The hectic Christmas racing schedule provided us with plenty to mull over, from Clan Des Obeaux’s second King George win to the emergence of a new chasing star in Notebook – there was something for all jumps fans.
The action does not stop though, with our free horse racing tips available onsite daily – which includes free runner-by-runner previews of all the big races.
With so much action to try and keep track of over Christmas, Joe Eccles has identified five winners over the festive period that he feels it would be wise to follow throughout the remainder of this campaign – read his views below.
Farouk D’alene – 26th December – 3.20 Down Royal
The exciting Farouk D’alene could hardly have been more impressive when bolting up at Down Royal on Boxing Day.
A facile winner of his sole Point to Point outing, the Gordon Elliott-trained son of Racinger was picked up for £260,000 by his powerful connections afterwards – and that already looks a shrewd acquisition.
Rider Jamie Codd commented that his work at home prior to the Down Royal bumper win had been incredible, and it will be fascinating to see where this gelding is aimed next.
Black Pirate – 27th December – 12.25 Wetherby
Returning from 615-days off the track, Black Pirate made a winning hurdles debut at Wetherby on December the 27th – staying on gamely to score by a length.
An impressive bumper performer back in the early part of 2018, this now eight-year-old son of Black Sam Bellamy should improve for that comeback run, and he looks a sure-fire improver once stepped up in trip.
In the long-term, connections have already commented that his schooling over fences has been “absolutely marvellous” – so expect him to be seen over the larger obstacles sooner rather than later.
Full Of Surprises – 28th December – 1.55 Catterick
Neil Mulholland unleashed a potentially smart mare at Catterick on the 28th of December in the shape of Full Of Surprises.
This French-bred daughter of No Risk At All was easy to back, but she defied that market weakness to make a taking debut. The form of that race looking respectable with impressive Plumpton bumper winner Kilconny Bridge directly behind.
A half-sister to Grade 1 winners All Yours and Lac Fontana, this JP McManus-owned five-year-old looks capable of making her presence felt in stronger company as the season progresses.
Maire Banrigh – 29th December – 12.25 Doncaster
Despite being slightly weak in the market, Dan Skelton’s Maire Banrigh ran out an impressive winner at Doncaster on December 29th – racking up her fifth consecutive win in the process.
Picked up for £320,000 at the sales back in March 2017, this King’s Theatre mare is now beginning to fulfil her potential, with that aforementioned Doncaster victory coming by an impressive thirteen-length margin – the useful Baddesley Knight finishing directly behind her.
Expect her to now be stepped up in grade, and her mares’ allowance is sure to come in handy when taking on the geldings in the top novice chases.
Soviet Pimpernel – 29th December – 1.45 Limerick
The now five-year-old Soviet Pimpernel returned to winning ways at Limerick last week, holding off the challenge of last season’s Triumph Hurdle third Gardens Of Babylon.
The ill-fated Espoir D’Allen had taken the previous renewal of that Grade 3 contest, and as that was just the fourth hurdles outing of Soviet Pimpernel’s career – improvement can be expected.
Connections think the world of their gelding and are confident he will not be seen to best effect until tackling better ground. With that in mind, he is likely to be a big player in all of the big spring festivals.