October 5 – Kempton – The Thunderer – 100

Every now and then there is a race which, based on the figures, defies logic and this staying handicap proved to be one of those cases. As is often the case, Chris Wall’s gelding was slowly away and this meant his back was against the wall from an early stage. However, he came with a whirlwind run down the outside once turning for home and by the time he’d hit the line, he managed to pull an astonishing seven lengths ahead of his nearest pursuer. Obviously, the big overall time figure is a clear indication to the standard of the performance, but that was backed up by a circuit time of 2.02.1 (average 2.05.0), which is by some way the fastest on the round track for quite some time. Having not built on a his previous victory on the turf at Yarmouth last season, it will be interesting to see how he progresses after such an effort this time, but needless to say, he will have to be worthy of respect if he goes back to the Sunbury venue in due course (entered in the HIT Sale).

October 5 – Nottingham – First Officer – 97

On a day that witnessed several big performances, the one posted by Jane Chapple Hyam’s gelding was right up there with the best and he looks a horse to keep on side based on this evidence. Setting out to make the running at the Colwick Park track, the son of Galileo gradually worked his way through the gears after kicking off the front turning for home and despite several rivals looking momentarily dangerous at certain stages, it soon became apparent he was never going to get caught. Indeed, had he been driven right out he may have scored even further than then official margin and even off his revised mark (set to go up at least 7lbs) he can continue to remain competitive until the season ends. Something like the November Handicap may come into the mix.

October 7 – Newmarket – Al Nafir – 98

As ever, a competitive field assembled for this valuable three-year-old middle-distance handicap and although it went the way of a Godolphin-trained runner for the second year in succession, it wasn’t necessarily the one expected. That said, one should not underestimate the performance by a colt clearly well suited by a strongly run affair and being a brother of Ghaiyyath, there is every chance he will develop into a useful horse next season. Of the rest, a special word goes out to Haunted Dream who came out best of those held up off the speed and, he too, should have a bright future.

October 8 – Newmarket – Chaldean – 95

A good-looking field assembled for this prestigious Group 1 event for two-year-olds and it went the way of a colt who has worked his way through the ranks from fairly humble beginnings. Seemingly improving with each start, Andrew Balding’s colt rounded his season off in the best possible fashion, showing his trademark tenacity in fending off Royal Scotsman, and he has the size and scope to develop along similar lines as a three-year-old.

October 8 – York – Priano – 98

Strike Red, with another 99 time figure, could have easily made the list for the second week in a row, but being as we’ve already majored on his Wolverhampton win, Roger Varian’s gelding duly takes his place. Sporting the first-time pieces, the son of Dubawi was extremely strong in the latter stages and in beating the dual winner Atacama Desert with plenty to spare, he recorded a career high by some distance. Whether he can build on this performance remains another matter, but given the form of his stable, there is every chance he will.

October 8 – Chepstow – Knappers Hill – 73

As we know, the action from last weekend’s two-day fixture signals the start of the National Hunt season proper and the first one to note based on the clock was Paul Nicholls’ inmate in the valuable Silver Trophy. Noted going well throughout, the six-year-old made a swift manoeuvre to bag the favoured nearside rail jumping three out and from that point onwards, he never looked like relinquishing the lead. Now proven over 2m4f, more options have opened for the son of Valirann and it would come as no surprise to see him tackling Graded company before too long.