Malton trainer Malcolm Jefferson was ecstatic after his Cyrus Darius won the televised Grade 2 hurdle at Aintree last Friday.
Tipped in this column, this imposing six-year-old destroyed a top class field in the style of a future champion.
Malcolm expects him to go to the very top when he goes chasing next season with the Arkle Chase at the Cheltenham Festival very much on the agenda.
Jefferson will be able to gauge the two mile chase opposition when his Oscar Rock runs at Ayr this weekend.
He is engaged on both Friday and Saturday but I hope he takes in the Future Champions Chase on the Saturday.
He has won his last two races and is a nimble jumper who stays well.
Jefferson could also run Cape Tribulation in the Scottish National but preference is for his Malton neighbour Trustan Times.
Tim Easterby trains this horse who mixes hurdling with chasing to great effect. He was third in this race last year and has a featherweight to carry.
Gallant Oscar is nominated as the biggest danger if sent across from Ireland by his shrewd trainer Tony Martin.
My Newmarket ‘mole’ tells me that John Gosden’s Fannaan has been working well and he looks to have Ivawood to beat in the Greenham at Newbury.
He is 33/1 for the 2,000 Guineas but won’t be if winning at the weekend.
The Flat racing season in Yorkshire is cranking up with four great meetings coming up, including Ripon’s opening fixture on Thursday.
The feature race here is the ‘Cock O’ the North’ Handicap where I am looking forward to seeing Little Lady Katie in action. She is trained at Middleham by Karl Burke and was last seen winning a competitive race at Newmarket.
Young Jordan Vaughan takes off a valuable 5lbs and if she has trained on then I hope she can see off Southern raider Tadqeeq.
The local action moves onto Thirsk on Saturday where there is a seven-race card starting at 2:10pm.
Pontefract stage another round of their Stayers championship on Monday where there is also a great sprint race worth £20,000. Catterick also race next Wednesday starting at 2:00pm.
Little Lady Katie - Ripon - Thurs 2:35pm
Oscar Rock - Ayr - Fri 3:05pm or Sat 2:00pm
Fannaan - Newbury - Sat2:50pm
Trustan Times - Ayr - Sat 3:45pm