A stunning day’s racing either side of the Irish Sea on Wednesday, with Newbury staging a couple of Grade 1’s, an exciting ‘match’ in the graduation chase and what looks the hottest novice chase of the season so far.
The Berkshire track stages a fantastic card from start, including the Introductory Hurdle, in which C&D winner Kid Cassidy sets a fair standard.
However, Megastar (1:35) looked aptly named on his hurdles debut at Ascot and had high-class bumper form, so is given the nod at the prices.
Nick Williams has saddled the past two winners of the Challow Hurdle, so For Non Stop is bound to be popular, but he’s rated just 135 and the connections of Al Ferof (2:10) will surely be hopeful that their grey will wind up better than that.
He took a heavy fall at Cheltenham last time, which is a slight concern, but Paul Nicholls says he has done plenty of schooling since and this doesn’t look the strongest Grade 1.
Thomas Mullins has won Leopardstown’s opening maiden hurdle twice in the past three seasons, so it is significant that this is where he introduces smart bumper performer Tavern Times (11:50).
Surrounded by plenty of subsequent winners when fourth in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham, he could have been over the top when well beaten at Punchestown and, though he lacks experience and hasn’t run on ground this soft before, his looks a class above the opposition.
Zaidpour and Big Zeb are sure to popular with those looking to register multi-bets on the card, but the pick of the ‘shorties’ looks to be Hurricane Fly (1:55) who is fairly priced at 4/6.
Willie Mullins’ high-class performer looks to hold sway over Solwhit and can confirm so for the third successive time, back over the more suitable 2m trip.
In the closing bumper Mississippi River (3:35) can gain revenge over Rebel Fitz from their meeting at Galway in October, where jockey error surely cost the selection the race.
That also seemed the case when he was given far too much to do on debut at Punchestown, in a race won by Challow Hurdle runner Backspin, and he has since got off the mark for Robbie McNamara at Cork.
He looks a very smart prospect and can prove so by rounding off what promises to be a fantastic day’s sport.
Paul Ferguson’s Jumpers To Follow 2010-11 is available hot off the press from the 1st October for just £9.99
Send a cheque payable to “The Racing Insider” to The Racing Insider, PO Box 98, Liverpool L9 1WY. Please include a note of your name and address and telephone number or email address.
Last year’s selections included:
Hurricane Fly: 3/1 winner of the G1 Rabobank Champion Hurdle
Copper Bleu: 12/1 winner of the Jewson at Cheltenham
Great Endeavour: 18/1 winner of the Festival Plate
Tranguil Sea: 11/2 winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup
Sizing Europe: 6/1 winner of the Arkle
Weapon’s Amnesty: 10/1 winner of the RSA Chase