LAST weekend was Festival Trials Day at Cheltenham and it really was a day for the purists, writes Martin Higgs.

Five winners for the home team and three for our ‘friends’ over from the Emerald Isle.  Two of the ‘home five’ were local to us with Elixir De Nutz (pictured) and Ginny’s Destiny.  

The former was a first Grade 1 winner for trainer Joe Tizzard and he lowered the colours of the mighty Jonbon.  Freddie Gingell (Joe’s nephew) has built up a strong partnership with this likeable grey and they are now 3 wins from 3 runs, it’s a real thrill watching them and a credit to all involved.  

Ginny’s Destiny, who is trained by Paul Nicholls, has now won on his last 3 runs at Cheltenham and he has 2 entries in the book for March. 

He will hopefully go to the Turners and at 9/1 is cracking each way value, no runner no bet, and must surely be on any short list.

Grand National winner Noble Yeats turned up for the Cleeve Hurdle and secured victory under a fine ride from Harry Cobden.  His trainer, Emmet Mullins is unconventional in his plans, to say the least, and is bordering on ‘genius’ status with some of his decisions and plots.

Don’t ever under-estimate the chances of a horse under his guidance, even if the situation looks challenging.  Noble Yeats will now head to the Stayers Hurdle at the Festival, I am not sure there will have been many Grand National winners go on to win that race, however rest assured he will be there at the business end.  

The star of the day in my book was Lossiemouth, she bolted up in the Unibet Hurdle and looks a banker for the Mares Hurdle in March.  She’s a lovely grey mare who continues to improve and may well give the mighty Constitution Hill something to think about next season.

The other horse I want to mention is Embassy Gardens, he won very easily in Ireland on Sunday and looks set for the National Hunt Chase at the Festival in March and well worth a small investment, no runner, no bet.  It’s a route his trainer Willie Mullins has used before with Stattler in 2022.

We next race at Taunton on Tuesday 6th February with the first race scheduled for 1:50pm. 

If you fancy joining us, early bird tickets (saving at least £5 per head) are available on our website or you can turn up on the day and pay on the gate.