We knew that last week was going to be a quiet one so we took to the opportunity to go to Norway for a few days of cross-country skiing.

I thought I’d return feeling fresh from a break, but I’ve actually come back with a cold! Still, thoughts quickly turned to what Noel Fehily is going through with his appendix.

Get well soon Noel

First and foremost, we’re wishing Noel Fehily a speedy recovery. He’s gone from the daily risk of riding racehorses to having appendicitis.

Noel is still in hospital and we don’t know how long it will take for him to recover. When he’s fit and well again he’ll tell us and we’ll go from there, but in the meantime we obviously have to make other plans.

We’ve been using Sean Bowen a bit this season and he’s riding both of ours at Taunton on Saturday.

Sean is a very good jockey. I’m hoping we will call on his services more than usual while Noel is out of action.

We also have a couple of jockeys in the yard who have been doing well in Kieran Edgar and Mike Legg.


Air Horse One  lines up for the 2m3f Seniors’ Handicap Hurdle (15:25). It’s similar to the veterans’ series that they have for chasers, though you only have to be an eight-year-old, rather than 10, to qualify.

There are not many of these races in the calendar and it would be nice to see a few more.

For horses like Air Horse One, who have run up to a high mark but are now a little older and exposed, it’s a good way of getting them to race competitively again and in good company.

He’s a course-and-distance winner, and the overnight rain is a positive, too, so I’d say we’ve got a good chance of getting our head back in front.

The Last Samuri  goes for the inaugural Portman Cup Chase (14:50). He was doing all of his best work at the end of the three miles at Ascot last time out, so this step up in trip to 3m4f will help.

The trip, the ground, and the fact he’s getting weight from his rivals means that the conditions of this race look perfect. If we asked the BHA to frame a race with the Last Samuri in mind this would be it. It looks tailor-made.



Altior  was imperious the last day at Sandown and is undoubtedly the star of the show at Ascot Clarence House Chase (15:35), but it would be nice to have a bit more opposition in a £150,000 race.

I’d obviously be very surprised if he lost his unbeaten tag. At the moment, there’s absolutely nothing that can serve it up to him.

Ante Post

Hell’s Kitchen  holds an entry for the Dublin Chase at Leopardstown. That looks unlikely, though, and we’re actually thinking of staying at home and going for the Game Spirit Chase at Newbury on 9th February instead.

On that same Saturday, Jolly’s Cracked It  is entered for the big handicap hurdle at Newbury, but looks just as likely to go for the Listed Contenders Hurdle at Sandown the weekend before.

The only problem is that Buveur D’Air has run in that the last couple of seasons, so we’ll have to wait and see how that shapes up.

The handicapper was not at all impressed with Jolly’s Cracked It’s win after over 700 days off the track, raising him to a career-high mark, and we now have to consider conditions and graded races as well as the big handicaps.

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15:35 Ascot: Altior
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