RACECOURSES have decided to move around races due to the weather conditions over the past week. You can understand Navan’s decision to pull forward the bumper and push the chases to the end of the card to provide the longest thaw and the best going over fences. It will have very little effect on racegoers who are happy to stay to the end.

Punchestown moved their feature hurdle to the first race last Sunday. You can see the point with two 22-runner maiden hurdles to come up the track on heavy ground. But five Grade 2 runners could probably race wide if needed for better going. I can’t help agreeing with a reader who said : “Like most racegoers with a bit of a stretch in the evenings I look forward to going racing a bit later in the day. I was surprised to see that Punchestown is starting at 12.10 and that the early start is to suit the runners in the first race. They should be suiting the racegoers needs not the horse who don’t care what time they race at!”

Phoenix boost from Little Big Bear

ROYAL Ascot’s top two-year-old races were often the source of the year’s top two-year-olds and have produced few classic winners.

However, it has been a while since the meeting threw up the top-rated juvenile at the end of the season.

More often in recent years its two-year-old group race winners were in danger of being plucked to go to stud at the end of their season. (Mehmas was second in the Coventry).

It’s more surprising to realise that last season the top two-year-old colt in Europe contested the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot and, indeed, only won it by a neck.

Little Big Bear took the honours by way of his subsequent two Curragh wins by four and a half lengths in the Anglesey and by seven in the Phoenix Stakes. It might be considered a surprise that no late season colt emerged to trump that August success but hopefully the exciting colt returns with the same panache he showed last year.

James Flaherty


The Arkle would be some race if there was no Turners and these all turned up…

Jonbon, Mighty Potter, Appreciate It, Dysart Dynamo, Flame Bearer, El Fabiolo, Banbridge, Sir Gerhard, Saint Roi.

Andy Cummins


Phenomenal training performance to get Abandonedduetofrost over the line in the Clarence House.

That was nearly as good as his Welsh National double in 1995 & 1996.

Tony Keenan


Three 160+ horses in a race at Thurles. Good for them.