Festival movers, ante-post uproar, jet set jockeys and more in weekly round-up
Performances of the week
An absence not far short of two years proved no stumbling block for Faugheen in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown. The nine-year-old looked as good as ever when dominating his three opponents, and if he can stay sound then a second Champion Hurdle could be at his mercy.
Apple's Shakira's big sister Apple's Jade is one of the best mares in training over jumps, and Apple's Shakira looks like she could be destined for the top after a superb debut for Nicky Henderson.
She careered away in the straight to win the Triumph Hurdle trial with ease, and she is now favourite for the juvenile championship at the Cheltenham Festival.
Disappointment of the week
Last season's Arkle winner Altior is one of the brightest stars around so news of absence from the Tingle Creek due to a wind problem was a major blow.
The drama did not end there, however, as the circumstances surrounding the announcement of the setback by Nicky Henderson on his Unibet blog drew criticism on social media, after which the BHA took the unusual step of releasing a statement stressing the importance of the public having "full confidence in betting markets".
Henderson then hit back at the critics who questioned the method and timing of the revelation.
Poignant victories of the week
There were a few tears shed alongside the wild celebrations after Splash Of Ginge's popular success in the BetVictor Gold Cup but no winner was more emotional, or timely, than Finian's Oscar at Cheltenham on Friday, coming just days following the death of his owner Alan Potts at the age of 80.
"There was a little bit of Alan Potts in this win," Finian's Oscar's trainer Colin Tizzard said afterwards. "When push came to shove he came up with the answer, just as his owner did."
The Potts colours were back in the winner's enclosure on Sunday, as Fox Norton claimed the Shloer Chase to provide a fitting bookend.
Endeavour of the week
Flat jockey Simon Pearce rode out his claim this week, 11 long years after his first success. This wasn't just any old winner as the 31-year-old registered the all-important 95th victory 3,500 miles away in Philadelphia on Monday.
Pearce is clearly not one to rest on his laurels as he's preparing to return to the boxing ring to fight Nicky Mackay at a charity boxing event on Saturday.
Picture of the week
Get well soon, Ruby
It was great to see Faugheen back on track and as good as ever when winning at Punchestown, but one of the major parts of his success story was missing.
For the first time since 2014, the jockey aboard the nine-year-old was not Ruby Walsh. Instead Paul Townend got to experience the thrill of riding the star hurdler, with Walsh sidelined after breaking his leg in a fall on Saturday.
The signs are Walsh will be back for the Cheltenham Festival, and knowing jump jockeys' constitutions, it will be in advance of that.
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