February 27 – Catterick 27 – Prairie Wolf – 66

A golden opportunity was presented to Sue Smith’s inmate based on his previous effort behind Ginny’s destiny at Cheltenham and despite clouting the last fence, he never gave his supporters too many anxious moments. The way he jumped and travelled throughout suggested he currently has quite a bit in hand over the assessor – especially in races up the north – and he could be the type to run up a sequence.

February 28 – Bangor – Montgomery – 63

Breeze Of Wind arrived at the north Wales venue as the one to beat following a brace of victories but he met his match in no uncertain terms up against a horse on-song after a 25-1day break. Noted moving best from the outset, Venetia Williams’ gelding could be called the winner a long way out and the way he hit the line suggested he had plenty left in the tank. Posting a useful overall time, his final circuit was also on par with the two mile handicap earlier on the card and given the way his handler campaigns her horses while in form, he looks one to keep on side for the foreseeable future.

February 29 – Wetherby – Uncle Bert – 65

A very competitive handicap hurdle ran at a strong pace and the winner ultimately saw out the trip the best. Whether he would have quite had things all his own way had North Parade not ran into traffic rounding the home turn is open to debate but either way, it was still a decent effort by a horse very much going the right way. As for the eventual third, Sue Smith’s inmate deserves the benefit of the doubt for this slightly unlucky effort and he is worth bearing in mind when he encounters a stiffer track. All in all, this looks strong form for the grade.

March 1 – Kelso – Serious Operator – 65

A competitive handicap hurdle that kicked off a tremendous day’s racing at the Borders venue and it produced arguably one of the most impressive performances on the card. Popular in the market having finished a creditable fifth in the Lanzarote Hurdle previously, Lucinda Russell’s inmate was always travelling like he was going to justify the money in his direction to some degree and having picked up the running going well jumping the second last, he scooted away to claim the valuable pot. Not only was his overall figure good, his final circuit time was significantly quicker than the other two notable races on the hurdle card, including the Morebattle – and he looks one to keep on side for the 2m4f handicap hurdle on Grand National Day at Aintree.

March 1 – Kelso – Thunder Rock – 72

A strongly run affair and having been ridden with supreme patience, Olly Murphy’s gelding came through powerfully in the closing stages to win with a bit to spare. Although he failed on his only other previous attempt at three miles, he looked a totally different proposition over the same trip this time around and he is one to consider for the Bowl at Aintree next month, where the flat track is likely to play into his strengths.

March 1 – Newbury – Heltenham – 70

There were decent fractions set for this competitive 2m4f handicap chase and it went the way of a horse who was given an efficient ride from the back of the field. Noted still going well coming out the back straight, Dan Skelton’s inmate still had plenty of ground to make up on the pace setters but he soon made up the leeway to lead going well at the second last and from that point onwards it was a question of just keeping his mind on the job at hand. 2-2 at the Berkshire venue, he clearly enjoys flat, galloping tracks, so with that in mind, something like the Topham Chase at Aintree would seem the ideal target.