Kempton Park 21st February BELTOR won the Adonis Hurdle in good style. He was keen through the race but still able to come through to win easily. His jumping is fluent and while he has to prove as effective on an undulating track, he deserves to take his chance in the Triumph Hurdle. Connections may elect to wait until Aintree, the reported target of runner-up All Yours. He too ran well finishing strongly up the straight. Bivouac ran below form and needs a break. Cape Caster is now qualified for handicaps. He should be noted when the ground improves. IRISH SAINT was given an easy task following the withdrawal of God’s Own. Nevertheless, he jumped well, set a good pace, coming home to win easily. Time may show his runner-up spot behind Gitane Du Berlais was an excellent run. DAYS OF HEAVEN continued his progression with a game performance to deny Vago De Collonges. He travels well though his races, overcoming a mistake at the second last to land the prize. A highly-strung individual, Cheltenham and Aintree will be off the agenda this season. Vago De Collonges was unsuited by lack of a proper gallop. He may wait for Aintree despite running well recently at Cheltenham. The BetBright Chase lost both Easter Day and Fox Appeal at an early stage. ROCKY CREEK moved easily though the race coming into contention at the fourth last. Steadily going clear he jumped well in the home straight winning comfortably. The handicapper has raised him 9lb. His supporters for the Grand National will be encouraged by the run, as he will race at Aintree off his old mark. Le Reve finished well to take second place. He will now target the bet365 Gold Cup at his beloved Sandown Park in April. Bally Legend returned to form in third following a breathing operation, while Radjhani Express ran encouragingly if appearing a non-stayer over three-miles. 2013 Scottish National winner Godsmejudge is running himself into form; he should be added to the short list for the Grand National. In the handicap hurdle won by SHAMMICK BOY, Auvergnat left the impression he will be adding to his wins in France. A winner over hurdles and fences, he may prove best at distances around two and a quarter-miles. GHOST RIVER won the Bumper in good style. He is still raw and promises to make up into useful a hurdler/chaser next season. Runner-up Vieux Lille is improving. He too possesses the build to improve over obstacles. Chepstow 21st February SIRE DE GRUGY returned to his best with a decent weight carrying performance. He jumped well and ran on strongly up the long straight. Timeform have him 3lb behind Sprinter Sacre on 2015 form. The runner-up Grey Gold ran below his best based on RPR’s. However, the third Mister Grez has come out and won a novice hurdle. In the process, he defeated a well-regarded Pipe horse in receipt of a stone. Ascot 14th February Paddock watchers felt Tea For Two looked just below his best. He ran well but was unable to hold the final thrust of ARPEGE D’ALENE. Paul Nicholls charge looked under pressure at various stages of the race. However, he kept on gamely to gain a well-deserved win. The winner looks a chasing type for the future. AINSI FIDELES took advantage of below-par performances from Deputy Dan and Virak to bound away for an easy win the Reynoldstown Chase. Whilst the race fell apart, AINSI FIDELES is a progressive sort that should improve further for a summer at grass. CAROLE’S DESTRIER looked in good nick prior to the three-mile handicap chase. Despite several jumping errors he made good headway in the final half-mile to run a comfortable winner. He is amongst the best three-mile novices being rated 148 by Timeform and 152 by the official handicapper. He is reported more likely to go to Aintree than Cheltenham. Clondaw Knight ran a blinder in second. He made a lot of the running and kept on well despite losing a shoe at some stage. The handicapper has left him on the same handicap mark while left-handed tracks may suit him best. UNIQUE DE COTTE returned to his best in the two and half-mile handicap hurdle. Despite making several mistakes, he made all and ran on well. His profile suggests he needs soft ground; however, he has won on good to soft in France. Padge finished second. He ran well but needs to settle down in his races and concentrate on the job in hand. Third home Minstrels Gallery ran well on ground that had gone too soft. He can win a similar event on better ground. Rolling Star need the run and had a quite run round once his chance had gone. He is dropping in the handicap looking the type to pop-up at some stage. BALDER SUCCES continued his progress since racing over two and a half-miles plus. Always prominent, he led at the thirteenth and held on well despite a mistake at the last fence. Overall, his jumping was good while he possesses a decent turn of foot. His chasing profile displays a slight preference for right-handed tracks and single-figure fields. His Cheltenham record reads F, UR, and F. Successful at Aintree last year that may prove his best chance of another Grade One win. Ma Filleule ran a fine race in second place. Just in need of the run, the ground turned against her overnight. Taken round on the wide outside, she ran on well in the home straight. Ma Filleule is best in the spring, ran well at the Festival last season, and looks a fair each-way shout for the Ryanair. Ballycasey has stacks of ability but little in the way of courage. Ptit Zig attracted market support. He departed the fun at the ninth, which will have not helped his confidence going into Cheltenham. THISTLECRACK finished strongly to snatch his race from the second and third. Approaching the second last, he looked beaten. However, as Saint Charles and Otago Trail came to the end of their tether, his stamina kicked in clearing away under a brilliant ride from Mr Walsh. Bred to stay two and half-miles and further, he has won all his races going right-handed. Effective on good through too soft he has two handicap entries in at the Festival. Saint Charles travelled into the race like a dream. However, he faltered at the last with a combination of ground and inexperience costing him the race. Otago Trail tried to make all but found the closing stages catching him out for speed. He loves soft/heavy ground and has the stamp of a chaser. Sirabad ran well on his UK debut. Useful in France, he looks handicapped to win in the near future. WAIT FOR ME won the Bumper with plenty in hand. If he goes the right way, he could be useful. Theo’s Charm ran well despite a less than trouble-free journey. Western Approach ran on strongly and looks one for the future while, Stonegate should find races over hurdles. February 13th Sandown Park URANNA won the Mares Listed Hurdle in the manner of one that can win in Graded races. Look out for her at Punchestown and Fairyhouse. Whilst BIDOUREY ran away with the juvenile hurdle, I suggest we keep a close eye on third placed Rock Des Champs. A good-looking fellow, he went well for a long way before making a mistake and floundering in the ground. Two and a half mile handicaps on better ground will see him off the mark. February 13th Fakenham CLEAN SHEET and MEDIEVAL CHAPEL in the novice hurdle and novice chase provided Mr Henderson with a double. Both are slow maturing sorts than enjoyed the better ground. Liable sorts they can win further races and looks sure to improve again over the summer. grahamrichardsonline.co.uk – Cheltenham Preview