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

Kilgeel Hill one to note

present view

TODAY’S Huntingdon card has been hit by the atrocious weather. About 35mm of rain fell overnight turning the ground soft and heavy in places. The star attraction, PRESENT VIEW, has been pulled out of the 2m 4f novices hurdle that was intended as his prep race for the Paddy Power Gold Cup. Read More

Something from the weekend…

southfield theatre

THERE was a strong mix of Flat and National Hunt racing over the weekend and plenty of horses to put into the notebook for the coming weeks. Philip Hobbs produced a fantastic training performance to win the Cesarewitch with BIG EASY while SOUTHFIELD THEATRE made a highly impressive chasing debut at Chepstow and looks destined for a very good season. But here are some other horses that caught the eye over the weekend… Read More

King George VI Chase


by ROI MADHAN THE biggest National Hunt race over the Christmas period takes place at Kempton Park on Boxing Day and features some of the best three-mile chasers from the UK and Ireland. I am, of course, talking about the King George VI Chase. This Grade 1 contest is open to horses aged four years and older and is now part of the William Hill Winter Festival, a two-day event that includes some of the most prestigious races of the season outside the Cheltenham Festival. Read More