Friday January 6

January is always one of Alan’s quietest months, simply because just before Christmas every year he vaccinates a lot of the horses, and those that were treated only resumed fast work last week so, consequently, it will be the second half of the month before we are back to normal.

However, with milder weather forecast for this week-end Alan is hoping to have runners at Sandown tomorrow and Fontwell on Sunday, and, assessing their chances, he said:”Coeur de Lion runs in the Juvenile Hurdle at Sandown. He is a progressive young horse and, having won gamely on his jumping debut at Wetherby, he ran an excellent race to finish second to Defi du Seuil at Cheltenham.

“That looks strong form with the winner going on to follow-up in the Finale Junior Hurdle at Chepstow, and Coeur de Lion is all about stamina so should be suited by this stiff track.

“We also run Chocala there in the closing handicap hurdle. He is still a maiden over hurdles, but he travels well in his races and, having run very well in two and a half mile novices at Newbury and Wincanton this season, he might be suited coming back to two miles. He is rated 127 and could be competitive off that mark.

“My Khaleesi will go for the mares maiden hurdle at Fontwell on Sunday. She got no further than the second on her jumping debut, but she put that behind her when finishing second in a Listed mares novice at Haydock and she was a decent bumper who won’t be inconvenienced by dropping down in trip here.

“We have to sweat to see whether Royal Plaza will make the cut for the two mile and three handicap hurdle as he has a number one ballot number. He is back in good form and, despite topweight, we are looking forward to getting him rolling again.”