Good ground forecast for today’s eight-race Warwick card and the opening juvenile hurdle was won by subsequent Grade 1 winner Allmankind 12 months ago. Several big yards are represented although there is little form to go on.
When Dan Skelton’s Wilde About Oscar won the second division of the Novice Hurdle at Uttoxeter last month it was gained in a time over eight seconds slower than his stablemate Third Time Lucki half an hour earlier. The latter is potentially top class, but Wilde About Oscar looks vulnerable under a penalty stepping up in distance.
Wilde About Oscar is a flashy sort with white markings on his face and so, too, is Bothwell Bridge (12.25) runner up in both Bumpers including when 4L behind the aforementioned Third Time Lucki at Huntingdon. The suggestion – another with plenty of white about him – looked more of a galloper last term and this step up to 2m 3f should suit on his hurdles debut. The opening 11/10 looked too big and Nicky Henderson’s 5-y-old is a best-price of 10/11 at BetVictor.
At the time of writing Kevin Brogan’s last three rides have finished 111 and he takes a valuable 5lbs off the back of Write It Down in the conditional jockey’s handicap chase. The Jonjo O’Neill trained six-year-old is a C&D winner from a 13lbs lower mark and he looks sure to go close under his inform jockey.
I was disappointed with the form of the Philip Hobbs runners at Exeter earlier in the week – save Wildfire Warrior – but I felt Ebony Gale (2.45) made a pleasing reappearance at Huntingdon last month and he is taken to go one better.
The selection – 5/2 with 10bet – is a Bumper and Hurdles winner and certainly has the scope to make his mark over fences. He must give 12lbs to Write It Down – including jockeys’ allowances – but he is taken to build on the promise of his comeback run when he jumped well on what was his chase debut.
** Note Hobbs’ had a welcome winner at Newbury on Thursday.
Ocean Drifter (12.50) was no match for Third Time Lucki – followed up at Wetherby at the weekend – at Uttoxeter on his hurdles debut last month, but he can go one better in the Fontwell opener. This small step up in trip will certainly suit Oliver Sherwood’s five-year-old with underfoot conditions – good to soft – looking ideal. The selection – 6/4 with BetVictor – will make a smashing chaser in time, but he looks sure to go close this afternoon.
With Harry Skelton in action at Warwick Bridget Andrews takes over on Go Steady (2.35) who won three of his last four last season from two miles to 2m 5f and is taken to maintain his improvement on his seasonal reappearance. The selection – 11/4 with Boylesports – would not want the ground to dry out too much and there is no guaranteed pace in the race. If that is the case, I would expect Andrews to go on over a trip, arguably, short of her mount’s best.
We were advised that Aidan Coleman was first jockey for Olly Murphy last month, yet Murphy has four runners at Warwick and Coleman has three fancied rides for Anthony Honeyball at Fontwell. Deja Vue looks to have Danse Idol to beat in the Mares’ Chase and Gustavian (3.10) has had his wind operated on since finishing runner up at Uttoxeter back in March and he could be well treated on his handicap debut.
The five-year-old – a best price of 7/2 – has failed to finish out of the first two in all four starts but the fact that he has now had two wind procedures, would suggest he has his issues. First time out may be the time to catch him.
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf from Keeneland sees the 2000 Guineas favourite Battleground (8.10) attempt to land this Group 1 prize from stall nine. If Ryan Moore can get him into a decent position going into the first turn then I hope to see his class prevail but he cannot afford a slow break from the gates as is often the case with European runners. The firm ground should suit this War Front colt as should the step up to a mile. The 9/2 with William Hill is a fair price each way – 5 places.