My Drogo (2/1) was described as 'exceptional' by trainer Dan Skelton when I spoke to Paul Nicholls' former assistant at Aintree in early November. The Milan gelding had finished runner-up in a bumper on his racecourse debut at Cheltenham in October and he has confirmed that promise with three wins over hurdles since. A two and a half lengths winner of the Grade 2 Kennel Gate Novices' Hurdle at Ascot in December, he had the subsequent Betfair Hurdle winner Soaring Glory behind him in third. The six year old was due to contest the Sidney Banks Memorial Novices' Hurdle at Huntingdon last month but that event was abandoned due to the inclement weather. Rerouted to Kelso on Saturday instead for the Grade 2 Premier Novices' Hurdle, he stayed on strongly to win by nine and a half lengths. Still learning his trade, the further the race progressed, the better My Drogo looked. He will be even better over two and a half miles and, while a trip to Aintree in April has been touted, I would be inclined to put him away for the season and look forward to his chasing career next Autumn. Either way, he is an exciting prospect for owner Richard Kelvin-Hughes and the Skelton's.
Jonjo O'Neill's excellent season continued and his Ladbrokes Trophy winner Cloth Cap provided the Jackdaws Castle team with their 61st winner of the 2020/21 campaign in the Listed Premier Chase at the Borders track. The Beneficial gelding, who won the Newbury showpiece off a mark of 136 in late November, completed his Grand National prepared with a most impressive victory under Tom Scudamore. Similar to his Newbury display, he jumped brilliantly and made all the running to win hard held by seven and a half lengths. Granted similar ground conditions at Aintree, he will take some beating off his feather weight of 10st 5lb. It is somewhat ironic that two of Jonjo O'Neill's high profile chasers, namely Cloth Cap and Sky Pirate, have proved frustrating to follow during the last couple of seasons but have really got their acts together this winter.
I am looking forward to hear Tom Scudamore's views on Cloth Cath and Festival bound Royal Pagaille on the Value Racing Club Festival preview next Friday.
“Thank you for a very successful and profitable email service. My personal highlight was the win of Aloomomo whose romp round Uttoxeter was a joy. Keep up the good work with all your services, the books and updates, they are simply the best by a very long way.”
“Just want to say thanks for running the service again this year, I have ended up with a nice £756 profit from it so I'm obviously very happy with that so thanks a lot!”
“Thanks for your email Mark would just like to say your selections and insight has been awesome. Keep up the good work sir your service is the best.”
“Thank you for an excellent tipping service throughout the three months. It has been a pleasure and profitable to be a member of your service. Your indepth knowledge and analysis of the race has been excellent. I honestly rate your service as one of the best and most profitable.”
“Thanks very much for the fantastic service you have supplied, I have been involved with racing tipsters for over 30 years and never had as good a strike rate as yourself, out of this world.”
“The email service as usual has been brilliant and this season's OJA seems to continue to unearth amazing insight if you have the time to trust and follow it in detail over a period. Thanks as always for your outstanding value for money publications.”
“Superb information again Mark, I managed to get some 11/4, will certainly pay for Xmas. Different class.”
“Awesome result the magicman strikes again. Won with plenty in hand and not a moments worry great write up spot on again and results speak for themselves best service I've tried, keep up the fantastic work sir. Very happy customer!”
Mark Howard Publications Ltd.
69 Fairgarth Drive