The Top 40 Prospects in One Jump Ahead are enduring a frustrating run at present. Topofthegame, Aqua Dude, Aux Ptits Soins, Born Survivor (going well when fell at Kelso) and Claimantakinforgan have all run well during the last ten days without getting their heads in front. Aqua Dude looked certain to win at Haydock but was outbattled after the last by a more willing opponent. He is clearly talented but whether he has the resolution to match is debatable. I remain convinced Topofthegame will be a high-class horse when he jumps fences. He, too, looked set for victory at the last before being outspeeded close home by the keen going ex-Flat racer Beyond Conceit.
I was working at Wetherby on Tuesday and was most impressed with Philip Hobbs' former Irish pointer Jerrysback. Previously handled by Wilson Dennison and Colin McKeever, he ploughed through deep ground on his Rules debut at Plumpton last month. Carrying a penalty at the West Yorkshire track, the gelding appeared to relish the quicker surface and won with any amount in hand from previous winner Eaton Hill. Barry Geraghty felt the Cheltenham Festival may come too soon but his owner doesn't appear to have a leading contender for the Neptune NH so it would be no surprise if there is a change of heart and he heads to Prestbury Park next month. Either way, the gelding will make a smashing novice chaser next season.
Indeed, it has been a busy week hence the lack of Diary updates. I was also working at Carlisle on Monday for Racing UK and yesterday I visited David O'Meara at his yard at Upper Helmsley outside York. With the help of his assistant Jason Kelly, I interviewed David about his hopes for the new Flat campaign. This morning I interviewed another leading northern trainer, namely Keith Dalgleish. The Scotsman is an excellent addition to Ahead On The Flat. Since taking out a licence in 2011, Keith has sent out seasonal tallys of 39, 52, 58, 67, 75 and 81. Given his ammunition, I would expect him to reach three figures in 2017.
I am working at Kempton on Saturday on what promises to be a terrific days racing. There is the Adonis and Dovecote novice hurdles, the Pendil Novice Chase and, of course, the Betbright Chase, plus an interesting looking bumper. I will therefore update the Diary early next week. In the meantime, please head to the Publications section if you would like to order a copy of my Cheltenham Festival Update (price £10.00).
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