Racing Performance of the Week: Min, Politologue, Star Gate or Vieux Lion Rouge?
We look over the standout runners from the week just gone
Last week saw the long-awaited return of crowds at racecourses – and there was some top-class racing for them to enjoy, including the Tingle Creek and the John Durkan.
We’ve picked out a shortlist of last week’s most impressive horses – who do you think should take top spot?
Min sealed a record third win in the John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase yesterday. He held off a late surge from stablemate Tornado Flyer to clinch the hat-trick, leading a one-two-three for Willie Mullins in the Grade 1 feature.
The meeting had been in doubt due to thick fog on the day, though Min’s quality was clear to see as he clinched a seventh Grade 1 victory.
His last run prior to this saw his first Cheltenham Festival success in the Ryanair Chase – we go 8/1 at this early stage that he repeats that win in March.
Politologue took advantage of Altior’s absence to win the Tingle Creek Chase for the second time in front of the returning Sandown crowd. He went clear and rode out strongly to score by seven lengths.
Harry Skelton had steered Politologue to success in the Queen Mother Champion Chase in March and the pair teamed up for another Grade 1 triumph here.
It was also Paul Nicholls’ 11th Tingle Creek win, with another Nicholls’ runner, Greaneteen, coming second.
Star Gate’s future looks very bright after sauntering home in the Ballymore Winter Novices’ Hurdle at Sandown to maintain his unbeaten record.
The step up in class didn’t seem to pose a problem for the Evan Williams-trained four-year-old. In difficult conditions, he showed a good turn of foot to charge up the hill and establish an unassailable lead between the final two flights.
With only three runners here, you sense that he’d be even better in a more strongly run race.
Vieux Lion Rouge
Vieux Lion Rouge stormed home to win the Becher Chase for a second time at Aintree. Rolling back the years, the 11-year-old jumped into the lead at the second last and sped away to win by 24 lengths.
Only eight of the 14 runners made it home, with Walk In The Mill’s bid for a historic threepeat ending at the Chair.
Vieux Lion Rouge seems to love the famous Aintree course though, making it home on all nine of his starts there. He’s now jumped a total of 223 Grand National fences. Speaking after the race, trainer David Pipe said he’s now considering giving him a fifth crack at the Grand National.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication