Al Dancer was an above average bumper horse last season finishing fourth in the Grade 2 championship event at Aintree during the spring. The five year old has looked even better over hurdles and he made it three out of three over obstacles with a silky smooth win at Cheltenham on Friday. Making his handicap debut off a lenient looking mark of 129, Nigel Twiston-Davies' trounced his rivals by upwards of eleven lengths. The Betfair Hurdle at Newbury, which has been a very good race for novices in recent seasons, was touted afterwards. Long-term, he looks more than good enough to take his chance in one of the Festival novice hurdles back at Cheltenham in March. His stable have a decent team of novice hurdles with Good Boy Bobby and One For Rosie also residing at the same Naunton stable.
I thought Noel Fehily made a huge difference aboard The Worlds End in the staying novice chase. Tom George's gelding had finished nearly three lengths behind Ibis Du Rheu at the same track last month when held up. In a change of tactics and Fehily on board for the first time, the seven year old jumped his rivals into the ground before running out a twenty six lengths winner from Paul Nicholls runner on eight pounds better terms. The Stowaway gelding appreciates decent ground and was widely touted as an RSA Chase contender afterwards. I will be surprised if he is good enough and would favour him more in the four miles National Hunt Chase, although Fehily wouldn't be on board him there. His trainer's son Noel would likely take the ride.
Fehily was also brilliant on frustrating stablemate Singlefarmpayment who did everything bar win the Grade 3 three miles two handicap chase. Produced beautifully at the last, the eight year old was outbattled close home by the gutsy Cogry. That is why he has only won one of his thirteen races over fences.
I will be back to update the Diary on Sunday. In the meantime, don't forget those orders in for the Christmas Special.
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