October 29 – Aintree – Master Chewy – 72

Just the five went to post for this novices’ handicap chase but it was run at a very sound clip thanks to the exploits of General Officer and that strong tempo helped Nigel Twiston-Davies’ inmate produce a big performance on his first start over fences. Useful with being anything special over hurdles, the son of Walk In The Park took to the larger obstacles like a duck to water and once the front runner faded after the second last, he impressed with the way he quickened right away in the closing stages. despite being eased on the run-in, the six-year-old still recorded a much faster time figure than the Old Roan Chase winner Jetoile and its also worth pointing out that he managed to run the final circuit 6.8 seconds quicker than the quality handicap chase – which is always a good guide to gauge strong novice form. Early days yet, but this chap already looks like a candidate for something at the Cheltenham Festival – The Grand Annual being the obvious target at this stage.

October 29 – Galway – Affordable Fury – 72

An intriguing beginners chase on paper beforehand and as the betting suggested, the main two in the market dominated. The winner, a top-class novice hurdler from last season, made the transition to the larger obstacles a seamless one and on this evidence, he looks set for a very bright future. As for the runner-up, Favori De Champdou, he kept his main market rival honest throughout the final half a mile and this effort also has to go down down as a very promising one from a horse hailing from a stable who do really well with this kind of horse over fences.

October 31 – Chepstow – Masaccio – 65

Two divisions of a maiden hurdle that often pay to follow kicked off the card at the Welsh track and based on the data from both races, the one won by Alan King’s grey is likely to work out better. Despite not being the most fluent early, the son of Mastercraftsman had the quality to work himself into contention heading for home and in what came a protracted dual with Beat The Bat, he just about managed to come out on top. Evidently appreciating the extra distance, the six-year-old clocked a smart set of numbers into the bargain and it would come as no surprise to see him back in a higher grade next time.

October 31 – Curragh – Samuel Colt – 94

As a rule, form in maidens run in bottomless ground towards the backend of the Flat season can be very misleading but on this occasion, that viewpoint might need altering. Right from the start, the tempo was honest and having taken a while to find top gear, Aidan O’Brien’s inmate opened up in the style of a potentially top class colt. The way he hit the line over this demanding six furlong suggests he has the potential to stay further but as his handler has plenty of ammunition for The Guineas, the best option with him maybe to stick around sprinting trips. With that in mind, The Commonwealth Cup would seem the most logical target next season.

November 4 – Ascot – Boothill – 75

As always, these big Saturday cards produced some excellent time figures, none more so than this quality handicap chase won by a horse who is now 3-3 in races of this nature. Going down the back straight, he looked to be struggling but once heading for home, he came back on to the bridle and with good jumps at the last two fences, he stayed on best of all to record a resounding success. Whether connections decide to go down the graded route again with him remains to be seen, but either way, harry Fry’s inmate is always worth bearing in mind going right handed on soft ground.

November 4 – Ayr – Marble Sands – 72

Traprain Law ensured this novices’ handicap chase was run at a sound pace and having proven himself over further during his career over hurdles, the seven-year-old grey’s stamina ended up being the deciding factor. Having his first start over fences for new connections, one would imagine he will improve for this initial experience and he looks one to keep on side if stepped up in trip next time. Of the rest, runner-up Parisencore also shaped with plenty of promise and he too should develop into a useful handicapper up north.

November 5 – Cork – Letsbeclearaboutit – 74

A decent field assembled for this Grade 3 and it went the way of a horse who simply outclassed his rivals. Just short of the very top over hurdles, Gavin Cromwell’s inmate already looks a better chaser and the way he jumped and travelled here at pace suggests he is now ready to take on the big boys next time – The Drinmore being the nominated target. Further down the line, he could be one for something like the Turners Chase at the Cheltenham Festival as he clearly isn’t devoid of pace.