Aintree Races,Sunday 29th October 2017,Countryside Family Raceday

Experience got the better of youth in a pulsating finish to the 2017 Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase which brought a battle of the greys to the Sunday crowd on Countryside Day at Aintree and the evergreen 10yo Smad Place showed that the enthusiasm is still in their as he fought off Cloudy Dreams to scoop up the £30128 first place money for the Alan King yard as the jumping season really came to life. 

In what looked a high quality renewal of this 2m4f contest they went a good clip as expected with lots of pace on and it showed that being prominent can often help on this tricky Mildmay course, Smad Place is expected to head to Newbury for what was formerly the Hennessy which he has won and ran credible races in before while Cloudy Dreams next stop is Cheltenham for the BetVictor Gold Cup and could prove to he a decent flag bearer for the northern scene unless connections wait a week and send him to Ascot for a Grade 2 Chase over 2m5f.  

The crowd really enjoyed this race and showed why jump racing continues to thrive in popularity and with races like this we look set for hopefully a great season. 

Smad Place

Smad Place

Ride of the day for many,myself included went to young 10lb conditional Charlotte Jones who now has a 100% strike rate at Aintree as she gave the 8yo mare Bon Chic an enterprising front running ride to land a wide open looking C/J Hurdle over 3m in her first ride at the home of the Grand National. 

It takes some bottle to jump out and try to make all especially in a large field but that’s exactly what she did and a decisive move after four out to kick on proved to be the icing on the cake and despite plenty trying to gang up on her they just could not get past and she clung on by a diminishing three parts of a length for the Jimmy Moffatt yard up in Cartmel, paying 33-1 at the bookies hopefully some of the owners and staff had a few quid on so they could afford a nice bit of grub at the local L’Enclume Restaurant just around the corner from the famous racecourse, Black Ivory plugged on for second place and he should gain compensation sooner rather than later. 

Charlotte Jones

Charlotte Jones

Nicky Henderson has his string in good heart at the moment and unveiled a nice type in On The Blind Side, a 5yo winner of his only point he took the 2m4f Maiden Hurdle and a useful looking race it looked on paper too, travelling well he did have some unwanted company in 80-1 outsider Another Stowaway who was quickly turned out after a first flight tumble at Worcester on Wednesday who ran a gallant second and Aye Aye Charlie back in third. 

On The Blind Size looks a decent recruit to the hurdling game and looks every inch a stayer in the making, he isn’t afraid to get his hooves dirty when he needs to fight, one to put on the tracking list for this season. 

On The Blind Side

On The Blind Side

A top quality renewal for the more senior staying chasers over 3m1f brought a real upturn for some and not so for others. 

The Romford Pele on his first start for Tom George took full advantage when long time leader and last seasons Grand National 5th Gas Line Boy tumbled to the floor and capsized at the third last when seemingly in command and having the race for the taking, this left The Romford Pele in the lead and had to use all his stamina and guts to fend off Bob Tucker which he easily did in the end under the guidance of Adrian Heskin, the old boy still showed he has plenty to offer and could be back in December here for a go over the big ones in the Becher which could be ideal as it probably will be for Gas Line Boy as all eyes will be firmly targeted towards the National again. 

The Romford Pele passes the line

The Romford Pele lands the old boys race

Bags Groove looks to be going places this season for Harry Fry and showed plenty of improvement after his recent seasonal blow out at Chepstow by justifying favouritism pretty easily in a competitive looking 2m4f Handicap Hurdle, a fair novice last season he made his mark of 132 look very workable and should be aimed at bigger things off this, he looks to be staying over timber for now and that could prove to be the best call. 

It’s not often you complain about the sun being out but the big yellow disc of fire got in the way as it often can do at this meeting which meant that of the intended 19 fences only 10 got jumped in the 3m1f Nov Hcap Chase with a run of 7f or so to the first and a near 6f run in mixed in with some tricky chicanes up the home straight, in the end Vintage Clouds finally got on the scoresheet over the bigger obstacles after a mixed first season where he ran credible without winning, he thrashed top weight Lovely Job by 18 lengths and could well be aimed at the big long distance chases with ultimately the National being a Trevor Hemmings owned horse. 

A nice looking mares bumper concluded the day’s racing and the stewards were in action as first past the post Grageelagh Girl under Alain Cawley got disqualified and placed second with first spot going to Posh Trish who originally lost out by a nose after the judge called a photo in a real grandstand finish, Posh Trish under Sam Twiston-Davies was buried mid pack but stayed on up the run in and got carried left by the new runner up before the stewards called an inquiry. 

Both were recruits from the pointing world and look like becoming even better when sent over hurdles, it looked a race full of decent types to keep an eye on. 


Aye Aye Charlie,5yo gelding trained by Fergal O’Brien was third in the 2m4f Maiden Hurdle, he looks one to follow when he gets a handicap mark. 

Three Musketeers,7yo gelding from Dan Skelton, plugging on under Bridget Andrews to be 5th in the feature 2m4f hurdle he will be better when upped back to three miles and has a nice race in him. 

Warwick Races,Thursday 5th October 2017,The Autumn Meeting. 

Alan King may be the current King of Barbury Castle but on this crisp autumnal afternoon in the Midlands he became the King of Warwick Castle as the stablebox left Warwick racecourse with a couple of very impressive winners as the National Hunt season slowly came back to life for your intrepid reporter. 

First off jockey Barry Geraghty made his flying visit a worthwhile one as he partnered the very lightly raced Herewego Herewego to a workmanlike victory in the opening novice hurdle over 2m, on paper it looked a decent event and should throw up a few winners in time, the winner travelled ok and despite making an error at the second last he ran on readily at the end to land it eased down towards the end to hold off Megabucks on his hurdling debut, this horse will get further and looks like 2m4f will suit him even further. 

Herewego Herewego
The second of the two winners from the King yard came with the chasing debut of last seasons Elite Hurdle winner Sceau Royal in a tidy looking 2m novice chase, Warwick is always a good test for a chaser and Sceau Royal handled his first public test pretty well, he got in close at a few of the fences but will have learned plenty from this come his next run which could come at Cheltenham in a few weeks time, he ran to a rating of 154 over hurdles but just fell a bit short of top quality in that sphere and has lots to offer over the larger obstacles, he breezed past runner up Ballyhill with a minimum of fuss under Daryl Jacob to land the race. 

Sceau Royal
Jonjo O’Neill picked up a couple of prizes in two of the handicaps, first up the 5yo Quarenta finally broke his duck over timber when landing a competitive looking 2m5f handicap hurdle, he seems to have a good relationship with jockey Aidan Coleman who has ridden him to be placed in his last three starts and this afternoon both had to be at their best to shake off the attentions of the second placed Sutter’s Mill and third places Resolution Bay who both made him run right up to the line, this workable mark of 119 and the drop down in trip of 2f looked to work the oracle and he should be easily able to build on this now for the season. 

O’Neill’s second winner of the afternoon came in the day’s most valuable prize, a very tight looking 3m chase which went the way of the Trevor Hemmings owned Beggars Cross, turning for home he had the small matter of Ballycross and Sego Success in his way but both made errors at the second last and final fence respectfully which gave Beggars Cross the key to the door which he readily opened, plenty to like off this performance but apparently he may avoid the winter part of the season as he is very much a spring horse so the late season staying chases will be his targets with an obvious one possibly being the Grimthorpe at Doncaster in March, Ballycross had ran a fine race before his mistake and he will be getting on the scoresheet at some point sooner rather than later. 

Former jockey now trainer Christian Williams left the track with a few extra pennies to pay the road toll to cross over the River Severn as The Welsh Paddies landed the 2m5f maiden hurdle, the race was thrown open a bit when short priced favourite Silver Kayf took a tumble after skidding on landing after jumping the third last, thankfully he got up and came home safely, fit off the back of a run at Uttoxeter three weeks ago The Welsh Paddies put that to good use and it will be of some interest to see what mark he gets off this win, only a 5yo he should make into a fair jumper. 

The afternoons proceedings concluded with a 2m hurdle for the filly and mare brigade which went the way of the Dave Roberts owned and trained 8yo mare Milan Of Crystal who saved the bookies a potential skinning by fending off the British debutant Undefined Beauty by a neck, Milan Of Crystal had to be at her toughest here and deserved this win after falling at Warwick last week, an 8yo mare winning off 89 this is her level but she is consistent and can go in again providing the right race is found, Undefined Beauty certainly showed a huge amount of improvement on her first start for Olly Murphy and it won’t be long before wins come her way. 

A enjoyable afternoon then in the lovely course that is Warwick and the star of the show without a doubt was Sceau Royal, he looks set for a useful campaign over the big fences and is one to follow. 

Next meeting coming up for yours truly will be the Old Roan Chase at Aintree in a few weeks time,always a good race, unless the calendar produces something else before hand. 

National Hunt Racing,it’s great to have you back!


Blazon,4yo g trained by Kim Bailey was fifth in the opening novice hurdle but was running on at the end, soon as he gets a handicap mark and is upped in trip the wins will come. 

Ballycross,6yo g trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies was third in the big three mile chase but looked to be holding the aces till making a horlicks at the second last which cost him all chance but still a young horse and has plenty to offer.