Three runners this afternoon, with Finnegan Paddy in action at Fontwell Park, and Khorun and Aland Islands both racing at Hexham.

J P McManus is a new owner to the yard and his Aland Islands is a horse I have always thought plenty of, so I was delighted to see him make a winning debut in the 2m4f novices’ hurdle under Richard Johnson. Always travelling and jumping well, he made his move around the home turn and despite needing to be pushed out to the line, Richard never needed to get serious on him and he ran out a comfortable winner. Though he looks every inch a chaser in the making and will be seen at his best when sent over the larger obstacles in the future, I am very excited by his prospects in novice hurdles this season.

Khorun unfortunately put in a below-par performance on ground that might have been soft enough for him, but there was plenty of promise in Finnegan Paddy’s run at Fontwell on what was his first start over hurdles, and I am sure he will improve significantly both with experience and a step up in trip in future.