January 19 – Wolves – Palace Boy – 100

A quiet week due to the abandonments of most of the National Hunt racing, but that means we are able to highlight a couple of useful times from the Flat, which hasn’t always been the case. The first race to stand out on the numbers was the staying handicap won by Ralph Smith’s gelding, who came from last to first in a short space in time to score in the manner of a very progressive all-weather performer. In what looked a competitive contest beforehand, it was significant how well backed he was and it’s easy to see him going in again at a track that clearly suits his eye.

January 20 – Lingfield – One Night Stand – 101

Some top-quality action took place at the Surrey venue on Saturday and the highlight on the numbers was this sprint won by Scott Dixon’s inmate. Blasting out the stalls, the son of Swiss Spirit soon assumed command and once kicking again off the home turn, the rest were simply playing second fiddle. Clocking a very smart time figure, he clearly is a sprinter right on top of his game at present and he can continue to be dangerous in similar events when the emphasis is on pure speed.

January 20 – Navan – Asian Master – 73

Having lowered the colours of stable mate and subsequent winner Jimmy De Seuil at Thurles previously, he looked to hold the best form going into this small field event it was just a case of whether he would be equally effective under more testing conditions. As things panned out, Willie Mullins’ gelding was just as good if not better and in beating a horse who had run well in a Grade 2 previously, he raised his game to another level. How far he can go only time will tell, but based on his time figures so far to date he should not be underestimated if he tackles graded company – the only negative coming in the shape of his amateur jockey, who isn’t the most polished in the saddle to put it mildly.

January 21 – Lingfield – JPR One – 74

This intriguing novices chase took on a whole new complexion once Djelo departed at the first but that should not detract too much from the performance of the winner, who is putting together a pretty impressive body of work over fences. Surviving the first fence melee, Joe Tizzard’s inmate was noted travelling well thereafter and although he only managed to score by just under a length, he left the impression there was more under the bonnet if required. Likely to head to the Arkle, he looks to be the number one UK two mile novice based on form and he makes plenty of appeal at 9-1 in the market betting without Marine Nationale.

January 21 – Thurles – Harmonya Maker – 70

A tightly knit affair on paper beforehand with the front three in the betting having crossed swords several times in the past but this time it was the turn of Gordon Elliott’s mare to shine. Leaving well behind a poor run at Limerick previously, the feature to her performance was the way she travelled throughout and saw out her race at the Tipperary track and this effort easily represents a career high. Under similar conditions, she can continue to thrive.