The form of former top-class hurdler Beacon Edge’s (12.00) second in a 2m 3f + Beginners Chase at Down Royal last month was given a boost when the third Vanillier won the Grade 2 Florida Pearl at Punchestown at the weekend.
Todays step up in distance to 2m 6f will suit Noel Meade’s 7-y-old as will the forecast good to yielding ground. Connections lost a talented novice chaser – Sixshooter – in Vanillier’s race on Sunday and I hope some compensation awaits at Thurles. The 4/5 with William Hill is about right.
At Market Rasen Jusuitique escapes a penalty for winning a conditional jockey’s event at Sandown last weekend and is 5lbs well in for Dr Richard Newland and Cillian Leonard. He is the most likely winner but has been put in at 13/8 by William Hill and I believe The Sweeney (1.22) can reward each way support at 16/1with William Hill even though he has yet to win at this three-mile trip.
Emma Lavelle has her string in top form and this 9-year-old has a terrific record at the Lincolnshire track. The betting and jockey bookings would suggest stablemate Thunderstruck is the one to be with from the Lavelle yard, but I hope Thunderstruck helps set the race up for The Sweeney who has a course record over hurdles of 211.
He returned from a three-month lay-off to run well at Aintree under his conditional jockey and Adam Wedge – who has been in the plate for two of his three career successes – returns to the plate.
Heronord would have won at Taunton last week but for coming down three out and is thus a winner without a penalty, but that was a moderate contest, and he is short enough in the betting at an opening Even money.
Lavelle fits a visor on Shiroccan Roll (2.22) for the first time and the hope is that it sharpens up the 7-year-old who I thought had a bright future over fences when third at Exeter on fast ground back in the spring.
He is 7lbs lower in the weights this afternoon and the yard’s conditional Joe Anderson takes off 10lbs. The young jockey has yet to win a race over fences but was in the saddle when the selection finished fourth at Wincanton last time. The 13/2 with William Hill looks fair.
At Newcastle I feel Betty Baloo (2.07) will appreciate the step up in trip having blundered at the last when still in with every chance at Hexham on her hurdles debut. The mare was a dual Bumper winner – on good and soft ground – and Brian Hughes takes over in the saddle for the first time. There waa 6/4 about on Wednesday but the mare is 10/11 with Boylesports at the time of posting.
James Ewart’s Ascot De Bruyere (2.37) has had his wind tweaked since coming down when beaten here back in the spring. The 11-year-old – 11/8 from 13/8 with William Hill – has never won from a mark this high but has an excellent record fresh and is a four-time course winner.
This is likely to have been the plan for some time and connections have found a winnable looking veterans’ chase. Brelan D’As is the obvious danger having scored at Kelso last time from a 4lbs lower mark when he beat one of Ewart’s.
Only four to post for a fascinating novice handicap chase at Wincanton but Amarillo Sky (3.15) is not guaranteed to get an uncontested lead with chase debutant Pasvolsky in the field which tempers confidence in Colin Tizzard’s 5-year-old whose both hurdle successes were gained from the front.
The selection jumped very well at Chepstow on his chase debut, and I can see this winning pointer make a bold bid from the front with that run under his belt. He was 10/3 third favourite with William Hill when betting opened but is 2s at the time of posting at 8pm Wednesday.