An action packed Saturday in the UK & Ireland as stable stars from all over the country set out to make some noise. The first of the day for Mullins & Walsh came in the form of Turban. After Bog Warrior & Aupcharlie fell at the second last Mullins' French runner only had O'Connell's 10/1 shot, Argocat to beat. Coming over the last Argocat showed no signs of slowing, keeping a well tuned rhythm. Turban managed to stay on to challenge but the line came too quick as Argocat made all. Ascot held the grand national trial which saw Teaforthree go clear cut favourite for the feat in April, despite a close second. Teaforthree showed real heart when battling to the line with Restless harry but couldn't close in time. Rebecca Curtis trained Teaforthree has had a problem or two with regards to the 10 year olds preparations, but looks to have things back on track. Noel Fehily has impressed Curtis claiming "He'll be the first one I ask, now" however there will no doubt be interest from rivals for the jockey who is already sixteen winners clear of his personal best this season.
Captain Chris put in a majestic display, winning by an impressive 19 lengths at Ascot. Seems his class was too great for the rest of the field. Hunt Ball, who has now joined Nicky Henderson's yard, managed to claim third place after an absence from British racing & a string of unsuccessful outings in America. Hunt Ball performed better than expected & has a few options, with Cheltenham looking likely. Melodic Rendezvous & Zarkandar went head to head at Wincanton in a thriller that saw Melodic Rendezvous inch past Zarkander at the post, to win by half a length. Both boast impressive form but Melodic Rendezvous had the edge on the day. MR goes unaltered in the market for the champion hurdle.
Zaidpour & Vivega, two of Willie Mullins' French horses were the only two favourites not to get business done at Navan on Sunday. Zaidpour's talents were not enough to hold back former champion bumper hero, Dunguib. Plagued with injuries, Dungib seems to be back to his old ways, recording his first victory for three years. Trainer Philip Fenton, delighted with the win, hopes the progression is permanent. "That was lovely, it was a grand performance. He's not getting any younger, but he looked his old self. We were fairly confident we might be good enough."
My Tent Or Yours & Tanks For That delighted Nicky Henderson in the last two at Kempton. MTOY with another prolific run in the jumpers' bumper at Kempton, very much on target for Cheltenham in three weeks time. Henderson has been wary of sending his any of his elite out in the testing ground, hence the Kempton bumper. "We took a view last week that we wouldn't run any more Cheltenham horses in soft ground, so we are very grateful that the BHA arranged this."