Geordie B (Timeform rating h136p) - Newbury, Thursday 7 November
Diablo de Rouhet identified himself as a horse on the up when making it three wins from four starts since joining Nicky Henderson in last week's Pertemps qualifier at Newbury, while there were several eye-catching displays from those in his wake, too, with Geordie B certainly appealing as one to follow after staying on to finish fourth in a race that didn't play to his strengths.
For a start the ground was probably faster than he would prefer it, while the pace was only steady to three out, which placed the emphasis even more on speed. Geordie B, who is very much in the mould of an out-and-out stayer, did well under the circumstances to finish as close as he did, keeping on again after initially being outpaced when the tempo lifted to be beaten only seven lengths.
There's undoubtedly better to come from him when conditions are more in his favour, still retaining bags of potential aged six and with so little racing under his belt. Venetia Williams
A second winner of the afternoon for Nicky Henderson - this time with Diablo De Rouhet in the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle under Nico de Boinville pic.twitter.com/sveTCNQtd7— Newbury Racecourse (@NewburyRacing) November 7, 2019
Domaine de l'Isle (Timeform rating c118+) - Newbury, Thursday 7 November
The penultimate contest on that Newbury card was a competitive handicap chase which threw up an enthralling finish, with Azzerti finding plenty to get the narrow verdict over Chef d'Equipe after a sustained duel on the run-in. However, as gripping as their battle was, the eye couldn't help but be drawn to the finishing effort of Domaine de l'Isle, who could manage only sixth but still showed enough to suggest that he is on a fair mark in this sphere.
Making just his second start for Sean Curran after previously being trained by Emmanuel Clayeux in France, he was held up in the early stages and still had plenty to do four out. He began to make good headway from the second last, though, and was doing his best work at the finish, never nearer than the seven and a half lengths he was beaten at the line. He looks likely to be best suited by longer trips on that evidence and is one to follow, with further improvement a distinct possibility given his lightly-raced profile for this yard. Sean Curran
Sao (Timeform rating c125p) - Kempton, Monday 11 November
The 2¼m handicap chase won by Darebin at Kempton on Monday was a useful event of its type, though it ended up a fair bit less competitive than might otherwise have been the case, with a few of those making their seasonal reappearances seemingly not quite at concert pitch yet and several of the better-fancied ones undone by mistakes.
Sao certainly comes into the latter category and it's no exaggeration to suggest he may even have won this had things gone more his way. Dropped out in the early stages, he was hampered when Pointed And Sharp unseated his rider at the third, but even worse was to come at the very next fence, where Sao slithered badly on landing and found himself on the backfoot as a result.
The five-year-old did extremely well under the circumstances to recover and finish as close as he did, ultimately going down by only six lengths. The penny is starting to drop on this evidence, and, with his chasing career still only two starts old, he's worth keeping an eye on in similar company. Paul Nicholls