EVEN the ducks gave up and went home at Cheltenham on Saturday.
It was wet, windy and colder than Captain Birdseye’s freezer, but that didn’t stop punters from giving The New One a proper cheer after his swansong in the International Hurdle.
Truth be told this gelding wasn’t one of the greats, but he had a heart the size of Gloucestershire and gave the game everything he had.
Bryony Frost talks a mile a minute, smiles more than Zippy and is the best advert for jump racing since A P McCoy hung up his breeches.
She was dynamite on Frodon in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup here, chinning more rivals than Bruce Lee before punching the gelding home in front.
You won’t see many horses jump this fluently and he’ll make the big boys sweat when he heads back to Cheltenham for the Ryanair Chase in March.
There were fortunes bet on local lad Tom George’s Bun Doran (9-4 to 5-4) in the 2m handicap chase, but he ran into an immovable object in Ozzie The Oscar and was nutted after the last.
Little Ozzie punches well above his weight and this won’t be the last time he out-battles a bigger, more talented rival.
It was two overcoats cold at Kempton on Friday night, where track champ Caspar The Cub (4-1 to 5-2) landed a right touch for the regulars.
Alan King’s improver was rattling-up a Kempton four-timer and is sharper than a fishwives tongue at the moment. He travels like a Group horse, has more gears than a Ferrari and hasn’t stopped winning yet.
Count Calabash chased Caspar’s shadow home and is definitely one to keep an eye on. Those close to the horse reckon he needed the run and are expecting an improved effort next time.
Marco Botti is harder to ruffle than 007, but it would be fair to say he’s got the right hump with his quirky filly American Endeavour.
She’s got bags of talent but has a habit of rearing when the stalls open and blew another golden opportunity by doing that in a 7f handicap here.
The filly is starting to look a wrong’un and her trainer had the demeanour of a fella who’d dropped a pound and found a penny as he mooched back to the car park still shaking his head.
JACKSON HILL (3.35 Plumpton) shaped well when ridden too aggressively at Sandown last time and drops down in class today.
Beleaguerment (4-1 to 7-4) was bet like a good thing in the 6f nursery here but ran as if he’d rather be down the pub with his pals in a race that was won by in-form John Ryan’s Shining Armor.
Young Darragh Keenan gave the winner a belting ride, going toe-to-toe with Adam Kirby through the final furlong before getting the verdict on points. This kid looks as if he eats his greens and is a claimer to follow through the winter.
Meanwhile, Barry Geraghty makes his annual pilgrimage to Plumpton for a couple of J P McManus owned shorties this afternoon, where the best bet could be JACKSON HILL (3.35) in the bumper.
He got racing a bit too early when third at Sandown on his debut for Warren Greatrex and will appreciate this slight drop in class.