Doncaster is always considered as one of the fairest jump and flat courses in the country and a very good grounding for novices, which was proven at the Cheltenham Festival last week.
On Tuesday, the first day of the big meeting, the opening race is the Supreme Novices Hurdle and it was Vautour who produced a scintillating performance under Ruby Walsh to ease to victory over a couple of Nicky Henderson novices, Josses Hill and Vaniteux.
The pair had both won on Town Moor in February as a prep run for this, and performed with real credit here behind a very very smart individual indeed.
In the following race, The Arkle, there was a big shock as 33/1 outsider Western Warhorse reeled back long-time leader Champagne Fever right on the line under Tom Scudamore.
Of course, Western Warhorse had only had one previous chase start and that was a victory right here on Town Moor ahead of Victor Hewgo, who has won again since at the course. It took only half an hour for another last-time-out Doncaster winner to score, as Holywell took the Bayliss and Harding Handicap Chase under a very good ride by Richie McLernon.
Holywell is another horse who had narrowly beaten Victor Hewgo last time, another timely boost for that horse’s chances at Aintree at the Grand National meeting.
In the final race of the week, the Grand Annual on the Friday, Next Sensation very nearly made all under Richard Johnson but remains a horse that could be contesting those big two-mile races next season as his jumping is so good. He showed this on his previous start on Town Moor when he demolished a good field of novices.
Away from Cheltenham, David Pipe recorded his fourth consecutive Midlands National at Uttoxeter when Goulanes won under a confident ride from Richard Johnson. Wearing a tongue tie for the first time he wore down Alpha Victor and long-time leader West End Rocker, who finished third.