Weekend Roundup & Festival Clues.
As we edge closer and closer to the showpiece of the jumps season the Cheltenham Festival we get more and more Festival clues handed too us in the leading up weeks racing action.
The weekend just gone saw an action packed card at Kempton take place which has been the grounds for many Cheltenham Festival winners in the past. The one that took my eye most out of the card was none other than Redicean for Alan King. There were quite a few that were doubting this one's ability and questioning what he'd actually been beating in his previous engagements, on the build up to the race. His jumping ability was also brought into question as he hasn't been all that slick so far but he put all that behind him here. It was another dominiant display from another bright young prospect for Alan King. Redicean has now emerged a live threat to Triumph Hurdle favourite Apple's Shakira and has been slashed from 20/1 to 5/1 second favourite.
Over in Ireland we saw the return of another smart animal for Willie Mullins and that was of course Bellshill in those famous Wylie silks. Following the withdrawal of Gordon Elliott's Mala Beach, Bellshill went off the red hot odds on favourite for this year's renewal of the Bobbyjo Chase. It was pretty much the perfect return to action for him too, he had a lot of the field in trouble quite a way out and went on to score in comfortable fashion. Willlie has been on the record saying that he believes Cheltenham may be a little bit too soon after this for him and the most likely target at the moment appears to be the Irish Grand National.
Moving onto a subject that most don't enjoy talking about at this time of year and that's of course the Flat. My personal favourite type of racing at that. We had a great day's action over at Lingfield with the Grade 3 Winter Derby the showpiece. AP O'Brien had the favourite of that particular contest with prolific Dundalk winner Clear Skies heading affairs at a general 5/2 with Ryan Moore in the saddle. Unfortunately the race didn't pan out for her and she was soundly beaten and the eventual winner Master The World was given the race in the stewards room following some major interference from first past the post Mr Owen.
The weather appears to be playing havoc with this week's racing fixtures with the 'Beast From The East' tearing up and down the country like I imagine Djakadam will up the hill in this year's Cheltenham Gold Cup.