WE are sometimes told that the few weeks leading up to the Cheltenham Festival are a sort of Phoney War, of much talk yet little action, but it has not seemed that way this year. February has served up some excellent fare in its own right, and last weekend lacked little.

The big Newbury meeting, carried forward from the previous week, featured two Grade 2s and a Grade 3 and had a discernible effect on the betting for the Cheltenham Festival next month.