Mendip Express can take Becher Chase


I LOVE Mendip Express. He made a huge impression last season with victories at Wetherby, Bangor and Cheltenham before disappointing in his final two runs. His third to Smad Place at Newbury was not a total disgrace but then he bombed out in the Scottish National. However, he bounced back to form by strolling to victory in a novice hurdle at Warwick last month on his reappearance. Read More

Hennessy Gold Cup: Sky the limit for Many Clouds


IF YOU were to design the perfect National Hunt specimen then you would probably come up with something akin to MANY CLOUDS. The leading Hennessy Gold Cup contender has been a favourite of this blog since he hosed up in a Wetherby bumper on a bitterly cold February day in 2012. Read More

Ante-post focus: Menorah the King George VI Chase value


PHILIP Hobbs and Richard Johnson can do very little wrong at present. Everything they run has to be respected as the Minehead yard is in stellar form. On Saturday MENORAH came close to providing another big weekend winner when just being outstayed by Silviniaco Conti in the Betfair Chase. This is a race that provides clues aplenty for the rest of the National Hunt season, especially the King George VI Chase at Boxing Day. Read More

Take Taquin Du Seuil in the Betfair Chase


THERE appears to be a wave of expectation surrounding Jonjo O’Neill this season. Many pundits are tipping him to break the grip that Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson have on the trainers’ championship. In fact, people are now referring to the trio as the “big three” in the training ranks (which is a minor insult to the high-flying Philip Hobbs). But if Jonjo is to become top of the tree then he needs the likes of More Of That and Holywell to deliver in the big races. And, of course, the imposing TAQUIN DU SEUIL. Read More

Cheltenham Festival countdown continues…


IF last weekend’s three-day Open Meeting failed to whet your appetite for the Cheltenham Festival in March, then nothing will. My advice is: if you haven’t booked for the Festival then book NOW. There really is no better week’s racing in the world…. So what did we learn from the Open Meeting? Read More

Buywise the wise choice in Paddy Power Gold Cup


NOT many were leaving Cheltenham. The last race of a pulsating opening day at the 2014 Festival had just finished. Present View had passed the post half a length ahead of Attaglance but the stewards were deliberating whether the interference suffered by the runner-up at the hands of the errant winner was enough to warrant reversing the placings. Everybody seemed to have backed Present View and punters, some swaying due to an overdose of the Black Stuff, clutched their betting slips as if their whole financial futures depended on hearing the words “the placings remain unaltered.” Read More

Strong British challenge at the Breeders’ Cup


A STRONG team of British and Irish horses are on a transatlantic mission to plunder some of the £15.6 million up for grabs at the Breeders’ Cup this weekend. UK trainers who have had winners at previous meetings: Sir Michael Stoute, Brian Meehan, Ralph Beckett and Charlie Hills will be represented again. But they will be joined at Santa Anita in California by some of the young guns of the British training ranks in Hugo Palmer, Jamie Osborne, David Brown and Charlie Fellowes. Read More

The Cheltenham Open Meeting


WHEN you mention Cheltenham, you think of March. You also think of an Irish invasion and Guinness, and the best Jumpers in the world doing battle. But, increasingly, another three-day meeting at Prestbury Park is capturing the imagination. The Open meeting in November has become a prestigious three-day carnival in its own right and a tasty appetiser for the real thing. It also truly signals that the new Jumps season is in full swing and is a pertinent pointer to the Festival. Read More

Garde La Victoire to make winning return


A YEAR ago GARDE LA VICTOIRE made his hurdling debut at Aintree’s October meeting and kick-started an impressive campaign with an easy win over Regal Encore. On Saturday he returns to the scene of that success in the valuable opening handicap that kicks off Aintree’s two-day meeting. Read More

Vivaldi Collonges to call the tune


ALMOST a year ago, on the first day of Wetherby’s Charlie Hall meeting, I remember a young horse really catching the eye. He was making his debut and travelled with precarious ease under Nick Scholfield before being edged out by a more experienced Nicky Henderson horse. VIVALDI COLLONGES went straight into the notebook although his following two efforts were disappointing on soft ground. However, persistence paid off and Paul Nicholls’ youngster, helped by the better ground, sprang a 10/1 surprise on his final start at Ayr, winning a 3m handicap with ease. Read More