IT is jumping all the way on turf from now on, following the end of the Flat season at Doncaster on Saturday.
On Monday, Carlisle welcomes the reappearance of Cappa Bleu, who was last seen when finishing fourth in last season’s Grand National to Neptune Collonges.
Trained in Wales by Evan Williams, the ten-year-old turns out in the featured Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Graduation Chase over an extended three miles and will have the services of Paul Moloney.
It is a long way back to Aintree if another National tilt is on the cards for Cappa Bleu, but there are likely to be a few major long-distance options for the gelding before then and this race should be ideal in putting him on the right track.
Williams has clearly identified this event as a good option for Cappa Bleu, and having journeyed him a long way, there must be every chance that he will be fit enough to do himself justice. If so, he will be hard to beat.
Williams also has good prospects with Triptico in the Join Now At rewards4racing.com Beginners’ Chase.
Winner of a bumper and a hurdle, Triptico promises to be even more effective over fences. Proven on deep ground, which he faces on Monday, he should go well.
Papa Caruso may prove the answer to the Border City Handicap Chase.
Trained by Sue Smith, who has a good record on this course, the gelding clearly goes well fresh, having won first time out last season at Newcastle. He had only one other outing last term, an unplaced effort in strong company, and so remains a horse of interest and potential. He is awarded the nap vote.
Scottish trainer Nick Alexander is going great guns this season and, having saddled doubles last week at Musselburgh and Hexham, he has another chance of a winner with Tipsy Dara in the Watch Racing UK On Sky432 Handicap Chase.
The eight-year-old mare made a winning reappearance at Hexham last month. She can follow up in this opening event, with the trainer’s daughter, Lucy Alexander, in the saddle.
At Southwell, Malton-born jockey Andrew Tinkler has a good ride on Makari in the Izzy And Zara Novices’ Hurdle.
Having shown a fair level of ability in bumpers, the five-year-old, trained by Nicky Henderson, made a winning debut over hurdles at Fakenham last month.
Makari is a long way short of the star performers of Henderson’s power-packed Lambourn stable, but promises to pay his way this season.
The promising Kilvergan Boy (1.10) and Imperial Leader (3.50), runner-up in both his races last season, can provide Nigel Twiston-Davies with a Southwell double.
Tom O'Ryan's selections
Carlisle (Monday) 12.50 Tipsy Dara, 1.20 Smart Act, 1.55 Papa Caruso (NAP), 2.25 Cappa Bleu, 2.55 Julia Too, 3.30 Triptico, 4.00 Cloud Creeper.
Southwell (Monday) 12.40 Tornade d’Estuval, 1.10 Kilvergan Boy, 1.45 Makari, 2.15 Joseph Lister, 2.45 Performance Review, 3.20 Tower, 3.50 Imperial Leader.
Tuesday's meetings: Huntingdon, Lingfield and Sedgefield.