After a fantastic weekend of racing both sides of the Irish Sea, I predict that we witnessed numerous high-class performances with the standout for many being Bristol De Mai’s demolition of his Betfair Chase rivals. There is no doubt that Nigel Twiston-Davies’ stunning grey is a much better animal when there is ease underfoot but his 57 length success on Saturday was one that won’t be forgotten at Grange Farm any time soon. Nor, will it be forgotten by the persons at the Racing Post responsible for allotting him with an RPR of 185 – that’s surely madness? Then again the rating, both officially or other, that he receives is perhaps deemed irrelevant by many as he won’t be running in handicaps anytime soon. Instead he will head to Kempton for leg two of the £1m bonus, for which I believe he will have an outstanding chance assuming that Twiston-Davies and co perform a pre-race rain dance. However, Cheltenham Gold Cup glory looks a million miles away at this stage, pardon the pun, though I have no doubt that he will take his chance once more if he stays sound. These sort of predictions are what the game is all about!
In addition to Bristol De Mai, I thought that Top Notch’s win at Ascot was visually impressive and the two big race wins meant that it was a memorable Saturday for owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede. After a superb novice chase campaign last term, he looked like he would be hard to place this time around but Nicky Henderson found him a good opportunity on Saturday and he duly delivered. I’d expect that his connections will work back from the Ryanair with the terrior-like Top Notch, though I wouldn’t be against him trying three miles at some stage either.
The big disappointment for me at the weekend was Defi Du Seuil, who after being sent off as the hot favourite for the Ascot Hurdle, flattered to deceive when finishing fourth. Unbeaten last year, the 4-year-old gelding clearly deserves a second chance, but he will need to improve drastically if he is going to cut it with the leading players in the 2m hurdling division. I simply think that he is a long way behind the likes of Faugheen and Buveur D’air and will continue to advertise the stiff task that Triumph Hurdle winners are met with when switching to open company.
The Jumps Guide Annual publication continues to supply winners, with Mr One More further enhancing his reputation with a gutsy win at Ascot on Friday. Although he has been successful over the minimum trip on both of his starts over hurdles, I am still under the impression that he will take a considerable step forward when racing over intermediate distances. He’s a really likeable young horse who fully deserves a significant step up in class now.
While on the subject of publications, the Extra Horses To Follow PDF work is well underway and I am delighted to inform subscribers that a number of contributors have been confirmed. These include Tom Malone, who will give us a run down of his latest purchases including a big money buy that has joined Paul Nicholls, as well as jockeys Conor Shoemark and David Mullins. They’ll be more news to follow as and when I have it with regards to this! You can still order the Extra Horses To Follow PDF by clicking here.
Last but certainly not least, I’d like to put forward a couple of long-term prospects that are worth putting in your Sporting Life ‘My Stable’ tracker. I was very taken by the debut of Turangi (click horses name to add to your My Stable) at Ascot on Friday who travelled with real promise throughout the race. Trained by Philip Hobbs for Diana Whateley, he looks a big baby who will improve considerably for his first day at school. Given the ability that he showed on this occasion in what looked a deep maiden hurdle, it won’t be long before he’s in the winners enclosure.
The other horse that caught my eye was also at Ascot but this time on Saturday in the concluding bumper. Ar Mest (click horses name to add to your My Stable), trained by Gary Moore, was keen in the early stages of the race but moved well throughout before being unable to quicken with the leading quartet. He was sent off at 33/1 on the day so wasn’t overly fancied by his stable, but I expect him to take a good step forward next time out. He’s from a lovely jumping family so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him switch to hurdles sooner rather than later.
Thanks to Michael Harris (@mjyharris) for the photo.
That’s it for now guys, but I’ll be back shortly with the next update blog.