IT’S been an eventful old week in the world of horse racing.
Take a look at our latest instalment of Hotpots and Howlers, where we pick out the good, the bad and the downright ugly from the last seven days.
The genius of Willie Mullins knows no bounds.
As well as notching up a double at Fairyhouse on Sunday, the Closutton maestro sent out both the first and second in the beginners’ chase.
This wouldn’t sit particularly high on his all-time achievement list, but you can guarantee he’ll have enjoyed seeing Annamix power to victory.
You may remember Rich Ricci’s grey sitting at the top of the market for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle a few years ago – before he’d even set foot on a racecourse in Britain or Ireland.
Sadly he was never quite up to Graded standard over hurdles but judged on his debut over fences, he could be the real deal.
Always prominent, he dispatched smart yardstick Voix Des Tiep with impressive ease and is sure to be stepped up in grade now.
Mullins has never given up on his hype horse – and for good reason.
Dan Skelton will be champion trainer sooner rather than later, of that I have no doubt.
The man is methodical in the extreme and knows every inch of his huge string, from head to haunches to hoof.
And his decision to appeal the Cheltenham stewards’ decision to demote Protektorat on New Year’s Day was a sensible one, if one that shouldn’t have been necessary.
Skelton will have been delighted to see his appeal vindicated, but the whole fiasco just emphasises a wider problem.
There need to be stricter guidelines for raceday officials, otherwise situations like this one will continue to rear their ugly head.
Poor old Waiting Paitently, and poor old Ruth Jefferson.
The apple of the northern trainer’s eye has had more rotten luck than Oliver Twist, and his latest setback is just another in a litany of events Jefferson will want to forget.
Waiting Patiently has a huge amount of class but unfortunately, unless you can remain injury-free, that class can be left in its horsebox.
As Patrick Mullins said of Douvan earlier in the week: “He’s the best we’ve ever had but he can’t stay sound, which is very sad.”
Jefferson will recognise those words but, unlike Mullins, she has no abundance of stars.
It will be a painful road back, but hopefully her superstar can return to the racecourse next year.
The Altior debacle has been covered to death this week, but one point leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.
Nicky Henderson effectively admitted he would have run his stable star in the Silviniaco Conti Chase after all, but such was the ill-feeling in social channels and amongst he media, he decided against it.
The BHA failed to reveal Henderson had rung them well before all the mess, and once again the premier officiating body finds itself embroiled in scandal.
Nick Rust must wonder what he has to do to keep his ship straight.