Bumper and a Novice Hurdle and was beaten just over 2l in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham last March. He failed to concede 5lb to Minella Missile at Chepstow in the Grade 2 Hyde Hurdle and was beaten just over 1l. His trainer Paul Nicholls has won the last three running's of this. Johnnywho comes here having won a Point, Bumper and Novice Hurdle, all his starts and his trainer has a great record in the race winning four times from four runs. He won his Novice impreeively at Carlise in Soft ground over this trip. He did have an infection after that which prevented them getting another run into him but wearing the Green and Gold McManus colours the betting market should be noted. Lookaway is the most experience of these and is 3/7 0ver Hurdles including the Grade 2 Sharp at Cheltenham in October where he beat the Kamsinas now rated 134. Lookaway then failed by just over 2l to give Iberico Lord 6lb in the Greatwood. Farnoge is the second Nicholls runner and is unbeaten having won his Point, beating Better Days Ahead by 4l, his Bumper where he bet a couple of subsequent winners and two Novice Hurdles where the form hasn't really worked out. Masaccio had some pretty decent form in Bumpers last season including 5l back in seventh in the Aintree Bumpers and a huge number of winners have come from that. On his Hurdles debut in October he beat a subsequent winner by three parts of a length. Next time he was unable to concede 6lb to Jingko Blue whom Nicky Henderson thinks a lot of. More rain would help his cause. The Jukebox Man completed a Ffos Las hat trick on Soft and Heavy Going. According to his Trainer he's a chaser in the making although he did win his Point on Yielding. There are a few bubbles going to be burst here but one who ticks a lot of the boxes is Captain Teague who gets the selection while Masaccio could be an Each Way alternative.

Selection; Captain Teague

Best Alternative; Masaccio (Each Way)







December 29th

Leopardstown (Going; Soft)

Neville Hotels Novice Chase (Grade 1)

Just the six runners and Corbetts Cross heads the betting. Third to Grangeclare West on Chase debut over 2m4f at Naas in November where he took a keen hold and didn't jump well he went to Fairyhouse earlier this month wher 0ver the extended 2m5f he got home by three parts of a length from Three Card Brag. He'll benefit from the step up to 3m which should help his jumping and hopefully live up to the prominse he showed as a hurdler. Beaten by Affordale Fury on chase debut, Favori De Champdou beat Sandor Clegane 14l into second at Punchestown in the  Florida Pearl with Flooring Porter over 1l further back in third. The latter threw any chance he had away by hanging badly left before two out but had put up a good showing winning at Cheltenham on his previous start. Grangeclare West steps up to 3m for the first time under rules though he did win his point over the trip and the Mullins team are starting to hit form while Flanking Maneuver who won his Chase at the third attempt would have to find a bit on Hurdles ratings. Hopefully the step up in trip will benefit Corbetts Cross and he is the selection.

Selection; Corbetts Cross

Best Alternative; Favori Champdou

Matheson Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m

Just four go to post and Willie Mullins has three with State Man the odds on favourite. He won the Morgiana last month by 5l from Echoes In Rain with Fils D'oudairies who was race fit another 3l back in third. Impaire Et Passe finished up lat Season winning the Ballymore at Cheltenham by over 6l from Stablemate Gaelic Warrior and then beating High Definition by over 7l in the Punchestown equivalent. He resumed in the Hattons Grace over the extended 2m4f and having taken a keen hold went down by 1l to the winner Teahupoo with the first two pulling well clear of the third. State Man's form since falling at Leopardstown two years ago is eight wins from nIne starts with only Constitution Hill beating him. However Impaire Et Passe is no slouch and I'd forgive him that last run as the stables horses were not firing and he might be a bit better value than his stablemate.

Selection; Impaire Est Passe

Best Alternative; State Man









December 28th

Leopardstown (Going; Soft To Heavy)

Christmas Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m7f80y

Just six go to post for this and  bookies are pricing it up as a two horse race. Last year's winner Home by The Lee comes here of a similar preparation. But while he won last year's Lismullen Hurdle at Navan he could only manage third this time, beaten over 5l by a resurgent Bob Olinger. Home By The Lee doesn't win very often these days and as an 8yo he could be vulnerable to a younger improving horse. That could be Irish Point from the in form Gordon Elliott yard. If we go back to November 2021 at Saint Cloud he beat Il Est Francais by three parts of a length and the latter has done the form no harm since winning eight of his nine subsequent starts including the Kauto Star Chase in impressive fashion last Tuesday. Irish Point was beaten a head by Marine Nationale in last years Royal Bond over 2m which was probably a bit sharp and the latter is now rated 158 after winning the Supreme last March. Champ Kiely overturned Royal Bond form beating him at Naas and he was disappointing at the DRF. However he made amends at Aintree winning the Grade 1 Aintree Hurdle with a host of good horses behind him including Hermes Allen and then re appeared at Down Royal last month where he gave 13lb and a 2l beating to Magical Zoe who had the benefit of race fitness. Asterion Forlonge has been mixing Chasing and Hurdling. His best hurdles form was winning the Grade 2 at Fairyhouse last Easter and the running Klassical Dream to half a length in the Grade 1 stayers at the Punchestown Festival and he does have a tendency to jump to his right. Buddy One shot up the rankings following two handicap wins, at Galway and Cheltenham but the bubble burst in the Hatton's Grace where he was 27l back in last of the five. Ballyadam has failed to live up to his early promise  and steps up to this trip for the first time while Beacon Edge who was third to Asterion Collonge at Fairyhouse last Easter is inconsistent. I think Irish Point will be good enough.

Selection; Irish Point

Best Alternative; Asterion Forlonge

Savills Chase (Grade 1) 3m100y

It will b worth the entrance fee to see this race alone. Eleven go to post with a host of Grade 1 winners amongst them. Last year's Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Galopin Des Champs is the early favourite and the highest rated in the race. He was third, beaten just under 2l by the winner Fastorslow in the John Durkin where his jumping wasn't always fluent and he had no extra when ridden after the last over an inadequate trip of the extended 2m3f. He had been beaten over 2l by Fastorslow in the Punchestown Gold Cup at the end of last season. Fastorslow has gone up 21lb in the ratings since last season's DRF where he was well beaten over 2m1f having been well beaten by Gallopin Des Champs in the John Durkin. This will be a big test for him. Gerri Colombe, having just failed to catch The Real Whacker at Cheltenham made no mistake at Aintree where he was a comfortable winner as he was entitled to be on the ratings. He returned after the Summer to win the Champion Chase at Down Royal beating Envoi Allen and Conflated, who both had the benefit of a run, in a driving finish. Conflated loves it around Leopardstown and won last year's renewal from Kemboy but this looks a stronger field. A Plus Tard had a disappointing time last season following his Gold Cup win in 2022. He pulled up twice and was over 17l back in third behind Shishkin in the Bowl at Aintree. The reamainder have a lot to do on ratings. A lot of the Mullins' fancied horses are getting turned over and I think Gerri Colombe will come on plenty for his Down Royal run and gets the selection.

Selection; Gerri Colombe

Best Alternative; Fastorslow

Limerick (Going; Heavy)

Faugheen Novice Chase (Grade 1) 2m3f100y

Gaelic Warrior is short odds to collect here for the Team connected with the machine the race is named after. He destroyed a good fiel in the Grade 1 Novice hurdle at the Punchestown Festival last April and was sent chasing on his seasonal reappearance where he blew the field away having taken a keen hold and kicked clear after the fourth to win in a canter by 15l from Inothewayurthinkin who takes him on again. American Mike had been disappointing last season but seamed back on track when Beating Fact To File at Navan last month. Il Etait Temps won at Thurles on Chase debut. He turned up in all the Grade 1 Novice hurdles last yearwinning at the DRF but no match for Marine Nationale and Facile Vega. Lucid Dream beat Joyeux Machin by 22l in a match last week havind run Imagine to half a length in the Grade 2 Craddoxtown at Punchestown last month. It's hard to oppose Gaelic Warrior and American Mike might be best of the rest.

Selection; Gaelic Warrior

Best Alternative; American Mike









December 27th

Leopardstown (Going; Yielding on Chase. Yielding To Soft Hurdles)

Paddy Rewards Club Chase (Grade 1) 2m1f

Just five go to post and Willie Mullins saddles  four of them, three in the J.P. McManus colours. However it's Henry De Bromhead who has the early favourite in Captain Guinness who was an easy winner of the Fortria Chase at Navan last Month with Dysart Dynamo 11l back in third with Saint Roi 18l behind the winner in fourth. That was on Soft To Heavy ground and they may improve for a sounder surface. Dinoblue completed the hat trick at Naas last month having won two valuable handcicap chases in the Spring, She was an unlucky runner up in the Grand Annual at Cheltenham and does get a valuable Mares allowance. Gentleman De Mee seems to reserve his best form for the Spring and has his first run since April. It's not the greatest renewal of this race and Captain Guinness might be good enough particulary if the ground turns soft.

Selection; Captain Guinness

Best Alternative; Dinoblue

Future Champions Novice Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m

The Mullins team are starting to come out in force and he saddles four of the nine runners for this. However it's one of the Elliott pair who heads the market. Down Memory Lane has won his Point, Bumper and Maiden Hurdle. His Bumper win came back in February and he didn't re appear until Down Royal last month when he was a comfortable winner of his Maiden. The Bumper form is working out with a number of winners coming from it. Derek O'Connor, who has ridden him in all his starts, takes the mount in the McManus silks. Daddy Long Legs looks the pick of the Mullins team with Paul Townend up. He's had just two runs, one in France and then winning by an easy 13l at Thurles. That looks usefull form as the third had some very good Bumper runs. Caldwell Potter is the second Elliott runner and is highly regarded. He was one from four in Bumpers and finished up in that division when third to stable mate Stellar Story at Naas last February. He was beaten over 1l on  seasonal debut but was impressive next time when a comfortable 7l clear of the rest winning his maiden at Navan earlier this month. A half brother to Mighty Potter and Brighterdays ahead market moves should be noted. Predators Gold is only a 4yo and has won his two starts, a Bumper and Maiden Hurdle. He's dropping back in trip here. Absurde has been mixing Flat and Jumps and on his latest start was just over 5l back in seventh in the Melbourne Cup. Jumping can be an issue with him. The Big Doyen was third in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham last month over 2m5f and dropping back in trip is not ideal while Facile Mode regressed through the season after an impressive Bumper win last Christmas. A tricky contest with not a lot of form to go on for some of them. Caldwell Potter has a great pedigree and looks a bit of value.

Se;ection; Caldwell Potter

Best Alternative; Down Memory Lane

Limerick (Going; Soft)

Dawn Run  Mares Novice Chase (Grade 2) 2m6f120y

Five face the starter but in truth it's two horse race. Harmonya Maker had a poor end to last season, Unseating, Falling and Pulling Up in her final three races. She got her chase career off to the perfect start when beating Brandy Love by 11l  at Gowran last month. She then went tom Cork for a Grade 2 but jumped left throughout and hit the last when coming under pressure to finish second to the surprise winner Silent Approach. Hauturiere was 3l behind Harmonya Maker back in fourth. It's a toss of a coin really and if the jumping issue can be sored Hamonya Maker might just shade it,

Selection; Harmonya Maker

Chepstow (Going; Good To Soft)

Finale Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m

Burdett Road  has been impressive in his two wins so far. Rated 101 on the flat. On his latest start he beat An Bradan Feasa by over 6l and the latter won next time beating Balboa by 3l. Harsh tarvels over from Ireland opting for this rather than the Garde 2 at Leopardstown. He was well beaten by Mighty Bandid on his Hurdles debut but won comfortably nest time although he may not have had much to beat. Salver had Authoceltic 9l back in third when winning for the second time last month and the second horse has won since. Itcan be hard to tie in the form in these races but Burdett Road has been impressive in his two starts and gets the nod.

Selection; Burdett Road

Best Alternative; Salver

Kempton (Going; Good) 

Wayward Lad Novices Chase (Grade 2) 2m

Just four turn out for this and Master Chewy goes here instead of the Desert Orchid. He loos like he could be a decent chaser winning his first start by 12l and then running into a couple on his next two going down by three parts of a length to Djelo wh has gone on to win his next two and Elixir De Nutz who had won the Haldon Cup on his previous start. All Master Chewy's starts over fences have been at 2m. The opposite can be said for his main opponent Nickle Back who heads the market. He won his first two chases impressively by wide margins and then was over 6l back in second to Hermes Allen. Bourbali had to pull up on chase debut with a slipped saddle but then cruised home in a two horse arce by 22l. He's another dropping back in trip. I'll take a chance with Master Chewy.

Selection; Master Chewy

Best Alternative; Bourbali

Desert Orchid Handicap Chase (Grade 2) 

Editeur Du Gite won this last year and went on to beat Edwardstone in the Grade 1 Clarence House next time. However he's been well beaten in his subsequent four starts losing by 30l and more each time. Boothill is very consisten winning five and been placed in three from nine starts over fences. He's won both starts this season and he has course winning form. Elixir De Nutz is a big improver this season winning the Haldon Cup off a low weight and then beating Master Chewy (who runs in the previous race) at Newbury. earlier this month. Malystic and Grange Walk both look to be out of form at the moment. A tricky little contest but Boothill might be good enough.

Selection; Boothill

Best Alternative; Elixir De Nutz







December 26th

Aintree (Going; Soft)

Tolworth Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m103y

Ten go to post for this and Jango Baie is the early favourite. He won his only Point by three parts of a length last February and reappeared getting back up to chin Tellherthename by a nose at Ascot over 2m and the latter reappeared at the end of the month to easily win a Novice hurdle going 14l clear with the runner up winning by 13l next time. Gordon Elliott sends over Farren Glory who has won his two hurdle starts. In the latest he beat his highly regarded stablemate King Of Kingsfield in the Grade 1 Royal Bond at Fairyhouse. Favour And Fortune won two of his three Bumpers but finished down the field in the Cheltenham one. He's won his two starts over hurdles but this is a big step up in class. Kamsinas won a Grade 2 last time beating previous winner Making Headway by over 1l with the third I Love My Baie, who won next time, another 13l back. Florida Dreams won the Grade 2 Aintree Bumper last April with the next behind him all winning since. On a strict line through I Love My Baie he has a bit to find with Kamsinas but may have improved from that seasonal debut. July Flower looks to have good French form but she disappointed in the Grade 2 Mares Bumper back last April. Jackpot D'Athou seemed to benefit from a wind op on his seasonal debut when winning a Maiden Hurdle. This is a much tougher tadk but has to be respected coming from Ditcheat. Cannock Park won a point, Bumper and Hurdle and again this is a step up. Tellherthename cost £200k and might just keep his head in front tgis time

Selection; Tellherthename

Best Alternative; Farren Glory 


Leopardstown (Yielding , Good To Yielding in places Chase course- Yielding To Soft, Soft in places Hurdles Course)

Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m

Twelve are due to face the starter for a race that has thrown up some top class horses down then years including Apple's Jade and Lossiemouth. Gordon Elliott has the clear favourite in Mighty Bandit who was an impressive winner of his only start when leaving the field over 9l back in his wake at Punchestown four weeks ago with the third and fourth placed horses winning next time out. Kargesse wears a first time hood on her debut for current connections having been bought privately from France where she won two of her three starts. Her trainer Willie Mullins has won this three times with Apple's Jade, Bapaume and Lossiemouth. Kalo Conti is a second Elliott runner. Bought from France after winning a Mares by 10l she won her first start here beating her two opponents by 14l. She then went down by half a length to Nurburgring in the Grade 3 Juvenile at Fairyhouse three weeks ago. The latter has to carry 6lb penalty for that. Cossack Chach wears a first time tongue tie. He won his Maiden at Killarney with the third, Kyogo, winning his next two starts. Cossack Chach then went down by a neck to Wodhooh at Down Royal last month with the latter winning a Listed Mares at Newbury next time. The third horse at Down Royal was beaten a long way by Mighty Bandit next time. Karafon is a six race maiden who has his first start for the Munir/Souede/Mullins team and appears to be their choice ahead of Batman Girac who was well beaten by Nurburgring while Miss Manzour who won her last two starts in France makes her debut for Willie Mullins. Mighty Bandit should improve for that first run and stablemate Kala Conti could be a bit of each way value.

Selection; Mighty Bandit

Best Alternative; Kala Conti

Racing Post Novice Chase (Grade 1) 2m1f

Facile Vega has just the three opponents as he attempts to build on his impressive debut at Navan where he quickened well off a slow pace to win comfortably from the useful Inthepocket. Found A Fifty took a keen hold in the Drinmore and paid the price. He was clumsy at the last and found no Extra on the run in. He had been impressive when winning his chase debut at Down Royal last month. My Mate Mozzie won in a canter at Cheltenham on his last start sixty days ago. The runner up was having his first start for connections and next time failed to handle the right handed track at Sandown. Sharjah having won his first two chase starts over fences was travelling easily before two out in the Drinmore but appeared to find nothing and was eased and wasn't knocked about. Facile Vega is short odds on and hard to oppose. 

Selection; Facile Vega

Best Alternative; Found A Fifty

Limerick (Going; Soft)

Lyons Of Limerick Novice Hurdle (Grade 2) 2m7f

Eight go to post for a race that has been won in the past by Faugheen and Fury Road and their trainer's have the market leaders here. The Mullins trained Loughglynn heads the market. He beat Firefox in a Bumper a year ago and was over 12l back in ninth in the Cheltenham Bumper. He won his only hurdle start when easily accounting for the field by 10l despite some novicey jumping. Gordon Elliott has two runners. Search For Glory has plenty of experience having had seven starts over hurdles. However it took him until his fifth run to trouble the judge when winning his Galway Maiden. He was then beaten over 5l by stablemate Croke Park in the Grade 3 Monksfield at Navan before winning a Grade 3 at Cork from three time winner Soitary Man. The other Elliott runner Stellar Story has some top class Bumper form and won his maiden at Navan over 2m4f but was no match for Slade Steel and Lecky Watson in the Grade 2 Navan hurdle at the same track two weeks ago where the slow pace probably didn't suit. Banprionsa won her only Point and her Maiden Hurdle at the second attempt. She wears a first time tongue tie. Answer To Kayf is a half brother to You Wear It Well who is a Grade 2 and Listed winner and has a rating of 128 while Dripsey Moon won two of his four points and has been campaigned in Scotland for his two hurdle starts winning one and placed second in the other although the winner let the form down in  Grade 2 at Cheltenham subsequently. I have a slight preference for Search For Glory purely on the basis of having more experience over hurdles but there's not much between a few.

Selection; Search For Glory

Best Alterntive; Loughglynn

Kempton (Going; Good To Soft)

Kauto Star Novices Chase (Grade 1) 3m

Hermes Allen did us a favour at Newbury earlier in the month but this will be a stiffer task as he has a French challenger Il Est Francais who has had some eye catching runs. Hermes Allen steps up to 3m for the first time under rules but did win his point over the trip. His jumping was impeccable at Newbury. Il Est Francais was runner up in his three bumpers the last one beaten three parts of a length by Irish Point. He then won his next five starts over hurdles before a surprise defeat and was put away for the summer. He's had two chase starts since resuming winning both impressively. Giovinco ran up a hat trick in Novice hurdles and was put straight over fences when resumin last October after the summer break. He unseated three out on debut at Carlisle and then won at Aintree over 3m1f in a race where nine fences were omitted. On his only other run Stay Away Fay got the better of him in the Grade 2 Esher at Sandown. Despite meeting interference turning for home he looked to be going bets of the two but got outstayed by the winner having run about a bit. Marble Sands has 12l to find on Hermes Allen on the Newbury run and it looks a big ask while the same applies to Tightenourbelts who was half a length in front of Marble Sands in that race. I've been waiting for Il Est Francais to come to over from France for a while and I think he might have the winning of this.

Selection; Il Est Francais

Best Alternative; Hermes Allen

Christmas Hurdle (Grade 1)

Constitution Hill is unbackable at 1/8 and I can't oppose him.

King George VI Chase (3m)

It could be significant that Paul Townend gives up some good rides at Leopardstown to ride Allaho here. He's got five opponents in what looks a competitive race. Allaho came back after a lengthy absence to easily account for Janidil in the Clonmel Oils last month and having won around Thurles previously he should cope with the track here. The extended 3m1f at Haydock was probably to far for Bravemansgame and he was also a bit disappointing at Wetherby in the Charlie Hall a race he won last year before winning last year's renewal of this. Shishkin comes with a health warning having refused to race the last day. There were also rumours last season that he was reluctant to go on the gallops. The lack of a run could be against him as there is likely to be plenty of pace on and lack of race fitness could tell. The Real Whacker was a revelation last season winning three on the bounce around Cheltenham including the Brown Advisory where he short headed Gerri Colombe. He was very keen on seasonal debut and was found to be lame after pulling up before the second last. It will be interesting to see how he copes in open company after his Novice season. Hewick hasn't run since the Galway Plate and I prefer to keep a watching brief while Frodon will be prominent but is 11yo and his best is probably behind him. I think Allaho could be good enough.

Selection; Allaho

Best Alternative; Bravemansgame