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Carruthers and co back in winning form 21/01/09

The great form of many of Kayf Tara’s progeny continued throughout the first few weeks of the new year. Despite so much racing being lost to the cold snap, he has had six winners since the start of 2009.

The first of these marked the welcome return of Carruthers, making his first appearance since 31 October in only his second start over fences. Having finished runner-up to the highly regarded What A Friend on his chasing debut at Uttoxeter, Lord Oaksey’s six-year-old gelding strode out confidently from the off to record a 29-length victory in the Weatherbys Beginners’ Chase at Fakenham. Connections are hoping for another run before a possible tilt at the RSA Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Tara Taylor only set foot on a racecourse for the first time in November, when finishing third in a Taunton bumper, and the Charlie Longsdon-trained mare has now converted that early promise to a win on her third start. A battling run at Folkestone on 13 January saw her prevail by a short-head and she will be one to follow when she switches to hurdles.

The highly promising duo of Mad Max and Planet Of Sound combined for a Newbury double on 14 January, their victories being recorded in consecutive races. Mad Max is now four runs for four wins, including a G2 bumper on the same track last season. The seven-year-old coped admirably with the step up in trip to 2m3f from his previous victory at Ascot and his performance led to him being cut to as short as 6/1 for the G1 Ballymore Properties Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham.

Also potentially Festival-bound is the novice chaser Planet Of Sound, already a winner over course and distance before justifying favouritism to run out the four-length victor of the Pheasant Inn Novices’ Chase. The Philip Hobbs-trained gelding has now won four and been placed four times in ten starts.

Planet of Sound’s stablemate Tarablaze is another consistent performer and recorded his second victory under rules on 17 January at Haydock. G2-placed on his last outing at Chepstow, the six-year-old also won a point-to-point in Ireland before being bought by Aiden Murphy for Diana Whateley, who is also the owner of the Kayf Tara winners Cryptic and The Kornati Kid.

Strokestown is his sire’s latest scorer and is another successful convert from the Irish point-to-pointing field. He recorded his first victory between the flags in April and, since joining Donald McCain Jr’s stable, has won twice, including coping with Somme-like conditions in his first hurdle race at Sedgefield on 20 January, and has finished second on his only other start under rules.

In the coming weeks, we will be taking a closer look at Kayf Tara’s ever-growing raft of hopefuls for the Cheltenham Festival, which is held from 10 to 13 March.