THE Racing Post website carried a photograph, this week, of Footpad jumping to victory in last season’s Arkle Novices Steeplechase. He is captured mid-air, in striking fashion – like a startled hare or a running dear, all power and speed, unleashed like a giant spring.

The remarkable thing about the best racing photographers is that they capture a sense of movement in a still image – the explosive power of a firework, frozen in time and yet bursting with energy. That’s what I love about this time of year: The Gunpowder Plot.

Remember, remember the Fifth of November – bonfires, fireworks and the all the excitement of the forthcoming jump racing season. I don’t know about treason (the Government is doing quite a good job of bringing itself down without any additional help from would be Guys), but there are plots aplenty.

The article about Footpad, for example, outlined plans for the Willie Mullins trained chaser to step up in distance for the three-mile King George VI Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. Unbeaten in five novice chases last term, Footpad is like a rocket with the fuse lit – he has the flare, but watch through your fingers because he could go anywhere!

Elsewhere in the press, Sue and Harvey Smith explained that they weren’t too disappointed about Vintage Clouds missing the cut for the Grand National last April – they say he’s stronger now and a small rise in the weights (for finishing third in the Scottish National) should put him in prime position to take advantage in the 2019 running.

The largest ‘chocolate firework’ in history was three metres high and half as wide, containing 60kg of Swiss chocolates which it distributed across Zurich on New Year’s Eve 2002. Similar treats are falling, like confetti, all around us this weekend. Charlie Hall Chase day at Wetherby heralds the starting point of the season for many top horses. And while there are some doubts as to whether Thistlecrack will line up for the feature race, our selection for Saturday is Oscar Rose in the listed mares’ hurdle.

Over at Ayr, also on Saturday, the previous Kelso winner Shades of Midnight makes his seasonal debut over hurdles. Having met one of his Hawick-based owners at a local business awards lunch (where he picked up two prizes on behalf of the famous Cashmere producing Johnstons of Elgin), it’s apparent that the team is keen to win more Kelso prize money and will be back for the Paris Pike Novices Chase on Sunday, December 9.

Optimism is rife at this time of year. I’m heading down to the bookies to put a win-treble on Footpad for the King George VI Chase, Thistlecrack for the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Vintage Clouds for the Grand National – and if those fireworks misfire, then I’ve obviously got everything bang out of order.