April 24 – Naas – Moss Tucker – 99

Tenebrism was sent off a warm order to follow up her previous victory on her seasonal bow at Cork, but she unfortunately had to play second fiddle to a horse who she’d held comfortably the time before. There didn’t appear to be any excuses for the favourite either as she was always in the perfect position to strike, so all the credit must go to Ken Condon’s gelding who saw it out best of all from the front. Although he’s perfectly capable of handling decent ground, it’s worth noting he’s definitely better under softer conditions and with presumably the Abbeye once again his main target towards the backend of the season (fifth from a bad draw last year), he should prove capable of winning before then when those circumstances arise.

April 26 – Punchestown – Sandor Clegane – 68

While acknowledging there were many better overall speed figures during the Punchestown festival, this performance by Paul Nolan’s gelding was one of the most pleasing and he looks to have a really bright future. Unlucky in the Albert Bartlett when virtually wiped out in the early stages, he somehow managed to finish a respectable third that day and this time it was noticeable that connections decided to make more use of him and keep him out of trouble at the head of affairs. As it turned out, these tactics worked a treat for a horse who stays beyond 2m4f and it will be interesting to see whether a similar approach is adopted when he goes over fences. Either way, he remains one to keep on side in all the top-class novice chases next season and there are dafter bets to be had than his 16-1 quotes for the Brown Advisory.

April 26 – Punchestown – A Dream To Share – 78

A quality bumper on paper beforehand and it didn’t disappoint with the speed figure of the winner suggesting it was one of the best races of its kind in recent times. Winner of the Champion Bumper on soft ground at Cheltenham, John Kiely’s gelding proved equally effective, if not better, on the prevailing yielding ground and that sort of versatility will no doubt stand him good stead when he goes over hurdles next season. The only downside about that project is Champion Bumper winners have a poor record in the Supreme down the years, but as we are dealing with no ordinary horse, he may prove to be the one who bucks the trend. The runner-up, Tullyhill also deserves a special mention, as he was the only one to offer any sort of resistance in the final half a mile. Considering this was only his second start under rules, the future looks bright for Willie Mullins’ gelding.

April 27 – Punchestown – El Fabiolo – 76

If we weren’t aware of the potential of Willie Mullins’ gelding, then this performance confirmed it, and it will be fun watching him against the more established chasers in the two-mile division next season. The fact he’s able to overcome the odd error here and there and still win with a huge amount of ease is testimony to his raw ability and the clock has backed up his two latest successes. Available to back at 4-1 for next season’s Champion Chase directly after the Arkle, the son of Spanish Moon now sits on top of the pile at 2-1 and providing all four wheels stay in working order until March 2024, it will take a good one – even Energumene at his best – to prevent him from justifying his position in the ante-post market.

April 29 – Haydock – Rainbow Fire – 97

An extremely competitive seven-furlong handicap run a brisk gallop thanks to the exploits of Gweedore and with the front runner not quite able to see the trip at the pace he’d set, Marco Botti’s gelding proved the main beneficiary. No match for the potentially very smart Kingdom Come at Kempton previously, that initial run had obviously brought him on a ton and with a lightly-raced profile to suggest he should continue to progress, the son of Kodiac will be one to always bear in mind in some of the season’ big handicaps between 7f and 1m.

Of the rest, both Montaasib and Boardman caught the eye with the way they finished off their races and are worth keeping on side next time. The former looks tailor made for something like the Victoria Cup with all his previous Ascot experience while the latter will no doubt be Chester bound for the May meeting.

April 29 – Leicester – Al Mubhir – 104

Strongly-fancied for the Lincoln, William Haggas’ gelding may have disappointed many on Town Moor, but he soon put matters right with this performance and should be a case of onwards and upwards for the rest of the campaign. Noted going well approaching the two furlong pole, it was at that point when he was sent for home and after quickly assuming command, he stayed on in ready fashion to record a comfortable success. Likely to be kept to a mile for the time being, he could probably do with soft ground to coincide with that trip, but providing we do get some rain during the summer, he can be placed to good effect.