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NEWS: 5 runners over the Christmas period produced some exciting finishes and good results for the yard!! It was exciting for the team to saddle 3 runners on the same card at Kempton and all the horses ran so well and at the level we want to be competing at!! A winner, 2 seconds and 2 thirds last week took the seasons total to 15 wins from 48 runs. It's a fantastic strike rate of 31% which is huge credit to the horses & staff and will be doing everything in our power to keep it going for the rest of the season. REPORTS: DUKE OF MEDINA got the ball rolling with an incredibly gutsy 2nd at Kempton last Sunday. It looked at competitive field on paper with some speedier, higher rated types from the flat and France. Gavin made the running on the Duke and set a decent gallop throughout, he jumped well and was relishing being out there in front. Gavin got a breather in down the back straight and after the 3rd last he kicked on to quicken and gain an advantage. He quickened up extremely well and slipped away from the field turning in. After a good jump at the 2nd last only the Alan King trained Gibalfaro looked capable of pegging the Duke back. It was gutting therefore to get collared in the dying strides as the horse truly didn't deserve it, but a huge step forward nonetheless from the Duke. He has been raised a stone to 138 for the performance so it will be a matter of Fred Winter or Triumph hurdle at the Festival. Next up was ARZAL who ran a hugely gutsy race to finish 3rd in the Grade 2 Wayward Lad chase. It was a very competitive renewal with the likes of Ar Mad and Vaniteux lining up, but he more than deserved his chance with the step up in grade. With 3 front runners in the field the pace was quick and Arzal jumped accurately from the outset in 2nd place behind Ar Mad. Unfortunately he got in tight to the 5th fence and hit it quite hard which put him on the back foot. Gavin didn't panic and filled him up again which meant Arzal was able to come back for more. He got a little tight to a couple of the fences down the home straight, but stayed on really well to only go down by 5 lengths. It was a very encouraging run, especially as the time of the race was 2 and a half seconds quicker than the Grade 2 Desert Orchid chase won by Sprinter Sacre. Arzal is no doubt a better horse going left handed, therefore all roads now lead to the Lightning chase at Doncaster on the 30th January. The final runner on the card was yard debutant AFFAIRE D'HONNEUR , who ran a blinder to finish 2nd in the 0-140 handicap hurdle that ended the card. It was a competitive race, run at a good gallop and he jumped and travelled brilliantly. He travelled away in mid field under Gavin and as the pace lifted turning for home he started to pick off some of the front runners. Unfortunately the eventual winner Zulu Oscar got first run on him, after jumping the 2nd last Affaire D’honneur was always closing on him but the line came too soon. He lost by a length but it was an excellent performance, he is a very exciting recruit to the yard and has been raised 8lb to a mark of 132. The Betfair Hurdle at Newbury could well be his next target. The yards next runner of the festive period was BIG SOCIETY , who finished 3rd in the Mandarin Chase at Newbury on the 29th December. He travelled better on this occasion but the higher class of race meant his jumping always put him on the back foot. Gavin took his time and when they turned into the straight he looked to have every chance. He came to the last within a length of long time leader Silvergrove, but missed the last and lost all his momentum. He plugged on up the run in to finish a close 3rd. This was a career best from the horse, he should continue to be competitive off a revised mark of 126. We had a huge turn out in a box at the races for the Hill Barn Racing Club which was fantastic and made for an excellent day. Roll on the next run!!! BIGMARTRE was the final runner of 2015 - after some near misses over the Christmas period he got the job done under a penalty at Haydock on the 30th December. He made the running under Nico de Boinville and thankfully didn’t see another rival. He travelled strongly from the front and jumped very efficiently throughout the race, putting pressure on the rest of the field. Nico stacked up the field before winding it up from half way down the back straight. He went clear jumping the 3rd last but market leader Vintage Clouds loomed up coming to the last. Bigmartre produced his best leap of the race and stayed on strongly up the run in to record his 2nd win for the yard. It was a classy performance and he’s now earned his chance up in grade. He will therefore head back to Haydock for a grade 2 over 2m at the end of January. RUNNERS: QASSER has been declared to run at Huntingdon tomorrow in a 2m handicap hurdle at - 2.40 . He ran a career best when 2nd at Doncaster the last day but has been raised 8lb as a result. It is a competitive 17 runner field tomorrow which includes some progressive horses and some handicap debutants. Qasser should be competitive but he will need to produce a career best to win. The track should really suit him and he goes there in great form. FOUROVAKIND will be declared for the rescheduled Welsh National on Saturday at 3.25 , but to get a run will need 7 rivals above him in the handicap to come out. The heavy ground, the track and the step up in trip will be right up his street. It would be the most competitive chase he has contested, but he has the form to run well and is in excellent form at home. If he doesn’t get in the Classic Chase at Warwick will be the alternative the following Saturday. Until next week