Leading owners Rich and Susannah Ricci rounded off 2019 in the perfect way with a double at Punchestown on Tuesday. Salsaretta made it two out of two over fences when winning the two and a half miles mares' chase by three and a quarter lengths. A big strapping mare, she has taken well to the larger obstacles and, while effective over this trip, she stays further. Burrows Saint, who was well held in the Grade 1 Drinmore Novices' Chase on his reappearance, was back over hurdles in a conditions event later on the same card and the Irish National winner made all under Rachel Blackmore. The six year old built up a sizeable advantage from an early stage and had enough in hand to hold on by three and a quarter lengths. Willie Mullins trained the first four home in the two miles three event. Likely to be kept over hurdles for the time being, the Saint Des Saints gelding is reportedly being trained with Aintree in mind.
Declan Phelan's Irish Pointers have been in splendid form throughout the season and it was therefore appropriate that Cill Anna (7/2) won on the final day of the year at Warwick. The Imperial Monarch filly had shaped well on her hurdles bow at Wincanton last time and she showed a terrific attitude to wear down longtime leader Emmas Joy close home. Paul Nicholls' mare stays well and will have no trouble seeing out three miles in due course.
Finally, I would like to wish all subscribers and contributors to Mark Howard Publications Limited a healthy and prosperous 2020. Your continued support is greatly appreciated. If only horses were as consistent and reliable as Liverpool FC. Happy New Year.
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