Cheltenham Showcase 18th October – LOOK BACK

3m1½f Old Good To Soft Novice Hurdle
Vivaldi Collonges attempted to make all in the opening event. He was far from fluent on several occasions but stuck to his task to the bitter end. A combination of match fitness and jumping may have cost him the win; however, he will surely find the winners enclosure in the coming weeks. IN THE ROUGH improved around 4lb on his last effort in late August. He travelled easily and jumped well throughout the contest. Going easily on the home turn. He needed Mr Geraghty to drive him on the run-in. He looks as though he can improve further and step up in grade. The wide margin back to the third (Recent dual winner) suggests the form is solid.

2m4f Old Good To Soft Handicap Chase
JOHNS SPIRIT recorded an 18lb higher rating than last year, in the same event. Always going well towards the back of the field, he made smooth progress to close on the leaders approaching the second last. Jumping the last in good style, he went away under hands and heels riding. Raised 9lb by the handicapper he would need to produce his very best to repeat his win in the Paddy Power Gold Cup. However, such is his affection with Prestbury Park, one cannot rule that out. Persian Snow ran well in second. He would appreciate softer ground. Ericht finished an honourable third; he is perhaps, at his best on a flat track. Bennys Mist ran well for a long way. On softer ground with the hood back on, he can find an opening.

2m½f Old Good To Soft Hurdle
Hard to know what to make of the form of this race. Calipto jumped well and looked all over the winner turning for home. However, he failed to find as much as looked on the run-in. His trainer later reported he has a breathing problem. TIGER ROLL did well to get up close home conceding 8lb. If Calipto was below his best, it slightly devalues the run, though his trainer felt the ground did not play to his strengths. On the plus side, the third home was well beaten off, while it is worth noting TIGER ROLL improved his best RPR by 6lb.

3m1f Old Good To Soft Handicap Chase
ROALCO DE FARGES put his end of season disappointments behind him when taking this staying chase in good style. Held up at the rear of the field, he jumped and travelled in good style. Produced to challenge at the second last he led over the final fence and quickened away from his field. Raised 8lb, his RPR for this race (148) suggests he can go close to following-up. Standing Ovation travelled and jumped well, kept to the inside of the track. He was unable to match the winners speed on the run-in but looks as good as ever. Alfie Spinner plugged-on for third, while both Chicago Grey and Golden Chieftain served notice, they can be competitive again this season.

2m5f Old Good To Soft Handicap Hurdle
ULZANA’S RAID gamely landed this competitive handicap under top-weight. He jumped well, running on strongly from two hurdles out holding the persistent challenge of the runner-up. Raised 7lb, this progressive horse should find other opportunities (Coral Cup?), though he is very much a chaser in the making. Forthefunofit ran well for an inexperienced horse. He should stay further and looks sure to progress. Handicap chaser Ardkilly Witness, looks one to keep an eye on after a promising reappearance. He stays well and handles soft/heavy ground with races like the Welsh National possible targets. Act Alone led over the last. Unfortunately, he misjudged the hurdle landing steeply. Mr Geraghty quickly eased off and on hopes the horse retuned sound.

2m½f Old National Hunt Flat Race
An excellent finale saw MOON RACER establish himself as a potentially top-class National Hunt horse. Always travelling close to the pace, he quickened clear two furlongs out before being eased down in the final one-hundred yards. His RPR was just 9lb behind the figure Silver Concorde recorded at the Cheltenham Festival. Plenty of horses behind him arrived having won Bumpers. However, the one to remember may be Robbie Rabbit who is a winning English-Pointer.


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