Champ AP had what looked like a horrendous fall on Friday, when Rebecca Curtis’ Keep Presenting jumped on it’s side over the first obstacle throwing AP onto the ground, where he was kicked on the ground. But somehow he came away un-skaved only needing oxygen, and after ten minutes was able to walk into the course ambulance …the man is a machine! And he’s back in action today at Huntingdon, with four rides.

This fall meant that he had to miss his ride on Phillip Hobbs’ Colour Squadron at Newton Abbot, where he was to line up against Taquin De Seuil, Wonderful Charm, Double Ross and Black Thunder. Tom O’Brien took the ride on Colour Squadron, but once again the horse showed us that he doesn’t like winning. O’Brien was left in front to early after Double Ross lost Jamie Moore after bumping into the pair at the 12th. Wonderful Charm was the best on the day for Paul Nicholls and new stable jockey Sam Twiston-Davies, with Taquin De Seuil disappointing back in third – the horse couldn’t have been fit. The race was nothing to get excited about unfortunately, but Cheltenham this weekend is sure to change that.

Rebecca Curtis announced at the beginning of the week that RSA winner O’Faolains Boy may be out for the season, with some niggling injuries holding the horse back. Teaforthree won’t make an appearance until the new year, where we will see him in one prep run before another tilt at the Grand National. And At Fishers Cross is reported to be as good as ever, and is expected to stay hurdling with another go at the World Hurdle most likely.

It was good to see Bryan Cooper back after a horrific leg break at the Cheltenham Festival back in March which left him unsure of his racing career when it first happened. After a huge operation and a skin graft he was back on Sunday when partnering Guitar Pete for his old boss Dessie Hughes at Listowel, where the pair finished third.

Saturday’s National Hunt card at Chepstow saw a handful of exciting prospects making their seasonal reappearance. Monbeg Dude was one that really impressed me when finishing second in the John Ayres Memorial Handicap Chase, to Victors Serenade. It was a cracking first run of the season, and connections have since said that a tilt at the Bechers Chase at Aintree may be on the agenda next. Southfield Theatre came out an easy winner and is one to watch for the season, as is Rebecca Curtis’ Relentless Dreamer, who is sure to have more to come.

Phillip Hobbs had a bumper double on the weekend with Duke Des Champs winning at Chepstow and Rock The Kasbah at Ffos Las. Runner up in the Ffos Las bumper, Scorpiancer, is one to keep an eye out for too. They were the icing on the cake for Hobbs after winning the Cesarewitch with Big Easy. With Tom Queally in the saddle, Big Easy improved on his runner up effort in last month’s Cesarewitch Trial with a high quality staying performance. He was always towards the fore on the inner rail and was strongest through the closing strides of the two and a quarter mile stamina test, repelling De Rigueur and the favourite Quick Jack. It nice to see Tom Queally get a big win under his belt for the season, after losing some quality horses over the last couple of seasons.

Australia was the recent star to be retired to stud this week, after connections discovering a bit of soreness in the heel, which could possibly be a hoof abscess. Oaks and King George winner Taghrooda was another to be sent into retirement, aswell as Coral Eclipse winner Mukhadram. Captain Cee Bee, winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at the 2008 Cheltenham Festival, has also been retired at the age of 13. But on the flip side it was announced that Treve was to come out of her very brief spell of retirement, with a third success in the Arc the main aim.

by Maria Evans

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