February 9 – Fairyhouse – Dolcita – 69

A stylish performance from a mare with tons of back class and she should be able to kick on over fences from this juncture. The feature of her round was the way she jumped over the demanding fences and her 14-lengths victory could have been significantly increased had she been pushed out. Whether she goes for the Mares’ Chase at the Festival remains to be seen, but if she does get given the ticket, the daughter of Saint Des Saints will not be out of place.

February 10 – Newcastle – Asadjumeirah – 98

Every now and again throughout the winter the odd big number on the Flat has popped up and this Class 3 sprint handicap proved a case in point. Despite the small field the pace was honest right from the start and the winner seemed to really thrive in that environment, staying on best of all to come clear late on. Open to more improvement, Anthony Brittain looks to have a fine prospect on his hands, one who hopefully can continue the good work for the upcoming turf season.

February 11 – Chelmsford – Finery – 95

An ordinary-looking, run-of-the-mill 0-65 handicap beforehand produced a standout time for the grade, so it could be a race worth keeping on side. The winner, in particular, looks one to follow especially at the Essex track given her form figures there now read 121 over the C&D. Not only good overall-wise, her backend sectionals also hinted it was a decent performance for a horse rated just 58 and the second and third are worth noting too.

February 12 – Lingfield – Melakaz – 99

A fair handicap on paper beforehand with several arriving at the Surrey venue in good form and it played out accordingly in terms of the right horses fighting out the finish and the overall time figure. In a three-way go, the winner showed terrific battling qualities having been headed over a furlong out and ultimately his stamina for beyond the 1m4f journey proved crucial. Well clear of the rest, the second and third also deserve a special mention and it would be a surprise if the form does not work out given the significance of the numbers for the grade.

February 12 – Newbury – Glory And Fortune – 76

As ever, a hugely competitive renewal of this sought after prize and it went the way of an improving seven-year-old who was fresh off the back of a career high behind Epatante in the Christmas Hurdle. In hindsight he was a massive price considering his previous time figures and there was definitely no fluke about the performance given the way he travelled throughout. Providing he gets similar ground conditions at Cheltenham, something like the County Hurdle would be well within his range.

February 12 – Warwick – Edwardstone – 78

Already to the fore as one of the best of his division, Alan King’s gelding rubber-stamped that view with another polished display and he looks one of the best chances a UK-trained horse has of winning at Grade 1 level at the festival. The feature of his performance – similar to his previous successes – was his pin-point round of jumping and that ability to jump well at speed will clearly stand him in good stead come the white-hot heat of the Arkle.