Good to soft ground forecast at Newbury for their first jumps card of the season and in the novice hurdle I hope to see Soaring Glory (12.55) give weight and a beating to his eleven rivals who include the fascinating hurdling newcomers Amarillo Sky and Dusart.
The selection – 6/5 with Boylesports – beat Tuesday’s facile Exeter winner Bravemansgame at Chepstow on his hurdling debut when his smart turn of foot got jockey Jonjo O’Neill, who rode the horse very confidently, out of a hole. That success was gained on good ground but there is no further rain forecast for Berkshire and he can have too much pace at the minimum trip for Amarillo Sky, who cost £280,000 back in March following his point win in Ireland, and Simonsig’s half-brother Dusart who makes his racecourse debut for Nicky Henderson. Note the latter – 9/4 from 4s – has been well supported in the opening salvos for the Lambourn handler
The Beginners’ Chase is a belter and, despite the doubts surrounding the form of the Colin Tizzard yard, I cannot get away from the claims of The Big Getaway (1.30) last seen finishing the Best of British when fourth in the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival back in March.
That was the first time the 6-y-old had met with defeat following a point win and two novice hurdle successes. The selection’s Festival performance came at a time when the stable was, largely, out of sorts and he could easily go to the very top over fences. The stable has had several horses run well of late, but few first-time-out winners and that is the big worry. He is one of my Horses To Follow this term, however, and I will be disappointed if he is not ready to do himself justice on his seasonal reappearance. He is likely to drift from his opening 8/13.
Gran Luna (2.00) was being aimed at the valuable sales Bumper here at the end of March before racing was cancelled in the spring having won here on debut the previous month. That form took a knock when runner up Whiskey Lullaby was beaten at Ayr, but that ground was desperate, and she was outstayed by a smart sort of Rose Dobbin. Gran Luna – 4/7 at 10bet – has the scope for hurdles and is held in high regard at the Henderson yard.
In the 3m handicap hurdle three horses are going for their respective hat-tricks including Present Chief (2.30) who has been raised 18lbs for two facile wins on good ground in recent weeks. If conditions are no worse than good to soft, then I feel he can continue to defy the handicapper. The 11/2 each way with William Hill – 4 places – looks fair. Henderson’s progressive Fugitives Drift look the obvious danger.
Johnbb is a promising chaser who I feel we will hear more of this term, but Morning Vicar (3.05) drops back in trip having pulled his way to the front at Uttoxeter on his reappearance and he did very well, in the circumstances, to finish runner up. A 3lbs rise is fair and I hope to see him more amenable to restraint with that run under his belt. Nicky Henderson loves to have winners at his local track, and I hope Nico de Boinville gets a lead from Court Master before making his move in the long home straight. The 4s with William Hill – 4 places – was too big and he is a best price 3s with BetVictor at the time of posting.
Henderson has saddled the winner of the Bumper twice in the last four years and I can pass on a good word for No Ordinary Joe (3.40) in the first division. Many of the top yards are represented and the betting should provide valuable clues, but this is a meeting that the Lambourn handler targets with many of his top prospects.
I thought Cool Destination (1.37) ran a cracking race at Bangor-on-Dee on his chase debut and he would be a very confident vote at Market Rasen if he were running on a left-hand track given he did jump slightly out to his left in north Wales. The selection’s point win was gained left-handed although he jumped gun barrel straight on his penultimate start when scoring over hurdles. The 7/4 with BetVictor would look very attractive were it not for the nagging doubts aboutb whether he will prove as effective going clock-wise.
Subway Surf has a good record fresh and the mare is another previous winner between the flags. She represents the yard of Kim Bailey who can do little wrong at present and she looks the biggest danger to the Fergal O’Brien gelding although I do feel Cool Destination is the one to beat.