In the Autumn I was hopeful that exciting novice hurdle prospect and Top 40 entry Parmenion might be winning in March. While that has proved correct, I would have preferred it if it had been in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival rather than a maiden hurdle at Leopardstown. The ex-French gelding reportedly works like a top-class horse at home but Willie Mullins' charge was beaten on his first two starts over jumps at Leopardstown and Fairyhouse over two miles. Stepped up to two and a half miles for the first time on Sunday, Paul Townend's mount made short work of his six rivals strolling clear in the homestraight. A fourteen lengths winner, the Soldier Hollow gelding is still entered in the Ballymore Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham and, while Mullins didn't rule it out, he appears more likely to be saved for the Easter Festival at Fairyhouse next month. Ireland's champion trainer feels he is only now reaching peak fitness. It will be interesting to see what he can achieve during the final weeks of the season.
Parmenion is owned by Joe and Marie Donnelly and their familiar yellow and silks were also seen in the winners' enclosure at Wexford courtesy of the Mullins trained Dancing City in the concluding bumper. Returning from an absence of 364 days, the Feel Like Dancing gelding had chased home the high-class novice hurdler Three Card Brag in the same bumper twelve months earlier. Driven out to score by half a length, the six year old is another winner for Declan Phelan's Irish Pointers section in OJA.
Well done to James Couldwell and Value Racing Club following Dibble Decker's third win at Huntingdon on Sunday. The Jet Away gelding is unbeaten at the Cambridgeshire track and he was forced to dig deep on the run-in to reel the late thrust of Dom of Mary to prevail by a nose. Tom Lacey's runner was scoring for the second time over fences and scooped £14,258.70 for the syndicate who continue to go from strength to strength.
Thank you very much to those clients who purchased the OJA Cheltenham Festival Update over the weekend, your continued support is much appreciated. If you haven't ordered your copy, please head to the Publications section of the site - the Update is £10.00 and will be emailed to clients a week today (Sunday 12th March).
The OJA Updates have already produced its fair of share of big race winners including I Like To Move It (advised @ 8/1 in the Greatwood Hurdle), Bravemansgame @ 11/4 in the King George and Our Power (advised @ 12/1 in the Coral Gold Cup), plus The Big Breakaway (advised @ 14/1) finished runner-up in the Welsh National.
It threatens to be a cold week which is likely to impact on the jumping action from Tuesday onwards. I am working at Wetherby on Monday, which shouldn't be in danger, and will therefore update the Diary later in the week.
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