In what had promised to be one of the races of the season in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle last Saturday at Newcastle, the reigning champion Buveur D’Air just took apart the classy field of five that went to post.
He was absolutely cruising throughout and even though he uprooted the final flight, he was able to easily pull away from Samcro.
On the back of that he looks to be a certainty to give trainer Nicky Henderson a record eighth win in the Christmas Hurdle and, unless Willie Mullins has something in the bag, if the Buveur D’Air of last Saturday shows up at Cheltenham, a third Champion Hurdle seems obvious.
Switching to this weekend, another road trip is on the agenda, as I head up to Aintree for the Becher Chase meeting, a day of racing that I think is totally underrated and, dare I say it, should be the main meeting of the day, not Sandown.
This sister of Brave Inca was sent off the odds-on favourite for her rules debut at Ayr in October where she finished a game second behind a more experienced rival.
She then readily got off the mark at Uttoxeter last time out when upped in distance and with the hood reapplied.
Quri has to carry a 6lb penalty for that win but as she was entered in this race before she was reassessed by the handicapper, she is running off a mark of 111 – this week she was given a mark of 125.
In-form trainer Tom Lacy has put on promising conditional Stan Sheppard who takes 3lbs off her back.
All-weather racing in the winter is always fun as a random high-class race will just appear on a wet Wednesday (for example the Listed Wild Flower Stakes tonight at Kempton), and Lingfield has a bit of class with a 1m2f conditions race featuring the UK return of Toast Of New York.
In fact, this is the race that he won on his racing return last season. However, I am taking him on with Archie Watson’s new recruit Mango Tango.
This daughter of Siyouni was placed in a Group Two in France with Pascal Bary before being sold for €400,000 at the 2016 Arqana Arc sale to go and race in Qatar.
She won the 2016 Qatar Oaks on her Doha debut before winning four additional times including once on the dirt.
Mango Tango has won off similar breaks in the past and thrives on sounder surfaces and handles tight tracks and therefore Lingfield should suit her.
She looks a value play against Toast of New York.
Caught the eye on debut at Chelmsford last month when slightly missing the break, over racing, and then blowing the turn into the stretch before running on well without the clearest of runs.
This son of Holy Roman Emperor will improve for that experience and his main form rival, James Street, must give him a stone in penalties while his other rivals will have to improve massively.
This daughter of Zoffany is the class angle in the Listed Wild Flower Stakes given that she was placed in the 2016 Epsom Oaks, Irish Oaks and German Oaks.
She has been very lightly raced since and overcame a 13-month layoff to run a solid second in the Listed Floodlit Stakes over course and distance last month, on her all-weather debut.
Architecture looked to have needed the run and the cheekpieces go on for the first time for trainer Hugo Palmer, who won this race back in 2016 with Crimean Tatar.