February 20 – Lingfield – Hourvari – 66

Olly Murphy’s inmate had shown improved form when third over two miles at the same track previously and upped in trip, he duly built on that initial promise. Always travelling nicely in the hands of his pilot, he took up the running going well after two out and from that point onwards it was a matter of how far he would win. A nice chasing type for the future, the son of My Risk can continue on an upward curve over hurdles in the short term.

February 20 – Carlisle – Altobelli – 65

A decisive winner on his hurdling debut at Ffos Las, Harry Fry’s gelding looked to have been found an ideal opportunity to continue his progression but even allowing for the fact he was sent off a shade of odds-on, he still ended up being hugely impressive. Upped in trip, the son of Maxios set his stall out from an early stage and by halfway, it soon became apparent that nothing could go the gallop he was setting. Despite being heavily eased close home, he still produced a time figure of some significance and surely something more meaningful awaits this talented novice next time out.

February 25 – Kempton – Nusret – 66

A competitive renewal of the last recognised Triumph Hurdle trial and it produced an authoritative display by an Irish raider paying a handsome complement to both Lossiemouth and Blood Destiny respectively. Held up towards the rear in a deliberate move to avoid the early pace, Joseph O’Brien’s gelding was produced with a well-timed challenge on the run down to the last and, when his only rival at the time, Perseus Way, made a mistake at that juncture, he needed no second invitation to capitalise. Not entered in the Triumph, connections will probably swerve Cheltenham altogether and wait for the Grade 1 at Aintree, where fast ground will suit him better than most.

February 25 – Kempton – Our Power – 73

A typically wide-open version of this valuable three-mile handicap chase and it went the way of a horse who had clearly been laid out for the race. Third in the previous renewal, Sam Thomas’ gelding had only been seen out once before this term, which resulted in a victory at Ascot, and that freshness proved decisive in the closing stages as he saw the trip out better than the smooth-travelling Flegmatik. Set to go to Cheltenham now for the Ultima, he has every chance of bettering his fifth place finish last season.

February 25 – Fairyhouse – Kemboy – 70

Well beaten in the Irish Gold Cup on his previous start, Willie Mullins’ gelding had his sights significantly lowered in this Grade 3 and allowed to do his own thing out in front, he gained a deserved success for many fine placed efforts over the last few seasons. Clearly not top class any more, he is, however, still handy enough at this level and although there will be limited opportunities for him in the future, the chances are he may have plenty of decent days left in him.