No turf racing in Britain or Ireland for a fourth successive day on Friday, but there are a couple of Jumpers Bumpers cards at Newcastle and Lingfield this afternoon and we begin our preview at Gosforth Park.
In the opening Mares’ contest Becky The Boo (12.40) finished fourth at Newbury on her debut and she comes from a stamina-laden family. She must go close back against her own sex. That looks the best form on offer although inform Donald McCain saddles a well-bred newcomer in Nell’s Bells and a market move for the five-year-old would be worth noting.
Moon King (1.40) is rated in the 90s on the flat and connections look to have found an excellent opportunity to follow up his Musselburgh hurdles success over 2m 4f last month. Brian Hughes keeps the ride and no surprise to see trainer Charlie Longsdon persevere with the cheekpieces he applied for the first time on his latest start. There was 9/4 available on Thursday but he is 2/1 with BetVictor at the time of posting.
He would not be the best of these over timber, however, and Happy Hollow and Cheltenham Festival third Rayna’s World will ensure he does not have things his own way. But if he adapts to today’s tapeta surface then I believe he will take plenty of beating.
Snookered (2.10) won a similar race to this over C&D back in February and he was only beaten just over 3L from a mark of 70 on the flat over today’s trip here on his penultimate start. He might have too much toe for Niven and Irish Roe. The latter won her first three Bumpers and has been a wonderful mare over timber, but she has struggled on soft ground of late. A market move would be significant although her yard remains quiet.
There was, surprisingly, 8/1 available about Snookered when betting opened but he is into 4s with 10bet at the time of posting.
Sao (2.40) is a half-brother to Frodon and has won his last couple over fences for Rebecca Menzies including at Newbury last time. Formerly trained by Paul Nicholls the 7-y-old – 13/8 with 10bet – is now rated 133 over obstacles and he can land his hat-trick at the main expense of Onthefrontfoot who represents Donald McCain and won a Bumper at Sedgefield before finishing down the field in the Aintree Bumper of 2019.
At Lingfield Mondora (12.50) was no match for I Like To Move It at Wincanton on his Bumper debut, but the winner is now unbeaten in two starts and I do not expect the Paul Nicholls’ trained 4-y-o to bump into anything as talented this afternoon. The selection is 9/4 with 10bet.
Glory And Honour (1.50) finished second in an Exeter Bumper and did get his head in front at Huntingdon over hurdles on his last start. The horse he finished behind at Exeter – Any News – is now rated in the 140s over hurdles and I hope to see Tom Lacey’s five-year-old follow up his win over timber although the stable have been quiet in recent weeks. The selection is Evens with Unibet.
There is an all-weather flat card at Southwell and in the opener the American bred Blue Hero (4.15) has been raised 2lbs for finishing runner up at Wolverhampton last weekend but can race from the same mark this afternoon.
The selection – Evens with Boylesports – cost his shrewd owners 20,000 Gns from Tattersalls horses-in-training sales in October and connections fit their charge with first-time cheek-pieces this afternoon. The gelding has valuable fibresand experience having finished a staying on third here over 7f for Michael Bell back in October.
Top-weight Smart Qibili – 2s from 7/2 with William Hill – is out of a dirt winner and makes his fibresand debut but I would be disappointed if he could give 7lbs and a beating to Michael Appleby’s three-year-old.