We have sold the remaining copies of One Jump Ahead, which means it is only possible to receive a PDF version via the website. However, any clients wishing to order a hard copy, they are available via Amazon and the Racingpost.com shop.
There was some very good action on both sides of the Irish Sea on Friday and French import Porticello provided the Top 40 Prospects with its second winner when taking the Listed Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle at Wetherby. The Sholokhov gelding had won on his hurdles debut at Auteuil in April in a race which has worked out well. A big strong gelding and very much a chaser in the making, he overcame a few sloppy leaps down the backstraight before staying on powerfully after the second last. The further he went, the better he looked crossing the line nearly four lengths in front. Gary Moore's charge will benefit from slower ground and a stiffer test of stamina.
Despite only finishing fourth on her chasing debut, Fontaine Collonges shaped with plenty of encouragement for the future. Venetia Williams' mare, who is rated 116, took on some experienced chasers in the two miles handicap chase at the West Yorkshire track. Taken wide to ensure she had a clear view of her fences, the six year old jumped well but was tapped for speed after the fourth last. Charlie Deutsch's mount rallied well though and was closing on the leaders after the final fence. Beaten seven lengths, she will come into her own over two and a half miles and on a softer surface. She remains favourably handicapped.
The Talking Trainers section in OJA had a profitable afternoon at Uttoxeter with three winners, namely Jetaway Joey (3/1), Minella Drama (11/10) and Duke of Rockingham (5/4). Donald McCain nominated Minella Drama as his horse to follow and the former Irish pointer didn't disappoint on his chasing bow at the Midlands track. A Listed winning novice hurdler and rated 143, he dropped back to two miles and made all. Brian Hughes' only anxious moment came at the second last when he nearly knuckled on landing. Otherwise the six year old was always in control. The only surprising thing was his starting price.
Olly Murphy has his team in fine form with 6 winners from his last 10 runners. Gordon Elliott's former assistant suggested on page 93 of OJA that Duke of Rockingham was his 'dark horse for the season' and the Kayf Tara gelding looked a smart prospect when taking the second division of the bumper by nine lengths. Bought for €130,000 as a store, he is likely to go hurdling now and should have no trouble winning more races.
Regular readers will know I was a big fan of Zanahiyr last winter. Having won his first three starts over timber, things didn't go to plan in the Triumph Hurdle with the Nathaniel gelding only finishing fourth. Runner-up at Punchestown next time, he returned to action in the WKD Hurdle at Down Royal and made all under Jack Kennedy. Despite being joined at the second last by market rival Cask Mate, Gordon Elliott's four year old found plenty for pressure and pulled away soon afterwards. An eight lengths victor, his trainer indicated he will step up in trip at some stage this season. The Grade 1 Hattons Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse next month is an option, although he will be crossing swords with the Champion Hurdle winner Honeysuckle.
I am heading to Wetherby on Saturday for Charlie Hall Chase day for Racing TV. Once again, there is some superb action over the weekend.
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