Greaneteen was the class act on parade at Fakenham on Friday and Paul Nicholls' ex-French gelding wasn't hard pressed to make it three out of three over fences in the two miles novices' chase. Having already won at Ascot and Musselburgh earlier in the season, the son of Great Pretender readily saw off his two rivals with a fine round of jumping. Harry Cobden's mount crossed the line five lengths in front. Rated 147, he holds an entry in the Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham and could be considered for the Grand Annual Chase, too. However, it appears more likely that the six year old will be saved for Aintree and the Grade 1 Maghull Novices' Chase. It could prove another excellent piece of placing by the champion trainer because it remains to be seen whether the likes of Notebook, Fakir D'Oudairies and Cash Back will run at Aintree having presumably lined up in the Arkle three and a half weeks earlier. Paul Nicholls has won the Maghull Novices' Chase on eight occasions and he may have another leading contender for the 2020 version.
The Bromley's Best Buys section in One Jump Ahead have been in fine form recently and Fraternel (8/1) provided the feature with another winner. Alan King's lightly raced gelding improved for his reappearance at Plumpton last month as he stayed on strongly after the last to collar short price favourite Fix Sun by half a length with the pair clear of the rest.
I have had a very productive week interviewing for Ahead On The Flat. I was fortunate to interview Charlie Fellowes, William Haggas and Roger Varian on Wednesday followed by James Tate on Thursday during my trip to Newmarket. All four trainers were superb and I have gained some tremendous information. Amongst that was news of some horses entered in the Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster next month. AOTF won't be published until early April but I will pass on the information I received in the Cheltenham Festival Update. Charlie Fellowes kindly gave me a guided tour of Bedford House Stables, which was previously owned by Luca Cumani, while James Tate, who enjoyed his best return in 2019, gave me half a dozen two year olds to watch out for this spring. Both Charlie and James are new additions this year and I am sure readers will find their interviews informative and profitable to follow.
I completed my fifth interview at lunchtime on Friday when speaking to Roger Charlton about his hopes for the new season. The Beckhampton based handler is understandably looking forward to the unbeaten Group 1 winning juvenile Quadrilateral, plus a host of promising youngsters.
I will be conducting more interviews next week - news of those will be in the Diary once they have been completed. It remains to be seen how much racing takes place this weekend with inspections planned at all tracks as Dennis bids to follow in the footsteps of Ciara.
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