THERE were some memorable performances and some moments to forget in the world of racing this week.
Take a look at our latest instalment of Hotpots and Howlers, where we pick out the good, the bad and the downright ugly from the past seven days.
In what your average tweed-wearing, binocular carrying racing fan would consider a quiet week, it still managed to throw up the usual ‘winners and losers’.
It was a slow seven days for news, and little on the track had many excited in terms of Cheltenham or stars to take forwards.
One stable that will wish the week away quicker than most is the Paul Nicholls team.
While it was far from a make or break week, Ditcheat’s runners certainly failed to fire, especially over the weekend.
Black Corton was the best of five across Warwick and Kempton, as he plugged on for a second behind Top Notch in the 32Red Listed Chase.
Secret Investor was also second best – this time behind Ok Corral at Warwick – but hardly looked like fences may bring out more in him. His jumping remains a work in progress and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him back over hurdles.
Ibis Du Rheu was beaten 38 lengths in the Classic Chase and Darling Maltaix a never threatening fifth in the Lanzarote.
Amour De Nuit – joint favourite for a decent race at Kempton – was beaten out of sight in last and probably needs a break after getting beat at 4-11 the run before.
NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD Saint Are owner David Fox set for big spring with formidable team led by Crucial Role
Nicholls will be sleeping fine and the stable won’t be judged on a quiet week in January but it’s always good to tick over with a few weekend winners.
It keeps morale high in the yard and of course, keeps the owners smiling.
One group of owners yet to stop grinning are the Melbourne 10.
In tandem with the cheeky Jamie Osborne they took two horses to Meydan in Dubai.
Dream Today was picked up at the sales for the syndicate and duly delivered the goods for the team – winning at 16-1 and picking up a £83,000 pot in the process.
Their other runner ran into fourth on the same card at 20-1 and the owners that made it to Dubai have only just recovered from the celebrations.
The Melbourne 10 are a group of mates that travel the world with their horses, picking out meetings such as Royal Ascot and the unique Laytown to target.
While not cheap, if you’ve got the money, there’s not much of a better way to spend it.
An ongoing issue came to light again at Leicester on Thursday.
Starts can be farcical in the world of Jumps racing and look no further than the 2.20 to prove the point.
I can’t include a replay for various reasons, but I’d pop the race in your internet and have a watch of the start.
While the best horse may have won, Turning Gold got a ten length headstart with the only other horse who’s jockey was switched on and never saw another rival for the rest of the race.
Whether the beaten jockeys had enough horse under them to reel in the runaway leader is debatable, but you would have liked to have seen a bit more effort coming into the home bend with the eventual winner only going further away.
It ruffled a few feathers on the old tweet machine too…
However, there was relief for punters during the week when it was announced race replays would return from Ireland and the likes of Chelmsford.
While it’s the minimum you could hope for, with many paying Racing TV and membership of the Racing Post for the sole purpose of race replays, it’s good to see the gravy train getting things sorted in relative haste.
Then again, problems like these shouldn’t arise in the first place. Would it happen in football? Not a chance.
Let’s hope when Chester and Ascot make the switch, the transition doesn’t take a few weeks to get sorted.