Regular readers will be aware that Dan Skelton’s Proschema is one of my horses to follow for the season and the 10/1 on offer over the weekend for Sunday’s Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham looked too big. At the time of writing he is still 9/1 with William Hill and I think he is likely to go off around half that price at the weekend.
The ground was given as good at Huntingdon on Monday morning ahead of today’s eight-race card. In the novices’ handicap chase Loco Coco (1.15) makes his handicap debut after three soft ground hurdles. On the face of it his opening mark of 96 looks high enough but he did win a point-to-point on good ground and I believe he will improve for the switch to fences and good ground. He is 11/2 with Boylesports and get the each way vote.
Tim Vaughan’s stable are hardly firing in the winners which is a cause for concern, but Charlie Price takes off a valuable 5lbs and connections look to have found a race that will not take too much winning. Fibonnaci is well treated on his flat form and he and top-weight Somekindofstar look the main dangers, although the former is hardly bred to jump a fence.
If there is market support for Ten Sixty, then I suggest we take the hint in the 3m Veterans’ Chase. The selection has been off the track for 1300 days but looked a chaser of some potential when scoring at Newbury on his penultimate start and connections have certainly found a winnable looking contest. He cannot be considered a recommendation until we see if there is any stable confidence, but he faces, largely, out of form and exposed rivals.
Namib Dancer (1.45) has bits of novice hurdle form that suggest he is fairly treated from a mark of 120 and he tanked through his race at Wincanton on his reappearance. This is a much stiffer task in handicap company, but he receives weight from his eight rivals and is 3/1 at BetVictor.
The 2m winning pointer Getaweapon (12.37) was beaten just over a length on his Rules debut in a Ffos Las Bumper by Seelotmorebusiness and the latter was due to make his hurdles debut at Chepstow on Monday. The Kim Bailey stable could hardly be in better form and the selection is taken to go one better in Hereford’s opener. David Bass is likely to make plenty of use of his five-year-old given he tried to make all last time. The selection is 7/4 with William Hill.
The form of Mustang Alpha’s (1.37) second over two furlongs shorter than today’s handicap hurdle was let down when the winner – Fugitives Drift – disappointed at Newbury last week but the Nicky Henderson trained hurdler palpably failed to stay 3m on that occasion and the selection looked as if he will appreciate this intermediate 2m 5f+ trip. The ground was given as good to soft at Hereford yesterday but there is no further rain forecast for the area. Good ground would be ideal. Jamie Snowden’s novice opened at 4/1 but was 3/1 at Boylesports at the time of posting.
The form of the two-and-a-half mile novice chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March is working out very well – still can’t believe it has been ditched in 2021 – and, despite continued reservations about the form of the Colin Tizzard stable, I hope to see a big run from Highest Son (2.07) in the Handicap Chase.
The selection is reported to have summered well and has no great record fresh which tempers confidence, but this is a big month for the stable as they have several of their big guns ready to roll. Highest Son does get further than today’s extended 2m 5f trip, but this does look an ideal starting point. The each way recommendation is 7/1 with BetVictor.
** The Tizzard stable had a welcome and impressive first time out winner at Chepstow on Monday.
Former Cheltenham Festival winner William Henry has his first start for Sam Thomas in the Beginners Chase having left Nicky Henderson since landing the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell back in February. The 10-year-old was pulled up in his sole chase at Seven Barrows at Cheltenham three years ago when he continually jumped right-handed. Thomas has his string in cracking form, but I will look elsewhere.
Lies About Milan (2.37) would be receiving 25lbs from William Henry is this were a handicap but chasing is a totally different game to hurdling and I give the vote to the Fergal O’Brien’s nine-year-old who has had a wind procedure since his last start. The 11/4 with Wiliam Hill looks fair.