Former Grand National winner Many Clouds sadly died having produced a magnificent performance to lower the colours of King George winner Thistlecrack in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham yesterday. Revitalised by a wind operation during the summer, Oliver Sherwood's pride and joy had looked back to his best at Aintree in early December and followed it up with a tremendous effort yesterday. Unfortunately, he suffered a heart attack soon afterwards and lost his life in tragic circumstances. I remember being at Wetherby when he won a bumper on his racecourse debut and nobody will ever forget his National win under 11st 9lb nearly two years ago. Like his trainer, he was a class act who provided racegoers with some wonderful memories. He will be sorely missed.
It certainly wasn't the best of days for the Top 40 yesterday with defeats for Asum (much too keen and didn't give himself a chance of staying two and a half miles), Cloudy Dreams (unlucky having been softened up by A Hares Breath only to be collared on the run-in), Topofthegame (still a very promising young horse) and Wait For Me (needs further). There is a more detailed analysis of their performances in the forthcoming February Update, which will be published on Wednesday.
Unowhatimeanharry made it nine out of nine since joining Harry Fry. The gelding has done remarkably well since joining Paul Nicholls' former assistant. Rated 123 when he joined the yard last term, he won the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle off a mark of 167 yesterday. Unbeaten at Cheltenham, he will take the world of beating in the stayers' hurdle. However, it will be interesting to see what the same owner decides to do with former Champion Hurdle winner Jezki. Unbeaten over three miles, Jessica Harrington's charge returned from injury to win over two miles at Navan recently. Given the fact Barry Geraghty is 6 from 6 aboard him and 3 from 3 on Unowhatimeanharry, he may have some thinking to do, if Jezki elects to go the longer route.
As discussed, I am working on the February Update. I have included a section titled Cheltenham Chat which highlights a few horses, including a handful who are likely to be aimed at the handicaps. I hope subscribers will find the section informative. Irish expert Declan Phelan has also been in touch and he has passed on news of some point-to-pointers who have changed hands in recent weeks for lofty sums and ought to be racing under Rules before the end of the season. The new recruits are heading to the likes of Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott, David Pipe and Philip Hobbs amongst others. I will be surprised if the aren't a few future stars amongst them. The cost of the February Update is £6 and can be purchased via the Publications section of the site.
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