Saturday’s meeting at Tyrella was postponed until this coming Saturday and with that in mind it left just the two Irish meetings at Nenagh and Affane and the UK meeting at Larkhill in Wiltshire.
The Open event at Nenagh featured the pointing debut of Quantitativeeasing for the Enda Bolger stable. The nine year old who’d finished runner-up to the subsequent Grade 1 winner Carlingford Lough in the Galway Plate back in the Summer had to give best to Limerick Hunter Chase winner Burren River and another Grade 1 winner in the shape of Pandorama but this was a pleasing and eyecatching performance from the son of Anshan who appeared to see out the trip well enough and still appears to retain enough of his ability to be a threat in Hunter Chases this Spring.
Hester Flemen appeared to have improved considerably for her initial outing when runner-up at Templenacarriga earlier this month and she was heavily eased in winning a division of the Mares Maiden for trainer Aidan Fitzgerald. The form of her debut second behind Carrigmoorna Rock was also boosted by the success of the third Trendy Native at the weekend and with just four of the ten strong field finishing in this particular event she should prove up to scoring under rules at a fair level despite the slow time clocked in this event.
Bulfin Island is another who debuted three weeks ago at Templenacarriga and he too registered a first success this weekend. The Gary Aherne-trained son of Milan ran an interesting race in as much as he was shuffled back through the field prior to coming to win the race fairly convincingly thanks to a strong run from two out. The son of Milan is clearly still learning about racing but looks likely make up into a handicap performer over around three miles on a stiff track in time.
Davy From Milan recorded a first Open success in the feature event on the card seeing off seven rivals including previous winners in 2013/14 Pocket Reader and Powerstation. Eoin Doyle’s charge was considerably younger than two of his main rivals here (Powerstation and Sir Frederick) but made the step up to this level comfortably to record a five length success under jockey Derek O’Connor. Davy From Milan has been a late non-runner from a Hunter Chase already this season but this only reiterated the fact that he should prove up to scoring in maiden company at that level before the season is out.
On Saturday at Larkhill Ask The Weatherman made a winning debut for young trainer Jack Barber in the hands of Will Biddick. The gelded son of Tamure was a fairly expensive purchase at Doncaster sales last year and connections are sure to be pleased with this from the half-brother to Malcolm Jefferson’s useful performer Tot O’ Whiskey and the five year old looks likely to have a successful rules career in time.
Theatre Queen made amends for her slow start and defeat in an Intermediate event at Wadebridge last month when running out the ready winner of the Club Members Conditions event in the hands of Mark Wall. The improving seven year old won all three starts in 2013 and given connections decision to keep her in the amateur sport for the time being she looks likely to prove hard to beat in the Coronation Gold Cup back at Larkhill later on and in Hunter Chases too in time.
Ex-rules horses dominated at Higham on Sunday with the Grade 2 winning novice hurdler Wymott coming from well off the pace in testing conditions to register a success in the feature Mens Open event under Alex Vaughan-Jones. Wymott had appeared to be out of love with racing having been beaten a minimum of twenty eight lengths in his last four outings under rules, with the latest of those a heavy defeat in an eight runner affair at Newcastle in October 2012 but the testing conditions played to his strengths and he looks capable of more pointing glory and even a Hunter Chase success providing the emphasis is on stamina.
Khyber Kim took his chance in a division of the Novice Riders event and went on to score handsomely under jockey Camilla Henderson. It will be interesting to see where Marcus Foley’s charge heads next as he clearly retains plenty of ability and should prove up to scoring in a Hunter Chase in the coming months.
Glint Of Steel enhanced his already glowing reputation when chasing down long-time leader I’m So Lucky late on in the hands of trainer Philip Hall to take the Club Members Conditions race in the mud. The gelding is unbeaten in five starts since transferring to Hall’s yard from Ireland and he justified odds-on favouritism in this sixteen runner event. He looks another who looks up to scoring in a Hunter Chase later on in the season and he continued a great week for the South East area following Cynthia Haydon’s success on Little Legend at Warwick on Thursday.
Up at Friars Haugh the mare Executive Benefit maintained her unbeaten record this season when making it two wins from two outings in the Restricted event for trainer Joe O’Shea. Paddy Gerety’s mount had been held up for much of the contest prior to leading from the twelfth and repelling the late challenge of Just Awake. The seven year old daughter of Beneficial had shown little in three outings under rules for Sue Smith in 2012/13 but the change in yard appears to have done the trick and she can continue to progress for her shrewd trainer.
Willie Mullins saddles the promising looking Measureofmydreams in the bumper at Thurles tomorrow. The gelding broke his maiden at Quakerstown back in March last year and had been entered up at Leopardstown last weekend but connections have opted to head here, to the same venue they debuted the 2013 Champion Bumper winner at for this six year olds first foray into rules racing.
Tomorrow’s Hunter Chase at Wincanton looks a cracking affair should the meeting go ahead with the 2013 runner-up Coombe Hill facing off against last season’s Ludlow winner Martys Mission and the Barbury Castle Open scorer Shy John amongst others. Preference on paper would be for the Victor Dartnall-trained Richard’s Sundance who proved that he handles soft ground when scoring at Sandown in February 2013.
Kudu Shine shaped well on his rules debut at Exeter over 2m6f a fortnight ago when a solid six length fourth behind Royal Player for trainer Richard Woollacott. The eight year old son of Karinga Bay had shown solid form in points winning three of his five outings and the greater test of stamina he’ll encounter should he contest this Friday’s 3 mile Novice Hurdle at Chepstow looks likely to suit him.
Robert Tyner is better known for his successes in handicaps but his Cuil Rogue is of interest if contesting the 2m Maiden Hurdle at Fairyhouse this coming Saturday. The six year old son of Presenting scored on good ground on his latest outing at Dromahane in March with the third scoring in points since and a number of those in behind showing fair form in similar events to this during the winter. Cuil Rogue didn’t score until his fourth outing but he made his debut in a hot Maiden event at Lisronagh in December 2012 with the first three all going on to score under rules since.
Southsea Island possibly wasn’t suited by the track when making his rules debut at Downpatrick for former trainer Ian Ferguson back in June. The son of Heron Island has the uninspiring form figures of FFFPP in points having failed to complete prior to two pulled up outings at Maralin and Oldcastle in March last year. It’s worth noting though that for each of those two pulled up efforts the gelding had tack issues and he is better judged on his two previous outings at Farmaclaffley and Tattersalls where he had looked the likely winner prior to falling late on. The six year old did too much too soon at Downpatrick given he took a keen hold throughout the contest and he would be particularly interest if contesting a heavy ground bumper for new trainer Rebecca Curtis at Ffos Las this coming Saturday.
At Wetherby on Saturday May’s Cheltenham Hunter Chase victor Doctor Kingsley could make his return to racing on the track following a success on his return to pointing at Ampton earlier this month. He could be joined by Classinaglass who scored in a Mens Open at Sheriff Hutton three weeks ago and last season's winner Palypso De Creek amongst others.
The testing 3m3f trip of Sunday’s Musselburgh Hunter Chase could play into the hands of the Katie Scott-trained Moscow Menace who saw off another of the entrants here Barachois Silver to take a Kelso Hunter Chase back in April. Katie Scott’s yard has been in good form of late registering a double at Friars Haugh last weekend though Moscow Menace himself could finish only second behind course specialist Noir Et Vert. Special Portrait is a standing dish in these Northern Hunter Chase events and the trip should suit him whilst other notable entries are Southern raider Penmore Mill, Stratford winner That’s Rhythm and the Ian Ferguson-trained Walden who was arguably unlucky not to get off the mark over regulation fences at Limerick in December and is the sole raider from across the sea.
One to note at Punchestown this weekend is the Gordon Elliott-trained Nedzer’s Return who could make his first outing under rules since June 2013 in the banks event at Punchestown this Sunday. The twelve year old son of Bob’s Return has a cracking record in similar vents between the flags winning twice at Tattersalls Farm and once at Lingstown in that sphere though the twelve year old did unseat regular pilot Annie Bowles at the double bank in a point last month.