Brian Ellison didn't hide his enthusiasm for his high-class novice chaser from last season Forest Bihan in One Jump Ahead and the six year old made a fine start to the campaign with victory in a competitive two miles one handicap chase at Kelso yesterday. A Grade 2 winner and runner-up in Grade 1 company last term, the ex-French gelding proved too strong for Simply Ned, who was attempting to win the race for a third time. The Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter was mentioned as his next possible target and, while that will present a completely different test, I am sure he won't disgrace himself. The disappointment of the race was Aintree winner Double W's. Malcolm Jefferson's charge weakened tamely after the second last finishing a distant fifth. The front running Whisty, who had won three times at Cartmel during the summer, was cruelly exposed after Theflyingportrait took him on from the outset. Martin Todhunter's eight year old is going to find life tough off his mark of 143.
Having watched the race on countless occasions since, I still can't believe Audacious Plan didn't win the three miles handicap at Uttoxeter yesterday on his first start for Dr Richard Newland. Bought cheaply out of Rebecca Curtis' stable, the eight year old looked set to win comfortably when taking over three out. However, the alarm bells started to ring on the approach to the final fence and he was headed on the run-in and beaten a length and three quarters by Lunar Flow. Perhaps the fact he was conceding sixteen pounds to the winner proved to be his undoing. With thirty lengths back to the third, it was a result which was hard to take. It is fair to say his connections couldn't believe it either afterwards.
Mabs Cross (5/1) was highlighted as a filly to follow in the Autumn in the York Ebor Update and Michael Dods returned from an absence of 107 days to win the Listed event at Musselburgh this afternoon. Held up early on, she was given a terrific ride by Paul Mulrennan to lead close home. She is a very progressive filly who was due to run at Ayr's Western meeting last month.
I have written an article on the sportinglife.com website selecting 5 horses to follow for this winter. Finally, thank you to my press room colleague Colin Russell who was very praiseworthy regarding One Jump Ahead in his review in yesterday's Sunday Supplement in the Racing Post. It is fair to say both pieces have ensured sales have continued to flow and your support is greatly appreciated.
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