Madiba Passion kick-starts our week at Southwell today

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Madiba Passion gained his first win under Rules at Huntingdon last month, and off a mark only 3lb higher he will hopefully have solid prospects of following up today at Southwell, where the step up in trip might bring out the best in Roscoe Tara in the handicap hurdle.

We also have a runner at Windsor this evening with the Nathaniel three-year-old Insanity making his debut for Max McNeill and Niall Farrell. Benoit de la Sayette has been booked to ride.

Mount Olympus scored first time out for Barbury at Kempton since being transferred from Eve Johnson Houghton’s stable. He won well on the Sunbury course and hopes are high that he might go in again at Southwell on Tuesday.

Also in action at Southwell is Bit Harsh, who took an 11lb hike for rattling of a hat-trick of wins earlier in the year. However, he has enjoyed a well-earned break since subsequently a beaten favourite off his higher mark at Chelmsford in February, and is now ready to resume.

One of my favourite jump races was the Whitbread Gold Cup, which Alan has won twice under the bet365 Gold Cup banner, with Talkischeap and Potterman. Not only is the three mile and five marathon run over one of the best steeplechase courses in Britain, but it always throws up a story, most recently with Kitty’s Light last April.

I have so many personal memories of the Whitbread in my scrapbook, starting with my much-missed colleague John Oaksey steering Taxiderminst to victory on only the second running, in 1958.

Move on to the 60’s, and we had the majestic Arkle defying the welter burden of 12st 7lb when beating the brave Scottish Grand National winner Brasher, while the best I ever saw and, known by everyone, as ‘Himself’ would not have denied his arch-rival Mill House his moment of glory under David Nicholson in the Sandown feature two years later.

Fast-forward 15 years and we had celebrated a dual Whitbread winner in Diamond Edge, the era when Charles Dingwall, owner of Talkischeap, decided that it was time to stop training and try something else.

Charles went into shipping bloodstock and then managed Prince Ahmed Salman’s Universal Stables through the 80’s and into the 90’s before going farming.

However, he was always keen to get involved in jump racing again, and he has enjoyed plenty of success since joining forces with Alan, not only with Talkischeap but also that grand mare Nina The Terrier, who was a smart novice hurdler a couple of years ago.

‘Nina’ turned seven on New Year’s Day, so Charles felt that it was time to send her off to the paddocks, and he was fortunate enough to book her a slot with Derby winner Golden Horn.” Here’s hoping ………..