Thank you to those clients who have purchased the Christmas Special, it is much appreciated. There is still time to order a copy before the action gets underway on Boxing Day. Granted luck, every meeting looks set to take place.
Jedd O'Keeffe has done a terrific job with his fast improving young hurdler Sam Spinner. The five year old was a seventeen lengths winner of the valuable staying handicap hurdle at Haydock's Betfair Chase meeting off a mark of 139. Raised sixteen pounds, he took the step up in class in his stride at Ascot yesterday winning the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle by nearly three lengths from Grade 1 winners L'Ami Serge and Unowhatimeanharry. Positively ridden by Joe Coliver, there appeared to be no fluke about the performances and there no excuses for those in behind. For the second consecutive weekend, it was a tremendous boost for northern jump racing.
The Eddie Harty trained Coney Island is a horse I have plenty of time for, as readers of One Jump Ahead will be aware, and he ran out a comfortable winner of the Graduation Chase at the the same venue. Ultimately, Barry Geraghty's mount scored by nine lengths but the winning margin may have flattered him with long time leader Adrien Du Pont going hard enough. The bookmakers cut the winner to 16/1 (as short as 10/1 in places) for the Cheltenham Gold Cup which appears premature - he needs to achieve a lot more before he can be considered a leading contender for steeplechasing's blue riband.
Gold Present was one of my fancies for the novices' handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival last spring and he ran well in second. However, Nicky Henderson's gelding has improved since stepping up in trip this term and landed his second good prize of the season when taking the valuable three miles handicap at the Berkshire track. A fine leap at the last sealed his win and the seven year old looks every inch a Grand National horse in the making.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank clients for their support of my publications during the last twelve months - without you, I wouldn't have a business and it is greatly appreciated. Merry Christmas and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous 2018.
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“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.”
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“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.”
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Mark Howard Publications Ltd.
69 Fairgarth Drive