1. Both Monkerhostin and Lacdoudal are past winners of this race, but can they beat the young buck Fairoak Lad?
It's a big call for Monkerhostin with top weight at 13 years of age, but he seems in good form, has a good claimer on board and the ground will be fine. Lacdoudal also likes Sandown, so hopefully he'd also have an each-way squeak. Fairoak Lad is progressive and will be suited well by the trip. I suppose he has the best chance of the three.
2. The rest of us were distracted by Denman's antics, but presumably you were less surprised by Planet Of Sound's Punchestown success this week?
Take away what I might have thought – he was second or third best on all the ratings, so why was he ever 25-1? I didn't realistically think that he could beat Denman, but he was only ever forgotten because of that one run, in the Ryanair Chase, when he gurgled. I'd hope he will make a King George horse next season.
3. How do you account for your stable's strong finish to the season, with several progressive types – like recent Cheltenham scorer Captain Chris – to the fore?
So many of our horses were waiting for the ground. We had to aim for early March with them, but only had that brief window round the Festival and then the ground got wet again. But yes – suddenly, at long last, we seem to have some class ones again. We've missed them for a year or two.Reuse content