The most impressive pointing winner of the weekend was the Simon Andrews-trained Can Mestret who ran out the easy winner of the Restricted event at Cottenham on Sunday. Partnered by the trainer's daughter Gina the now seven year old son of Millenary made all the running to register a twenty length success on ground that was riding on the soft side of good. The gelding was following up a win in the short maiden at this track at the opening meeting of the season and he looks like a horse worth following.
The ex-Irish gelding had just the three outings last season for former trainer Dick Lalor finishing in the frame in Maiden events at Glenbane and Affane in the Autumn prior to finishing a good third in a decent looking Cork bumper in May. Can Mestret isn’t the biggest but he managed to carry a large weight in this and he looks capable of scoring in a sub-three mile Hunter Chase during the season.
Khyber Kim was another to score at the Cambridgeshire venue when running out the easy winner of the Novice Riders event under Camilla Henderson. The former Champion Hurdle runner-up was held up for much of the race but proved much too good for his rivals as he quickened away in the straight and he seemed to stay this easy three miles well enough to suggest that he can take more points this season while connections also have the option of exploiting his maiden status over fences in the amateur sphere.
Last seasons Cheltenham Foxhunters third Cottage Oak disappointed once more when finishing out of the frame behind the Ali Galliers-Pratt-ridden Bubbly Breeze in the Ladies Open at Chaddesley Corbett last Friday. Like the 2012 renewal this meeting was run in a bog and it was the now unbeaten pointer (who’d shown little under rules) who came out on top at the expense of Horsham Lad and the former Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle winner Berties Dream. Bubbly Breeze has a current chase mark of 78 and a hurdles mark of 85 and he would look very well in on this form should his trainer look to exploit that mark at any point this season.
All three divisions of the Four Year Old Geldings Maiden run at Dromahane in County Cork on Sunday resulted in impressive winners in decent times. Mount Brandon, a son of Mountain High scored by half a length in decent style under Derek O’Connor for trainer Robert Tyner. The bay gelding had pulled up on his debut at Askeaton back in February but came good here and appeared to relish the soft to heavy underfoot conditions and he looks capable of taking a bumper in the coming months. The second division of this went to Free Expression who scored by a length and a half on debut from Present Flight under Kevin Power. Free Expression has the physique of a chaser but showed plenty of class here and looks capable of making his mark on the track though the best of him won’t be seen until the son of Germany goes over fences. The final division of this went to a son of Westerner in the shape of Velocity Boy who showed good speed to register a two length success at the expense of Mackerye End and others for trainer Willie Murphy. Like many by his sire the gelding isn’t the biggest but he demonstrated plenty of speed here and looks capable of tasting success in a bumper in the near future.
The first notable rules horse of the week is the now Lucinda Russell-trained Elfego Baca who could go in the concluding bumper on Friday’s Musselburgh card. The four year old son of Kalanisi had just the one outing in points in Ireland at Castletown-Geoghegan at the start of October when finished runner-up behind Sleepy Eye in the second division of a Maiden there. The winner let the form down somewhat when well beaten over hurdles at Wetherby but with the fourth Shady Glen and the fifth One For Arthur both breaking their maiden’s since it’s likely that the form is better than that particular run would suggest and the now Jo Tracey-owned gelding looks set to go well should he take up this engagement.
Kudu Shine held an entry at Chepstow last weekend and he is again entered up this coming Saturday in the staying Novices Hurdle that opens the card at Wincanton (though he’s also entered at Taunton on Monday) . The gelding won each of his last three outings in points down in the South West including on heavy ground in his Maiden at Buckfastleigh back in March and he should prove capable of taking a hand in this though stamina will clearly be his forte in time.
Thornhill Flyer looks worth keeping an eye on should he contest the opening Maiden Hurdle at Naas this coming Sunday. The six year old had subsequent winner Fight Away Boys back in third when taking a Five Year Old Maiden at Grennan at the start of November and having finished runner-up on his only start last season behind Lessons In Milan and Dream Flyer (a winner at Wetherby last month) he looks likely to prove a capable recruit for trainer Philip Rothwell.
On Monday the Boulta Maiden winner Benenden could make his rules debut for new trainer Michael Scudamore. The son of Moscow Society saw off the sketchy jumper Darsis Well for victory on his first completion in points last month on good ground having fallen behind Mercers Court and Pure Poteen at Loughanmore and Ballinaboola respectively during the autumn season and he looks a horse of above average ability who is capable of scoring in a novices event such as this.
The first Hunter Chase of the season takes place in the UK on the Taunton card on Monday and it looks likely to be a hot affair with Black Forest Lodge winner Penmore Mill heading the entries. Among his opponents could be the Charlotte Fear (nee Tizzard) trained Coombe Hill who also holds an engagement in a point at Larkhill the previous day while Kirkleigh and Charles Bruce both scored in similar events to this in 2013.
This weeks pointing action takes place at Larkhill and Wadebridge in the UK and at Tinahely and at the new track of Templenacarriga in Ireland.