March 17 – Down Royal – Faulty – 68

A strongly run maiden hurdle and Noel Meade’s gelding ran out a decisive winner. Unlucky not to get off the mark the time before, the son of Dunaden was extremely well backed to make amends and, having travelled and jumped well throughout the two mile journey, he had the necessary qualities at the business to justify the punt. Likely to head to one of the spring festivals on home soil, he is one to bear in mind in whichever race connections choose.

March 22 – Newbury – Doyen Quest – 67

Steel Ally ensured this extended two mile handicap was run at a true gallop and he left the impression he was slightly unlucky not to walk away with the prize. Seemingly still going best of all turning for home, a slightly awkward jump at the third last and a smaller one at the next let his pursuers gain a bit of belief they least expected and it took all of the eventual winner’s tenacity to overhaul him close home. With the front two miles clear of the rest and the speed figure very good, this looks strong form for the grade and both he and Dan Skelton’s inmate are worth keeping on side accordingly.

March 23 – Bangor – Uncle Bert – 68

An entry onto this column courtesy of his smooth victory at Wetherby the time before, Nigel Twiston Davies’ inmate was hard to ignore for the second time after putting up an even better display at the north Wales venue. The way he powered clear off a strong pace pointed towards a horse right on top of his game at present and given his connections, it would come as no surprise to see him take his chance at Aintree in two week’s time in his bid to complete the hat trick.

March 23 – Newbury – I Love My Baie – 68

Disappointing over three miles in graded company at Doncaster previously, it didn’t look too promising for Stuart Crawford’s gelding rounding the home turn at the Berkshire venue, but once it became a question of stamina, his ability to stay well became the telling factor and in the end, he ran out a ready winner. A largely consistent type with a progressive profile and preference for decent ground, the son of Crillon can be seen to good effect again during the spring months.

March 24 – Ascot – Martator – 65

Having looked a bit of a short runner on his first few attempts in this country, Venetia Williams’ gelding now appears to be a totally different proposition and victory here was easily his best both visually and on the clock. The fact he was capable of readily brushing aside the well-fancied course specialist Frere D’Armes says a lot for his current wellbeing and something like the Red Run Chase at Aintree would seem an obvious option for him next time.