December 9 – Warwick – Brave Seasca – 64

A superb round of jumping ensured Venetia Williams’ gelding stepped up markedly on his opening gambit over fences and on the evidence of this display, there should be loads more to come. Not as though he had run badly in that previous race at Chepstow which has worked out so well, but everything about his game was just that little bit sharper. Clearly not short of tactical speed for two miles, the son of Brave Mansonnien can continue to pay his way in novice company when the emphasis is on jumping.

December 10 – Cheltenham – Commodore – 70

On to another Venetia Williams-trained horse, this time at the other end of the stamina spectrum, but it was no less impressive from a chaser who got into a lovely rhythm. Taking out lengths from many of his rivals at each of the fences, this performance not only highlighted his ability to jump soundly, but his jockey’s appreciation for seeing a stride. A likeable type who clearly enjoys his jumping, something like the Classic Chase at Warwick would suit him well.

December 11 – Cheltenham – Coole Cody – 74

A veteran of these kind of events, Evan Williams’ gained due rewards for his unlucky fall in the Paddy Power Chase at the previous meeting, showing all the sort of bravery attached to winners of big handicaps at the track. Jumping boldly from the front, the son of Dubai Destination soon had his rivals at full stretch and even though he looked as though he might succumb to the late challenge of Midnight Shadow, he found plenty for pressure up the hill. Life will clearly now be tougher for a horse of his advanced age, but either way, he will always have to be respected when he steps foot on to Prestbury Park.

December 11 – Cheltenham – Guard Your Dreams – 72

Winner of a 2m4f handicap hurdle at the Showcase meeting in a fast time, Nigel Twiston-Davies’ gelding had subsequently been put in his place in graded company at Ascot, but under a far more aggressive ride this time around, he was able to turn around the form with his old rival, Song For Someone. Gritty up the hill once joined, the son of Fame And Glory found plenty of pressure and while he might not end up being Champion Hurdle material, there are still plenty of races to be won with him along the way. Not for the first time, the runner-up looked badly in need of further than two miles and if connections bit the bullet, you could even see him to advantage over a three miles.

December 11 – Hereford – Hardy Du Seuil – 64

A good gallop set by Sarasota Star ensured the overall speed figure for this novices’ handicap chase was good and the form should be followed accordingly. A casualty previously at Sandown, Jamie Snowdon’s inmate has now won twice over fences when he has stayed on his feet and he remains a fine prospect going forward. A special mention also goes out to Can You Call who was far from a spent force when he tipped up at the second last. Whether he would have won is open to debate, but either way, he is deserving of another chance considering the form of his previous effort at Chepstow still burns bright.

December 11 – Newcastle – Nicholas T – 101

Winner of the Northumberland Plate over the same C&D in the summer, Jim Goldie’s gelding once again proved his suitability to the stiff nature of the track, coming from last to first to beat a useful bunch of stayers in the fast-track qualifier. Whether he has the final at Lingfield as a target is up for discussion, but even at the ripe old age of nine, he still shows he can mix it with fresher legs and he remains a credit to all concerned.