Sunday February 7 – Musselburgh – Threeunderthrufive – 71

Paul Nicholls’ gelding had looked a decent stayer over shorter trips prior to tackling three-miles for the first time and he proved just as good over this stiffer test, keeping on well in the closing stages to repel the persistent challenge of Fantastikas. Considering the pair finished well clear of the rest and the time figure was very good, there is no reason to disbelieve the form and it would come as no surprise to see the son of Shantou against Graded company before too long. The runner-up has now finished runner-up five times in six starts, but when you consider what he has been facing, he can be forgiven, and it would come as a shock if he does not exploit a mark of 124 at some stage.

Monday February 8 – Fairyhouse – Roseys Hollow – 68 

A top-quality field assembled for this Grade 3 mares’ contest and it went the way of a progressive type who took a big step forward from her previous success in a maiden hurdle. Always travelling well, the daughter of Beat Hollow also impressed with her jumping at speed and she found plenty for pressure when tackled by the strongly fancied track specialist, Royal Kahala. As history dictates, this race often has a significant bearing on the Mares’ Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and this year’s renewal looks no different with the first three home all likely to take their chance in a month’s time.

Wednesday February 10 – Wolves – Revolutionise – 95

Tranchee went into this seven-furlong handicap with his tail up and was well-backed to follow up his previous success at Kempton, but he ended up having to play second fiddle to an equally progressive sprinter in the shape of Stuart Williams’ gelding.. Despite having to find two lengths on his main market rival turning for home, the son of Lope De Vega readily made up the deficit and by the time he had hit the line, he was well on top. Clearly benefitting from a recent wind op, the five-year-old can continue to flourish before the all-weather campaign draws to a close.

Friday February 12 – Dundalk – Well Suited – 92

Some of the best recent mile handicap form was brought to the table by several of the leading players and even though it went the way of one of the outsiders, that should not detract from the general solidity of the form. Horses such as Tyrconnell, Major Power, and Bobby K were all previously on a roll, so it took some effort from Tom O’Mara’s gelding to not only beat them fair and square on the night, but to overcome stall 13 as well. Whether he can build on this effort remains to be seen, but it would be dangerous not to make him a serious consideration in events of a similar nature.

Saturday February 13 – Wolves – Arafi – 94

Having looked good at Kempton the time before, Richard Hannon’s filly was even more impressive at the Dunstall Park track, quickening right away in the final furlong to post a decent figure for the grade. Clearly her levels of progress has no bounds on this evidence and it would be no surprise if she was seen again in quick time to take advantage of her current rating.

Saturday February 13 – Naas – Gentleman De Mee – 64

As the betting suggested, a weak-looking maiden hurdle left at the mercy of the favourite and even though it went according to script, the winner’s time points towards being more than just an average workout. Setting decent fractions from the start, Willie Mullins’ gelding soon had his rivals at full stretch and despite being a little clumsy at the last two hurdles, he had way too much class to be affected. Lightly-raced and open to any amount of improvement, it will be long odds on we see him in Graded company before too long.