Get set for a happy New Year
David John with the latest update on horses to follow in National Hunt Notebook 2012/13.
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You can't accuse Colin Tizzard of swerving an opportunity as he continues to pitch Third Intention in against the best novice chasers this season.
The five-year-old's latest quest was taking on Dynaste and company in the Feltham on Boxing Day at Kempton over three miles and once again he ran his heart out to claim third in the Grade 1 contest.
That effort followed a similar placing behind Captain Conan at Sandown and all the time he is gaining valuable experience over the bigger obstacles while paying for his upkeep at the same time.
I am still of the opinion that something around two and half miles will suit him ideally and perhaps Tizzard sees him as a likely type for one of the festival handicaps in the spring.
The new entries to the list this week are New Year's Eve and Diplomat.
The former proved himself a useful bumper horse last season and his debut over timber behind River Maigue at Kempton promised plenty for the future.
I am sure he will tidy up his hurdling technique, particularly with the criminally underused Denis O'Regan now the main man riding for trainer John Ferguson this season.
He clearly has a decent engine and is an exciting prospect so it will be fascinating to see how far up the ranks he can climb. In the shorter term, he is nailed on for a novice event soon.
Across the Irish Sea, juvenile hurdler Diplomat took to the track at Leopardstown and was a short-priced favourite in the maiden hurdle for AP McCoy and Dermot Weld.
He travelled well in a good position all the way round and came to win his race off the home turn but rather fluffed the last flight as Flaxen Flare scooted clear for the victory.
Diplomat looks worth a close look next time and prove those debut expectations were not totally misplaced.