March 3 – Ludlow – Karl Phillipe – 70

Following on from a smart figure at the track previously, Fergal O’Brien’s gelding was equally impressive on the clock on his return visit and he remains a novice of some promise. Still a little novicey at times, the son of Kentucky Dynamite was expertly handled by his canny pilot and despite losing an iron late on, the pair still had too much in hand for the rest. Likely to be kept a fairly low profile for the foreseeable future, he can continue to make hay in small fields.

March 4 – Newbury – Shearer – 62

Tenth in last season’s champion bumper, Paul Nicholls’ gelding has taken a while to click over hurdles, but on the evidence of this display, he looks as though he can now start to fulfil his promise. In what turned out to be quite strongly run race for the grade, the six-year-old toughed it out well to get the better of a persistent challenger and with the pair nicely clear, the form looks solid. Moreover, his final circuit time was significantly faster than highly-regarded stable mate Gelino Bello, so based on those findings, even a raise in the ratings might not be enough to contain him next time.

March 5 – Kelso – Famous Bridge – 70

Nicky Richards’ gelding was in danger of becoming a bit of a cliff horse, but he finally realised the promise of several previous performances in defeat and his time figure suggests he is one to keep on side. Jumping much better than he did the time before, the son of Fame And Glory travelled like a horse above his current handicap mark and the response of the bridle was equally impressive. Likely to be aimed at something at Aintree, he has the sort of game to competitive in one of their handicaps.

March 5 – Newbury – Punctuation – 70

A smooth winner at Warwick previously on his first start for new connections, Fergal O’Brien’s gelding was well backed to follow up and, despite probably not scoring in the fashion the market suggested he might, he still got the job done. A slight mistake down the back straight meant he was a little out of his ground turning for home, but he soon engaged top gear that enabled him to gallop strongly all the way to the line. Posting the best time on the card, even a rise to his new rating of 114 might not be enough to prevent him from racking up a hat trick.

March 5 – Navan – Gentleman Du Mee – 74

It’s early days yet, but the signs are Willie Mullins’ gelding is going to make into a better chaser and this performance rather rubber-stamped that view. The feature of this round and his one previously was his spring-heeled jumping and that technique can stand him in good stead as he works his way through the ranks.

March 5 – Southwell – Man Of Riddles – 98

Every now and then, there is a low-grade handicap that throws up a ridiculously-good time figure and this staying event at the Midland track proved to be one of them. Deluxe Magic ensured there was a hearty pace on right from the start and it suited those held up towards the rear of the field – the winner being one of them. The fact that he manged to beat track specialist, Prince Abu, also suggests his performance is a totally believable one and he would have to be considered a fair bet to replicate this effort should he return to the Midland venue in the near future.