It was wet and windy at Carlisle on Monday but it was good to catch up with a few people including the racecourse's former chairman James Westoll. He is also the owner of Soft Risk who lost his unbeaten record at Newcastle on Saturday. While James was understandably disappointed to see the strapping six year old suffer defeat he explained that Nicky Richards' charge is likely to have one more run this spring before embarking on his chasing career next Autumn. He remains a promising type and the experience he gained at Gosforth Park won't have been lost on him - it is the first time Soft Risk has come off the bridle and been asked to race properly.
The Cheltenham Festival handicap weights were published on Tuesday and I will be having a study of those over the coming days. Top 40 entrants Gaelic Warrior, Saint Felicien and State Man don't appear to be too overburdened with their respective marks and one would expect the trio to attract even more antepost support between now and the Festival.
The Cheltenham Festival Preview evenings are gathering momentum now we have reached March and next week promises to be a busy one. I am joining champion jockey elect Brian Hughes on a panel along with Harry Bannister, Charlie Mann and Michael Shinners at the Coniston Hotel near Skipton on Monday 7th March. On Wednesday 9th March, it is the Sky Bet preview night with a panel consisting of Ed Chamberlin, Ollie Bell, Daryl Jacob, Dave Ord and Michael Shinners. Then, on Friday 11th March is the Value Racing Club one via zoom with Richard Hoiles (Host), Gary O'Brien, Tom Lacey and Johnny Burke. Please head to the ValueRacingClub.co.uk website to order your place.
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