Another weekend has been and gone and we look back on some fascinating action both over here and in Ireland. The main features over the last couple of days were the Ascot Chase won by Waiting Patiently. The Grand National Trial at Haydock won by Yala Enki and the Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park won by Our Duke.
I'll start off with the Red Mills Chase that saw Our Duke reestablish himself as a Gold Cup contender when getting back to winning ways by seeing off RSA hope Presenting Percy in a real tough gritty affair. It's later been revealed that Noel Fehily looks to take the ride on Jessica Harrington's charge who is a general 14/1 shot for the Cheltenham Festival showpiece.
Over to Haydock and the feature contest over there was the Grand National Trial which as you can imagine at Haydock Park was a real endurance test. Typically gruelling conditions saw just a handful of horses fighting out the finish of which Yala Enki eventually came out on top and in style in the end. Blaklion ran another mighty race back in second with a mass of weight on his back. It looks as though the Grand National is the main target for him again as i'm not sure whether anything has yet been confirmed on whether he'll take his place in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham as well.
Now on to what looked to be one of the races of the season let alone the weekend in the Grade 1 Ascot Chase where we saw the likes of Top Notch, Waiting Patiently, Coney Island, Cue Card, Frodon and Speredek all take each other in what promised to be a thriller. Coney Island came here with a mass of potential but unfortunately disappointed and pulled up, hopefully he comes back stronger and nothing too serious was wrong. Top Notch found himself outpaced at the business end of things and could only manage fourth in the end with Paul Nicholls Frodon just in front in third.
This led to one of the best finishes we're likely to see this season over jumps in the gallant old warrior that is Cue Card taking on his younger rival Waiting Patiently. Cue Card battled gamely all the way to the line but was eventually put to the sword by the potential beast that is Waiting Patiently for the late great Malcom Jefferson. Despite a couple of jumping errors he travelled like a dream again and is destined for big race successes as he now finds himself vying for favouritism in the Ryanair with the winning machine that is Un De Sceaux.
A truly outstanding spectacle that saw one old warrior go out on his shield taking on a potential new king. A fitting tribute to his late trainer who would've certainly been looking down with pride as Brian Hughes pointed to the clouds as he passed the line.