Bank Holiday weather brings the crowds to Plumpton

THE EASTER Festival at Plumpton over the Bank Holiday weekend attracted over 12,000 people across the course of its two days and the attendance certainly benefited from the wonderful weather the area has recently enjoyed, writes Jason Hall.

The quantity of runners at the meeting was not quite as impressive but there were certainly plenty of races that provided an exciting spectacle for the gathered crowd to enjoy.

One such contest was the feature handicap hurdle on the first day where Tri Nations returned to form with a resolute effort on the run in.

The majority of the field had been in with a realistic chance of victory jumping the last and it was not until the last fifty yards that it became clear he would narrowly prevail.

The Sheena West trained Screaming Brave had jumped the final flight disputing the lead but his welter burden took its toll, though there is also a growing suspicion that he may not be the toughest character in training.

The handicapper will have been delighted with his efforts in this race with the runners finishing in a heap and whilst all the runners are capable, it is difficult to identify any one of them as particularly progressive and worth following.

If there is one horse to take from the meeting that could prove to have a good deal of improvement in him, I would suggest Health Is Wealth.

He followed up his impressive win here at the previous meeting with a similarly facile success in the novice handicap chase.

Admittedly he has beaten only modest fare in both starts but he is starting from a very lowly mark and it would appear the quickening ground conditions have benefited him considerably.

As a son of Anshan that is not a surprise and with a pedigree that strongly suggests a more exacting test of stamina will ultimately suit him well, he strikes me as a horse who could continue to progress through to a higher grade yet.

The bid by the Suzy Smith trained Aimigayle to win the prestigious Gold Cup at Sandown last Saturday unfortunately was something of an anti climax.

Having raced prominently until after the last of the Railway fences, the mare faded to finish in a distant midfield position.

Initially it appeared that the mare had failed to see out the marathon trip but word afterwards suggested that she had injured herself during the race.

However, despite my best efforts to confirm this with connections, it is a rumour which remains unconfirmed.

Golan Way, the young novice chaser trained by Sheena West, is due to go to the Punchestown Festival next week.

Having run so well at Aintree after returning from a lengthy break, it is hoped that his jumping will improve on a right handed track.

If that hope becomes a reality, there is a very good chance Golan Way can return home with some good Irish loot in the bag.

The first Classic races of the flat season take place this weekend at Newmarket and the racing world is united in its hope that Frankel can win the 2000 Guineas and take a big step towards fulfilling the superlatives that are being lavished upon him.

I have seen this scenario on countless occasions in the past where the media build a horse up out of all proportion.

In this instance however, I do actually support the theory that he could be a star.

Experience tempers my enthusiasm to back that opinion with hard cash as it is a view held and promoted by too many others, resulting in odds which represent no value whatsoever.

However, it does remain a race to savour.