A tremendous card at Punchestown with the opening Beginners Chase and the chase debut of Ballyadam the highlight. No surprise that the Cheveley Park horses who left Gordon Elliot after his suspension earlier in the year have remained with Henry de Bromhead.
Good ground at Huntingdon and there is a fascinating novices’ handicap chase. All seven can be given a realistic chance but I am looking forward to seeing Your Darling (3.30) make his chase debut for Ben Pauling and he gets the nod.
The selection – 5/2 with 10Bet but drifting Tuesday morning- won over hurdles here back in May on good ground and has the size and scope to make his mark over the larger obstacles. Ben Pauling’s novice steps up to two-and-a-half miles for the first time this afternoon but he is out of a winner at the trip and was down to run over this distance when a late withdrawal at Warwick in April. His Bumper win came on heavy ground, but he handled good ground here in the spring and has an excellent record fresh.
Lord Sparky has four career successes to his name, and they have all come at Huntingdon including his last couple in the spring. He is only 3lbs higher than for the last of those victories but has no history of going well fresh.
Achy Breaky Heart (4.15) had the third over 20L away when going down to an inform rival Railway Muice – runs over hurdles in the finale – by a couple of lengths here last week. If in the same mood she will be very tough to beat with Mitchell Bastyan – replacing Paddy Brennan – taking off a valuable 3lbs. The mare – 5/2 with Boylesports – was a dual winner between the flags and the return to fences on good ground has seen her take her form to a new level.
White Walker (4.50) has been given too much to do in his last couple of starts but is taken to return to winning ways for Sean Bowen and Gary Hanmer. The selection – 7/2 with MansionBet – travelled powerfully but blundered at a crucial time at Warwick last time when just making his challenge. He can run from the same mark this afternoon and is taken to see off Railway Muice and The Late Legend who are both reverting to timber from a lower mark than their chase mark.
Milton Harris trains Achy Breaky Heart and also Presenting Yeats (3.23) in the stayers’ handicap hurdle at Hereford the sole ride of Paddy Brennan on the card. The bottom weight – 5/4 with 10Bet – carries just 10st 1lb and is only 3lbs higher than when scoring at Warwick last time over today’s extended 3m 1f trip. As a 5-y-old he is open to further improvement over timber and gets the vote ahead of Manning Estate although the latter has certainly been given a chance by the handicapper.
My concern with the Oliver Sherwood trained runner as I feel this distance does stretch his stamina. Three miles might be his optimum distance.
Motawaajed (3.50) was a bit disappointing at Doncaster last time, but I hope to see him bounce back at Leicester this afternoon. The selection -4s with William Hill – has yet to race on soft ground but there is no reason he should not be at least as effective with cut in the ground although conditions are less likely to be soft as holding or tacky with the forecast dry. A low draw was an advantage on the straight course at the last meeting as the winners’ tended to race up the centre of the track.
Future King (4.55) has been off the track since scoring on tapeta at Newcastle 12 months ago. The 4-y-old concedes 9lbs and more all round but I thought he was one to follow last year and I would be disappointed if he were not able to give weight and a beating to today’s opposition although the drop back to 7f looks likely to suit Spice Store who hinted at ability on her debut over a mile at Newbury in June.
There was odds against available on Monday evening but he is a best price of 10/11 at MansionBet on Tuesday morning although the was plenty of interest in Rhythm N Rock and Macs Girl.