What caught my eye over the festive period

Ferny Hollow was so good in the Grade 1 at Leopardstown. It was just his second start over fences, and he had to give a fit, and hardy filly plenty of weight and he did it very well. The Arkle is cutting up as a race and it’s hard to see any horse coming out to have better credentials.

We saw the front two in the better for the Stayers’ Hurdle make their claim over the festive period. Klassical Dream proved his win at Punchestown last season was no fluke and is now the one to beat at Cheltenham.

Champ was good at Ascot and you’d have to think he’d go down this route as opposed to going back over fences.

Fury Road was impressive too. I thought he jumped, travelled and stayed on well to win a Grade 1 Novice Chase. He will likely end up in the 3m Novice Chase at the Festival and I think he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

Galvin upset A Plus Tard and while I don’t think A Plus Tard did anything wrong, it was simply that Galvin outstayed him. He’s going to love the Cheltenham hill in the Gold Cup as long as the ground isn’t too testing.

We have to say a big well done to all connected with Sharjah who won his fourth Matheson Hurdle. Just to get a horse to the same race four years running is brilliant, let alone winning it. He’ll be running on to steal some place money in the Champion Hurdle, but I don’t think he’ll get too close to Honeysuckle.

Haut En Couleurs was very good on his debut over fences, and I’d be keeping a close eye on where he goes this season. He will have plenty of options and could even end up bypassing Cheltenham this season as he’s still a young horse with time on his side.

Sandown on Saturday

I’m really looking forward to seeing Constitution Hill  (14:25) again. He was electric up the Sandown hill on his debut for Nicky Henderson and he really could be special. Even thought half of the field are unexposed, I don’t think they’ll see which way this lad goes. He’s very good, I’m sure.

The Veterans’ Final is a great concept and gives these older horses good opportunities to win big prize money. After looking through the field, although most of them will have been campaigned for this, Aso  (15:00) stands out to me. He ran in last season’s Gold Cup. Yes, he was 150/1, but he ran in it and has been running at a much higher level than this for year. This is a huge drop in grade and Venetia Williams’ horses are flying.

Fairyhouse on Sunday

The opening race looks like a good race, but I think it’ll be between the two Gordon Elliott horses. They’ve both managed to win a race this season and both are clearly improving. The fact Britzka ran well behind Fil D’Or last time would suggest he’s probably the one to beat.

White Pepper runs for Gavin Cromwell and she finished behind Ross’s Sea Sessions at Aintree, so it would be good to see her run well and frank that form.

Banntown Girl was impressive when she won her bumper and hasn’t been totally outclassed in better contests since. I think she’s better than average and could upset the two horses from the bigger stables in this race.

Martin Brassil’s horse Glenquin Castle won seven in a row now. It’s some performance from both the trainer and the horse and judged by the way he did it last time, there could still be more improvement in him. He faces Ardhill who was punted off the boards when he sluiced up at Ascot last time. It’ll make for a good race.

Grange Walk has the recent form and fitness on his side, and I think he’ll run well in the Dan And Joan Moore Memorial Chase. He won well at Leopardstown in a good race on St Stephens’ Day (26th Dec) and he could still have more to offer.

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