GOING: Chase & Hurdle courses – GOOD (Good to soft in places)
Cross Country – GOOD TO SOFT (Soft in places)
Neptune Investment Management Novices´ Hurdle Grade 1 Cl1 2m5f
Faugheen ran out an impressive winner despite jumping clumsily on more than one occasion.The race was run at a good pace enabling his stamina to come into play at the business end. He clearly has a huge engine and prove hard to beat if sent for one of the Festivals in Ireland. Chasing looks likely to be on the agenda next season. If staying in one piece, he looks a leading player for the RSA, even at this early stage. Ballyalton returned to his best on the good ground underhoof. Making steady headway through the field, he ran on strongly without troubling the winner. Built for chasing, he will be sent over fences in the autumn. Nearer to hand, he should run well at Aintree having shown decent form on flat tracks. Rathvinden stayed on well for third despite getting in a barging match with Red Sherlock on the run to the final flight. Killala Quay missed a few hurdles on the way round. However, to his credit he stuck on well to record a career best in fourth place. Twelve Roses ran a blinder in fifth though the handicapper will have his say. Red Sherlock fadeddisappointingly between the last two flights, a remark that applies to Lieutenant Colonel. Cole Harden and Cup Final are ones to note if dropped down in class next time out.
RSA Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 3m110y
Despite pulling off a back shoe and twisting a front one, O’Faolains Boy displayed the utmost courage to land the spoils. Challenged all the way up the run-in, he held on gamely from the equally game runner-up. Mr Geraghty reported he did not travel as well as he did at Ascot. Overall, a likeable effort with things conspiring against him. Smad Place ran his usual game race, jumping well and running on strongly. He deserves to land a similar event, though Aintree may come too soon for a horse that is best fresh. Morning Assembly ran well on ground that was on the fast side. A four-time winner at Punchestown, he will take some stopping if turning up at that venue in April. Despite a recent fall whilst schooling, Ballycasey jumped and travelled in good style. Unfortunately, the tank began to empty after the second last, suggesting he may prove best at shorter trips. Lightly raced he could be a Ryanair contender if staying sound and healthy. Sam Winner ran a sound race despite looking one paced. He appears at his best on good or good to soft and could be a Whitbread Gold Cup/Scottish National horse. Carlingford Lough ran up to his best, which is just below Grade One standard. Just A Par and Gevrey Chambertin were far from disgraced.
Coral Cup (A Handicap Hurdle) Grade 3 Cl1 2m5f
An exciting finish with Whisper just holding Get Me Out Of Here by a short-head. The former jumped well, responding to a fine ride by his 5lb claimer. One wonders if his future lies over fences next season. Get Me Out Of Here returned to his best. Despite receiving a vintage waiting ride from AP, he was unable to force his head in front on the line. This was his fifth runner-up spot at Cheltenham. A fine example of his trainer’s ability to peak a horse at the right time. Bayan, sharpened up in a recent Charity Sweepstakes, ran well. Challenging at the last, he failed to see it out as well as the first two. Smashing was less than fluent three out but made good late headway to challenge at the last. He just lacked the final thrust of those in front of him. Dell’Arca ran a good race to finish fifth, rallying well on the run-in. He may been better off in the Conditional Jockeys race under a claim. Kaylif Aramis was still in contention when departing the fun three from home.Considering the race was not run to suit their style of running, Vendor and Ifandbutwhynot ran fair races.
BetVictor Queen Mother Champion Chase Grade 1 Cl1 2m
Sire De Grugy received a brilliant ride from Mr Moore. Held up in the early stages, he travelled and jumped like a dream. Moving thought to challenge two from home, he quickened clear to win easily. This run displays just how good Sprinter Sacre was in 2013, given he recorded a 17lb higher RPR in that renewal. Somersby ran up to his very best despite hitting the third from home. Leading two out, he was joined by the winner but kept on gamely to hold second place. Module continued his progression on ground that would have been plenty quick enough. Possessing the stamina for two and a half-miles, he could make up into a Ryanair contender next season. Sizing Europe ran well until two out. It appears age has finally caught up with this hugely talented and consistent chaser. Hinterland was travelling easily, under a patient ride, when brought down by Baily Green (still going well)at the top of the hill. Returned to Prestbury Park, Arvika Ligeonniere ran like a drainfor the second Festival in a row. Captain Conan pulled up at an early stage with an injury, which will need several weeks of box rest.
Glenfarclas Handicap Chase (A Cross Country Chase) Cl2 3m7f
Balthazar King displayed his usual courage when just lasting home from Any Currency. Having swept into the lead two out, he drew on all his reserves to prevail by a short-head, conceding the runner-up 18lb. Any Currency ran his heart out and deserves to land a similar prize at some stage. Big Shu looked a huge danger turning for home. Jumping the last, he found his 11lb higher mark preventing a repeat of his 2013 win. Duke of Lucca ran a fine race in fourth for the Hobbs team. They certainly know the key that unlocks success round this unique course. Sizing Australia ran on late to take a respectable fifth place.
Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Grade 3 Cl1 2m110y
Hawk High travelled well through the race. Turning for home, he looked a serious threat to all and duly ran out a game winner. Back in second, came the unlucky Katgary,who was hampered as the second last and failed to land running after the final flight. Orgilgo Bay ran his best race over hurdles just failing to see it out as well as those in front of him. Keltus was another hampered at the second last. Rallying to good effect, he finished strongly looking a shade unlucky. Baradari finished well and should improve over further while Solar Impulse ran well if one-paced when it mattered. He should make a useful novice chaser next season. Clarcam was still going strongly when falling two from home. He would have been involved in the finish. Ivan Grozny runs as if he has a breathing problem, which surfaces in the latter stages of his races.
Weatherbys Champion Bumper (A Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race) Grade 1 Cl1 2m110y
Silver Concorde was produced with a well-timed challenge to take the lead just under a furlong from home. If he can be kept in one piece, he will prove a useful hurdler. His RPR was 1lb less than Briar Hill last year. Shaneshill raced just off the pace until turning for home. Produced to take the lead a furlong out, he held all at bay bar the winner. Stamina looks his strong suit and he should make a decent novice hurdler next season. Joshua Lane outran his odds, staying on strongly in third place. He ran close to the form he had shown when second to Shaneshill earlier in the season. Black Hercules set what turned out to be a suicidal pace. Despite possessing plenty of stamina, he paid for his earlier exertions on the long run from the turn for home. Vigil, Killultagh Vic,and Modus were far from disgraced.